Many times after a wedding, the bride contemplates what to do with her beautiful white dress. This is a very personal choice, and there are many options to consider.
Some women feel very attached to their dress and therefore choose to keep it.
If you are going to keep your dress, you definitely want to have it preserved. A company like Affordable Preservation will take your garment, professionally clean it, and preserve it -- which means packaging it in an acid-free container so that it doesn't yellow or fade as years go by. Some dry cleaners will do this as well. This option is perfect for those women who dream about handing down their dress to a daughter or other special person, or for those who just want to keep the dress in it's original state as a memory of their day.
Some brides choose to have the dress changed into something such as a christening gown for a baby, throw pillows for a bed, or a quilt. Transforming your dress into something you can use again is a great way of saving the memories while being resourceful.
If you are not as strongly attached to your gown, you can always donate it. There are many wonderful organizations that will accept a donated dress.
Brides Against Breast Cancer is an organization that raises money to grant wishes to women who have stage 4 breast cancer. Through their annual gown sales and other fundraising efforts, they are able to grant these wishes. I have volunteered for this organization for 2 years now and am donating my dress to this cause.
But for another option, check out Becca's Closet. Created by a 16-year-old young woman in South Florida, Becca's Closet collects formal gowns to give to high school girls to wear to prom. These girls normally would not be able to afford a prom gown. The organization also gives away educational scholarships. Rebecca passed away in 2003 in an automobile accident but her spirit lives on as this organization has expanded with many chapters across the country. You may also want to encourage your bridesmaids to donate their gowns to this organization as well.
If you want to support our troops while donating your wedding gown, check out Brides Across America. This organization gives free wedding gowns to active-military brides and brides who are engaged to an active-military soldier. They rely solely on donated gowns from former brides and designers and select recipients to come in and find their dream gown for absolutely no cost.
If none of these charities appeal to you, you can always contact your local Salvation Army, Church, or School. A friend of mine donated her dress to the local high school drama department for them to use in their plays. She says she envisions someone gracefully floating around stage in her wedding gown. Love it :)
But before you preserve, cut up, or donate your dress, consider doing one last photo session wearing it. Although we get tons of photos on our wedding day, there never seems to be enough time to get everything we want, so having an after-the-wedding photo shoot is a great option. I recently participated in a photography party with some great local photographers: Carolina Araujo and Zekeshem Parson, along with some visiting photographers, Lele Photography, from St. Louis. They invited me and some of my former clients to do some shoots just for fun - I did a "Day After" shoot and Amy and Griffin did a "Trash the Dress Shoot". Let me tell you, it's been a little over a year since my wedding and it felt GREAT to be back in my dress. I will certainly miss it when I donate it to BABC but I now have these wonderful photos memorializing it forever. We had so much fun on my shoot in Ybor and Amy and Griff rocked it out at the beach. I adore these photographers and look forward to working with them many more times in the future. Here are some of our pics -- what do you think??