What will happen to your dress after the wedding?

December 1 | meganfinley
Dresses on Us
Thanks to Tribe member 2dBride for uploading this fabulous photo to the Flickr pool.
I'm making my own wedding dress… and I just don't know what I'm going to do with it afterwards. If it was going to be a shop bought dress, I wouldn't have an issue selling it, but because of the amount of work that I'd be putting into it, I think it'd feel a bit odd to sell it… but on the other hand I think it'd feel odd to just keep it boxed up somewhere.

I'm basically wondering what you will be doing with your dress after your weddings are over and done with. Keeping it? Selling it? Trashing it? Is it something you intend to wear time and time again?

-Clare

I love this question! I rounded up some of my favorite ideas, beyond just "boxing it and saving it for later."

  • Hem it and turn it into a shorter cocktail dress.
  • Dye it.
  • Donate it to a charity like Brides Against Breast Cancer.
  • Frame a piece of it, especially a section that shows off the custom work.
  • Turn it into a costume for either Halloween or Comic Con.
  • One Offbeat Bride Tribe member explained, "I'll use the fabric to make a tallis (prayer shawl) for me and for my Hub. I'll get the part with bling on it, he'll get the plain white part. There should be enough to go around. And it would be a fun (but expensive) way to have memories of the day that we could wear every sabbath."
  • Turn it into a quilt. Another Tribe member said, "I was thinking that what I'd do is cut it up with other old and special clothes (the shirt I wore the day my fiance and I started dating, and other sappy and sentimental things) and turn them all into a quilt that we could keep on our bed or I could make a small one for each child we eventually have."
  • A third Tribe member had a similar idea, "I plan on saving it and having a baby blanket made out of the material for each child that we have (hopefully two). I didn't wanna just keep it in the attic and didn't think I'd wanna part with it either so this idea hit me in the face one day as a way to (pardon the oncoming mush fest) wrap our babies in our love."
  • Make art with it. Wear it for a trash the dress, or rock the dress session, or a photo project a la Sonya Naumann's 1000 dollar dress.
  • Turn it into art with a wedding dress painting.
  • Use it to cover your wedding album.
  • Turn it into a pillow case (this was suggested by my husband who spent our wedding night sleeping on my raw silk wedding dress — he slept like a baby.)

Now on to you guys… any more ideas on things you could do with your dress after the wedding?

  1. My dress is not white, so I am going to either cut off the train or hem it to tea length and wear it again. And I am stoked.

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    • Yep! I did this with mine and was able to wear it as maid of honor in my friend's wedding a few months later. Now it's too big for me so I am contemplating what to do next.

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  2. I donated my wedding dress to young military brides with BRIDES ACROSS AMERICA

    My husband is an officer and makes a decent salary, unlike some young enlisted guys, some of whom make as little as $20,000/year. That, plus possibly moving, being long-distance…a lot of military brides aren't able to make their dream weddings happen. Our base happened to have a drive the week after I got back from the honeymoon!

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  3. I am planning on keeping my dress and storing it properly so that it stays in good shape. Hopefully sometime in the future it will be listed as vintage mint :D I figure that even if my daughter doesn't want to wear it, her daughter or her granddaughters might.

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  4. I went the costume/con route. So far, I have worn my dress to Dragon*Con twice, for a paid gig as a Fairy Princess, and to a Masquerade Ball. I would love to let my sister or (hypothetical) daughter wear it, but I'm so small that I don't know if it will ever fit anyone else. It's too beautiful to dismantle though (plus I know how much effort went into making it) and too expensive to sit in a box. So a life of cons and costumes it is! Plus, I really love being able to say that I went moshing at a Mindless Self Indulgence concert in my wedding dress :-D

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  5. At my wedding I wore a dress I already owned – I wore it at a formal event in college. For the wedding I had it shortened. A few months later I attended a formal work event and wore the wedding dress again. I'd absolutely wear it to another formal event in the future!

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  6. For me, my Fiance and I decided we are having 1 month anniversaries, and wear our clothes then, just dinner, just the two of us, in our own apartment, after we get married on December 22nd. Plus I get a reception the next day, so it's not a one day dress. Don't know if I will wear the skirt for the open house. Mine is a custom made three piece, to be worn again, so I don't have the same issue…I will probably wear the jacket, with some black nice shirt underneath it more times then the satin top or skirt, but I certainly think, wearing it on your one month, 2 month, 3 month anniversary would keep some sparkle alive in your marriage. At least until you find, you do not fit in it any more. When that times come, I am framing the dress. Just framing it and displaying it, I think that would be best for me.

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  7. I recently attended a Zombie Walk to raise canned goods for a local charity. I tore up my wedding dress, doused it with blood and wore it as a zombie bride. My husband went as a zombie groom. We had so many compliments that night and had so many people asking for pictures it was amazing! Originally I didn't know what I wanted to do, but we got married a week before (a Halloween/Masquerade theme) so it was just after the wedding, it fit in our theme and it was for charity! =)

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  8. Umm, well, since I'm renting my dress, haha….. I'll be returning it after! ;D Was the cheapest way to go! :)

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  9. We are having a Celtic Medieval theme wedding…so we will both be wearing our outfits again for Renaissance Faires we attend :D

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  10. my dress was completely destroyed by the end of my wedding. just covered in dirt and sangria and beer and champagne and cake, it seriously looked like the comforter from a crime scene. so i cut off the sash and threw it away. i got it for $250 at Filene's Running of the Brides so i didn't feel that bad about it. it would've cost me more than that to clean it, and for what?

