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14 Things to Do With Your Wedding Dress After the Big Day

Oct 31, 2019
By Wedding Spot

Once the “I do’s” have been said and all of the festivities have come to a close, you may be wondering what to do with your wedding dress. So much thought, time and money went into it, and you only wore it for one night. But this doesn’t have to be the end of the road for your beloved gown. Luckily, there are dozens of things to do with your wedding dress after the bells have rung.

Discover 14 things to do with your wedding dress after the big day:

1. Preserve it.

If you anticipate turning your dress into a family heirloom, make sure you get it professionally preserved. Wedding dress preservation can cost up to $1,000, but it can be well worth it.

How to preserve it: When it comes to preserving your dress, you have a few options with prices ranging from around $200 up to $1000.

If you’re going to have it professionally cleaned: Make sure you use a dress preservation specialist. Dry cleaning and preserving are NOT the same thing. There are also services offered by places like David’s Bridal as well as The Wedding Gown Preservation Kit that have you mail your dress to them, they clean and preserve it, then mail it back to you. 

If you choose to clean it yourself: Be sure to read the label for special instructions first. It’s also recommended that you spot test a small, hidden portion of the dress to be sure the cleaning agents don’t react negatively with the fabric and use a super soft-bristled brush. After cleaning, be sure to handle the dress wearing white cotton gloves to avoid any oils from your skin soaking into the fabric. Use acid-free tissue paper in your storage box and avoid keeping the box in any location that is damp or exposed to harsh light and/or temperatures. 

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2. Turn it into art.

One way to make your dress last a lifetime is by turning it into a work of art. Many people decide to frame their dresses and hang them on their closet or bathroom walls to create a truly show stopping, unique artwork. Getting your dress professionally framed can cost thousands of dollars, but there are plenty of DIY options as well.

3. Reimagine it.

Another way to recycle your wedding gown in a useful way is to turn it into another piece of clothing. The way you do this depends a lot on your personal lifestyle and preferences. Have the seamstress who altered your gown turn it into a formal cocktail dress to wear at your next big event. You can even have someone turn it into a few different accessories, like a clutch or lingerie. 

4. Sell it.

It’s no secret that wedding dresses nowadays are expensive! Luckily, you can recoup some of the money you spent by selling your dress. Nowadays, there are seemingly endless options for selling your dress online. Some people decide to sell their dress on social media, like on Facebook Marketplace, while others opt to post a listing on websites that specialize in selling used, like StillWhite, Nearly Newlywed, or Preowned Wedding Dresses. The decision whether to sell your dress or not is personal. Some considerations to help you decide:

Consider selling your dress if:

  • You went over-budget on your wedding ceremony/reception and are looking to recoup even a small bit of the cost

  • You feel a tad guilty that your dress was purchased for you by a loved one and you want to pay that kind deed forward

  • You want a little extra cash to spend on your honeymoon

  • You’d like to start a healthcare fund (like a personal FSA), start a vow renewal fund, or even begin saving for retirement

Consider keeping your dress if:

  • You can afford to get your dress professionally cleaned and preserved

  • You’re a nostalgic person who wants to relive her wedding day by gazing at her gown from time to time

  • You have or are planning to have children who you’d love to see wear your dress on their special day

  • You’re a crafty person who wants to repurpose your gown into a cocktail dress or even something like a quilt that can be passed down for generations

  • You want to renew your vows in the same gown you said “I do” in

5. Donate it.

Even if your wedding dress has been altered, consider donating your wedding gown instead of selling. Aside from being less of a hassle, you’ll also be passing along your beloved gown to someone who can’t afford it. Whether you’re donating it to your local Goodwill or working with a nonprofit like Brides Across America, you can’t go wrong passing along the good vibes.

6. Create a costume closet. 

Start a costume closet at your house starting with your dress. You can add new wardrobe pieces and props as time passes that can be used for future costume parties, photoshoots, or for “dress up” if you ever have families over to your house or have/plan to have children of your own.

7. Repurpose it for children.

If you have kids or hope to start a family soon after the wedding, consider keeping your dress to turn into a christening gown or other piece of formal clothing for them. Whether it’s an Easter dress or an outfit for their first school picture day, using your wedding gown for your children or even family friends is a wonderful way to repurpose this important garment.

8. Make home decor items.

If you or someone you know is crafty, making home decor items out of your gown is a fun way that allows you to see your dress and relive your wedding memories on a daily basis. From table linens to curtains, there are plenty of creative ways to decorate your home using your dress.

9. Update your holiday decorations.

Create new holiday traditions using your dress. A Thanksgiving tablecloth, Christmas tree skirt, holiday ornaments, or heart-shaped Valentine’s Day doilies are all unique takes on recycling your gown, but keeping the specialness intact. 

10. Dye it.

Instead of redesigning the structure of your gown, perhaps you dye it a different color. This way you keep the same level of formality, but open up the places you can wear it to like galas, friend’s weddings, holiday parties, and more.

11. Do a “Trash the Dress” photoshoot.

Having a post-wedding photoshoot where you “trash the dress” is very trendy. You can take photos of you in your dress in the ocean, getting muddy on a farm with horses, rolling around in a field of flowers, or having you and/or your kids paint your dress like it’s a blank canvas. Since the options are limitless for how you can “trash the dress”, take a look at some of these fabulous ideas from Pinterest.

12. Throw a themed party.

Throw a wedding-themed cocktail party for you and your girlfriends where you all don your wedding dresses. Take lots of photos and this is sure to be a hit with your family and friends on social media as well.

13. Donate it to your local theater.

A fun way to watch your dress live on through art is by donating it to a local theater or costume shop. Maybe the next time you catch a play you’ll get to see your beautiful gown take on a new life!

14. Save it for your anniversary.

Another option is to save it to wear for fun on your one year anniversary to relive your wedding bliss with your new husband. If he still has his suit, have him put that on too and make your first anniversary on for the books!

Put these ideas for your wedding dress to good use!

Up next, discover some of the best and most unique honeymoon destinations in the world.

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Wedding Spot

The Wedding Spot blog is designed to help couples navigate every step of the wedding planning journey. From before the engagement to after you say “I do,” our goal is to give you the tips, ideas, and inspiration to prepare for your big day — and all that comes with it.