9 Things You can do with Your Old Wedding Dress — Sustainably Chic (2024)

For countless people, the day of their wedding is a day they look forward to for years. It's a great occasion to celebrate your relationship and spouse with your family and friends and, of course, to have a good time with everyone you hold dear.

For many of us, it is also the perfect occasion to go big and bold with our outfits by wearing something we wouldn't normally wear in our everyday life. After all, most of us wouldn't show up at the grocery store in a tuxedo.

The same goes for wedding dresses. Often these dresses aren't just any dress to those who wear them, but a cherished memento that can hold a lot of memories and mean a lot to the wearer. If you bought one for your wedding, chances are your wedding gown is the most lavish, elaborate garment you have ever owned.

Why you might want to give your old wedding dress a new life

Given all the sentimental meaning this type of dress can have for those who choose to wear it on their wedding day, it’s easy to see how simply storing it in a closet might feel like an underwhelming end for the dress we wore on one of the most memorable days of our life.

Plus, we have all heard that the most sustainable thing we can do when it comes to our clothes is to wear them as much as we can, and while wearing a wedding gown in our everyday life may not be precisely feasible, we can still reuse it and repurpose it.

Doing that won't only lower the environmental impact of the gown, but it will also allow us to cherish the dress we wore on such a special day and the fond memories it holds. We might not often get to spend a day laughing and celebrating with all we love, but we might get to remember that day by giving a new life to our beloved wedding dress and bringing it into our everyday life.

  1. Dye it and re-wear it

While there are many more budget-friendly options for wedding dresses, such as choosing a hand-me-down wedding dress or purchasing a second-hand one, wedding dresses tend to be quite an investment. That's why it makes perfect sense both environmentally and financially to wear it if that is something we are comfortable with and suits our personal style.

This option may be perfect for those who chose a dress closer to a special occasion or even an everyday dress rather than a classic wedding gown. It is, in fact, way easier to adapt a wedding dress for day-to-day wear if it doesn't have a full skirt and a structured or heavily decorated top. If that's you, you can take your dress from reception dinner to dinner with your besties appropriate with just a few touch-ups.

If you went with the classic white or off-white for your wedding dress, dyeing the dress might be a great idea to make your wedding dress more wearable outside the wedding hall.

To turn this alteration into a fun and sustainable activity, you might want to look into dyeing your dress using plants and flowers that are locally available to you. That will make the result more sustainable and more unique.

2. Donate it

Your wedding dress has already accompanied you during a meaningful and memorable day. To give even more meaning to your wedding dress, even after your wedding day is over, you can choose to donate it.

By donating your dress, you will allow your dress to make someone else happy on their wedding day and support a charitable cause. In fact, by mindfully parting from your old wedding dress, you can contribute to various causes, such as supporting brides who cannot afford a new gown, funding cancer research, or closing the gender gap in technology.

Several organizations in the United States, likeBrides for a CauseandBrides Against Breast Cancer, sell second-hand wedding dresses and donate their profits to charities and other good causes.

Such organizations are only great places to buy your wedding if you still need to, but if you have purchased your dress already, they give you a great chance to provide even more meaning to the wedding dress you bought.

Just remember that there tend to be limits on how old the donated dresses can be, so you might want to decide if and to which organization you'd like to donate your wedding dress before your wedding day.

3. Pass it down

Passing down one's wedding dress is a beautiful way to start a beautiful family tradition or keep it going and allows a younger loved one to feel more connected to you and your family history. Passing the dress down can be a great option for those who got married many moons ago and whose dresses might not be fit anymore for the other options we have listed here.

While a vintage dress might be an excellent fit for some, the loved one you are passing it down to might want to alter the dress to make it more modern, in addition to taking care of the cleaning and minor repairs it might need.

To ensure this is a happy step in getting ready for a happy occasion, ensure that the loved one you want to pass the dress down to is genuinely pleased getting married in a hand-me-down dress and that you are both comfortable with the eventual alterations.

No worries, if you can't take care of that yourself, a good dry-cleaner and a talented sewist can give back your wedding dress all the luster it had on your special day.

Bonus points, getting your old wedding dress ready for its next wedding might be a great bonding experience for your and the wedding dress's next wearer.

4. Create keepsakes

Many people treasure the tradition of keeping a wedding dress as a visual reminder of their special day. Making keepsakes out of your wedding dress enables you to relive the unforgettable moments of your big day and leave irreplaceable heirlooms for the future generations of your family.

You have many options to preserve the beauty and significance of your wedding dress by turning it into a keepsake. These one-of-a-kind creations, which range from customizing the dress into anything from a quilt or cushion to tableware, serve as daily reminders of the happiness you and your loved ones felt on your wedding day.

5. Sell it

Selling your wedding dress is an excellent option for those on a budget to give their wedding dress a new life. As wedding dresses can be a considerable expense for many, selling them can easily offset part of the cost of the dress you fell in love with.

You can sell your old wedding dress on specialized platforms likeStill WhiteandNearly Newlywedand on more generalist clothing resale apps like Vinted or Depop.

Remember that when it comes to selling a wedding dress, a seller should go through the same checklist as those selling regular clothes, so make sure that your dress is clean, be honest about its conditions, and make sure to provide the pictures, info, and measurements prospective buyers might need.

6. Repurpose your wedding dress into other items

Repurposing your wedding dress into other garments is a fantastic way to take your wedding dress into your everyday life, even if your wedding dress is fairy-tale-ready.

A skilled professional can help you in this task to ensure you can save as much of the dress as possible while making one or more garments that are warble and to your taste.

By taking apart your wedding dress, you can turn the structured top part into a corset-style top to wear with anything from jeans to other dresses.

The skirt can be de-puffed and shortened, and the layers you take out can be repurposed as petticoats to wear under other dresses and skirts to give them form and volume. You can also save the bodice and remove the sleeves to add them to a sleeveless dress.

Alternatively, you can even use the fabric to make a beautiful dressing gown which can even become a beautiful familiar heirloom.

7. Rent it out

If you want to keep the dress in its original form and don't want to part from it forever, renting it out can be a terrific option.

You can rent it out locally to you or via services likeBy Rotation, theplatform allowing users to lend their clothing and accessories by simply listing their fashion items on the app. You can then approve or deny requests and ship the dress to your renter of choice.

8. Display it

If there is one characteristic wedding dresses are known for is their beauty, so why not display such a gorgeous item in your home? This is an easy, hassle-free option to turn your wedding dress into a memento of your special day.

If you wish to display your dress, you can either frame it and hang it on the wall or place it on a mannequin. Either way, you'll get to see your wedding dress's unadulterated beauty in your everyday life, adding a touch of magic to the mundane.

9. Wear it on special anniversaries

Another excellent option for those who want to keep their wedding dress just as it is is to wear it on special anniversaries.

If that tickles your fancy, it is of the utmost importance that the dress is kept in tip-top shape in the years you won't be wearing it. So make sure to get your dress cleaned adequately after your wedding day and avoid covering it with the standard plastic bags they wrap clothing in at the dry cleaner as those could cause yellowing in the long run, and opt for a breathable garment bag.

Also, make sure to take the dress out periodically to intervene as soon as possible if any damage has occurred.

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9 Things You can do with Your Old Wedding Dress — Sustainably Chic (2024)

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