Over the last decade, I’ve married 1,000+ couples. There are many trends that have emerged during this time—one of my favorites is the online community that has emerged for brides. I have to admit that I’ve joined several of these groups. As a silent member, I am interested in the ideas and questions that brides have; I think this makes me more effective at serving my own brides.
I almost never respond to queries, but I happened to notice one today where I chimed in. The bride was appreciative of my suggestions, so I thought others might find them of interest, too. The young woman had recently had a micro-wedding and was curious about what she might do with her wedding dress. She didn’t seem to be inclined to hold on to it as a keepsake, but also wanted ideas about a more meaningful gifting of her dress. Here are suggestions I offered to her:
- Gifting her Dress to Charity. Years ago, I came upon the charity Wish Upon a Wedding. Modeled along the lines of the Make-a-Wish Foundation (which offers wishes to critically ill children), Wish Upon a Wedding helps organize weddings and vow renewals for couples facing serious illness. Vendors of all sorts, (like me!) offer complimentary goods and services to put together a wedding for the couple. While I’m not sure if they take donations of dresses, I thought it was worth a try! Similarly, the charity Brides Across America that helps defray the costs of weddings for military couples. The organization accepts donations of dresses.
- Donating to “Angel Gown” programs. From time-to-time, I’ve seen beautifully sweet articles about the re-purposing of bridal gowns. Specifically, the fabric of the gown is used as a final garment for a still borne baby or recently deceased infant. Accomplished seamstresses create beautiful outfits to offer some small measure of support to a family mourning a lost baby. There are a number of these initiatives that exist around the country.
- Re-purposing the dress for future children. I wouldn’t assume that every couple is planning to have children or that they participate in traditional religious rituals. For those who may be thinking of an infant baptism or christening, what could be more meaningful than making a baby’s gown or outfit with a new mother’s wedding dress?
- Trash the Dress. For the artistically inclined couple, the dress can be used for a post-wedding photo shoot that will most probably make the dress unwearable in the future. Time-after-time, I’ll see stunning shots of, for instance, a couple at a beach or submerged in water—that, literally “trashes” the dress. The photos are mementos for a lifetime.