The other day, I was helping a Maid of Honor order her dress at the bridal boutique I work at. She had asked me about our preservation kit promotion. The boutique gives the option to send out your dress to be dry cleaned, restored and preserved on a mini mannequin in an airtight box that is sealed and guaranteed no yellowing for over 30 years; all for under $200. But, that got me thinking...
After giving my normal spiel about the kit, she complimented on how that was such a great idea and also told me how her friend, the Bride, is donating her dress. I had never heard of donating your dress (other than giving it to thrift stores) until then, and it really sparked my interest to do some research. I was so surprised when I found out how many organizations there are that support dress donations. Here are my favorites:
Brides Across America: There are a few ways to donate to BAA. If you’re a business owner, you can host a gown giveaway event. You can also make a payable donation or donate your dress. These donations help brides of first responders or military. They also have a few requirements of dress donations but also have tax right off perks.
Angel Gown Organization: This organization collects wedding dresses and creates custom infant dresses for families who have lost a baby. The dresses are used for final photos and burials. You can donate your dress to NICU Helping Hands. https://www.nicuhelpinghands.org/programs/angel-gown-program/
Brides Against Breast Cancer: Based in Georgia but accepting gowns from all over the US, brides
can donate their dress for other brides fighting or overcoming breast cancer can get a great deal on a stunning dress. This organization does have a few criteria for donations but also offers tax write-offs.
Sophie’s Place: Newborns In Need is the company that runs this organization. Sophie’s Place is named after an infant who passed early. Volunteers accept donations of wedding dresses to create bereavement outfits for families facing infant loss. https://newbornsinneed.org/our-work/sophies-place/
Baby Gowns for Eternity: Volunteers for Baby Gowns for Eternity have a mission to create gender specific burial gowns for free to parents who are suffering from infant loss. Not only does this group accept wedding gowns, but they also accept formal attire, special occasion dresses and also menswear. Although they’re located in Texas, they accept donations and serve across the nation. http://www.babygownsforeternity.net/drop-off-locations/
The Bride’s Project: Accepting donations nationwide, this organization supports families touched by cancer. They are eco-friendly and donations can be made through the Cancer Support Community of Greater Ann Arbor.
Brides for a Cause: This nonprofit organization is a brick and mortar bridal store than raises fund for charity by collecting, recycling and reselling dresses. They donate to women focused local and nationwide charities. You can donate your dress or any accessories in good condition. http://bridesforacause.com/donate-your-wedding-dress/
Adorned in Grace: This store’s sells new and used wedding gowns and accessories, raising proceeds and awareness to promote prevention of human trafficking and supporting its victims. The company is staffed with volunteers and accept donations across the nation. http://www.adornedingrace.org/
In all honesty, this easy research project was a very humbling realization for me. All too often, it becomes so easy for brides (and even us coordinators) to become encircled with the materialistic side of things that go into a wedding, especially a San Diego Wedding. This helped me take a step back and look at a much bigger picture.
Donating a wedding dress may not be for everyone, and that is completely okay, even understandable. But if you’re still looking for something to do with your dress after the big day instead of leaving it boxed up in the corner of your closet, here’s some fun options:
Preservation: Like mentioned before, some bridal stores, like David’s Bridal, offer a very easy 3 step process on how to ship your dress out and have it returned to you in a three foot preserved box. Some dry cleaners also offer a similar option, but my best recommendation is to do your homework on prices and packaging. This is a great option if you’re wanting to keep it to pass it on or even just try on 30 years down the road because it’ll be in pristine condition without yellowing or aging.
"Trash the Dress" Photoshoot: You’re probably questioning me, thinking I’m crazy but this is a rising trend and very Pinterest worthy. New brides and grooms will do a photoshoot where they destroy the dress. More popular ways have been to jump in some kind of body of water or even using paint in some way. If you’re daring and adventurous, this option will make for some killer, once in a lifetime photo opportunities. San Diego Life Events has some great recommendations for photographers that would be able to do "Trash the Dress" photoshoots.
Lingerie: I’ve been seeing a lot of brides who make lingerie out of the scraps from their dress after alterations. However, if you want to have more material or make more than just a pair of panties, you can use your whole dress and have it made into undergarments. Check out impishlee.com on how to have custom made lingerie from your dress.
Quilt It: Whether you need another wall decal or a decorative throw blanket for your new romantic master bedroom, there are quilting companies that can create a quilt from your wedding gown. Etsy is a good place to check out or marymansonquilts.com is a reputable quilting company for more information.
As you can see, there are a myriad of options for what brides can do with their dresses after the wedding. And if you're the DIY bride, crafty/artsy type, us San Diego Wedding Coordinators at San Diego Life Events encourage you to let your creative juices flow!
Blog post by Intern Coordinator Teagan Frame, exclusively for San Diego Life Events
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