Open thread: What to do with my dress after the wedding?

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Dresses on Us
Thanks to Offbeat Bride 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?


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

  1. Hem it and turn it into a shorter cocktail dress.
  2. Dye it.
  3. Donate it to a charity like Brides Against Breast Cancer.
  4. Frame a piece of it, especially a section that shows off the custom work.
  5. Turn it into a costume for either Halloween or Comic Con.
  6. One Offbeat Bride reader 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.”
  7. Turn it into a quilt. Another reader 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.”
  8. A third reader 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.”
  9. 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.
  10. Turn it into art with a wedding dress painting.
  11. Use it to cover your wedding album.
  12. 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?

Comments on Open thread: What to do with my dress after the wedding?

  1. Hmmm… for floor-length dresses like mine was, you could do a combo – have it hemmed into a cocktail dress and make sure the seamstress gives you back the hemmed off bits to use for pillowcases (love that idea) or quilt squares etc.

  2. I plan to wear it again.

    It’s maybe a bit easier with mine because it’s dark blue and was supposed to be an evening dress anyway but you could always dye a white dress.

    I’m not sure when exactly I’ll wear it because I’m not generally a formal function type of person, but you never know (and this way if it does happen I don’t have to shell out another £100 for an outfit). If all else fails maybe I’ll throw my own formal party as an excuse. 😀

    • I lost a lot of weight during my divorce, so I gave the dress to a professional costume designer friend (who is the size i used to be)to destroy and use for a post apocalyptic event. She did all this amazing work to it and then gave it back for my very own trashed dress photoshoot. (don’t know if I’m going post apocalyptic or zombie,yet) She insisted because I never even had many photos of the wedding.

      I just didn’t think I’d be doing an engagement shoot before my apocalyptic dress shoot!

    • My mother went through a nasty divorce, so I plan to wear her dress at my ‘afterparty’ for paintball! Even if a couple splits, there may have been many awesome things that happened because of the joining. For example, my mom was glad to have had me!

  3. my mother paid for my dress and insisted it be re-wearable. I have had my dress for 27 years now, I can say that I wore it to two other events (very plain silk dress) with different accessories. it hasn’t fit for quite a while now, so although it hangs in the closet, I did offer it to my new DIL to remake any way she would like for her wedding. when she declined the offer, I planned my own redesign and can’t wait to see how it turns out!

    • My mom kept her dress (from 1970!), and I’m taking it from her, but it isn’t re-wearable due to yellowing around the neck. She just wants to avoid sending it to the landfill, so I am working with a clothing designer I like (she sells at boutiques and craft shows) to design and use the material in my dress! Plus, I’ll experiment with any leftover scraps in my decor. I plan and hope that MY resulting dress is going to be super fun and unique (with color accents), so that I can wear it to other things in the future without too much de-fancifying, if that makes sense. If people can just let go of the dress _remaining_ a dress, and make it into other meaningful and useful items, I think that will help avoid all these “it’s been in a box for 25 yrs and I don’t know what to do with it” issues!

      • There are ways to remove the yellowing. If you wish to keep it and rewear it, get ahold of someone who works with vintage clothing. Yellowing is a concern that they have to deal with on a fairly frequent basis and they should have tips and tricks to remove it.

  4. My dress is a historically accurate green colonial dress circa 1774,and as a rein-actor I’m going to use it as a ball gown for future reenacting events. The traditional dress is was never in the cards for me, in part because the wedding is also colonial themed and it would have just looked wrong.

    It also has a corset back so if we have kids I can even wear it then, which I had put in at the last minute when I remembered we intended on have a couple down the road. Figured it wouldn’t hurt the think ahead.

  5. I have NO IDEA what to do with mine. It’s been sitting in my closet in it’s bag for the last 6 months. I thought about getting it hemmed but the bust is very wedding-ish so it’ll just look silly.

    I’m considering getting it cleaned and then put it in a consignment shop. Or maybe I’ll do what my mom did and keep it to put in a dress-up box (I wish my mom kept her’s in good condition, it was so 70s flower child I would’ve worn it for my wedding!).

  6. My partner and I will be wearing white cotton sundresses. After our honeymoon we are going to have a dye battle (with limited colors). We both love tie dye, so we thought it would be a great “trash the dress” event that will result in dresses that we will wear again.

    • OGM you have GOT to get photographs of this! How sweet would that be?

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