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. I’m doing Brides Against Breast Cancer. Not only is it a wonderful cause, but I feel a lot better about spending $700 on it! My mom is going to hate the idea (she’s a sappy hoarder type), but I don’t care. It seems beautiful and right to me.

    • My mom about had a fit when I told her I was donating mine. She kept going on and on about my hypothetical future daughter wanting it. I said A-I don’t plan on having kids B-I didn’t wear your wedding dress because its 20 years out of date, what’s going to happen in another 20 C-Its going to be loved by someone else, how can that be a bad thing?!

  2. I currently have mine in the closet in a bag, but I’m planning on wearing it again-there’s an annual party in our group known as the Snooty Food party, where we dress up in the fanciest stuff we have (tiaras recommended, for example), and have ridiculous food as a potluck. Last year I went LBD and ridiculous jewelry. This year? Woo, wedding dress!

    Give yourself a reason to wear it again, if it makes you happy.

  3. My cousin had hers preserved, and ‘rents’ it out to brides. She lends it to them for free (if she knows them), as long as they agree to have it drycleaned and re-preserved before they return it to her. However, you could rent it out for cheap and make your money back on it and help other brides save some money as well. She’s already rented it out 10 times and it’s only been 5 years since the wedding.

  4. When I was an au pair in France, my au pair mother had her wedding dress in her room on a simple mannequin (similar to the ones that a seamstress would use). The rest of her room was very simplistic, so it was a great centrepiece to her room.

  5. Mine can’t be hemmed (the cut and style just wouldn’t allow for that) and there are a lot of things I can’t do with it because the raw silk is dyed very deeply and even after dry cleaning still runs a bit – so pillows would stain our cheeks! (Oils and sweat from my skin on our wedding day meant that when I finally peeled it off, I was fuchsia-colored all over).

    I’m going to eventually get the obi train cut so it doesn’t trail and have that section turned into a wall hanging, and I hope that someday I’ll have reason to wear the entire dress again to a formal occasion. I haven’t been to one in years, but someday…

  6. my dress is just back in the dress back, needing to be drycleaned (I MUST get round to doing it)
    However as I made my own dress I have left over fabric and I’m going to make a cover for our wedding album from it.

    here’s a few more ideas for wedding dresses tho

    or a gorgeous idea I saw on pinterest was to save your dress and photograph your daughter in it every year 🙂

  7. Donating to charities is nice. There is also one that donates whole weddings to terminal patients so they can marry their loves in the ceremony they never thought they could have- very bitter-sweet, but there are many many charities that do these things.

  8. This is a really great post! My wedding dress is actually a prom dress, so I had always assumed I would just take it to a consignment shop afterward… but now I really like the idea of using it for decor. It would make some really nice pillows! I hope I can find someone who will do things like that for me since I can’t sew!

  9. My sister and I have a really similar sense of style and we’re about the same size so she’s going to wear mine when she gets married. (She’s not engaged yet but she wants to get married someday) It’s a super fancy dress… not something you could really repurpose so we’ll probably donate it after that.

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