Sustainable Ways To Give Your Wedding Dress New Life After The Big Day (Because Why Stuff It In A Closet?)

Finding the perfect wedding dress is a magical moment. Most brides can agree that narrowing down options and saying "yes" to the dress is a memory they'll hold onto forever. Getting engaged to marry the love of your life is exciting in and of itself, and it gets even better when it comes time for you to shop for your wedding dress. The problem with wedding dresses is that they're usually only worn once — and they're not cheap. 


That being said, it makes all the sense in the world to figure out options for the future of your wedding dress that don't come across as wasteful or pointless. Being open to sustainable ideas for reusing your wedding dress is an honorable and respectable thing to do. Here are a few ideas that give your wedding dress the chance to get a new life after you've already tied the knot.

Sign up for a bridal runway show

Have some fun with your wedding dress by strutting your stuff in a bridal runway show. If modeling is something that's always piqued your interest, your wedding dress just might be your ticket to making that happen. When you hit a runway for any fashion show, you instantly become the center of attention. It's your time to shine and your chance to show the world how confident you are. 


What better item to wear aside from your gorgeous wedding dress? Bridal fashion shows are exciting for patrons and guests who are curious to learn about different brands, designers, and styles. Along with acting as a model for a day, you'll also be helping a soon-to-be bride figure out exactly what she's looking for. As she admires you walking down a runway in your dress, it may inspire her to emulate your vibe.

Sell your wedding dress for a profit

One of the smartest options to consider is selling your wedding dress after your big day. Although you might not think there's a huge market for pre-owned wedding dresses, brides who are trying to cut costs will happily invest in dresses that have already been worn by others in the past. Take your dress to a consignment shop to have it valued before you sell it so you know exactly how much you should accept for it. 


There are also plenty of places where you can sell your wedding dress online, including sites that are specifically created for used wedding dress buyers and sellers. You can also list your dress for sale on more general websites like eBay. Keep in mind that while it's possible, you likely won't earn the same amount you originally paid since the dress has already been worn.

Turn it into a canopy, curtains, or other household decorations

Wouldn't it be nice to look around your home and see reminders of your wedding everywhere? You can make this your reality by turning your wedding dress into home decor like curtains, tablecloths, throw blankets, pillowcases, and seat covers. Your dress can even be turned into table mats, cloth coasters, or wall trim. Search tutorials on video-sharing apps like TikTok or YouTube to see exactly how this can be done.


You don't have to be a professional seamstress to turn your dress into items that will have your home looking classier than ever. When it comes to something like curtains, wedding dress fabric is typically thick enough to block the sun if that's your ultimate goal. Seeing pieces of your wedding dress everywhere you look throughout your home will keep the magic of your wedding day alive.

Give your wedding dress away to a loved one

Selling your wedding dress for a profit might not sit right with you, especially if you've got a loved one who would appreciate the dress as a gift. Think about your family tree and if any relatives would love to receive your dress for their big day. You might have a sister, cousin, niece, or close friend who's told you how much they adore your dress. 


Keep these people in mind as you make decisions about the future of your dress. If someone you care about might benefit from taking the dress off of your hands for their own wedding, it can be an incredibly sweet and thoughtful gesture to make. Of course, this idea only works well with a loved one who's similar to you in shape and size, unless they're willing to pursue alterations.

Turn it into lingerie

Turning your wedding dress into lingerie is an idea that should certainly be on your radar. Why? Your wedding lasts one day, but sensual nights with your spouse are meant to go on for the duration of your marriage! Having some stunning lingerie on deck to get your partner feeling in the mood is a brilliant route to take. You can't go wrong with lingerie that reminds you both of your actual wedding. 


You can find lovely pieces of lingerie at places like Victoria's Secret and Fashion Nova, but none will carry the same romantic charm as those designed from your actual wedding dress. If your wedding dress has tons of floral or lace elements to it, turning it into lingerie will be quite easy for you to do. Corsets, thongs, and bralettes are just a handful of starting ideas to work with.

Dye your wedding dress a new color

As scary as it might sound, dying your wedding dress a brand new color is a surefire way to breathe new life into it after your wedding day. Traditional wedding dresses come in shades of white. Whether the dress is pure white, Pearl white, eggshell white, or a variation of those options, white is always the best starter color for a dye job. Once your dye your dress a brand new color, it becomes nearly unrecognizable as anything wedding-related. 


You'll be able to wear the dress to any new places you want to go without anyone guessing its origins. Going for a dye job gives you the opportunity to be creative and playful with the future of your wedding dress. If hot pink is your favorite color, you can choose that. If lime green is more your vibe, choose that instead.

