The big day was years ago. You loved your day, everything about it, especially your beautiful wedding dress. Of course there was your man too! But the day is long over and your beautiful wedding dress has been in storage ever since. What do you do with your old wedding dress?
This was a question I asked myself last summer. My husband and I were married in the spring of 2002, so it’s been 13 years. I loved my dress back then, but now I can’t believe I picked that style! It’s so not me!! But anyways, my dress has sat stuffed in a large tote bin in the attic ever since.
Last summer, I was on a huge organizing and decluttering phase, after reading Marie Kondo’s The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, when I came across my old wedding dress. While it held many fond memories, I certainly wasn’t going to wear it again (though I was pleased to see I could still fit into it!) It also wasn’t a dress I’d see passing down to my daughter. Because I want her to be able to pick her own dress, not feel guilty because she doesn’t want to wear Mom’s old dress.
As sentimental as it was for me, it wasn’t worth keeping my old wedding dress shoved in the attic for more years and I decided it was time to get rid of it.
I looked at donating my dress to one of those online wedding dress donation sites, but they understandably required that dresses be no older than 5-10 years. (Mine was 13.) There were no local options either.
Of course I could shove my dress into a trash bag and drop it into a donation bin, but I didn’t love the idea of my dress being picked over in an old thrift shop.
And I still wanted to do something special with my wedding dress, because after all, the day I married my wonderful husband was a very special day.
I ended up doing two things.
I let my (then) 8-year-old daughter wear my wedding dress and play around while I took a few photos of her.
Emily was thrilled to try on Mom’s wedding gown and I loved capturing some special memories of my little girl wearing it.
While she won’t wear my dress on her wedding day one day, wouldn’t it be neat to show these pictures of her wearing it when she was young? How special!
I still wanted to keep a small piece of my old wedding dress somehow. That’s how I found someone on Etsy who would take a scrap of wedding dress and turn it into a beautiful necklace.
Updated: Because so many of you have asked, here is the link to the necklace I purchased from Etsy (this is my affiliate link – if you make a purchase your cost is the same and I will earn a small commission.) Yes, it’s still available as of Nov 2019! Wedding Dress Lace Locket Necklace
I plan to give this pretty necklace to Emily one day. Maybe she’ll wear it on her wedding day or maybe she won’t. Either way, I love having a piece of my wedding dress saved like this!
I threw away the rest of my dress since I had to cut a few holes in it for the locket, but I was okay with that.
I love what I did with my wedding dress; it’s so much more meaningful than saving the full dress and taking up space in my attic!
If you’re not sure what to do with your wedding dress, I hope this helps inspire you with some fun ideas!
William Sweeney says
What a fun idea for a wedding dress memory. I love some of the ideas I have seen on the internet of what women do with their dresses.
Debbie foster says
I did a christening gown for my granddaughters and now thinking of doing ring bearer pillows for keepsakes. I love the idea of the locket
Dawn gibson-thigpen says
what a great idea and an awesome way of thinking outside of the box. and she looks so cute. great poses.
I played in my moms dress too and then wore it. It’s from 1952. My was a seamstress so she rebeaded and recovered it in lace and it was so amazing. My 1988 dress looked couture. No puffy sleeves and huge bows lol. We put it on a mannequin for their 65th anniversary. Keeping it, maybe my daughters will rediscover it’s beautiful lines and amazing soft satin feel!
What a neat idea. I love etsy! Would have never thought of having part of it made into a necklace, leave it up to someone on etsy to figure that out though.
Mama to 5 BLessings says
Love that you added it to jewelry. What a cute idea! Your daughter looks so cute!
I think that’s an awesome idea! I love that you were able to save a part of your dress without keeping the whole thing. Wedding dresses take up a TON of room.
I used my dress to make ring bearer pillows for my son’s weddings. They came out beautiful and were agreat keepsake
I would’ve loved to have my dress made into a christening gown but, unfortunately I was unable to have children. 🙁
Amethyst Mahoney says
I donated mine to be used in an independent movie. Saved them lots of money, and now it’s on film. One of my friends donated hers to a zombie movie. She was invited to the set the day of filming the zombie bride. Of course the dress was a mess with fake blood on it, but they gave her a bit part and she got to die in a movie. Maybe too morbid for some, but independent film makers are always looking for special outfits!
Amethyst Mahoney says
Additionally you may find artists, models, or local photographers who would love to use your dress in their next shoot or piece of art.
I do custom sewing and quilting. I have used pieces of wedding dresses in heirloom quilts, blessing dresses and baby boy tuxedos, baptism dresses, crazy quilts, fancy pillows with added embroidery, keepsake boxes, and even photo frames.
I love those ideas, Marcia! Thanks for sharing. 🙂
My best friend turned the skirt of her wedding gown into a gorgeous Christmas Tree Skirt.
Hi, I am going to do just that. I am thinking of using the train of the dress as a skirt or runner on top of table.
Thank you for your idea!
Hi I was wondering if you have a website for this please.
I have been married for 12weeks and have been wondering what to do with my dress.
Kind regards Karen Stevens
This is also a wonderful option,
That is a beautiful idea! Thanks, Londa.
Jennifer Smith says
Here’s a similar group that does still need dresses:
This was started by a friend of mine who had an angel baby of her own and wanted to serve other families who lost babies.
