Wedding Dress Upcycling


Like many an American bride, after my wedding day I took my dress to the dry cleaners where it was cleaned, preserved and put in a large box. The box then promptly went into my closet where it sat until last year when we put our house up for sale.

I don’t know what I thought I was going to do with my wedding dress. I think many women have this initial idea that they will one day save their dress for their daughters but it wasn’t something I was planning on. Aside from being very small yet curvy, I would hate my daughter to feel obligated in wearing my dress. And while I may think the cut is very simple and timeless we can all think back to pictures we’ve seen of our foremothers and think, ‘really?!, that’s what you wore!?’

So when it came time to pack up and get out, I knew I needed to make a new plan with what to do with my dress.

All photos by Emily Brocamonte

Use what you have

FMB Contributor Sienna Chapman’s family has a beautiful tradition of taking pieces of previously worn family wedding dresses and using that as material for a new wedding dress. Another friend of mine has used her mother and grandmother’s passed down wedding dresses to make baptism gowns for her own children. I love the idea of the deconstruction to make something new, but I am not handy with a sewing machine at all, so I knew this option was not for me.

Angel Gowns

An Angel Gown is a burial shroud for a baby that has passed away at any age or stage of development. Many families that expected to take a precious baby home have been able to at least be comforted knowing that their little one could be buried in something beautiful. There are many volunteer led organizations across the country that take donated wedding dresses and cut them in a variety of sizes to give to grieving families. Unfortunately, none of the groups I found locally were taking any new dresses at the time (a good problem!). Linked are two Arizona local groups.


Ultimately what I decided to do with my dress was donate it to a non-profit. When I found Adorned in Grace , I knew immediately that’s where my dress needed to go. This organization takes 5 years and younger dresses and sells them in their shop, the profits of which go to the rehabilitation of trafficking survivors. My dress was just on the cusp of 5 years, so I sent it immediately. I love the idea that something that I wore with so much joy could do so much good!


What did you do with your old wedding dress?