Donate Your Wedding Dress

In May of 2012 I got engaged to my best friend/ the funniest man on earth. We decided that a three month long engagement was more than long enough and set our wedding date for August 18th 2012. I went to David’s Bridal and picked off a dress from the rack. It was perfect for my outdoor barn wedding and affordable, so I bought it that day. 
I LOVED my wedding dress! It was beautiful, fun, and classy. But I knew from the moment that I bought it that I didn’t want to hold onto it forever. I have talked about this with several of my friends and I know that each of us attaches memories and sentiments in different ways. Some brides cannot even imagine ever giving there dress away, selling it, or “trashing” it. They want to save it for their kids and preserve it in a box because it holds a lot of value to them. 
I get it! Weddings are so important and I look back on the day I got married with joy and I remember the promise I made before my friends, family, and the Lord. I have wonderful pictures from Stellar Propeller Studios that I will always hold onto and photo books that I have made to share with guests when they come over. But I don’t need my dress anymore. 
I knew the day I bought it that I wanted to donate my dress when I was done with it. I wanted to bless another bride with a free or greatly reduced dress! I was blessed to have a budget for my wedding (as small as it was) but I know not every bride has parents who are able to help them with their wedding! The idea of me carting around a dress for every other move in my life and finding room in a closest somewhere for a dress to sit when someone else could use and enjoy the dress was silly to me. I have talked about it a lot before here but I believe that less is more and giving is better than receiving. 
I didn’t just want to donate it to my local thrift store and have it turn into a Halloween costume, so it took me awhile to find a great organization that would be a perfect fit. I finally found Brides Across America and was so excited to see that I could donate my dress
I emailed them right away pictures of my dress and they emailed back saying that they would love to accept the donation! My heart was filled with such joy as I set out to pack up my weddings dress. I prayed for the bride while I packed up my wedding dress and addressed the flat rate box. Then I took it to the post office and it was done, I had finally donated my dress and it felt good. If you have been thinking of donating your dress, I highly encourage you to donate to Brides Across America! They help provide weddings for the military – whether deployed, wounded, or in need. That is something that I always wanted my dress to go to. I just always wanted that initial investment to be a blessing. 

Author: Elizabeth Mayberry

  • I've been thinking a lot about donating my dress. It's just sitting there taking up space and I really don't want to keep moving around with it. My mom was generous enough to help me buy it and I'd love to pay it forward and help someone else. It's hard to let go of though. I'll do it eventually.

  • this is awesome! Thanks for sharing!

  • I completely agree, it would be so great for someone else to be able to use it rather than having it just sit in my closet! I plan to donate mine when I get married πŸ™‚

  • Sara

    Such a great thing for you to do! My grandmother made my wedding dress, and if she hadn't I'm sure I would donate it!

  • Yes, Yes, Yes! I actually wanted to just take it to the thrift store, but people kept telling me I should just keep it because… it's my wedding dress! All I could think of was "it's just sitting in my closet!" Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing this resource!

  • So cool! I thought about doing this but my wedding dress basically disintegrated on my wedding day (darn you lace)!

  • YAY! I love that you did this! Someone is going to LOVE that dress and it will be such a blessing to them on their wedding day!

  • That's a great idea, Elizabeth! I didn't know such an organization existed. Beautiful dress!

  • Great idea! Do they do this for bridesmaid dresses too? I have a whole closet full!

  • Amber Frey

    I donated my prom dress to my high school's local Youth on their Own program (homeless youth), and since then I've donated a bridesmaid dress so you might be able to find a program like that for prom dresses (if they're fancy enough).

  • I am so in love with this idea!! I'm keeping my dress for kids and grandkids. My favorite activity when I was little was wearing my grandma's wedding dress, which I would've worn to my wedding if she wasn't much shorter than me! And my dress has a very classic style. There is a nearly identical one in the 1959 Brides Magazine my grandma has in her coffee table. But I really think this is such a beautiful concept and if I wasn't so traditional/sentimental I would do it!

  • this is super neat! i think after i'm married for like a few years, i'll do it. right now i just really like looking at it, as silly as that sounds.

  • Brittany Thode

    I'm so glad to see this post! As we prepare for a new baby, my wedding dress is staring at me from the closet. I was eyeing Brides Across America, but hadn't heard of anyone donating to them before. I'm glad you had a good experience! I think my major obstacle will be the shipping charges… it was a poofy dress! πŸ™‚

  • This is so awesome! I thought about selling my dress and told my mom and she totally freaked!! She was like what if you children want to wear your dress?? haha since she paid for it I am going to keep it so that her hopes and dreams arent squashed. haha but I totally don't have a problem parting with it.

  • That is so cool=wouldn't it be awesome to know who got it!

  • You're the best, awesome job! I'm sure you made someone very very happy!

  • This is such a wonderful idea! I still have my dress and can't decide what I want to do with it. Some of my best friends and I have talked about doing a fun/silly photoshoot after all of us are married, but part of me wants to leave the option to wear it open to my daughters. I guess time will tell, but I love knowing that this exists!

  • I thought about doing this with my first wedding dress (I was engaged before and it ended very badly). In the end I just couldn't handle deciding which company to go with, so I just took it my favorite thrift store to get it off my hands. I just didn't want to look at it or think about that dress anymore.

    Now that I'm married, I'm just not sure what to do with my dress. My husband thinks I should get rid of it. I've decided to think about it for several months before making a decision either way.

