5 Ways to Give Wedding Dresses a Second Life

Doing good was never so easy

Bride shopping for her wedding gown.

(Denis Raev / Shutterstock.com)

Most girls dream of growing up and having the perfect storybook wedding in a  beautiful gown. Whether your wedding took place in a white church, your parents’ backyard, or even on a beach, chances are that your wedding and dress was everything you always wanted it to be.

While some brides want to keep their wedding dress wrapped at home forever, others are choosing to donate them. Their reasons can be a lack of storage space, the desire for a tax deduction, or the opportunity to help others in need according to Martha Stewart.

“There are so many brides who see the practicality of donating their dress,” Erin Scharf, founder of Brides for a Cause, told Martha Stewart. “They donate because they don't see a need for it anymore; it served its purpose. They want to be able to share it with someone else! It truly is a selfless and generous act.”

There’s a variety of places that you can donate your wedding dress to including stores, community centers, and nonprofits according to Zola. Many charities accept newer gowns to resell with the funds going to support their missions including, cancer research, environmental protection, helping military brides, and aiding abuse survivors.

So if you are thinking about donating your wedding dress to a worthy cause, check out these five charities that support a cause and do good.

The Brides Project

Donate your wedding dress  to this bridal boutique with a heart. The Brides Project supports adults and kids that are impacted by cancer. Located in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the shop sells gowns that were “pre-loved” or donated directly from bridal salons.

The Brides Project accepts wedding gowns that are from 2016 or newer. Bridal accessories are also accepted. You can drop them off or ship the box to the Cancer Support Community of Greater Ann Arbor. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, you must book an appointment to visit the boutique.

Brides for a Cause

These bridal showrooms in Portland, Oregon, Tacoma and Seattle, Washington, and Sacramento,  California resell donated wedding gowns and distribute the proceeds to local and national women’s-based charitable organizations.

Brides for a Cause has already helped 23,000 brides find their perfect dress since 2012.  Donations can be dropped off at their Portland location or shipped. The dresses must not be more than five years old. Bridesmaid dresses and accessories are also accepted. Clients must reserve a room in advance and can only bring one guest.

Brides Across America

Over 2,000 Wedding dresses are given to military and first-responder brides every year at Operation Wedding gowns events that are held twice a year from the nonprofit Brides Across America. The organization also has a retail store in Andover, Massachusetts but you must book an appointment in advance.

Since the nonprofit began in 2008, over 26,000 brides received the gown of their dreams. Gowns that are less than five years old and accessories like engagement rings, wedding rings, and wedding favors are also accepted.

Fairytale Brides on a Shoestring

This nonprofit boutique in Rockville, Maryland offers a unique bridal experience. All of the proceeds from Fairytale Brides on a Shoestring goes to support Johns Hopkins’ Suburban Hospital Breast Center, Alzheimer’s Association, and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Donations of wedding dresses must be five years old or less and professionally cleaned. You must make an appointment to visit the boutique and adhere to all COVID restrictions.

Adorned in Grace

This bridal and formalwear shop sells new and gently used wedding dresses and event wear for less. Every sale at Adorned for Grace is used to fight human trafficking. There are three locations in greater Portland, Oregon and Seattle Washington. You must have an appointment to visit the shop.