Wedding Dress Donation

It’s wedding season! We went to our first wedding of the summer a couple weeks ago – beautiful, outdoors, and a perfect reflection of the bride & groom’s values. One of the things I love most about going to weddings is how individual a seemingly prescribed day can be. Each wedding has us reflect on our own, and Frank and I usually leave saying how much we loved our own best. And, I think that’s how it should be – your own wedding should be the best!

When we planned our wedding, we had to prioritize what was important and where we wanted our money to go. For us, the location took center stage. We were married in a private garden in the middle of Denver. Because of the location, we didn’t spend much on decorations – we didn’t need to with the beautiful gardens filled with paths and nooks.

For me, the dress wasn’t as high on the priority list. I only tried on three and picked the first one. Growing up, I never dreamed of the perfect dress. I just assumed I’d wear something long and white. While I had fun dressing up, the ambiance was much more important.

Detail of my dress
Detail of my dress

The one I chose did fit me and my personality perfectly. After the reception, I changed out of my gown into a white sundress. Frank and I were peddling my grandparent’s old tandem bike off to our honeymoon. (Really, just around the corner to where our car was parked!) Once I changed, my mom took the dress home, smooshed it into a garbage bag, and gave it to a friend headed to Rwanda. I never saw it again.

Peddling to our honeymoon
Peddling to our honeymoon

Before we were even engaged, I knew what I wanted to do with my future wedding dress. My parents’ church had a connection with the Mother’s Union in Rwanda where they rent out dresses and they had a need for more modern choices. For me, it didn’t make sense to clean, store, and hope that one day if I had a daughter she may want to wear my dress. I was happy to give mine away, knowing others would enjoy wearing it. (And, a couple years after our wedding, I heard mine was one of the most rented since its style was so new.)

When I thought about this post, I had originally planned a “Top Five Places to Donate Your Dress” sort of thing. But then I Googled the options and realized it didn’t make sense – there are so many local places doing amazing things with preworn dresses. From benefiting cancer research to helping military wives afford their dream gown to rentals benefiting various charities, most cities have quite a few options.

So, I encourage you: If you are getting married this year or have a dress in a box somewhere, search “donating wedding dress in (your city)” and see if any organizations are a good fit.

Do you still have your dress? Have you donated yours? Tell about your experience in the comments!

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6 thoughts on “Wedding Dress Donation

  1. Well Annie, as you know I kept my dress from my wedding in August of 1972 until your wedding. After hearing what you did with yours and having both my daughters already married (they did not use my dress) I sent it off with you to be sent to Africa also. I wonder if anyone rented mine as it was from the 70’s? Not sure why I even hung on to the dress for so many years and through so many moves and divorce even. My daughters did have a day of fun trying it on when they were younger. I guess it represented the fairytale I wasn’t ready to let go of even though that one didn’t have a happy ending or so I thought at first. Now I know after having been divorced, single and now remarried fairy-tales don’t have an ending. They are just a journey of living, learning, making oneself happy and enjoying the present moment.

    1. I love thinking that fairy tales are a journey! 🙂 And, there is something about dressing up in an old wedding dress. I remember playing with my aunt’s at my grandma’s house. So fancy!

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