  • I was going to do this with my dress until my littlest sister said she wanted to get married in my dress someday. She was only 10 when she said that so chances are that's not going to happen but I decided to hold onto my dress for her just in case.

  • Amy

    i. LOVE. this. idea.
    what a beautiful way to bless others!
    thanks for sharing this Beth!

  • You got yours shipped off so quick! I still need to do mine! You included such sweet words!

  • I had originally planned on donating mine right after the wedding – but in the end decided to save it and get it shortened to wear in anniversary photos. Other than the fact that it's long and white, the dress doesn't scream WEDDING or anything, so I was thinking that once it's short and paired with some casual accessories I could definately get one more use out of it! After that though, I'll be donating away! I'm sure there are one or two brides who will want a short dress. πŸ™‚

  • And BTW – your dress is beautiful! Someone is going to love it!

  • I love this, especially that they give the dresses to deserving military brides!

  • I sold my wedding dress on eBay. There is a program in Wichita that accepts dresses and gives them to women that can't afford a dress but I didn't see many women going through that program and I didn't want my dress just sitting there.

    I'm pretty sure I had the exact same dress you did. I loved it but couldn't keep it forever. Glad you got to donate it!

  • Oh good idea! Ebay!

  • I so agree πŸ™‚

  • Thanks!!!

  • That is so fun!

  • I am a pro!

  • Thanks Amy!

  • Yeah! I obviously waited two years to donate it!

  • Thanks Meg!

  • I have lots other memories to hold onto!

  • That does attach a totally different sentiment!

  • You are so welcome! I know it is traditional to keep it but I am really passionate about clearing out clutter and also giving anyway that I can!

  • HAHA! That is crazy.

  • Thanks Megs!

  • It is amazing what you can find on google! I know. The biggest push back if from people who want my daughters to play with it/ wear it in their wedding. First off, I have no idea if I even will have daughters. and secondly, I'll buy them a white dress if they want!

  • Yes! I really didn't have a strong attachment to my dress so it was easier to get ride of (finally more closet space!!!)

  • Thanks! I hope someone else enjoys it!

  • HAHA! That rally is a great idea!

  • Yeah! I totally get that! I love the memories you have with wedding dresses in your family!

  • haha! Great. I was at the point of sighing whenever it was taking up to much space in the closet!

  • Oh yeah! I just shoved it all in the largest flat rate box!

  • HAHA! MAybe you can store it at her house too πŸ˜‰ JK. Sometimes the people in our life also have a lot of influence and memories associated with things like that!

  • I know it!

  • I hope so!

  • Yeah! No pressure!

  • Yeah, you just can't take those chances πŸ˜‰

  • I am not married nor engaged, but I as of right now I think I would sell/donate my dress. I used to hoard things around because after attending boarding school and college, I just never had any other memories to keep. With the help of my boyfriend I was able to get rid of a lot of stuff (bye stuffed animals!) and I think it was because of him my mentality changed about keeping stuff I no longer need and that are no longer memories. So as of right now, YES! I would give it away/sell it. xo

  • I actually am storing it there.. and probably will till we have the room. So it works out

  • I love this! I'm getting married next month and have been wondering what the heck I will do with my dress when I'm done. The only reason I would want to keep it would be so my daughter could wear it one day, but let's be honest – most brides these days don't want to wear their mother's dress! I'll keep this in mind. πŸ™‚

  • I love this! I won't donate my dress, but I have asked my mom to donate my old debutante dress (basically a formal wedding dress) and my old Junior Miss dress (a very fancy pageant dress). My wedding dress isn't an actual wedding dress. It's a short white dress, and I plan on wearing it again!

  • That is so fun! And also so fun that you did pageants growing up!

  • I know. I would love my daughter to pick out her own dress – who knows if we will be the same size or really if the style will even be around. My dress was not necessarily "classic"

  • Yeah! So fun!

  • That is wonderful! It is so fun to be a blessing like that! I am glad you found an organization in Canada!

  • Ha, it was just the one pageant. I think Junior Miss is now Distinguished Young Women. My little feminist self didn't think much of pageants in general, but Junior Miss included five categories: interview (which I won), scholastic (also won), talent, poise, and fitness. I was in the best shape of my life that year preparing to do a ten-minute high intensity workout with a smile on my face for the judges!

  • Glad you found a way for your dress to be used once more! Sounds like this was the perfect opportunity. I have kept my dress, and intend to continue to keep it since I wear it again every year for our anniversary photos (this’ll be the 5th year in a row of wearing my dress!). If I didn’t intend to wear it again, I wouldn’t be so inclined to keep it.

    • That is such a fun tradition you started! I love that! I planned on never wearing mine again, so it was fun to give it to someone who could enjoy it!

  • I wish I had known about this! I isn’t plan to donate mine, but I ended up divorced and then held onto it another 2 years, because I’m sentimental and also because it was the most I’d ever dressed up and it was so beautiful! I ended up giving it to Salvation Army in hopes it would go to a girl who didn’t have much (I got it super cheap at a closeout store).

    I’ve remarried since and do not plan to let that one go… It was a custom made very simple dress from Etsy because I was pregnant and was having a hard time finding anything. It’s not so dressy I couldn’t wear it again, so I hope to take it in and wear it on an anniversary some day.

    • Totally! Some of my best friends couldn’t stand the idea of giving theirs away because they are so sentimental too! I think we are all a little different but donating mine was the best choice for me!

      Also so fun that you have a custom dress that you can wear again!! so fun!