31 Ways To Repurpose Your Wedding Gown
The hoopla is over and you've settled into a comfortable routine with your new husband. But the question remains: What do you do with that expensive wedding gown. Even if you bought your frugal wedding dress at Walmart, it's doing little good in a box under your bed.
It seems a shame when there are so many ways to repurpose wedding gowns, (and we're not talking about the 101 ways a cynical man found to use his ex-wife's dress).
While I've come up with 31 ways to recycle that beautiful fabric, be forewarned not all are suitable for the hopelessly romantic bride.
1. Anniversary Outfit
This isn't a practical use if you're going to be dining out, but you might remind your husband how beautiful you looked on your wedding day by pulling the gown out of the closet for a candlelight dinner. (Not recommended if your dress has a long train.)
2. Art Canvas
If you have an artistic bent, stretch the skirt material on a canvas and either paint it or make a collage out of your wedding photos and memorabilia. Then frame and admire.
3. Attend Brides of March
The Brides of March is an annual event in San Francisco that takes place around March 15. A pun on the "Ides of March," attendees wear wedding gowns during a pub crawl.
4. Bassinet Skirting
This would also work for baby cribs and an infant basket.
5. Burial Bunting
The Preemie Project converts wedding gowns into burial buntings and layettes for prematurely born babies. There are few retail stores that offer such items for grieving parents, so your donation would be greatly appreciated.
6. Christmas Tree Skirt
Cut out the bodice and use just the skirt to combine memories of your wedding and Christmas celebrations.
7. Christening Gown
This one requires some mad sewing skills, but what a great way to pass on a beautiful memory to the next generation.
8. Cocktail Dress
If you were thinking ahead, you bought a gown that could be shortened and stylishly worn as the white version of an LBD (Little Black Dress).
9. Divorce Celebration Dress
For the cynical divorcee, the original wedding gown makes a surreal statement at the close-out party.
10. Donate To a Local Theatrical Company
After recycling my gown as a Halloween costume, I donated it to a local theatrical company that was thrilled to have something so nice for their costume archive.
11. Donate To Charity
There are so many ways to pass on a dress to charity. Consider Brides Against Breast Cancer, the Mary Madeline Project, Making Memories or Compassion Connect. BTW: If you're a military bride in need of a gown, Brides Across America might match you up with a bridal salon for a free wedding dress.
12. Dye It
If your gown is a sheath or other simple style, you can convert it into a true LBD, evening gown or other women's clothing possibilities with a bit of dye. Not all fabrics will take dye, however, so you'll want to do a test run on a small piece of the fabric. If the dye doesn't take or damages the material, you might try using tea to give it a beige cast.
13. Fairy Princess Dress
Cut the gown down to your daughter's size, add wings and, presto, instant dress up. What little girl wouldn't adore such a true-to-life costume?
14. First Communion Dress
In the Catholic Church, some parishes have young girls dress like miniature brides for their First Communions, complete with veil. (Personally, I was more enchanted by the bridal aspect of the outfit than the actual ceremony as we were only in second grade.) You'll have to do some major tailoring, but what a great way to share the experience with your daughter.
15. Flower Girl Dress
Think how special a little flower girl would feel if she were actually wearing a wedding dress. Of course, you'll have to cut it down to her size which takes a lot of skill.
16. Halloween Costume
This is one I actually did. My husband and I dressed up as an escaped bride and groom from the top of a wedding cake. We did a little DIY by cutting Styrofoam into ragged pieces, and decorated them with cake-decorating goo and attached them to our shoes so it looked like we'd pulled our way out of the icing.
17. Holiday Ornaments
Use the lace, beads and cloth to cover a Styrofoam shape and give them out the following Christmas to the wedding party and your family. Naturally, you'll want to keep one for yourself.
You paid a lot for one dress. Why not let girlfriends and female family members get more use out of this hugely expensive gown? Make sure they pay for cleaning afterwards, however.
19. Outfit Top
This is simple if you bought a two piece as you can simply wear the top portion with pants or a skirt. If your gown was a one piece, you'll need to cut it in half.
20. Pillow Sham
What a perfect accompaniment to the quilt? You might want to stick to a small pillow if you've already used the bulk of the material to cover your "linens 'n things," but this would be a good use for material from the sleeves and bodice.
21. Prom Dress
Again, your gown should have a simple cut, but your daughter or other female relative might truly appreciate something so elegant for their prom. Since white and ivory are entirely acceptable for such events, you won't even have to dye it.
Cut squares out of the skirt and underskirt and combine with other memorable clothing (perhaps your mother's dress as well) to create an heirloom quilt that can be passed down for many years to come.
23. Shadow Box
Cut a small square out of the gown, preferably a portion that shows some detailing. Then create a shadow box including the material, your garter, the something blue, a wedding favor and other small mementos.
There's a contingent out there that lives to scrapbook and it's a great way to preserve memories. As with the wedding album, you might use the material as a cover, or you could decorate pages on the inside of the scrapbook.
25. Sell On eBay
Once you have cash in hand rom the eBay auction, you can donate the proceeds to the charity of your choice. Or you could keep the cash. Whatever.
26. Sell To a Second-Hand Shop
Some thrift stores sell used wedding gowns. While you won't recoup your full cost, you might make enough to make a dent in your wedding bills.
27. Stuffed Animal and Doll Clothes
Use the underskirting or non-detailed portion to make tiny clothing for your first (or second, or third) child's teddy bear. You can make a little suit for a male bear or an angel dress for a female. You can also do the same thing for your child's dolls. Think how much it will mean when you see your toddler so attached to something so important. You'll want to avoid using anything with beads or other detachable decorations that can be swallowed.
You won't want to eat on this tablecloth, but it would make a nicely decorative cover when the table isn't in use. You'll have to piece it together, much like a quilt, but you might sew in decorative pieces for a dramatic design.
29. Wedding Accessories
Create wedding supplies for a daughter, niece, granddaughter or other special female in your life. This might include the veil, a hankie, silk bouquet flowers ring pillow, gloves, basket or flower girl's dress.
30. Wedding Album Cover
Even in this digital age, newlyweds should have hard copies made of their photos, just in case a server crashes somewhere or your CDs get scratched.
31. Wedding Gift Wrapping
The lace and beadwork will really create something special and make your present stand out on the gift table.
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