Recycle, Re-Use or Donate Your Wedding Dress



Wedding dress Whether you've just celebrated your own wedding day or your daughter's, you may be left with one souvenir you don't need to hold on to: the dress.

Yes, you can keep it in a bag in the back of your closet for the next 20 years and hope someone, someday will wear it again.

Or, you can give your dress a second life right away, by selling it or donating it online. If you're in the market for a wedding dress, think "new to you," as opposed to "brand new," and you'll not only get a dress that's more eco-friendly. You'll probably get a bargain, too. The dress pictured to the left? Over $3,200 new; just $800 gently worn at SavetheDress.com.

Some of the re-sellers listed below charge a small fee to list your dress, then pay you when the dress sells. Others simply sell on consignment, which means they'll only pay you when they sell your dress.

Recycled Bride. This free marketplace recycles everything from designer wedding gowns to table decorations. The site works just as well for buyers as it does for sellers.

Encore Bridal. An online consignment and resale bridal boutique, this company also uses recycled paper for stationary, recycled and biodegradable shipping packages, and fuel-efficient transportation.

Once Wed. This site offers brides everything from wedding ideas and photos for inspiration to once-worn wedding gowns. You can list your wedding dress on the site for free. Bonus? A portion of the revenue brought into the site goes to International Justice Mission which supports justice for victims of slavery, sexual exploitation, and violent oppression.

Pre-Owned Wedding Dresses and WoreItOnce. Both online companies connect buyers and sellers of new, sample and used wedding dresses.

Donate Your Dress. Several charities not only re-sell wedding dresses at a lower cost, but also donate some of the proceeds to organizations that help those in need.

Brides Against Breast Cancer. This non-profit organization holds several wedding dress selling events in many locations. These events make wedding gowns more affordable to brides and the proceeds go toward granting a wish to a woman with breast cancer. Your donation is tax-deductible.

I Do Foundation. This group will re-sell your dress  through one of its partners. Twenty percent of the proceeds go to the charity of your choice, and the rest is used by the foundation to continue with its efforts.

The Bridal Garden. Donating your dress to this organization supports the Sheltering Arms Children's Service, which helps New York City children in the areas of the education, foster care, and adoption.

Get Creative. If you're the crafty type and can't bear to part with your dress, recycle it at home. Use the fabric to create christening gowns, or cut the dress into a new, less formal design. There should be enough fabric there to fashion into a cocktail dress and short jacket. Or keep it simple, and use the fabric to decorate a purse, pillow or piece of furniture.

Don't miss GreatGreenWedding.com for more suggestions on ways to keep your big day on an environmentally-friendly footing.

And for wedding rings made from recycled gold and other gems, check here.

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21 Responses to Recycle, Re-Use or Donate Your Wedding Dress

  1. angelica July 7, 2010 at 2:42 pm #

    For inspiration from green wedding couples and tips from an experienced eco-cool wedding planner check out: greenweddingcalifornia.com.

  2. Dallas July 29, 2010 at 8:00 am #

    I’d never thought of being green with a wedding dress. This is good thinking!

  3. green wedding August 3, 2010 at 4:05 am #

    You are so lucky to have so many resources in the US. We are not so lucky in Australia. However, our green wedding directory is trying to source any options for recycled wedding dresses that we can.

  4. Rosie August 5, 2010 at 1:36 pm #

    I have a 1000.00 wedding gown to donate a veil and several bridal bouquets I live in Md if there is a place here in Md you know of let me know 410-922-9520

  5. Diane MacEachern August 10, 2010 at 6:45 am #

    Your best bet is to contact earth911.org and find a location that will recycle your dress or accept it as a donation.

  6. Sarah November 28, 2011 at 1:40 pm #

    These sites are all great. There are also other out there you can find if you just google “used wedding dresses”, like Hustl Your Bustl, which is launching in a couple months

  7. Susan jamison November 28, 2011 at 4:27 pm #

    Please see wwe.donateMyweddingdress.org for some other good options, like helping low income brides or helping Haiti.

  8. Timberland Store December 11, 2011 at 3:11 am #

    Love those! I enjoy following your posts on facebook and rss!

  9. It's a writer's world December 13, 2011 at 6:48 pm #

    Yes, I agree that brides should donate their gowns to auctions for a cause. Good job!

  10. Florida Keys Weddings February 9, 2012 at 8:25 am #

    I would personally opt for the charities in this one because in our case, the gown was not of made by some design icon so it’s not like a lot of people would be willing to pay too much for it (and neither did we). Thanks for the very informative post.

  11. Diane MacEachern February 13, 2012 at 6:35 am #

    You’re very welcome. I appreciate your perspective.

  12. Whoelsale Links of London February 16, 2012 at 5:14 pm #

    I like you on facebook and follow through google reader!

  13. Maudy Paden April 6, 2012 at 8:50 pm #

    Love your ideas! I’m happy to repurpose your wedding dress into a functional heirloom! For more ideas check out http://www.sewingbymaudy.com.

  14. jewelry store October 21, 2012 at 2:05 am #

    Donate? Wow, I don’t know many brides that would be willing to donate their dress. Resell…not sure about that one…actually not sure about any of them. Most brides I know love to keep it locked up in their attic, lol.

  15. donate shoes November 25, 2012 at 3:15 am #

    Useful info. Hope to see more good posts in the future.

  16. giving to charity December 8, 2012 at 11:02 pm #

    This is very interesting. thanks for that. we need more sites like this.

  17. Subratsharma January 1, 2013 at 3:45 am #

    If you’re stumped for a reuse idea for your wedding dress, why not try recycling it for a cause? DonateMyWeddingDress.

  18. Diane MacEachern January 17, 2013 at 2:58 pm #

    Good idea. Thanks for the link.

  19. Wedding Lehengas January 23, 2013 at 9:44 pm #

    Great Post….Very informative, I agree Bride should donate her wedding dress.

  20. Denice K May 9, 2013 at 2:55 pm #

    I have an antique wedding dress, very old fashioned and irory color, covered with lace and a long train. No one in our family is interested and everyone is too big to fit into it. It’s size 10 with a 32″ waist. Can anyone use a dress like this?

  21. Beth June 26, 2014 at 8:47 pm #

    I know the perfect place you should sell your wedding dress online… I used http://www.secondhandweddingdresses.com to do this and the process was so simple and easy. Try it out, you won’t be disappointed!

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