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  11. My sisters each take out their wedding dresses 1-3 times a year and wear them around the house. They like to look pretty and remember that day. I know I will do the same! I'm also thinking about having parties where my sisters and I can hang in our dresses!
    I got a cheap $20 sundress for the out door summer reception if my first dress feels too hot or uncumfortable. My plan is to wear or rewear the dress on our honeymoon.
    And don't forget, if the dress still fits you can always wear it for vow renewals. Or I've been to a anniversary party where the dress was hung on a dress form by the pictures. There is also a tradition where the mother of the bride and the mother of the groom have their wedding dresses displayed at the reception.

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  12. I have to agree with some previous commenters: make it modular! I had a corset, a simple overskirt, a petticoat, and sleeves (like handless long gloves). No idea when I will re-wear the sleeves (unless it's just around the house!) but the corset can be dyed any color (since it's white currently) as can the skirts, so I could end up with a very sweet modular costume.

    However, I am still too nostalgic and in love with how I looked to do anything permanent to it yet. I think I will have to take the advice here and wear it a few times throughout the year first. :)

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    • Oh, and the skirts have elastic waists (why not, under a corset?) and the corset is totally adjustable, so I can wear it all no matter how my weight changes. :)

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  13. My college roommate's sister (convoluted, I know) donated her dress to a charity that used wedding dressed to make shawls to cover lost children to be buried in. I very much appreciated this gesture when I lost my nephew this year.

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  14. I know packing it the dress away seems like a waste, but a lot of the surviving gowns from before 1900 are wedding gowns (in many different colors!) that were tucked away and never worn or worn only gently. So if you do put your gown in a closet somewhere, you may well be doing museum curators and antique gown collectors of the future a huge favor. Extra points if you include information about the wearer, the wedding, etc. so that it will have a provenance for historians.

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  15. I couldn't bare to part with it. I'm not one to hang on to clothes, but it's too special to get rid of or even alter it for other occasions because it will wear out faster. So, this is silly but it'll be my anniversary outfit every year. We'll wear our wedding clothes and dance around the house like fruitcakes, but happy fruitcakes.

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  16. The bottom of most wedding dresses have the amazing potential to be a beautiful Christmas tree skirt….

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  17. My sister turned her wedding dress into the christening gown for her first child (a girl). She saved the cut up dress, and a few years later when she had twins (boy and girl), she used the original christening dress and made a suit for my nephew.

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    • This is such a great idea! We offer the same service for our clients for all of the dresses we make. What could be more meaningful for a child's first formal garment than one's own wedding gown?

      (and at least the dress isn't sitting unused in a closet!)

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  18. Theatre programs- high-school, university, and otherwise are great places to share your donations, too! There are enough shows that have weddings in them- Mama Mia! jumps to mind- and a small production company may not be able to afford a dress. They may also re-purpose bits and pieces for other costumes. This is a great place to pass off those dresses that are older- it may not matter for the production!
    For myself, I have a delightful Bobinette sheath from Vera Wang and I'm aiming to wear it as many times as possible. For the wedding in December and its following reception; a reception in summer of 2012 in his home-town; and on the cruise we're taking as a honeymoon- they have one night of fancy-dress!
    Good luck ladies and I look forward to seeing the great ideas!

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  19. My grandmother turned her dress into four 'memory bears' for her daughters since it had been hanging in her closet for decades. The buttons on the back were used as eyes, and each bear even got a mini veil made from her veil. Since you're making your dress, maybe you can re-make it into something like that (or another animal that's more special to you – I'm considereing making mine into a dragon…)

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  20. My mum's a Roman Catholic and her family tradition was that you can't tell anyone your baby's name until they're christened. So she made her wedding dress into my christening gown. It came out beautiful as she had a lot of lace, I'm hoping to use it for when I have a child for their christening ceremony.

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  21. My dress is being handmade by a dear friend. The top part – a deer hide corset – I'll likely wear often.

    The skirt? I'm going with a linen or woven silk, and will likely alter it slightly to be wearable casually later on the road. Light weight, white clothing of any sort is something wonderful in the summer in the south. :)

    The wife of one of my best friends however, has vowed to wear her wedding dress on their anniversary every year for as long as she can fit into it.

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  22. I plan on half-making mine. I'll be buying a white corset, then making two different tiered tulle skirts with ribbons in he wedding colors at the edge of each tier, a long one for the ceremony and a short one (or maybe make a couple tiers detachable) for the reception. All 3 parts will be at least somewhat re-wearable, especially the lovely white satin corset I have my eye on. All it takes is a change in ribbon color to make it go with anything

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  23. I know I'm a bit late to this post, but if there's anyone else out there still looking for inspiration or ideas for reusing their dress, I'm thinking of converting mine into a steampunk costume, shortening it in the front and creating a dramatic bustle in the back (I'm sure someone else has done this already and I'd love to see their pictures!). I'm also doing a "Save the Dress" photoshoot instead of a "Trash the Dress" shoot, either a few months after the wedding or on our wedding anniversary. :D

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  24. I'm keeping mine as an option for my spawn if they choose to have a wedding one day.

