OK, I admit it.
My wedding dress is still totally hanging up in the deep recesses of my mother’s closet, where I doubt it has been cleaned since my wedding almost seven years ago (how did that happen?!) I confess I’m slightly nervous to even open it because I’m fairly certain I stepped in someone’s puddle of beer near the end of what was an epic night of dancing.
Someday, of course, I’d like to get around to cleaning and carefully preserving it, but then I wonder — what on earth will I do with the thing then? Since I was a pregnant bride, I’m not exactly hoping my own daughters will fit into my dress, nor do I want them to feel pressured that they would have to wear dear old mom’s dress.
Honestly, I’m not convinced I should hang on to my wedding dress simply for the mere hope that someday, one of my daughters might want to wear it. They are more likely to want to do the whole bridal thing anyways — standing in front of the mirror, circling gently, as all of our eyes mist with tears over “the one.” And maybe it’s just the nesting talking (since as you know I’m now pregnant with my fourth child), but part of me really would like to see my wedding dress go to a good cause. Heaven knows I could barely afford the dress when I bought it as a 21-year-old bride; in fact, I’m pretty sure I still owe one certain kindly uncle who pitched in when I broke down in tears over how much I owed on it. Oops.
So, aside from paying hundreds of bucks to preserve it and keep it, how about considering one of these valuable ways to donate your wedding dress?
#1) Turn it into an Angel Gown
I came across this incredible program over the weekend and all I could think was, why on earth didn’t I know about this sooner? The Angel Gown program turns donated wedding dresses into free beautiful burial gowns for infants who pass away during their hospital stay. All of the burial gowns are handmade by volunteer seamstresses and the program accepts gown from across the nation. All wedding dresses must be cleaned before donating and you can learn more about the program on its FAQ page.
#2) Adorn it in Grace
Adorned in Grace accepts used wedding gowns for re-sale in its shop in Portland, Oregon. The shop, which was born out of one sex trafficking survivor’s experience with a donated wedding gown, donates all proceeds to raise awareness and prevention of human trafficking and support victims. Learn more at Adorned in Grace.
#3) Make a Wish
Wish Upon a Wedding is a national non-profit that provides wedding attire to terminally ill brides and grooms, regardless of their sexual orientation. They operate in all 50 states and just browsing some of the love stories that they have helped orchestrate will bring you to tears. Learn more at Wish Upon a Wedding.
#4) Support Your Country
While serving your country can be an extreme honor, it can also make wedding planning a little difficult. You know, not even being in the same country as your family member may be a bit of a deterrence. Which is why Brides Across America is such a cool organization. Recognized by Michelle Obama and Jill Biden, the program as donated over 12,000 wedding dresses to military brides. They try to accept only gowns less than 5 years old to keep things fresh and trendy for their brides. Learn more about donating here.
#5) Make a Dream Come True
This charity is close to my heart because it’s close to my hometown in Michigan and it accepts all types of wedding dresses — and even other wedding attire, like Mother of The Bride and flower girls dresses. You don’t have to have your dress professionally cleaned before donating, but they do ask for a small donation for cleaning if you send your dress in and it’s soiled in any way. The program aims to help brides in need find their perfect wedding dress–for free. Learn more at Every Girl’s Dream, Inc.