Where & How To Donate Or Sell Your Wedding Dress

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Brides shell out a ton of cash planning their wedding, and the biggest chunk sometimes goes to their wedding dress, which they’ll wear for only a few hours.

Yes, it may be the most important day of your life, but you really don’t want to leave it gathering dust in your closet for decades, right?

What do I do with an old wedding dress?

You can save it for your daughter or granddaughter, you can sell it, or you can donate it.

Luckily, to donate a wedding dress, there are plenty of nonprofit organizations that distribute these dresses to people in need. You may even get a tax deductable or break.

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Photo: Dmytro Voinalovych / shutterstock

Where And How To Donate Your Wedding Dress

1. The Angel Gown Program

What are angel gowns? This is a beautiful program with a sad mission.

The Angel Gown Program takes donated wedding dresses and transforms them into free, beautiful burial gowns for infants who pass away during their hospital stay. These gowns are all made by volunteer seamstresses.

2. Brides Across America

Support the military with this program that provides wedding dresses to brides who are in the military or are emergency workers. Brides Across America aims for donations of gowns less than 5 years old to keep styles fresh and current.

3. Adorned in Grace

The Adorned in Grace program accepts used wedding gowns for re-sale and is based out of Portland, Oregon. The idea came from one sex trafficking survivor’s own donated wedding gown, and all proceeds are donated to raise awareness and prevention of human trafficking and support victims.

4. The Bridal Garden

The Bridal Garden is a non-profit Manhattan bridal shop that accepts all types of wedding dresses and accessories (gowns, veils, and so on) that are less than 5 years old. Dresses sell from $600 to $4,000, and a percentage of the proceeds goes towards the education of disadvantaged youths in New York City.

Photo: George Rudy / shutterstock

5. Brides for a Cause

This is another Portland-based bridal store that raises funds for charities, collects and resells wedding dresses, and they have raised money for charities across the country. To donate to Brides for a Cause, fill out a form and drop off the dress at a location listed on the website, or mail it in using the shipping address.

6. Brides for Haiti

The Brides for Haiti program, created by St. Mary’s parish in the Archdiocese of Washington, takes donations of wedding dresses and resells them to raise money for St. Mary’s sister parish, St. Joseph’s, in Carcasse, Haiti.

7. Fairytale Brides

Fairytale Brides is a fantastic organization that requests donations (that are tax-deductible). They prefer dresses that have been cleaned before being donated and are five years old or less, in order to keep styles fresh. They also will do consultations about vintage dresses.

8. Brides Against Breast Cancer

Brides Against Breast Cancer is a non-profit organization that re-sells wedding gowns, and donates sales proceeds to breast cancer research and education. If you donate to BABC, you are not only providing the gift of a beautiful dress, but potentially saving lives in the process.

9. Goodwill

Can I donate my wedding dress to Goodwill? Actually, yes! The prominent thrift store Goodwill does accept dresses as donations.

If you donate your wedding dress to Goodwill, it can give someone a magical wedding day without the strain of spending money they may not have. As an added bonus, the sale profits for your gown will fund valuable employment services for those in need.

Tips For Selling Your Wedding Dress

If you want to make a profit off your gown, and perhaps make up some of the wedding costs, there are many marketplace options. But first, here are some tips on getting the fastest and easiest results.

1. Sell your dress as soon as possible.

Wedding dresses tend to go out of style pretty quickly, and thus diminish in value. Make sure to put yours on the market as soon as possible for the best profit.

Photo: Anastasia Grig / shutterstock

2. Use professional photos.

It's important to include clear photos of your dress from multiple angles, that show off its unique features and details.

Wedding day photos work great for this, but if you aren’t comfortable posting those publicly, make sure to use other high-quality shots. Model the dress on a body with a good fit, and pay attention to the lighting and background of the images.

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3. Dry clean the dress as soon after the wedding as possible.

Your gown is liable to all manner of smears and stains during the ceremony, and having it professionally cleaned minimizes the damage. Furthermore, many dress sellers and donation services require proper cleaning as a prerequisite.

4. Do your research.

How much is my wedding dress worth? Well, it depends on the quality and current styles. Whether you are selling the dress yourself or through an external service, it's vital to determine its value. As previously mentioned, this changes quickly.

Big-name brands such as Vera Wang and Alexander McQueen tend to sell at the highest prices. Investigate on the internet to find out what your dress is selling for in the current market.

5. Use social media to get the word out.

Make sure your friends and acquaintances know that you’re selling your dress, in case they, or anyone in their circle, might be interested.

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6. Disclose any damage.

If there are visible blemishes on your dress, such as marks or tears, make sure to let potential buyers know in advance. You should also make your audience aware of any alterations you had made to the dress, so as to ensure sizing satisfaction.

Where can I sell my wedding dress fast? Time spans can vary widely from case to case, but the fastest sales tend to come from assisted services, rather than direct sales on sites like Craigslist. There are multiple online companies available to help you sell your gown quickly and easily.

Where is the best place to sell your wedding dress? Here are a few options below.

Best Places To Sell A Used Wedding Dress

1. Stillwhite

Stillwhite is a large wedding dress marketplace that offers sustainable options for brides wanting to sell their gowns for extra cash post-wedding, but also for brides-to-be to find their dream dress at a rate they can afford.

This is like the Poshmark of bridal wear, and gowns are sold by women who are looking to pass on their wedding dresses for some extra space in their closet.

2. Once Wed

Once Wed is another site where women can share pre-owned wedding dresses. Although donating your dress locally might sound appealing, chances are slim for someone in your area sharing the same size and taste.

Why not sell the dress online, where the market is infinitely larger, with a low price tag? You will make a future bride incredibly happy.

3. Preowned Wedding Dresses

Preowned Wedding Dresses is a spot that forms an online marketplace to sell pre-owned wedding dresses, and also buy one at a deep discount via a one-time listing fee, with no commission fees for the site. The website boasts fast sales, and includes fun features like a dress value calculator and a very streamlined search function.

Photo: Stakhov Yuriy / shutterstock

4. Nearly Newlywed

At Nearly Newlywed, selling your wedding dress is as easy as dry vanilla cake! For a one-time listing fee, the site handles all communications with the buyer, including irksome shipping and payment details, and gives you 70 percent of the profit after sale.

5. Facebook Marketplace

If you want a personal and local sale, there's always good old-fashioned Facebook Marketplace. Here, you can set your own price, and have full control over communications with potential buyers.

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Aly Walansky is a NY-base lifestyles writer who focuses on health, wellness, and relationships. Her work appears in dozens of digital and print publications regularly. Visit her on Twitter or email her.