By Tracey Stark
The vows have been spoken, the cake has been served, the memories have been made; once your special day has come and gone you are left with one question... what do you do with your wedding dress?Traditionally, the dress would be cleaned and preserved to be passed down to future generations or as a keepsake. While that is still an option, modern brides have several choices when it comes to giving the dress new life.
Do you cherish the idea of the dress as an heirloom for future generations but don’t want to have a big gown stuffed in the back of your closet? Then consider creating a beautiful keepsake from the fabric of your gown. Your dress can be a part of your child’s future wedding in the form of a ring pillow, bouquet wrap, garter or even jewelry. Can’t wait that long to pass it down? Use your dress to create a special gift for your first baby, such as a Christening gown, blanket or a bassinet that will encompass the warm memories of two important moments in your life.
If heirlooms aren’t your style but you would still like a memento of the dress, consider repurposing the fabric. How exciting would it be to celebrate your first anniversary with custom lingerie made from your dress? Bring a little extra magic to your first Christmas as a married couple with a tree skirt or ornament made with the elegant detailing from your gown. You can even wear it again in a new way by altering it into a dress (with a matching clutch) that can be worn for dressy occasions. It could also be fun to pass on that fairy tale feeling of your wedding dress by making a princess gown for your little girl to play dress-up.
If your dress inspires your artistic side, stage a unique photo session that allows you and your dress to truly shine. Often called “Trash the Dress” photography, it isn’t really about destroying the dress as it is about juxtaposing its elegance in unusual settings to really take its beauty to another level. Taking a photo underwater allows your dress to take on a life of its own and can create a stunningly ethereal image. You could also photograph your dress while doing an activity that is special to you such as horseback riding, painting or frolicking on the beach or the snow. It’s a chance to relax, have fun, get creative and just be you!
Make someone else’s day shine a little Donate It brighter by donating your dress. There are many charities that will accept wedding gowns that are clean and gently used and pass them on to brides who need them. For instance, Wish Upon a Wedding grants weddings to couples facing serious illness or life-altering circumstances. Brides Across America provides dresses to military brides, while Brides Against Breast Cancer sells the dresses and donates the money to breast cancer-related charities. There are many more charities to choose from, so find one that is important to you and offer your dress to a good cause.
If you aren’t too sentimental about your dress, then reselling it is a great way to give someone else the chance to enjoy a dress they could not otherwise afford. There are several places online, in addition to consignment shops and bridal resell shops that will take your dress off of your hands and put money back in your wallet. Of course, you’ll need to have it cleaned and repair any minor tears, but a secondhand gown is a wonderfully affordable way to make another bride’s day that much more special.