What To Do With Your Wedding Dress After The Big Day

If you don't know what to do with your wedding dress, you aren't alone. Having got it dry-cleaned, you might look at it and think to yourself, 'now what?'. Put it in a box in the attic? Under the bed? Either way it's a little sad to neglect such a meaningful garment. Below, we list some of our favourite alternatives

16 Nov 2018

Re-wear it

If you had a registry ceremony or a low-key day, chances are you wore something that could be accessorised differently in order to achieve an entirely different look. Lose the veil, change the colour of your shoes, ditch the bouquet, pare back your make-up and the opportunities are endless. So are the occasions for which you could wear it.

Lauren plans to do this: ‘I had a registry ceremony, so embraced the idea of buying a shorter style that I could wear again. The dress I chose is a gorgeous summery number that's very classic, so I already plan to wear it on our honeymoon, as well as in the future for our anniversary celebrations!’

Lauren with her husband and friends outside the registry

Lucy Noble

Reinvent it

Your gown can reincarnate with just a few alterations. An adjustment here or an embellishment there gives it a second life. And wearing your newly tailored dress on a special occasion doubles up as a wonderful reminder of the big day.

Cara did exactly that: ‘I was proud to wear my dress twice over the course of our two-day wedding and wanted to get a third go out of it! My 30th birthday, which was less than two years later, provided the best excuse. Amending it to be shorter was perfect for my birthday party (and conveniently made it look less bridal). Also, a small regret I had about my wedding gown was that it didn’t have any sparkle, so I asked the seamstress at Greenwich Sewing Atelier to add some clear sequins to the bodice, as well as a little gemlike detail on its sash. The price to get it done was so reasonable and I couldn’t be happier with the result. I loved wearing it again.’

Cara on her 30th birthday

Give it an afterlife

We have so much respect for pre-loved bridal brand Brides do Good. The initiative's mission is to empower young girls so they can make their own choices in life and have a proper education. That includes giving them the freedom to choose who they marry. Up to two thirds of the profits Brides do Good makes from selling pre-loved and ex-sample dresses are donated to charities that work towards this goal. So, by donating (or even selling) your wedding dress to Brides do Good, you could change a child's life.

Megan was happy to donate hers: ‘My wedding dress made me look and feel divine, so I couldn't bear the thought of it being stored away afterwards. When I read about the amazing work Brides do Good does, it struck a chord with me and I wanted to help. It was emotional to say goodbye to my gown, but the team were wonderful and, more importantly, the work that they do is making the world a better place. I’ve spread the word and am delighted that a few of my friends have donated their wedding dresses too.'

Megan donated this beautiful Pronovias gown

Hand it down

If you're planning to have children, saving your wedding dress for your daughter to wear on her big day (though, remember, fashions change!) can be a lovely thing. We favour a more fun option... Let them play dress up with it!

Jade loves seeing her daughters having fun with it: 'For about fifteen years my wedding dress lay in a cardboard box in a small walk-in-wardrobe, gathering dust and providing a warm home to spiders. Then one anniversary a couple of years ago, I nostalgically pulled it out and my then eight and two year old daughters both tried it on. They loved it so much that I decided its new home could be their dressing up box. Now sometimes I come home from work to find them watching TV in it or one of them will appear for breakfast at the weekend wearing the veil. It's so grubby and creased now but I don't mind at all. Far better it's enjoyed than forgotten about.'

Laila and Clara having the time of their lives in mum's wedding dress and a flower girl dress!

Dig it out

Donning your gown years down the line can be a brilliant way to have some fun. Make your partner laugh by greeting them in it when they wake up (this works particularly well if it’s super bridal!) or why not wear it to a fancy-dress party? Saves you buying a costume… The possibilities are endless – it just depends how daring you are.

Juliette had the same idea: ‘On the morning of my 10th wedding anniversary, I pulled on my wedding dress, stuck my veil on and ran downstairs saying, ‘I’m reeeadyyy and I don’t want to be late to the church!’ My husband and children were merrily having breakfast and got the shock of their lives. It was hilarious! Though, in hindsight, it might have been worth putting on a bit of make-up before having photos taken…’

Juliette's 10th anniversary surprise!

Reinvest it

Selling your dress and using that money for something meaningful is a beautiful way to ‘continue its legacy’. Is there a course you want to complete? A piece of art you'd like to have for your newly married home? Or maybe you want to buy yourselves a pet! Selling your dress can help build your future – rather than hanging on to something from the past.

Isabelle believes she made the best decision for herself: 'I never felt like I needed to keep my wedding dress. It was intricately beaded, so wouldn't have been easy to adjust, and I think the photos of me in it on the day are more important than anything I’d do with it afterwards. I've always wanted to be a yoga teacher and selling my dress enabled me to do this. It was easy to list on Still White and I got half of what it cost back! That money went towards my yoga-teaching training, which feels rewarding, but it’s also an investment in both my spirit and my future.'