How to Recycle, Re-Use, or Donate Your Wedding Dress

Re-Use, Recycle, Donate Wedding Dress

Do you need to buy new? Or new to you?

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. Here’s how to recycle, re-use, or donate your wedding dress, which is a much greener option than keeping it in a bag in the back of your closet for the next 20 years and hoping someone, someday will wear it again.

How to Recycle, Re-Use or Donate Your Wedding Dress

First, start with the dress you buy.

Recycle, Re-Use or Donate Wedding DressbridesIf 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 $3,100 new; just $1,900 gently worn at .

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 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.

NOTE: This post contains sponsored links to companies we think will help you live the greener life you want. All editorial opinions remain our own.

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29 Responses to How 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:

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

    You’re very welcome. I appreciate your perspective.

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

    I like you on facebook and follow through google reader!

  12. 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

  13. 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.

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

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

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

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

  16. 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.

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

    Good idea. Thanks for the link.

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

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

  19. 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?

    • sharon Campbell June 6, 2017 at 2:07 pm #

      There are places that accept old wedding dresses to make burial clothes for premies and stillborn infants. This gives the grieving families a beautiful image of their baby.

      Also, contact theatrical groups for the very old ones for costumes. And there are people who can work with the old dress and use at least parts of it to make a new family heirloom.

      • Diane June 17, 2017 at 12:35 pm #

        Thanks for these suggestions.

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

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

  21. hawaiiweddings March 23, 2016 at 3:28 am #

    Love this article, as I want to donate my dress. I have photos and a framed sketch of my dress. I just can’t see the point in keeping it in a box

    • Diane March 30, 2016 at 9:22 pm #

      So true! Let us know if you do donate it.

  22. Pat August 10, 2016 at 10:19 am #

    We have Mom’s wedding dress, veil and a formal from circa 1934. it’s just been in a box wrapped in tissue paper all these years. what can be done with it? does anyone want it? or should I just donate it to Goodwill, etc.

    • Diane August 10, 2016 at 6:09 pm #

      You can sell it at a vintage store, put it on EBay, donate to a family member, or use the fabric for something beautiful, like a shawl. Good luck, and glad you didn’t toss it out!

    • SLCCOM February 18, 2017 at 3:34 am #

      Or donate it to a charity that turns old wedding gowns into gowns and suits for preemies and stillborn babies. Search”wedding gown stillborn babies” to find the ones accepting gowns. Not all are accepting gowns at any given time. Pat, check with theatrical costuming people.

      • Diane February 20, 2017 at 1:35 pm #

        Thanks for the suggestion!

  23. Varuna Jithesh June 6, 2017 at 8:49 am #

    Nice post..

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