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  25. I havent read every comment to know if this has been suggested – but I have seen a company who turns wedding gowns into tiny dresses/outfits for tiny babies who passed away at birth/were born still – something beautiful for them to be buried in…. I think its an amazing way to do it

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  26. I fall into so many conflicting categories here. My dress can't be shortened because of the construction (diagonally wrapped lace). I have unusual proportions, so I doubt I could find someone else who can wear it to rent it to, and if I were to donate it, I wish them luck ever giving it to someone. It looks decidedly wedding-y, so wearing it out as an evening dress probably won't fly. I doubt it can be dyed, because it's layers of lace with crystal appliques. I can't even conceive of destroying it, the way I (like Ariel said so elegantly) can't conceive of destroying guitars on stage "for the spectacle" or anything carefully crafted. I'm not religious, so no baby-things or child-things to make it into.

    It seems like I'm stuck with a dress no one will ever wear again that I can't bring myself to damage. The only things I've seen here that I could do with it are to give it to a fashion design student to play with or to wear it when I'm feeling down, neither of which really excite me. But it's months to go; maybe I'll have an epiphany.

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  27. I have this grand plan to make mine, and I want to save it to hand down to my daughters if one of them likes it. What they use it for will be up to them. But if I put all this work into hand sewing lace and things, then I definitely want to keep it in the family.

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  28. When my wife and I got married, we wore similar shirts in the same color (burgundy) which we can and often do wear often. For our vow renewal ceremony (which will happen once we have a chance to put money aside for it because while there was nothing lacking with our super-short-and-sweet JP ceremony, we're nerds and, at the very least for the sake of our family and close friends we want to have a proper party), we plan to have a Doctor Who cosplay going with her dressed up as the Tenth Doctor and me dressed up as the Eighth Doctor–and with the work I'll have to put into making that frock coat for my costume, you'd better believe I'm going to find reasons to wear it again (Halloween, conventions, etc.)!

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  29. My wedding's in 2 weeks, but there's an organization I like in Dallas that's called NICU Helping Hands. They turn wedding dresses into beautiful angel gowns for children that pass prematurely in the hospital. At such a difficult time in a parent's life, I'd like to think that the gift of a tiny gown made from my beautiful wedding dress could be a small comfort to that family.

    For more information on the Angel Gown program and how to donate: http://www.nicuhelpinghands.org/angel-gowns/

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  30. There is also an amazing organuzation( I will find the name if you desire) that takes donated dresses and makes them into burial clothes for premie and infant burials. Each dress can make 12-15 outfits! Seamstresses donate their time and the parents have a loving beautiful parting gift full of love!

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  31. I fully intend on rewearing my dress when my FH and I renew our vows a few years down the road. Since we are having a small-ish wedding where not many of my father's side of the family will attend, we are going to have a vow renewal ceremony where everyone can attend and see the dress in person.

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  32. Recently on one of my FB groups a woman created a baptismal outfit for a brides new daughter out of her wedding gown. I thought that was the neatest idea for a wedding gown.

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  33. My grandmother used my mother's dress as doll clothes for dolls she made for my sister and me. My sister has both of them somewhere.

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  34. I'm having mine hemmed shorter & dyed.
    The off cuts Will be used to make a dress for my little girl. The dress is made of pure silk so is ideal for a party dress! :)

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  35. When I worked at an alterations shop it was common to have brides bring us their dresses to refashion into christening gowns for their children. We created some very intricate heirlooms out of dresses that we had often made ourselves or at least altered.

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  36. I wound up selling mine through craigslist, which was a little bit of a hassle, but I got to meet the bride-to-be who purchased it and got to witness her 'this is The Dress (and it fits perfectly and is affordable)' moment. Letting go of something so sentimental was a little challenging, but seeing her reaction, I just knew it was the right thing for me to do. I feel like I got to help make someone else's wedding that much more what they wanted.
    My mother kept hers in an airtight box until I needed a wedding gown for a high school play. It fit around the waist/hips, but was several inches too short, so this was probably my only chance to wear it (without major alterations — and by the time I was ready to get married for real, it wasn't close to fitting). She does still have it, and maybe someday she'll have a grandchild who can wear it…

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  37. I plan to do a huge-ass shadow box with some kind of wedding collage, that we can hang above our bed in the bedroom. I saw something similar on Pinterest:
    http://www.pinterest.com/pin/123919427220569677/
    However, since the wedding is about us and not just about me, we want to include items from both of us. Maybe the vest and bowtie of my partner as well as some items from the wedding (invitations, menue, decoration…). I think I'll have to contact a carpenter and have the box custom made, because it's not something that can easily be bought around here. :-)

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  38. Book a 'Trash the dress' photo session!! Always wanted to photograph one!

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