Recently married bride wearing her wedding dress with groom in background
Via: Pixabay

Guide: Things You Can Do with Your Wedding Dress After the Wedding

The I do’s have been exchanged, the guests have gone home, and you’ve been unzipped—for the final time—from your wedding gown. Now what? What do you do with a piece of clothing that you quite literally don’t have a place to wear it again? Well, there are a few options we would like to guide you through.

It seems silly to just box it up and forget about it. So much time, money, planning, and photography went into this ensemble. Thankfully, there are some ways to keep its memory alive or get creative with its essence. From getting it professionally preserved to several artistic options for reusing or recycling it, here are 8 things you can do with your dress after the wedding (and tips on getting it done right).

7 Ideas for Giving Your Wedding Dress a Life After the Ceremony

Clean It:

Recently married bride sitting on floor of venue in wedding dress
Via: Pixabay

The first thing you can (and should) do is get your wedding dress cleaned—professionally! No matter what your plans are for the dress after the wedding, a good cleaning is absolutely necessary for the longevity of the piece. Here are the steps to take to ensure proper care:

  • Step 1: Don’t wait. The sooner you’re able to clean the dress, the better. This will make the stains less likely to settle and any damage done much easier to repair.
  • Step 2: Ensure you have a certified professional wedding dress cleaner. Ask around for reviews to assess customer satisfaction, and make sure they have a certification to perform the process.
  • Step 3: Decide whether or not you want to preserve your dress—as you can include this service when you drop off your gown for cleaning.

Preserve / Store It:

If you’ve chosen to preserve your wedding gown, most certified wedding dress cleaners offer this service alongside the cleaning process. Preserving and storing your gown is perfect for those that won’t be unboxing the piece for a long time and want to keep it in good form—maybe even to pass down to a family member one day.

Without preservation, you risk the gown succumbing to mold or mildew growth, permanent creasing, browning, or yellowing. And prepare for the price as well, as the service can cost anywhere between $200–500. Here are the steps to take to ensure proper preservation or storage:

  • Step 1: Check your label. Your wedding dress will give you hints on what kind of cleaning and care the fabric needs. There are specific solvents needed for various fabrics.
  • Step 2: Ensure a certified professional. You don’t want anyone touching and preserving your dress that doesn’t have the proper knowledge of the process.
  • Step 3: Preserving comes right after professional cleaning—in fact, they go hand in hand. And the sooner you can get it done, the better.
  • Step 4: Ensure an airtight box. These boxes do not have oxygen inside—instead it’s replaced with nitrogen. This is essential for preservation!
  • Step 5: Store in a cool, dry place.

Display It:

Of course, you can always get your gown professionally cleaned and display it! There are so many different ways to make this happen depending on your vision and style preferences. Here are some of our favorite ideas:

  • Shadow Box: When you choose to clean and preserve your dress, you can choose a shadow box preference. This includes proper preservation but with the value of displaying the bodice of your gown and including it in your home’s decor.
  • Frame It: You can also frame your gown in a classic display. Or, you can display pieces, such as your veil, belt, or just the bodice of your dress.
  • Dress Form: Use a dress form to display your wedding day look. Use it to highlight the corner of your office. You can even add your necklace to top off the scene.

Donate It:

There’s always the option of donating a gown and feeling the joy of directly helping a bride in need. In fact, you can list your wedding dress for just $25 here and sell it to cover the listing fee costs only. You can either ask the bride who purchases it to pay for shipping—or do a good deed and ship it to her yourself!

Some benefits of this decision:

  • Helping out a bride in need. Whether it’s finances or a natural disaster, there are brides that would absolutely love the support and help.
  • Perpetuate a cleaner earth. Donating and reusing is an eco-friendly way to live. The fashion industry causes a huge amount of pollution—if you didn’t know already.
  • Tax deductions! Donations—both in goods and money—can be deducted off your taxes. Keep a record and use this to your advantage come spring.

Sell It:

Selling your dress is also an option. If you want to declutter and earn some cash back on your purchase, use our wedding dress listing guide to get the process going with selling your gown.

At Preowned Wedding Dresses, you can list your gown for a one-time $25 fee per dress. And for other dresses, such as bridesmaids’ or flower girls’, and accessories, there is a small $5 fee.

This is always a win-win, because you get money back in the bank and another bride gets to acquire a beautiful gown at an attractive price. In a world where frugality is becoming increasingly important, this is a great option for all parties.

Photograph It:

Stunning photo of bride in wedding dress lifting skirts while walking through forest
Via: Pixabay

Grab your dress, zip yourself back into it, and get to photographing. This may be in the form of a “trash the dress” style photoshoot or for some extra “after the wedding” photos, to give yourself ample opportunity for the photos you’ve always wanted and without the time limit of a cocktail hour to do it in.

Trash the Dress Ideas

  • Nature-inspired: Roll around in the red clay in Georgia or jump in the Pacific. Use nature to guide your photoshoot experience. The beach, waterfalls, the desert, the forest or farms—wherever you are, you’ll have plenty of options.
  • Family-inspired: When the little ones show up in your lives, you can always shimmy back into your dress and let the kiddos do the trashing. This could be in the form of fingerpaints or a spaghetti-infused food fight. The pets can get in on the action as well!
  • Art-inspired: Powder bombs or paint can be the inspiration you need to trash the dress and create some photos with gorgeous memories of your gown.

Craft the Dress:

Finally, you can learn to take pieces of your gown to create brand new memorabilia. These homemade items can be useful for years to come but hold the same sentimental value because they’re quite literally created using the fabric, scraps and details of your original wedding gown. Here are some of our favorites examples:

  • Make scarves or shawls.
  • Use the beading to craft necklaces, bracelets, or even a set of earrings for yourself and future kiddos.
  • Flip the fabric into a clutch to carry to future events.
  • Use your scraps to make doll clothes, baby blankets, or other odds and ends for your children.
  • Turn more simplistic dresses into cocktail pieces.
  • Learn how to take pieces from the dress and use them to create acrylic pieces like serving trays or coasters.
  • Make Christmas ornaments from the detailing or stockings from the skirts.
  • Use the fabric to make pillows.
  • Turn the skirt into a table runner or soft chargers for the table.