Guest Blog

After The Event: What Do You Do With The Wedding Dress?

15th October 2012 | Julia Braime

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Months, even years can be spent finding the perfect wedding dress but often little thought is given to what to do with it after the big day.  Our brand new regular guest blogger Rachel Parry (editor of Mosaic Brides no less!)  is back to talk through your options.  

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(C) David Lawson Studios

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Rachel says: Considering the amount of time, effort and money that many brides put into finding their dream dress it seems a little unfair on both the bride and her gown that it be stuffed to the back of the wardrobe, never to see the light of day again.

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It’s natural for a bride to feel attached to her dress but the photographs and/or wedding video are what preserve the memories for a lifetime, leaving further options for the dress beyond storage.  The decision doesn’t have to be rushed but it’s essential to have the dress professional cleaned within six weeks of the wedding to stand the best chance of getting out the champagne, dirt and food stains.

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While the dress is away being brought back to its best here are some options for you to consider:

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(C) David Lawson Studios

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Keep it

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Some brides simply cannot bear to part with their dress. In this instance it’s essential the proper steps are taken to preserve the gown.

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Many bridal shops offer preservation packages that will protect the gown from yellowing, creasing, moulding or mildewing, light and dust, delivering the dress back to you beautifully boxed, ready to be stored.

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Some choose to keep the dress simply as a reminder of the special day while others pass it down through the family, either for a future daughter to wear or as a family heirloom.

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For those who want to keep the dress but can’t stand the thought of storing it out of sight there is another option – display it.

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Many wedding dress designs are like pieces of fine art and look beautiful hung on a wardrobe door in a guest/dressing room or even modelled on a vintage-style mannequin. This way you still get to see your dress and show it off to others.

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(C) David Lawson Studios

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Remodel It

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A number of brides still follow the tradition of having a seamstress use the fabric of their wedding dress to make a christening gown for a future child to wear, retaining the sentimental value of the garment.

Alternatively you could have the dress remodelled to create a new outfit for yourself. For example, if your dress has a stunning bodice you could have the bottom half of the dress removed and replaced with a shorter skirt which you could then wear to other special occasions like a ball or on-board on cruise ship. There are also options to dye the dress to make it look less bridal.

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Sell it

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This is a popular choice with brides looking to recoup some costs of the wedding and also those who want to give their dress a new lease of life.

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Most choose to sell online, particularly on sites like Ebay and Gumtree. There are also websites dedicated to offering online listing services for a full range of pre-owned wedding items, from the dress to the décor, meaning you can literally sell your wedding.

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It’s heart warming to think your something old could become another bride’s something new.

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(C) David Lawson Studios

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Donate it

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Let your wedding bring happiness to people even after the big day has passed.

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Donating your wedding dress to charity is an incredibly generous act that could help change the lives of others.

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Some charities actually have dedicated bridal shops and/or online sites. Oxfam is one charity that offers both. Its online shop has a beautiful range of second-hand wedding dresses and one-off pieces for the groom, best man and bridesmaids. Meanwhile Oxfam also has eleven bridal departments across the UK offering specialist advice and dresses at jaw-dropping prices.

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If you are struggling to part with your dress you could still use it to help a worthy cause by organising a fundraising event. A charity ball with a wedding attire dress code, would give you and your friends the perfect excuse to wear your gowns again.

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(C) David Lawson Studios

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Trash/Rock it

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A new trend set in America which has been fully embraced by many UK photographers.

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This option allows a bride to wear her dress again for a fun, memorable and liberating photo shoot in an unusual setting.  The idea is to take the elegance of a wedding gown and place it in a contrasting environment. Imaginative locations to date have included beaches, disused buildings, rooftops, city streets and even rubbish dumps – so pretty much anything goes.

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Trash the dress is for the fearless female who doesn’t mind too much if her dress gets destroyed in the process from running through the sea or lying in a field.

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Rock the dress shoots are a tamer option which encourage a bride to inject her own sense of style by wearing her dress in a different way to how it was worn on the wedding day. This could mean a gothic inspired shoot with heavy eye make-up, a rock chick look with leather biker boots and jacket or a romantic, ethereal style shoot with a large floral crown.

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Either way such shoots provide a great opportunity for brides to really push the boundaries without having to worry about how dirty the dress gets.

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(C) David Lawson Studios

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{Editor’s note: Images from my own real wedding by David Lawson StudiosClick here to see all the images.  For the record, my dress is still hanging – in all it’s wedding day stained glory – on the back of her bedroom door!}

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What do you plan to do with your wedding dress? Alternative suggestions very welcome!

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  – Images © 2010 – 2012 David Lawson Studios 

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