What can you do with an old wedding dress?

Old Wedding Dresses

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Selling a Wedding Dress

Making a Memory

Old Wedding Dresses?

I hate the idea of spending money on a dress that I only wore one day. I don't want to sell it, but I will never wear it again. I would like to keep it, perhaps make a keepsake out of it. Does anyone have any ideas as to what to do with the dress after the wedding? Thanks.
Terry in NV

Sharing Your Old Wedding Dress

Here are a few suggestions on how to utilize your wedding gown:

  • If you have the heart to do this (and yes, it involves scissors) cut your gown into fabric squares and turn it into a beautiful heirloom wall or bed quilt. Leftover pieces can be used as "matting" for your favorite wedding photos and scrapbook projects. You can turn your veil into sachets for your drawers, baskets and closets.
  • My favorite suggestion is donating the gown to someone who is truly in need. If you don't know that special bride-to-be, try to contact a church or charitable organization and ask them if they know of such a situation. What a beautiful gift of love to share, allowing someone else the opportunity to look beautiful on the day that they only dreamed possible. Priceless gift!


Wedding Dress to Birthday Dress

On an HGTV show, I saw a decorator make a skirt for a baby bassinet out of a wedding dress. I thought that was a wonderful idea.

Donate Old Wedding Dress

For my wedding, I wanted "that special dress," so I made the perfect one for me. This also helped me keep costs in line with my budget as a new member of the workforce. After the wedding, the fabric shop I spent a lot of time at (wonderful source of advice and ideas) displayed my dress for others to see. I had the dress cleaned and preserved in the "memory box," and it has moved with my husband and I for the past 25 years. Finally, I realized I no longer needed to save it and found an organization that accepted it as a donation. They use proceeds from selling wedding gowns to support women diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer.

Creative Use for Old Wedding Dress

My mother-in-law did something unique with her wedding dress and her mother's wedding dress. Someone she knows from church makes bears out of old clothing such as wedding dresses. And for Christmas, she had this lady make five of these bears for all of her children and attached to each bear was a poem. Then for Valentines Day this year, she gave everyone a bear made out of great grandma's wedding dress and a poem was attached to this bear as well. I think this was a great idea!
Denise in Michigan

Tradition for Wedding Dress

I know a woman who cut the skirt off her wedding dress and used it as a beautiful skirt under the Christmas tree. It may seem a bit of a sacrifice, but it will get "worn" every year and become part of the family's traditions.

Be Creative With Old Wedding Dress

A wedding dress is a very special dress for any bride. Not wanting to part with it is a normal reaction. My suggestions would be:

  1. Make a christening outfit for your children. Make a beautiful gown, utilizing all the pearls, or a simple one that could be worn by either a boy or girl. Make two hats, one for a boy and one for a girl. Be sure to have the baby's name and birth date embroidered on the gown.
  2. Make a pillow for your bed, using the fabric from the dress, and embroider your wedding date, bride's name, groom's name, and any other pertinent information.<
  3. Create a "something old" hankie with lace attached for your daughter to carry. You can also do a square with your wedding date on it and your son's wedding date. This is something he can tuck inside his tux, and have a token of memory from his Mom.
  4. Create a ring bearer's pillow for your daughter or for your son.
  5. Make Christmas ornaments in a Victorian Style for the children, making sure your wedding date and names are embroidered on them.
  6. Create a shadow box, using a piece of the dress, a photo, the jewelry, your garter, and any other important things that you want to cherish and pass on to your children. If there are more than one child, you may want to make one for each of your children.

"Lady Di"

Old Wedding Dress Shares Love

My Mother and Grandmother do something very kind with donated wedding dresses. They use the fabric to sew very tiny baby outfits for the local hospitals. These outfits are for stillbirth babies. Without these precious small outfits, the babies would be placed in their grieving parents' arms in the hospital t-shirt and diaper and wrapped in a blanket. The outfits are beautiful. They make dresses like christening gowns and buntings for little boys with tiny bonnets. It is such an act of love!

Next Gen Wedding Dress

When my daughters got married, I took lace from my dress and trimmed out their shoes (white tennis shoes) for the reception. They looked so cute and were more comfortable than the dressy shoes they wore for the ceremony.

Old Wedding Dress Becomes an Heirloom

My mother (84) had a beautiful wedding dress stored in her hope chest. Her children were in their 50s and no one had worn the dress after her. I recently took the dress to a tailor who took some of the material and made a christening gown for my mother to give to her new great grandchild. It was a little pricey, but the gown was an antique and now the christening gown can be passed down through the generations. We have packed the christening gown away, with a scrapbook of pictures of my mother's wedding and her great grandson's christening.
Judy S

Multiplying Wedding Dress Memories

My wedding was more than 30 years ago and my gown, properly cleaned and stored, is nevertheless turning yellow in its box. Had I known then what I know now, I'd have been a bit more creative about how to preserve a keepsake. The biggest hurdle is getting past the idea of "destroying" something that we spent all that money on and think of it as multiplying the memories instead. Here are a couple of my ideas for your newlywed reader.

A talented seamstress/crafter friend could have created my gown in miniature to be framed in a shadow box and enjoyed every day instead of hiding it in a closet. A barter arrangement might make the work more affordable. With remaining fabric pieces, it would have been sweet to have small pillows and/or photo albums made to give for special gifts to my children on their weddings or, these many years later, to the grandchildren. It would have been lovely to have a vanity mirror padded and framed with parts of that dress or a collage made with wedding photos, dried flowers from the bouquet, and bits of trim from the gown.

The fabric from my gown may be too fragile at this point to do some of these things that require sewing, but cutting and gluing is still in the realm and it's never too late for the memory of that day to brighten every day!
Barbara T. in Union, ME

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