Wedding Wednesday Discussions: What to do with your wedding dress once you’re married

What to do with your wedding dress once you’re married

Since I got married in June 2009 my wedding dress has been hanging up on the back of the spare room door unwashed and still in its plastic cover. I never really knew what to do with it once I was married, I never really thought about selling it, it holds too much sentimental value, so there it stayed on the back of the door. Occasionally I would unzip it, look at it, sigh a little and then zip it back up again and leave it hanging there. As long as it was hanging up on the back of the door, the question of what do I do with it now I’m married didn’t need to be answered, I could still see it whenever I wanted.

BUT this weekend I moved my little box room office into the spare room to give me more space to work, to think and more room to put all my wedding files, charts, pin boards and collections of many other wedding related items. I totally love my new office and has caused me much excitement over the last few days (I k now sad but true!) BUT it means my wedding dress can no longer hang on the back of the door.

pre owned wedding dress

It’s now been sent off to the cleaners, but what am I going to do with it when it comes back? This leads me to the question in today wedding Wednesday discussion. ‘What do you do with your wedding dress once you are married?’
Before I was married my initial thoughts were to get it washed and then store it away in a box in the attic, that’s what most people do right? But now I’m not so sure. When it was on the back of the door I knew it was close, the memory of the wedding was always there with me, but in a box in the attic, my fear is I will never go back and look at it and it will just collect dust up there??

pre owned wedding dress   pre owned wedding dress

So I am now looking into the idea of what else I can do with it. I guess the other main idea is to sell it, but I’m not sure I want to. It all seems a bit final, plus would anyone actually want it? And would it be worth selling for what I could get for it, a few hundred pounds, or a lifetime of memories of the best day of my life?

So I wanted to ask you all what your ideas are.
1) If you are married what have you done with your dress?
2) If you’re not married what are you intending to do with your dress once you are married?

pre owned wedding dress
Some ideas I have had from people so far are:

Trash/Rock/Cherish/Love the dress Photo Shoot
Great idea and I think every woman should do this if possible. I did one of these a year after my wedding, in fact it was pretty much on my one year wedding anniversary. (SEE FULL SHOOT HERE) It was an amazing experience and I have some beautiful pictures of the dress now. So if you do get a chance please do one. BUT I can’t keep doing them. To be honest I can no longer do my dress up. Before my wedding I spent 9 months dieting and exercising like a demon, I lost a stone and a half, and looked in my opinion great. Straight after the wedding I put all that weight back on again (what can I say I LOVE food) Before my trash the dress shoot I had to loose half a stone just to get back in the dress, and even then it was a very snug fit! So the idea of doing more shoots in it leave me cold. My dieting days are over……well for now they are anyway, so no more shoots!

Pre Owned wedding dress Pre Owned wedding dress

Sell it
There are many wedding sites that specialise in selling pre owned wedding dress (if you won one please feel free to add your website to the comment box) These sites will take your dress and sell it on to someone who wants to wear it, your dress gets worn once again and loved by another bride. Quite a romantic way of looking at it I guess. You could sell it independently, you could put it on EBay, you can sell it to a shop that sells per owned wedding dresses, you could even take it to Oxfam who have a few specialist wedding dress shops around the country.
Storing it away.
Getting the dress cleaned is expensive enough, £60-£70-£80 maybe more, then the Box to store it is, with its special acid free paper….another £70 ish!! £70 for a box!! To never take it out and look at it again!! Really??? Maybe an investment I need to make, but I’d rather spend £70 on a new pair of shoes, or a dress I can actually wear

Saving it for your first Christening
Tradition states that you are meant to save your wedding dress to be made into a christening robe for your children…….well I’m not intending to get my children christened (sorry God) I don’t go to church, and neither me or Nik have been christened ourselves, so a little impossible. I will however be having a baby naming ceremony, but my son/daughter will not be wearing my old wedding dress during it.

Pre Owned wedding dress

Saving it for you husbands funeral
Another tradition I have heard of is that you save your wedding dress, for your husband’s funeral, die it black and wear it on the day?? Well considering the dress isn’t made from a natural fibre my GCSE textiles tells me that it won’t die black, more of a murky grey colour, that mixed with the diamante bling on it, plus the fact I can’t get into it now let alone in a few years’ time = a big fat no on this one

Put it on a frame and hang it on your wall
Now I kind of like this one! Making your wedding dress into art, this way it stays preserved but you get to see it. I’m not sure how much a frame that big would cost, but it sounds like a pretty cool idea, and maybe one I would consider

Put it on a mannequin.
Another nice idea, but maybe not so good in terms of keeping it clean. I can imagine that wedding dresses’ aren’t that easy to dust! And leaving in a corner of my office on a mannequin sounds like a dust rap waiting to happen

Pre Owned wedding dress Pre Owned wedding dress

These are the ideas I have had given to me so far. At the moment I am totally undecided. I guess I will have to wait and see how clean it is when it comes back from the cleaners. I may not have totally trashed it when I did my trash the dress shoot, but it certainly had a lot of cow poo, grass stains and mud on the bottom of it! if it’s perfectly clean then I may consider selling it…BUT I will have to decide what to do with the money, I think buying something specific like a really nice piece of jewellery, something timeless so I always knew that is where my wedding dress went……or I may decide just to store it away?. Or that picture frame idea sounds kind of cool.