Alter it into a cocktail dress for nightlife experiences

Although your wedding day might be over, that doesn't mean you're done partying it up for the rest of your life. Your wedding reception might have rocked, and you can keep that fire burning with other similar outings. Next time you want to enjoy a night out on the town with your new spouse or friends, think about wearing your wedding dress to create a more magical evening. 


Your wedding dress can be altered from something super dramatic and exquisite to something a little more daring and fun if you play your cards right. Cocktail dresses can be worn to nightclubs, lounges, bars, casinos, concerts, comedy shows, and more. The length of your wedding dress will definitely have to change along with a handful of other details, but cocktail dresses can easily be worn on more than one occasion. Altering other clothes in your closet is also a great way to get the most mileage out of every piece in your wardrobe

Use your wedding dress as a Halloween costume

Halloween is such a fun holiday because it gives you a chance to dress up in costume and celebrate with friends. Dressing up as a bride for Halloween is one smart way to go if you want to continue making use of your wedding dress. Make it into a couple's costume by having your spouse dress up like a bride or groom to match your vibe. 


You can switch things up by opting for a creepy Bride of Frankenstein costume with makeup blood drops and fuzzy hair. Depending on how you prefer celebrating holidays like Halloween, your wedding dress could certainly come in handy for you. Just be wary that Halloween is a night when adults enjoy throwing back an alcoholic beverage or two. Your dress might not be in the safest environment from spills at a Halloween bash.

Frame it and hang it as art

If you believe that your wedding dress is a work of art, who is anyone to tell you any different? And as a work of art, you can totally have your dress framed. Once a piece of art is framed, it can be hung on a wall inside your home to be admired and adored for a lifetime. The biggest factor to keep in mind with this idea is that wedding dresses can be exceptionally large in size, which means they'll often require a much larger frame. 


Investing in a sizable frame to hold your dress might not be the most low-cost thing to do, but it still gives you the chance to treat your dress like the art you know it is. Decide which wall in your home deserves the classiest piece of art ever before choosing this option.

Convert your wedding dress into a skirt and top matching set

In the same way you'd be able to wear your wedding dress over again if it's turned into sexy lingerie or a cocktail dress, altering it into something more casual means you can re-wear your once-in-a-lifetime dress. Turning your wedding dress into a skirt and top matching set means you'll have something fashionable to wear at picnics, brunches, and date nights whenever you want. 


The top of your dress can be turned into a tank top, short-sleeved top, or crop top based on its cut and shape. The bottom of the dress can be turned into a skirt at whatever length suits you best. Again, you don't have to be skilled in the art of sewing to pull something like this off. All you'll need are the proper tools and the right tutorials to guide you along your way.

Wear it for a post-wedding photoshoot

Pull out all the stops in a post-wedding photoshoot with the help of your beautiful wedding dress. You probably took an abundance of photos on your actual wedding day to look back on, but that doesn't mean you can't continue capturing memories after the fact. Find out if your new spouse is on board with the idea of participating in an additional photoshoot with you to create more memories as a couple. If not, you can always rock your dress solo. 


This way, you have the chance to appear elegantly in photos without the hustle and bustle of your entire family surrounding you. Any angles or poses you missed out on during your wedding day can be made up for during your post-wedding photoshoot. Keeping your dress with you after your wedding makes a lovely idea like this one possible.

Film yourself in your wedding dress to create viral social media content

In the age of social media, going viral is the dream. One way to get those hits is to film yourself in your wedding dress. This works so well is that hashtags like #2023bride and #bridetobe are actively being followed by people who are in the midst of planning their weddings. 


When you upload content that fits into these categories, others who are interested in learning wedding tips, tricks, and hacks will be enthralled. Seeing you discuss wedding-related topics while wearing your dress is a great way to get people looking at your content. Your wedding dress will create engagement because viewers will comment asking where you got your dress, how much you paid for it, and so much more. Wedding stuff is a noteworthy niche on all social media platforms.

Donate it to charity

If you want to feel proud of what you've done with your wedding dress post-"I do," consider donating it to charity. This idea works well for former brides who are unable to sell their dresses or don't know anyone who might benefit from a personal gift. Plenty of charities will happily accept your dress in order to place it in the hands of a bride in need. 


You might not know of any brides who are in dire need of a dress, but there are loads who are willing to turn to charitable organizations to make their dreams come true. Donating anything is a kind and good-hearted thing to do whether you're donating food, books, toys, blood, or something else. A wedding dress is an especially big gift and could make all the difference in the world to that one person looking for it.

