I believe in legacy and know that the wedding experience doesn’t end with your reception Send Off. It lives on in your albums, your memories, and your day to day actions. But it can also live in in your dress.
Wait, the dress?!
Yes! The dress!!
It was the dress you’ve dreamed of for years. You tried on gown after gown after gown to find The One. You wore it in excited anticipation as you walked up to your Groom for the First Look. Everyone oohed and ahhed as you made you way up the aisle. And then you danced the night away surrounded by your friends and family. So many memories are tied to the dress. It’s now so much more than just a dress.
Once the wedding is over though, what to do with your dress is a question many brides have! How do you store it? Can you really ever use it again? How can you make the dress more a part of the legacy?
Oh do I have some ideas for you beyond just preserving it in a cold dark box in the back of your closet!
1. What to do with your dress: Donate it!
There are so many ways you can approach this! Many women don’t have the closet or space to store their dress properly. There are multiple organizations that accept donated wedding dresses for various causes such as Breast Cancer Awareness, Military Spouse Support through Brides Across America, Angel Gowns for infant burial gowns, human trafficking awareness, terminally ill brides, and more!
Other more local ideas would be to sell the dress to donate the money to a local school, safe house, or rest home.
2. What to do with your Dress: Frame it!
Whether you go through an official company or go the DIY route, framing your dress in a shadow box can be a beautiful display in your home! From full length frames to display your whole dress in your room or walk in closet, or smaller shadow boxes to display your folded dress (with the bodice on top).
3. What to do with your Dress: Wear it Again!
All too often a wedding dress never gets worn again by anyone, the bride or her descendants. Why put such a gorgeous gown full of memories away to never be seen again?!
Want to wear your dress again? Here are some ideas!
For our 5th Anniversary I wore my dress again for anniversary portraits. It was so fun to get back in my dress and to add more memories to it! My mother made my dress and I want to get every bit of use out of this special dress that I can!
(Photo by Karen Orphey with Treehouse Photography)
Another idea that I’ve seen and LOVE, but haven’t done yet, is to wear your dress every year on your anniversary. I have a friend who wears her dress to cook breakfast every year!
Other ideas would be to have a girls night out with your married besties! Go out on the town for desserts and dancing or a movie!
4. What to do with your Dress: Turn it into DIY Projects
DIY projects are a popular idea for those that don’t have room to store the dress, but want to incorporate it into their life! Whether you do the actual work or hire it out, these sweet ideas can make the cutest DIY décor and add special meaning to your home!
Visit my Pinterest Board to see ideas on how to make pillows, jewelry, wall hangings, tote bags, a cradle canopy, a Christmas tree skirt, and more!
5. What to do with your Dress: Commission art inspired by your dress
Want to store your dress but still have a fun way to showcase it? Art inspired by your dress can be such a beautiful addition to your home!
6. What to do with your Dress: Turn your dress into an Heirloom!
Not ready to get rid of or disassemble your dress? Totally normal and totally okay! I fall in that category! I love rewearing it as I can, but especially as it was created by my Mother, I don’t want to give it away or cut it up yet.
I’m hanging on to it in case my daughter would like to wear it! Or Granddaughter! One of my sweet brides, Mallory, wore her Great-Grandmother’s dress! And it was stunning and such a sentimental legacy piece in her wedding!
And even if a daughter or granddaughter doesn’t decide to wear it, I love the idea of turning the dress into a christening dress for my grandchildren! Another idea I’ve seen is using the dress to make a ring pillow for your child’s wedding.
However you decide to use or store you dress, I love the idea of using it to buoy up your marriage and your family. It was such a big part of your day, don’t let it just die in the back of your storage unit!