Wedding Dress Cleaning, Preservation & Restoration Blog

10 Responsible Ways to Part With Your Wedding Dress After a Divorce


10 Responsible Ways to Part With Your Wedding Dress After a Divorce

Getting divorced sucks, there’s no way to sugar coat it.  While you very well may be on your way to a healthier and happier life, the process is in no way fun and all the items in your life that bring up memories you had with your partner during happier times can cause additional hurt.  Perhaps the one item that brings up the most memories is the item that was with you for the entire duration of your wedding day many years ago, your wedding dress

While you may feel like burning it, tearing it up, or some other overly dramatic way to dispose of your wedding dress, we’ve come up with 10 things you can do with your wedding dress after your divorce that are both ethical and will leave you knowing you made a difference in the world.

Donate it to NICU Helping Hands’ Angel Gown® Program
donate wedding dress to nicu angel gowns after divorce

When we first heard about the Angel Gown® Program from NICU Helping Hands, there wasn’t a dry eye in our office.  This amazing program provides comfort for grieving families who have lost a newborn in the NICU.  Volunteer seamstress’ from around the world take donated wedding dresses and transform them into beautiful baby gowns for their final journey home.  Not only does this program provide families with a beautiful garment, they also offer free mentoring programs and resources to help families through this very difficult time.

What greater gift can you give another family than donating your dress to this very special cause after your divorce?  For more information, visit https://nicuhelpinghands.org/programs/angel-gown-program/.

Donate it to a Military Bride in Need
donate wedding dress to brides across america after divorce

Brides Across America is an organization started by Heidi Janson.  Heidi owned a bridal salon and was looking to expand by offering an Independence Day giveaway promotion in which she gave away 60 wedding dresses to military brides.  Seeing the impact of this very generous gesture, she made it her life’s work to empower these women who gave up so much to support their spouse while taking care of their family back home. 

To date, the charity has given away over 24,000 wedding gowns to veterans and first responders who put their lives on the line for us every day.   To learn more about Brides Across America and to donate your wedding dress, click here.

Use it to Help Create Awareness and Prevent Human Trafficking
donate wedding dress to adorned in grace after divorce

Another noteworthy cause, Adorned in Grace, helps in the fight against human sex trafficking with a mission of creating awareness, prevention, and restoration for survivors.  If your wedding dress is no more than five years old, you can donate it to Adorned in Grace and proceeds from the sale of your gown will go to help the fight against human sex trafficking.

As a faith-based organization, Adorned in Grace partners with churches and communities to create awareness at a local level of the dangers, signs, and preventative steps you can take to fight human trafficking in your community.  They also believe that a person’s past does not determine their future and have helped hundreds of survivors of human sex trafficking transform their lives and not just survive, but thrive.

Transform it into a Sexy Cocktail Dress
wedding dress transform cocktail dress after divorce

Why not take what is a negative memory from your past and turn it into a show stopping evening dress that is sure to turn heads?  There’s no better way to empower yourself while also “up-cycling” your wedding dress than transforming it into fun and sexy cocktail dress that has a cheeky story behind it.

From dyeing your wedding gown to a fun spring color to shortening and hemming your dress to show off a little leg, the limitations are endless.  With a few online searches, you can find all sorts of DIY tutorials and YouTube videos of women who transformed their wedding gowns into amazing cocktails dresses.  If you have a little sewing experience and some creativity, this can be a fun and exciting project you can DIY yourself.  Check out this Cosmopolitan post of brides who did just that!

Sell it using an Online Consignment Shop
sell wedding dress using stillwhite after divorce

Is your wedding dress still in style and highly desirable? Why not put it on consignment and make a little extra spending money from it?  Websites such as stillwhite allow you to list your dress, chat with buyers and, best of all, get paid! 

Stillwhite takes all the complication and risk out of listing your wedding dress on a site like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace, providing a conduit between seller and purchaser.  At the time of this post, they have over 50,000 wedding day items listed for purchase and over 18,000 five-star reviews from both buyers and sellers.  You can sleep well at night knowing your beautiful wedding dress will be worn and cherished by another bride while you put some extra money in your pocket!

Donate it to a Local Goodwill or Other Thrift Shop
donate wedding dress salvation army goodwill

Considering simply tossing your wedding dress? Don’t!  A budget minded bride in need may have the very same fashion sense as you and would be thrilled at the opportunity to walk down the aisle in your wedding dress.  Thrift shops don’t just accept wedding dresses, they also accept bridesmaid dresses as well.

Goodwill, the Salvation Army, and other local thrift shops will gladly accept your wedding dress and you may also benefit from an itemized tax write off.  It is a true win, win knowing your wedding dress will be well-loved once again and help a bride save on her big day.

Rent it Out
rent out wedding dress after divorce

More than likely your ex-husband rented his tuxedo for your wedding day, so why not allow another bride to rent your wedding dress for the day?  More budget conscious brides are realizing they only need their wedding dress for their big day, and they’re opting to go with a rental and spend that money elsewhere.

Brides in the UK can use the app “By Rotation” to list their dress for rent or rent a dress from other brides.  While you can rent any fashion apparel using the app, the founders have seen a huge increase in wedding dresses on their platform.  You can always go the DIY route by listing your wedding dress for rent on Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist.   Between rentals you can have your wedding dress professionally cleaned and returned to you for the next rental.

Use it to Fight the Battle Against Breast Cancer
donate wedding dress after divorce brides against breast cancer

Headquartered in Atlanta, GA, Brides Against Breast Cancer® allows you to donate your dress to a bride in need, with a portion of the sale going towards breast cancer research.  If your dress is in excellent condition, less than two years old, and had an original retail price of $999 or higher, you can donate your dress to BABC and also benefit from a tax write off since the organization is a registered 501(c) nonprofit. 

The sale of your wedding dress specifically goes towards the research and awareness of early breast cancer detection.  Visit BridesAgainstBreastCancer.org today to see if your dress meets the requirements for their donation program.

Purpose it into Something Completely New
wedding dress after divorce repurpose

From handbags, baptismal baby shoes, to decorative pillows, creative women around the country are re-purposing their wedding dresses into entirely new and chic creations.  With a little time and some experience behind a sewing machine, you can get a pair of scissors, pour a glass of wine, and transform your wedding dress into something new you’ll love and use again. 

With so much material used to cerate your wedding dress, the possibilities are endless when it comes to all the items you can create.  Not much into being crafty?  This Etsy seller will take your wedding dress and do all the work for you to create something fun and new for you to enjoy.

Check out this Pinterest wall to get ideas on how to upcycle your wedding gown into an unlimited number of fun and chic creations!

Keep it!

Bear with us here… Does your wedding dress really represent your ex-husband?  We don’t think so.  Your wedding dress was all about you.  You chose the material that you loved, you chose the perfect fit, and it wholly represents your own unique personal style that was the absolute best representation of your personality.  It was most likely shopped for with a group of your closest friends and has many personal memories attached to it that may be clouded by your current state of mind.  Why don’t you have the right to keep it, re-wear it occasionally to remind yourself of your cunning fashion sense, and feel great while doing so?  We think that’s fabulous!

Regardless of what you choose to do with your wedding dress after a divorce, remember that there are many ethically responsible ways to re-use it, up-cycle it, or help a bride in need.