Wear your wedding dress to a black tie affair with an added color pop

Consider wearing your wedding dress to a black tie affair where everyone is wearing ball gowns, tuxes, and suits. The best way to pull this off (without having everyone thinking you're wearing a wedding dress) is to add a pop of color. That might come in the form of a colorful scarf, pair of gloves, midsection belt, or something else along those lines. 


Get creative with your accessories so the people around you won't instantly get wedding day vibes from what you're wearing. A brightly colored purse, headband, or pair of heels will take you far. Colorful rows of layered bracelets and necklaces will also do you justice. A colorful boa or shawl over your shoulders is definitely your best bet in ditching a wedding look for a more typical black tie affair look.

Include it in the Angel Gown Project

The Angel Gown Project exists to provide support and comfort for people who have lost their children. It's a devastating concept, but not every infant makes it out of the NICU, the intensive care unit for babies that are sick or preterm. The Angel Gown Project is a way for grieving families to get a beautiful gown for "final photos and burial services," according to the project's website. 


If you want to help serve a family in need, you can donate your wedding dress to the organization, which will then be turned into 10 custom-made burial gowns for infants. Personal letters and stories are often also shared, to let the family know they're not alone in their grief.

Turn your wedding dress into a robe, handkerchief, or other wearable accessory

If you thought glancing around your home to see remnants of your wedding dress as decor was potentially a great idea, you'll love the idea of turning the dress into wearable items too. Smaller accessories that can be made from any wedding dress include robes, handkerchiefs, jewelry, purses, gloves, and headbands. Scrunchies, socks, belts, garters, and phone cases all work as well. 


Being able to wear pieces of your wedding dress when you're out and about will keep you thinking about the magic of your big day well into the future. Since most accessories are fairly small in size, you'll be able to create multiple accessories out of your one dress. Take some time to come up with cute and creative ideas for your wedding dress that will be wearable every day. Plus, it's sustainable (like these denim brands we love).

Rewear your wedding dress on each anniversary as an ongoing tradition

Your wedding anniversary comes around once a year, every year. You might consider pulling your dress out of your closet each time your anniversary rolls around as a romantic tradition with your partner. You'll spend the in-between days of your marriage wearing loungewear, athletic wear, work clothes, beach swimsuits, and pajamas. When the two of you celebrate your anniversary annually, your wedding dress can shine again. 


Your spouse can join you in the tradition by wearing the dress or tux they wore on your wedding day as well. It will allow the two of you to reminisce about the beauty of your big day, even though it's now only something to look back on as a memory. Every time you pull your wedding dress back on to celebrate your anniversary, you'll be breathing new life into it, and creating a heartfelt tradition.

Rent out your wedding dress

Completely getting rid of your dress or cutting it up to be repurposed might not be your cup of tea. Those options can feel very permanent in a way that frightens you. Instead, renting your dress out for temporary periods of time might be the smarter route to take. When you rent your wedding dress out, you earn money for it — and you get it back afterward. 


Sites like SomethingBorrowedBridals come in handy for arrangements like this. You can set up a renter's contract with any brides who are interested to make sure you'll get your dress back in the allotted amount of time. Every bride needs something borrowed on her wedding day for good luck, after all. Why not be the person who allows others to rent your dress out so they can also experience a fabulous wedding day while feeling their best?

Host a wedding-themed party with friends

A wedding-themed party with your friends can be the perfect way to reuse your dress — and hear everyone else's wedding stories. The only rule is that everyone must show up in wedding dresses or other wedding-style attire. Wedding-themed parties are incredibly fun if you and your friend group can relate to being hopeless romantics who live for love. 


Make it more enjoyable by serving champagne along with slices of wedding cake. Adorn the room with florals and string lights. Turn on a wedding playlist filled with popular love songs that couples choose for their first dance. Binge-watch wedding movies and TV show episodes to get into the spirit. Treat it like a book club by reading chapters from romance novels that focus on the sentiments of marriage. Be sure to snap loads of pictures that capture the fun.

Simply set your wedding dress aside to preserve the memories

If we're talking about true sustainability, you'll definitely want to make something happen with your wedding dress aside from letting it sit in the back of your closet. But if we're talking about true sentimentality and emotional pull, sometimes it's okay to hold onto things of value that bring you a deep sense of joy. Preserve your wedding dress for the blissful memories it holds by keeping it safe and covered from dust mites and other risk factors. 


Throwing your wedding dress contributes more waste to the world. Keeping your wedding dress preserved is a different story entirely. If you feel warm and fuzzy inside every time you pick up your wedding dress and hold it close to your heart, it can make sense to keep it in its original condition.