What to Do with an Old Wedding Dress?

Woman wearing a beaded bridal veil and an off-the-shoulder wedding dress.

After the wedding celebrations and festivities with loved ones, you begin settling into the next stage of your life as a newlywed couple! Your dream gown hangs on the back of your door, bringing back special memories from the day. Not sure what to do with an old wedding dress? Consider creating a second life for your gorgeous gown. From framing it for memories to saving it for your future kids, read on to discover the different ways you can repurpose wedding dresses.

Dark-haired woman wearing a V-neck wedding dress and long beaded wedding veil.

1. Repurpose your wedding dress for your daughter

With the craze for vintage and repurposing going from strength to strength, you might like to keep your wedding dress (and bridal veil or bridal belt) for future generations. If there’s enough fabric, your daughter or granddaughter can adjust the gown’s design to capture her taste while paying homage to your special day. 

The most important thing is to make sure you store it properly. Simply fold and wrap your old wedding dress between sheets of white acid-free tissue paper and/or a cloth garment bag. Then, put it in a special box in a dark, humidity-free place. For a fun addition, consider popping in some wedding photos of yourself (in a kraft paper envelope to protect them too) for a ceremonious opening in the years to come! 

 2. Frame your wedding dress

Framed wedding dresses can be a unique piece of wall art to remind you of your special day. Framing textiles has been around for centuries, and displaying the intricate details of your breathtaking gown can add a touch of elegance and personal history to your home decor. Are you having your wedding photographs framed? Then use strips of your wedding dress’s fabric for a border or backdrop. Or remove a piece of lace or appliqué and have it mounted in a window box frame.

What to make out of an old wedding dress?

An alternative way to repurpose wedding gowns includes re-creating the dress' design by turning it into another article of clothing.

Make it into a cocktail dress

Many old wedding dresses can be adapted into party and cocktail dresses. The train is the first thing that tends to go along with the dress length and, possibly, sleeve length. Unless you have the skills, it would be wise to discuss wedding dress alterations with a professional dressmaker. 

Dying your wedding dress is not as crazy as it sounds. Consult a professional to see if the fabric of your old wedding dress can be successfully dyed (some can’t). Remember that any lace and embroidery will result in tonal variation – an effect that can work beautifully on Boho wedding dresses.

Woman wearing a V-neck bridal dress in satin with short sleeves and bridal gloves.

Make it into a child’s dress

Does your daughter have communion or a special event coming up? Using the lace, embroidery, or satin fabric of your gown can be repurposed into an heirloom-worthy dress for her. It is always best to consult a dressmaker for old wedding dress alteration possibilities. 

Alternatively, another way to upcycle wedding dresses is through donation. Similar to our brides do good program, it's possible to support an important cause while giving your wedding dress to another future bride. Consider researching local organizations near you or contacting wedding dress vendors to find out more. 

What to do with old bridesmaids' dresses?

Are your bridesmaids also wondering what to do with their dresses? In addition to re-wearing them at formal events, they can also be repurposed in the same way as your bridal dress. Consider crafting a quilt together to sew a piece of each of your gowns together as a memorable keepsake. Alternatively, a piece of their dresses can go into your wedding scrapbook. 

A blonde-haired woman wearing a blue sparkly formal gown standing next to a dark-haired woman wearing a pink sparkle dress.

From framing the design to making a new item of clothing, our list of repurposed wedding dress ideas can help you create a new life for your stunning gown. Whichever one you choose, we strongly suggest first having your old wedding dress cleaned, either professionally or by spotting any stains and marks yourself with mild soap and warm water or solvent, depending on the fabric. Starting with a clean dress is essential for successful preservation or reuse. By repurposing your wedding dress, you can remember your special day in a creative, personalized way. 

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