What to Do With Your Wedding Dress After the Big Day

Weddings are notoriously expensive, and one of the biggest expenses is the gown. The average dress costs over $1,300 — not including the cost of alterations. That's a huge price tag for something you'll wear only once. After the big day, you can spend hundreds to preserve your gown, or many brides just hang their dresses up in their closets.

But if you aren't too attached to your dress, you can recoup a lot of the money you spent buying it. Selling and donating wedding dresses is an increasingly popular option for newlyweds on a budget.

Where to Sell Your Dress

When it comes to selling your dress, you can get anywhere from 30%-70% of its original price. How much you get depends on the designer, style, and size. There are many different places you can sell your dress.

Consignment Shops

Most cities have bridal consignment shops. You drop off your gown, and they appraise it and set a price for the dress. Once it sells, you get a percentage of the sale.


The classic auction site is a great place to sell all kinds of clothing, including wedding gowns. If your dress is from a chain bridal store like David's Bridal or Alfred Angelo, eBay is a great option. Unique dresses from niche boutiques or smaller designers typically sell for less on eBay than they would on another platform.


Tradesy is a clothing and accessories resale site that focuses on high-end garments. Rather than an auction format, you set your price and wait for a buyer. Users can make an offer under your asking price, but you can refuse them until you get the offer you want.

Consider Donating Your Gown

In some cases, you will not be able to get anywhere near what you paid for your dress. Instead of selling it at cut-rate price, consider donating it. If you gift it to a qualified charitable organization, your donation is tax deductible.

You can deduct the fair market value of your dress. Most charities are willing to do an appraisal of your dress and give you a receipt with the gown's value listed so you can use it for your taxes.

But besides a valuable tax deduction, the donation of your dress can be an incredible gift to someone else. Whether it's giving another bride her dream gown she could never afford, or providing comfort to a grieving family, your contribution can make a big difference in someone's life. Here are a few charities who accept wedding gowns.

Wish Upon a Wedding

For couples facing terminal illness, every day is about their condition. Their wedding is one day where they can just celebrate their lives together. Wish Upon a Wedding helps couples have the perfect wedding, with donated services and wedding gowns.

Brides Across America

A program for military brides, this nonprofit helps give service men and women the wedding of their dreams. If your dress is less than five years old, you can donate the perfect gown.

The Angel Gown Program

For parents who suffer the grief of losing their baby, shopping for a burial gown for their child can be emotionally impossible. And in some cases, they are simply unable to find a gown small enough for a premature or stillborn baby. The Angel Gown Program takes wedding dress donations and turns them into burial gowns and blankets. Dresses are given free of charge to families.

Deciding what to do with your wedding gown is an intensely personal decision that only you can make. But if can part with it, there's a lot you can do with it. Your dress is a major expense, and rather than letting it gather dust, you can use it to put some money back in your bank account or change someone's life.

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