Do let me know what your thoughts and ideas are.
I would love to hear what you have done, or what you intend to do with yours; I could really do with some other ideas!
Please feel free to leave a comment, and if you are a business that does anything with per owned wedding dress feel free to leave your details as well.

Big Boho Love
Kelly xxx

My Full Wedding Photos can be seen HERE

My Full Trash The Dress Shoot can be seen HERE

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    Charlene - Love Gets Sweeter

    What an interesting read! I too had a ‘what do I do with it now’ moment after the wedding but found a great professional wedding cleaners that sent it back in the most beautiful ivory box with HUGE silk ribbon. Thankfully it fits snuggly under my bed as I too had the worry of it being forgotton in the dusty loft. I also got a lovely wooden wedding keepsake box from my Nana that holds my lovely shoes, veil, garter, hairband and an invite sample…sigh. I love having access to them whenever I feel the need and would highly recommend this way to anyone. An old bosses wife had her’s on a mannequin and actually displayed it at their venue the day after (they had a fab two day wedding at the Bluecoat in Liverpool). She then had it around the house for a while and now has it stored. She was worried it would change colour in the daylight after time which was the reason that put me off displaying it.

    Randomly I have already had the chance to model my dress again when I modelled some amazing vintage headpieces for Jean Ellis. It was a little snug but thankfully zipped up! But I am actually getting to wear it a third time this weekend-weather permitting-as we are doing a ‘reshoot’ of our couples photos! Two years on from our wedding-and an awful lot of heartache caused by a mean photographer-a friend has offered her talents to create a mini shoot for us at our wedding venue and I honestly can’t wait to get back in that beautiful dress…I just hope it still fits!!?? :)

    Nik Hood

    You did look great on or wedding day hun! And if you are struggling to find a significant piece of jewelery to spend the money on I have seen a lovely Rolex!!! xxx

    Laura C

    I love the picture frame idea! I can just see a huge frame on a blank wall, with it artistically draped in. How awesome would that look in your new office?

    I plan on wearing mine to every black tie do I get invited to after – its not very ‘weddingy’ so I’m not worried about that. I want to get as much wear out of it as I can! I think it would be quite exciting to go out in it just knowing that you got married in it, and having that little secret to yourself.

    Also, the Friends episode where Monica does the washing up in a wedding dress? TOTALLY acceptable in my book :)


    Rosie Dickinson

    I’ve yet to have this problem but all most every time I make a wedding dress for someone, at some point during the design decisions they always say, “and after the wedding maybe it could be altered so I could wear it again”. Weather it be dyed or shortened or simply removing the train, turn the dress into your ultimate party dress.

    I love this idea, for a dress that’s taken so much love and care, to be simply discarded after the big day, sold, trashed or left for the moths, seems sad.

    So far no one has gone for this option, and I’m not sure why, perhaps on reflection it is too special to be worn again in any context or once the wedding is over the magic is also gone from the dress. Still, I can’t wait for the day when someone comes back to me to give their dress additional love to be worn again.

    (Also, saving for the hubbies funeral…? Seems a little bit “Mrs Haversham” to me)


    Mine was cleaned & lived at my mums house for about 8 years ( my mum made it for me, she was a wedding dress designer/maker at the time )….until my younger sister got married & asked if she could give it a second outing because she couldn’t find anything she liked more & if mum was to make her one she’d have just chosen the same! The rest of the day was completly different & I think only one guest noticed until she told everyone at the reception !

    Lisa + Emma @ Scarlett Weddings

    We love the idea of hanging it but it’s be too big for your wall. How about framing it with it draped around but with the favourite bits of your dress showing and having your fave wedding photos in too, that way it’s showing off your photos but using your dress as the background. We think it sounds lovely! x

    Sally Anne

    Hi Kelly, Well, my dress is hanging in a cloth bag in our loft and has not been looked at for over 8 years now (I am hoping it isn’t moth ridden).

    I am going to look into selling mine, it’s a Philippa Lepley – mean anything to you?

    If you know of any sites to advertise it on please let me know.

    Nik – I don’t see that happening””

    Kitty Kanzashi

    I had this thought going through my head when I was choosing my dress and that is why I decided to get a corset wedding dress.

    My one is made up of three parts, bolero jacket, corset and a skirt.

