Trash Wedding Dress?

Updated on June 18, 2012
R.M. asks from Evanston, IL
15 answers

I never had my wedding dress cleaned and "preserved" like you are supposed to... it has several stains and the whole underneath is stained from it dragging on the ground and never being properly cleaned...It was a $500 dollar dress but its been crumpled in a closet for 9 years and all I am doing is kicking the thing around, or taking it out periodically to move it and think "ugh I should have this thing cleaned or something." But then I think, even if I did get it cleaned, what would I do with it? Or would the stains in the million layers of tulle even come out after they have sat there for 9 years (doubtful)? I have nowhere to keep it really because it is bulky and long... So part of me wants to just throw it away but the sentimental part of me (which is very tiny) is fighting back... what would you do?

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answers from Chicago on

I was going to say to do the trash the wedding dress photo shoot too, then you have the photos from the wedding and the trashing. One woman that I know was preggers when she did it a few months later and she wore a bright pink dress to show the baby's gender and to show off the bump and took crayons, markers, finger paints ect to the dress and had a good time with it.

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answers from New York on

You could see if someone could turn it into something more useful. I'm involved in a local chapter of newborns in need. They provider things for babies while they are in the hospital, families who need a little help when bringing their newborns home, and sadly clothing for babies who live on only in their parent's hearts. I know that some some chapters accept wedding dresses which they turn into special burial gowns.

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answers from Grand Forks on

Do you have daughters? If so it would make wonderful play clothes or Halloween costume, just cut the bottom off. Or Freecycle it. I am sure there is a budget concious bride to be out there who would glady take the dress and have it cleaned, or someone else whose kids would use it for dress up or Halloween. I'm sure you have plenty of pictures of yourself wearing it, so I don' see the point in having it cleaned and kept as a keepsake, but it would be nice to have it serve some other purpose instead of throwing it in the trash.

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answers from Denver on

I had mine cleaned 11 years after my wedding - it was literally in a plastic grocery store bag on the floor of my M.'s closet all that time - and it turned out great! It's amazing what they can do. We did a renewal ceremony and I had the dress altered for that - and a small "mini version" of the dress made for my daughter to wear. So I used it for sentimental reasons - but if you honestly don't think it will ever get used again and you don't really care about keeping it - get it dry cleaned (I think it cost like $50) and then donate it - I bet someone would be thrilled to have it. :-)

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answers from Philadelphia on

i thought you were going to end with you want to do trash the wedding dress photos...could that be a solution? the stains wouldnt show and yo would have fun and get one last day of pics? either that o donate it to someone that cant afford one

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answers from Dallas on

I would clean it. When you get it back, assess the situation.

If it's perfect, have it preserved and put away to give to daughter.

If it is not perfect, but there are good sections, PUt it in a better box and put it in the attic out of your way. Daughter can choose to use parts of it in her dress later.

If it's mostly ruined, you can have tons of fun with it! Find the good pieces and have something new made, like a throw pillow to put on your bed. You can cut out an intricate beading piece and frame it. You could line the inside of a shadow box with it and fill the box with wedding trinkets that are sitting in a box somewhere. You can make keepsake sachets for all the girls in the family and everyone of the girls that were in the wedding.

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answers from Chicago on

Is there any part of it that you find particularly pretty? Like an embroidered section or some kind of decorative piece? If so, you can cut it out and save that. If you have a daughter, she can incorporate it into her wedding dress (even if it is just sewn on the inside her dress) so she can have something "old". Otherwise, just donate it. I think you'll feel quite liberated once you get rid of it and free up some storage space in your house.

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answers from Norfolk on

It is a tradition in some parts to use the train of a wedding dress to provide material for a Christening gown when a child is born.
The pattern is cut from the train and the Christening gown is used for all babies.
When it's time for a daughter to marry, the mother's gown is fitted to the daughter and lace panels are added to cover the holes in the train.
I've seen several gowns be re-vamped like this and the effect can be very pretty.
People didn't have money to waste, so things were used over and over.
I'd have the gown cleaned, put into an acid free storage box and keep it on a shelf in your closet or in your hope chest.
I'd have a hard time throwing out anything on which I'd spent $500.

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answers from Boise on

You could always donate it so that someone else can benefit from it. Even gowns that are not in perfect condition may be cleaned and even dyed a new color for use as a wedding dress, prom or other formal dress, or even a theatrical costume! Send it to a thrift store or an organization like this one: that gives free formal dresses to girls that cannot afford to buy one for prom or whatever.

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answers from Kalamazoo on

I was doing something similar with my daughters baby clothes. I ended up deciding to keep my favorites and make a quilt out of them. Could you make some throw pillows or something out of the unstained parts of the dress? Or take a few square sections unstained and put them in some pretty frames on the wall, or even use them as matting for some of your wedding pictures. Or pay a seamstress to make some of it into a baby dress. I would check pinterest, they might have good ideas of crafty thing to do with it. If you parent into doing any of that, then chuck it.



answers from Pittsburgh on

1. Are you sentimental?
2. Would you like to keep it?
3. Can you afford to get it cleaned & preserved now?

If you answered 1 or 2 AND 3 yes, then go ahead and get it cleaned & preserved.
If you answered 1 AND 2 NO and 3 NO or YES, toss it!



answers from Chicago on

get it cleaned and put it away. when your little one has a child get it made into a skirt for the bassinet. and for the christening outfits



answers from Appleton on

When you get your dress cleaned it is wrapped in acid free paper and folded into a keepsake box. You can keep it on a closet shelf in case your daughter may want to wear it.

I know of a woman who makes quilts from wedding dresses. You can use the colors of your wedding and large peices from the dress and make a quilt for your bed.



answers from Oklahoma City on

I think if it is a name brand dress then it is worth cleaning. Not preserving though.


Even if you keep moving it around it will eventually disintegrate and be beyond any hope.

What if it all came out and was beautiful? You could sell it for a couple hundred bucks with the statement >Freshly dry cleaned and ready to be worn.

It could be donated to a thrift store or to a clothing room so someone in real need could have something beautiful to wear.

You could even rent it out with the understanding they must bring it back cleaned.

I bought an old, really dirty looking and out of date, wedding dress to make a cancan for my granddaughters formal. It was only $10. The dress went in the fabric tub and I have more underskirt if I ever need to make another one.

There are many things to do with it besides just tossing it in the trash. I would think about it a little longer until I was very sure.

Asking a professional dry cleaner about the stains and if the beads and sequins will make it through the chemicals would not cost anything but a few minutes.

Some wedding dresses are made with beading and stuff that says do not dry clean on the package labels. Some people who design and sew these dresses don't think about that when they put them on these expensive dresses.

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