A Practical Take on Recycling Your Wedding Dress.
(All photos thanks to the amazing and talented Michele Hart Photography. In Colorado? Hire her!)
I was—and still am—completely in love with my wedding dress. Our wedding was a small affair in Estes Park, Colorado. We chose New Year’s Eve, and our parents and the officiant were the only guests. We wanted to keep it small, simple, and inexpensive, but I did wear a dress.
When I started dress shopping, I found that I wasn’t really difficult to please in terms of finding a style I liked. I just couldn’t swallow the price. And it’s not like I was buying a good pair of boots that I could wear for five more seasons. I was looking at dropping thousands on a dress that I’d wear once, for only a few hours, and then stick in the closet. And we’re not exactly rich. So I started looking at secondhand dresses, one of which I’d eventually buy, and I knew going in that I would re-sell my dress, just like someone had done before me.
When I mentioned in conversation that I was planning to sell my wedding dress, I learned that people have really strong opinions on it. Some people made it clear that they didn’t approve of my decision, and I was really defensive about it for a while. Why did people care so much about what I did with my dress? They’d say things like “you’ll regret that,” “how could you,” “back in my day…”or, my personal favorite, “that’s bad luck.” Yikes. But instead of talking about why those people are wrong, I want to focus on why I chose to sell my wedding dress. Because everyone is different, and that’s okay. But if you are one of those new-age ladies thinking “Should I sell my wedding dress?,” hopefully this will help to sway you one way or the other.
Here are the top three reasons I sold my dress:
1. It’s too pretty to keep in a closet. I respect the fact that a lot of women love their dresses too much to let them go, but I was the opposite. I knew I didn’t want to turn it into a cocktail dress, preserve it in a box, or lug it to the next small-ass apartment we’ll inevitably move into. I’m also not banking on a hypothetical daughter who may or may not want to get married and wear a wedding dress. And I’m certainly not banking on that hypothetical daughter thinking I’m stylish enough to wear my dress. That’s just too many points of potential failure, and I’m not a gambling woman. So why not give the dress a chance to live another day now?
2. I wanted to make someone’s day. The woman who bought my dress showed up at our apartment with her mother and grandmother. When she tried on my dress, I was taken aback by how amazing she looked in it. Seeing her happiness made me realize for sure that giving it another owner was the right decision. She said that she had tried on a ton of dresses, but my dress became the dress. And what’s better than finding the dress for 75% off retail price? And with a pretty cool bridal belt thrown in for free.
3. I’m really practical. Weddings are expensive. Although our wedding wasn’t a traditional one, a dress, veil, dinner, photographer, and the travel all cost money. Making some money back on the dress is an added bonus to the previous two points. I have hundreds of beautiful photos from our wedding day, so I didn’t feel like I also needed to see the dress every day in my closet. Why would you need the dress when you have a badass photo like this?
So, I’ve convinced you to recycle your wedding dress. That’s great! But how did I do it? Here are a few options for you to consider:
- I Do I Do Wedding Gowns. If you’re in the DC area, I Do I Do is an excellent resource. I always recommend checking this place out. It’s where I bought my dress. You can review their consignment policies here. However, because they are a business, they take a decent cut of the profit when selling your dress for you. They also won’t take a dress that’s already been re-sold, so selling my dress back to them wasn’t an option.
- Fabulous Frocks of Alexandria. Located in northern Virginia, Fabulous Frocks offers consigned dresses and accessories. I haven’t been here, but I’ve heard great things about it.
- Capitol Romance Classifieds. My friend Bree runs the DC-area, off-beat wedding blog Capitol Romance, which recently launched a classifieds section. Her site offers dresses, accessories, and wedding essentials for the fraction of retail price. Check out her consignment rules here.
- PreownedWeddingDresses.com. This is where I ultimately sold my dress, but it requires patience. The low listing fee of $25 gets your dress listed forever. After months of bites and interested brides from around the country, I received a message from a local woman. We set up a time for her to try on the dress at my apartment, and she walked away with it.
- Donate your Dress. Huffington Post ran a story a few years ago about various charities that accept donated dresses. I honestly can’t speak for any of them and didn’t really look into the process, but if it’s something you’re interested in, chances are there’s charity in your area.
If you’re still unsure whether or not you can part with your wedding dress, just think about how much of an impact recycling it will have. Don’t think about it as getting rid of it; instead, think about it as giving your dress the chance to contribute to someone else’s awesome day, thus doubling it’s impact.
*All photos thanks to the amazing and talented Michele Hart Photography. In Colorado? Hire her!