Preservation Nation Blog

Everything You Can Do With Your Wedding Dress After Your Wedding

Everything You Can Do With Your Wedding Dress After Your Wedding

Your wedding is over, and it’s time to begin your lives as a married couple. Perhaps you enjoyed the most spectacular honeymoon and the much-needed rest that comes after months of planning your perfect day. Perhaps you bought a new home or you’re moving in together for the first time. Perhaps you’re back to work, or you’re ready to start discussing what comes next. Whatever you’re doing – aside from writing thank you notes – you’re probably waiting for your gown to come back from being cleaned and preserved so you can…what?

What do you do with your wedding gown once it’s been cleaned? Do you keep it? Will your daughter want to wear it? Will you be that overbearing mom who tries to guilt her little girls into one day wearing your prized gown? Do you really want to take up precious closet space hanging it up? What’s the proper protocol for storing it in the attic…and does that involve moth balls? Ew.

So many questions, and very few answers...

Maybe you’re the kind of bride who found the dress of your dreams for next to nothing, and you’re fine donating it or getting rid of it without a second thought. Or, perhaps you’re the kind of bride who spent the equivalent of a compact car on your gown. It doesn’t matter how much you spent on it if you’re not sure what to do with it, but you know that you’re not just throwing it away when there are so many other creative ways to use your gown after the wedding. Let us take a moment to share with you a few special, creative, and darling ways to take care of your wedding gown when you no longer need it (saving it for a second wedding is not recommended).

Have it Professionally Cleaned and Preserved

After Your Wedding Day Dress - Clean and Preserve Your Wedding Dress

Your wedding gown is nothing short of sentimental, and we all know this. That’s why the number one way to take care of your dress after your wedding is not just to clean it, but to preserve it as well. This can be done for many reasons, but the reasons are primarily sentimental. Cleaning and preserving your gown allows you to save it forever, for your future children or grandchildren, or just because you want to pull it out and take a walk down memory lane every so often.

More: Traditional Wedding Gown Preservation Kit  |  Celebrity Wedding Gown Preservation Kit

Make Something Special Out of It

After Your Wedding Day Dress - Repurpose Your Wedding Dress

If you’re crafty – and we know you are in this Pinterest day and age – you might be able to make something amazing out of your gown. Perhaps you are comfortable cutting it up and making a Christening gown out of it for your children. That gown can be passed down from generation to generation. Imagine one day knowing your great-great-great grandchildren are being Christened in the gown that was once your wedding gown? What a special moment.

Of course, this is just one idea. You can turn it into anything you want if you’re crafty enough. A pillow cover, a quilt, or even just a small trinket you can carry with you close to your heart. A small piece of fabric framed inside of a keychain is one idea. A small swatch in a photo frame in your home is another idea. You can turn it into anything you want. Let your crafty side out and do with it what you please.

Explore a "Trash the Dress" Photo Shoot

After Your Wedding Day Dress - Trash Your Dress Photo Shoot

These are not as popular as they once were, but this is still a fun option for you to use if you want to do something fun with your gown. Put it on, do your hair and makeup, and have a photographer take photos of you doing something special in your gown. If you’re an avid horseback rider, maybe you want photos of yourself in your gown on your favorite horse. If you love to surf, wear it in the ocean for photos. If you’re a keen hunter, wear the gown out in the woods while you partake in a hunting shoot. Maybe your girlfriends still have their gowns and you can wear them for a group photo shoot in one of your favorite places. Whatever you decide to do, this is a fun way to wear your dress again and have a little fun with it.

Donate Your Gown to Another Bride

After Your Wedding Day Dress - Donate It

There are numerous organizations that accept donated gowns from brides who won’t wear them again. Our best advice to you is to check locally for a program that accepts donated wedding gowns to give to brides in need. Otherwise, there are many reputable companies across the nation that take gowns and provide them to women in need – many of whom have health conditions, are military brides, or who have other issues that do not allow them to afford a dress to wear to their own wedding. Brides Across America, Brides Against Breast Cancer, and The Brides Project are just a few of the most popular gown donation programs in America.

More: Brides Across America

Donate Your Gown to a Precious Cause

After Your Wedding Day Dress - NICU Helping Hands Angel Gown Program

If you’ve never heard of the NICU Helping Hands Angel Gown Program, it’s time to learn a bit more about this beautiful program. It was created in 2013 by those who felt that showing support to families after the loss of a baby was the least they could do. The program consists of more than 180 seamstresses across the country who take donated wedding gowns and turn them into beautiful dressing gowns for angel babies. These gowns are given to families in mourning so that they may have something special in which to photograph their babies prior to their burial.

Babies who don’t live through childbirth or long after birth don’t have years of photos taken by their loved ones to share during their burial. Their families haven’t years of memories and thousands upon thousands of photos to remember their babies when they are buried. These gowns are given to those families who haven’t any photos of the babies they will never take home so that they have a photo to use at the burial and to treasure for life. Your wedding gown could help a family who lost a baby forever have a photo of the child missing from their lives.

Repurpose It

After Your Wedding Day Dress - Make Something Out of it

All right, all right. As a mother, you certainly don’t want to pressure your little girls or your future daughters-in-law to wear your own wedding gown, but what about reusing it so that your daughter can one wear a piece of  your gown? Of course, you can always let your daughter or granddaughter wear your gown if she wants to because you chose a classic style, but you can save your gown and reuse it each time a young lady in your family weds.

For example, why not save the gown and then have a seamstress remove pieces of your gown to add to the gown of your own daughter? Perhaps the satin could be added to the bottom of her veil one day as her something old. Perhaps a small piece of your own gown can be sewn into the inside of your daughter’s gown so she can have a piece of yourself.

An idea we love, though non-traditional – is to ask your child’s future mother-in-law if she kept her gown. Would she be willing to have a small piece of her own gown removed and professional sewn into your daughter’s gown alongside your own? What a beautiful way for her to include you both in her own wedding, as part of her something old, as a way of uniting two families into one. We have to admit that this is one of our favorite ideas.

Use It Every Year

After Your Wedding Day Dress - Daughter Photo Shoot

One of the sweetest ways you can re-use your gown is to hire a photographer to photograph your own daughter in your gown from the time she’s born. One of her new born photos can be posed lying inside your wedding gown, and the photo is then repeated throughout the years on her birthday. Watching her grow into your gown is something so sweet, and it can make for some beautiful photographs to one day share at her own wedding.

Host A Girls’ Night

After Your Wedding Day Dress - girls party

It’s not a traditional method of use, but we all know that we love our gowns, and we wish we had an opportunity to wear them more than just that one time on our wedding day. We love the idea of getting together with a group of girlfriends every year to host a bridal cocktail hour. Wear your gowns at home, toast with champagne to your marriages and your gowns, and perhaps enjoy an evening of the best bridal movies around (Allow us to recommend The Princess Bride, The Runaway Bride, My Best Friend’s Wedding, 27 Dresses, Bridesmaids, The Wedding Singer, Father of the Bride, Wedding Crashers, Steel Magnolias) while wearing your own wedding gowns. Who doesn’t want to dress up like a beautiful bride more than once?

It's Your Special Memory, Enjoy It!

What’s so amazing about your wedding gown is that it’s your wedding gown. You can do with it what you please. You’re not required to save it or donate it or photograph your own daughter in it. You can wear it every Friday night to dinner for the rest of your life if you want. It’s your gown, but we do hope that you take these ideas into consideration when deciding how you want to handle your own gown after your wedding.