Brides spend a considerable amount of time choosing their wedding dress, deliberating over details and ensuring they achieve the perfect fit. Therefore, doesn’t it seem a shame that you’ll only get to make the most of it for a day? With all the focus on the wedding, it’s easy to forget about life after your evening reception. Spare some time to consider what you want to do with your dress after you get married. Whether you’re sentimental or hate the idea of a beautiful gown going to waste, read on for our advice.
1. Clean it
Whatever you choose to do with your dress, unless you’re going to destroy it, getting it cleaned is a must. Stains are often signs of a good time, which you’re sure to have in your wedding dress. From greeting guests outside to embracing their freshly-powdered faces, from your first dance to the unavoidable drink spillages, stains happen, and on the day they belong far out of mind. However, when the day is over, your dress deserves some TLC before the marks have a chance to settle.
Choose a cleaner who specialises in wedding dress preservation. Above all else, a professional will know how to create a unique treatment plan for your dress without harming the fabric. They’ll know to use virgin solvent rather than recycled solvent to avoid leaving a weird smell, and they’ll spot the stains that dry clear but can caramelise over time. Do your research and seek out the best for your dress.
2. Preserve it
Once your wedding gown is clean, wrap it in acid-free tissue paper or unbleached muslin; pop them between the folds of the dress too to avoid permanent creasing. To prevent oxidation over time store your gown in an airtight, acid-free container out of direct sunlight; avoid putting it in a zip-up plastic bag as these hold moisture that could discolour your dress. Find somewhere cool and dry to store it and if you hang it make sure the hanger is padded to support the weight.
If you ever want to take your dress out of storage, wear a pair of white cotton gloves and handle with care. Otherwise, be sure to check on your dress every few years and refold it to stop creases.
3. Donate it
A wedding dress is normally one of the most integral elements of a bride’s wedding day. Finding a dress that makes you feel effortlessly elegant can be a lengthy process, but when you find the right one it’s empowering; what could be more fulfilling than passing this feeling onto another? There are plenty of wonderful organisations that will help you find a grateful home for your dress.
We recommend donating to Brides Do Good, who are tackling the global issue of underage marriage. Up to two-thirds of the proceeds from your dress donation will go towards funding projects that support education in the most affected areas. Follow their latest campaign #OnlyAGirl and sign their petition to change the UK law to raise the minimum age of marriage to 18.
4. Repurpose it
There are endless options for transforming your wedding dress into something that you can use or appreciate often. For instance, you could have it made into a quilt, or parts made into jewellery. There’s also the simple option of creating a new dress out of it, as it’s already entirely sculpted to you. Find a talented seamstress who can adapt your gown into an outfit you could wear for more casual occasions. Here are some other options:
Gabrielle Jewellery is a San Francisco based brand that gives vintage fabrics a second life as luxurious metal jewellery. Have a custom piece made from a small swatch of your wedding dress and gain a unique memento.
Bowman Bears can create a magical cuddly toy out of your dress – though we doubt you’ll be letting any sticky fingers grab this one!
Love Keep Create will make a bear or a doll and a blanket out of your wedding dress and can even incorporate the groom’s outfit into the items if you’d like.
The Beautiful Frame Company can turn your dress into a piece of art for your home. The mother and daughter duo handmake every frame, with museum grade UV protective glass, so it’s truly unique.
5. Sell it
Weddings can be quite heavy on the purse strings. While we understand that you would probably love to donate your dress, it’s also useful to get some money back. Also, selling your gown is still a lovely thing to do as it means it won’t go to waste. If you bought a designer gown timing is everything; the sooner you sell it, the more value it has to second-hand sellers. Sell your dress within three years, and you could get up to 50% of the RRP; follow our cleaning advice and you could increase the value of the dress further.
You can post your dress on sites like eBay and Bride2Bride, but social media is also a very effective way of making a quick sale; add the following hashtags to increase the reach of your listing #weddingdressforsale, #weddingdressinspo and #weddingdresssale.