    The corset and bolero jacket can easy be worn again with another skirt or trousers for a meal out or a party and my skirt I hope to use again in some sort of steampunk outfit which I have been meaning to create.

    I can’t bear the thought of my wedding dress not seeing the light of day again because I loved wearing it.


    Thanks everyone. I’d love to get it made into something else adn get some more wear out of it BUT I simply can not fit into it any more. I do think it’s agreat idea though adn when i was a bridesmaid, I tuned my dress into something comletley differnt for my end of sixth form ball, so I totally get where you are coming from.
    Jacqui I love the fact that your sister wore yours how lovely xxx

    Rebecca Jenkinson, Pretty Little Trio Vintage

    I got married in 2006 and my dress is still hanging in its pink bag at the side of my wardrobe….uncleaned. I have been thinking what to do with it. I have occasionally tried it on, (can’t do it up anymore though as it is and I was a size 6!) , my friend who is a dress maker has borrowed it to see how it was made and its been to a photo shoot but its kind of difficult to give it the limelight it deserves.

    I know as a little girl I played in my mums wedding dress, so I think I may keep it for my little girl. I couldn’t part with it.

    But don’t put it in a box in the attic

    laura rydings

    Ahh loved this post Kelly :)

    I got married Sept 09…the dress is still in its bag, uncleaned, in the spare room! I quite like the idea of it still with the remnants from the day (maybe just me?) and once my friends catch up and tie the knot, plan girlies nights in wearing our dresses, drinking tea and eating cake x x

    Kat Forsyth

    I saw a pic of a wedding dress hanging on a wall, framed, and immediately went, “I want to do that!”, but of course I’ve yet to get around to it. Three years it’s been hanging on my cupboard door. My main worry is that it will get dirty and dusty hanging on a wall, but you can’t exactly put glass in front of it…or can you?

    Laura Jayne

    I’m having exactly the same dilemma, and I had two dresses! Double dilemma!
    I got married in August and have had both of them cleaned, but now what to do with them? I liked all of your ideas, especially the frame but there’s no way my main dress would fit in one!
    I have seen my dress altered by another bride into a short dress with the train and bottom zipped so it can be reattached which I liked the idea of but still, what if it goes wrong?!
    I think what I’m going to do is have them both boxed and tuck them safely away under my bed until I have a love my dress(es) shoot. Going to have to do that soon though as I don’t know how much longer I’ll fit into them, haven’t been to the gym since the wedding – ooops!
    Sorry, I’ve been no use AT ALL with your dilemma though. I’ve just wittered away to myself :0)

    Gill Kennedy

    We got married in August and I had a grecian styley Alfred Sung dress, similar to yours but with crystals on the shoulders rather than under the bust. I plan to have the train cut off but keep it floor length and dye it a different colour so I can wear it to black-tie do’s. Cannot bear the thought of spending so much money on a dress for it to sit unwashed in a bag for years to come.
    The love/ trash the dress shoots are brilliant but we had such amazing pics from our wedding (Jon @ S6!) that I don’t feel the need for one.
    Now the question is, what colour do I dye the frock…??
    If there was no chance of getting back in to the dress, I’d be inclined to sell it. Let another bride, who may be on a tight budget, have the pleasure of your beautiful gown.


    Love the bit where you apologised to God for not planning any christenings! Made me chuckle. A great blog post (again!) and an interesting subject I haven’t seen discussed before. Looking forward to seeing what you do with your dress!
    Claire xx

    Penny Perluss

    I’m so glad I found this site-I have wanted to frame, but was afraid I would look to “all about me.” I was originally not thinking of framing the dress, but the train. It’s so amazing and very big, which might be a problem.

    Thanks for your ideas.


    I got married in March and was lucky enough to wear my dream wedding dress, that I picked out 2 and a half years ago!! Long before there was even talk of us getting married! I promised myself I’d wear it, and I did! My dad leant me extra money to buy It (aside from the amount he already put towards our beautiful wedding) and I promised him I’d sell it afterwards to pay him back…
    Well that doesn’t seem so easy now that it’s time to sell! Even the idea of it hurts. He told me to take my time and sell it when I’m ready…I’m considering saving up the money to pay him back, then it takes away the pressure and if I want to sell it after that I can.
    I live in Australia and there is an organisation I know of here that takes wedding dresses, donated by brides, and turns them into beautiful little gowns for parents who have lost a baby; to dress them in for the funeral. Totally heart warming and sad, and a very beautiful idea, what a gorgeous gift to give to a family. Something else to consider.


    I’m curious, do you have any personal stories or insights from brides who have taken different routes with their wedding dresses? How can brides decide which option is best suited for them, considering sentimental value, practicality, and sustainability? Any further guidance on navigating this decision-making process would be much appreciated!


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