As we prepared to downsize into full-time RV living, I said goodbye to three significant, sentimental items from my life:
- Seven boxes of books
- Our cute little VW Golf (we traded it in for a truck to tow our new-to-us Fifth Wheel)
- My wedding dress
I cried when I said goodbye to two out of the three.
You might be surprised to know the one thing I didn’t cry over was … my wedding dress!
When I took to Instagram stories and told the world I was finally letting go of it, I received a barrage of messages from those who had done it already and applauded my decision … as well as those who thought I was nuts for giving my dress away.
If you’re shocked at my decision and fall into the second camp, here’s my question for you…
What’s the Point of Keeping it?
Everyone I talk to who hasn’t (yet!) donated their wedding dress says one of the following things to me:
- But there are so many memories attached to it!
- I couldn’t imagine anyone else wearing my dress
- I want to wear it again … someday … to renew my vows
- My daughter might want it for her wedding
- If I get rid of my wedding dress, my marriage would be doomed (yes, someone actually told me that!)
My response is always the same: think about the purpose of your wedding dress.
Didn’t it serve its purpose on your wedding day? Does it serve any actual purpose now? Or are you attaching memories to a thing you’re not actively using or enjoying?
And no, the once-a-year decluttering of your closet, when you fondly fawn over the dress in the very back, doesn’t count.
Because even if your wedding dress has been carefully preserved and sealed in a box, but never pulled out, worn again, or enjoyed, is it really that important to you?
How I Decided to Donate My Wedding Dress
I asked myself the same questions and came to this conclusion:
I am not going to wear my wedding dress ever again (if Joseph and I renew our vows, I want a new dress!). If I ever have a daughter, she is not going to want to wear it either and I would want her to choose her own dress!
So I’m literally just moving it around from place to place.
For 11 years, my dress hung in the back of five different guest room closets. When it came to us downsizing into the RV, I decided I wasn’t going to let it hang in our storage unit while we traveled.
It was time to let it go.
I have some advice for you if you decide to do the same thing.
Where to Donate a Wedding Dress:
Just so we’re clear, I don’t want you to think I don’t care about my dress at all. I loved my dress and felt like a princess on my wedding day. So I wanted to donate it somewhere special.
Keep in mind that most organizations require your dress be professionally cleaned. Some places also have a limit on hold old your dress can be (so if you donate your dress for a good cause, do it sooner rather than later!).
Here are all the places I found where you can donate your wedding dress.
- Brides Across America – takes dresses that are 5 years old or less.
- Brides for a Cause – 2013 or newer
- FairyTale Brides
- The Bridal Garden
- The Bride’s Project – 5 years old or less
- Brides Against Breast Cancer – 2 years old or less
- Adorned in Grace – 5 years old or less
- Wish Upon a Wedding – 3 years old or less
Remember, your donation is tax-deductible!
I really wanted to give my dress to a bride with breast cancer so she didn’t have to worry about paying for a dress in addition to her medical bills. But my dress was considered too old even though I was married in 2007.
If you find yourself in the same boat, you can:
- Donate your wedding dress to a charity that makes Angel Gowns (gowns for infants who have passed away at or soon after birth)
- Make it into a christening gown. There are plenty of Etsy shops who offer this service, or you can try it yourself using a tutorial.
- With either of those options, you can also keep a scrap for yourself and turn it into a pretty necklace via Etsy
Because I couldn’t donate my dress to one of the above organizations, I decided to hand mine over to Goodwill. It would still be decently priced and available to someone who might not be able to afford a more expensive dress (although I only paid $150 on clearance for mine!)
I went back a week later to find it already gone! My home felt lighter and my heart exploded with all the warm fuzzies knowing that my dress went to a bride in need.
It hardly crosses my mind anymore.
Is it Time to Donate Your Wedding Dress?
I don’t deny that there are a lot of emotions surrounding the decision to declutter your wedding dress. And I don’t want you to think I have a cold heart and am telling you that you must get rid of it.
That’s not my intention.
Instead, I want you to just think about it’s purpose.
A guiding principle for me has always been to be intentional about the items I possess and live by my priorities. If your wedding dress is a priority item for you, then don’t feel guilty about keeping it.
But if it’s not worth storing in the back of a closet never to be seen in the light of day until you move to a new location, then don’t feel guilty about giving it away either.
It’s just a dress.
Let’s chat about wedding dresses:
Have you given yours away yet? What did you do with it?
Disclosure: Some of the links in the post above are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. Read my full disclosure policy here.