Kat Pritchett says
We married in 1969, and were on a small budget so my mother made my dress. It was a-line with bell sleeves. At the time I was 18 and I loved it, but it certainly was not something classic my daughter would want to wear. When my granddaughter was dedicated at church I made her a sweet dress using the satin, lace,and pearls. I added a soft green satin sash to give it some color Now it is something my granddaughter will pass down to her granddaughter.
What a beautiful gift for your granddaughter, Kat! I love your idea!
There is a couple who will take in wedding dresses and turn them into gowns for babies who have passed at a young age. They give the family these angel gowns. Maybe after making a locket, the rest can be donated to them. I do love the locket idea.
I actually wore my grandma’s dress for my big day! And have no idea what to do with it now… I did have it altered a little and a wrap made from extra material… This I think would be nice to do for my grandma with some of what was left!
A very sweet ideal. You could have used the remaining part of the dress to make “Angel Dresses”. These are dresses made for premature babies who don’t make it. Lots of hospitals accept these dresses and they are precious. I would be glad to make them for anyone who would like to donate their wedding dress.
Dyann, I have a beautiful wedding dress that my mother sewed for me in 1971. She appliqued pearls and lace, and did some gorgeous work. That marriage ended in divorce in 1976 – and has been boxed ever since. I think she would approve of it being used for babies – she and I both had stillborn babies. Please contact me, if you’re serious. email@example.com
I would love to donate my dress for the “angel gowns” cause. I checked prior to the holidays and they are not accepting gowns at this time. Are you?
Trudy Sheets says
I am very interested in making angel gowns out of my wedding dress. Do you still do this and what would be the cost?
Meredith radIns says
I would like to donate my dress to make gowns for babies who pass away!
Tell me where to send! I live in southern California.
Until recently I have not thought about my dress. My husband and I got married in December 1992. We have 3 sons, one who is getting married this summer. My future daughter in law is having her mom’s wedding dress redesigned and wearing it for theirwwedding. Back to our 3 sons, I think that I would re purpose mine into baptismal attire for our future grandchildren. My mom is an amazing seamstress and she made a baptism outfit that all of our sons have worn.
Wonderful idea, Shannon!
Another thing that I have seen done are Christening dresses and burial dresses for stillbirths. Too bad you just threw it away. I love the idea of the necklace. I hand embroidered my dress. That would be perfect! I also may pull mine out for dress up for my grands.
If I had been able to find someone who wanted my dress, I would have gladly donated it. Sadly, no one wanted it.
My sister and I both wore our mother’s dress. I love the necklace idea. I was going to make a little bear and the rest of the dress into Angel dresses. I think I will make the necklace for my sister. Thanks,
I made a rehearsal bouquet, clutch purse and a garter from the fabric and lace of my old gown for my daughter to use on her wedding day. It was such a hit with many compliments. I now have an etsy shop where I do the same for brides using their mother or grandmother’s gown. It’s a total labor of love. I love creating items from gowns and each is different based on the fabric and lace of the gown.
#MyMomsDressHeirlooms on Instagram and Facebook
My husbands exwife cute some off the hem and made the wedding garter for their daughters wedding. Later she used the lace to make each grand daughters christening gowns
I also made Christening Dress for my Granddaughters and took small piece and added it to the romper I made for my Grandson. Not sure what to do with the rest of it. It is 48 years old.
I love your ideas, Cathy. I’m sure your family will cherish those for many years to come. 🙂
Robbie S says
am wondering if you make old wedding dresses into Christmas ornaments
Sandy Sprenger says
I am a seamstress and had bridal
Gowns given to me by brides. My sister and ehave constructed angel gowns and donated them to a local funeral parlor and nicu units for nearby hospital s.
Also I have made tree skirts from the lace. I have made bridal cliches also. I am on Etsy sewingbysandy
Thanks for sharing
Ashley carroll says
It’s a very beautiful necklace. I am wanting to know where on Etsy did you find the person?
Lindy Redmond says
What was the name of the person from whom you bought that necklace for your wedding dress? I know you said etsy. Do you remember the name of the person?
Yes, it’s TreeTownPaper and they still sell the same necklace. You can find it here: http://tidd.ly/fe017f58 (my Etsy affiliate link.) Thanks!
I do custom sewing and have any Etsy shop where I create memory bears, teddy bears created from your dress and dressed in mini replicas of the dress.
Check out Create247 on Etsy
Just another option
Andrea Day says
I took a piece of a wedding dress and had the brides deceased grandmother’s signature printed on it. I then sewed it in a heart shape into the lining of the bride’s gown over her heart. It was very special.
What a beautiful special idea!
I just found out that you donate them to some children’s hospitals and they make them into burial gown for babies that do not make it home. I thought this was very sweet. If you can’t find one locally, Brenner Children’s Hospital in Winston-Salem, NC will take it.
Thank you, Ann. This is a wonderful place to donate.
Kelli Owens says
I want to have my dress made into a robe for my daughter to wear while she is getting ready for her wedding. I don’t even know where to begin looking for someone who could do this. I also love the idea of the necklace and pillow.
Any suggestions on what type of search to do would be appreciated
Laura L says
I made a throw out of my wedding dress. Also, I was able to have a wedding pillow made. I took part of my veil and made my son something special for him to wear underneath his tie (something blue too). I made my DIL a small patch from my dress that said something old and something blue (the embroidery was blue) with their wedding date. There’s room that if they have a daughter or even their future DIL, they can put their wedding date and pass it down.