Where and How to Donate Wedding Dress to Charity
Published November 8, 2022
For most women, their wedding dress is one of their most treasured possessions. It’s, after all, a memento of a very special day. That’s why wedding dresses are often kept in closets – sometimes for decades.
While it’s perfectly fine to hold on to your wedding dress, it’s much more practical to donate it to someone who needs it. You won’t only help a struggling bride look her best on her most special day. You’ll also be giving a new life to your wedding dress. Not to mention, free up substantial closet space.
So if you’re planning to help out a sister in need, here’s a quick guide on where and how to donate a wedding dress.
Where to Donate Wedding Dress
Aside from being bulky, wedding dresses are also hard to store and maintain. That’s why not all charitable institutions accept wedding dress donations.
But fret not. We found ones that do. Here are some of the best places to donate your wedding dress:
Almost all Americans are familiar with Goodwill. Whether you’re a donor or a shopper, you’ve probably been in one of their numerous stores across the US.
Goodwill accepts almost any clothing item – including wedding dresses. All donations are sold in their thrift stores at a very discounted price. The proceeds are then used to fund their various charitable programs.
Most Goodwill stores also hold yearly bridal events where hundreds of donated dresses, tux, and wedding accessories are showcased. Some Goodwill locations also offer pick-up services. So if you don’t have the time or resources to drop off your donation, Goodwill is a great option.
Like Goodwill, Salvation Army (SA) is also a household name for charitable donations in the US. And like Goodwill, they also accept wedding dress donations and sell them in their thrift stores across the country. Proceeds from the sales are also used to fund their various charitable programs.
Each Salvation Army location has different donation policies. So if you decide to donate your wedding dress to Salvation Army, you need to contact your local SA first to see if they offer pick-up services. Or you can also schedule a pick-up on their website.
Breast cancer is one of the leading causes of death among women. But with early detection and proper education, it can be prevented. That’s what this organization is doing.
Brides Against Breast Cancer is helping women around the country fight breast cancer through its early awareness and detection programs. These programs are funded by the sale of donated wedding gowns.
So if you donate to this charity, you’ll not only help cash-strapped brides afford a nice wedding dress. You’ll also help advance a great cause.
They accept all brands of wedding gowns as long as the design is less than three years old. Though they prefer trumpet, A-line, and ballgown-style dresses. They also require that donations must be in excellent condition and recently cleaned. If it isn’t, you can add a $50 donation and they’ll clean it for you.
Brides Across America specializes in providing free wedding gowns to military and first responder brides. This includes firefighters, EMTs, police officers, and paramedics. They give out these dresses in year-round giveaway events in partnership with local salons in 17 states.
They accept almost all styles of wedding dress as long as it’s less than 4 years old and in good condition. That means no vintage gowns or anything older. They also welcome donations of veils, tiaras, wedding favors, engagement rings, and special occasion gowns.
For the past ten years, Brides for a Cause have collected and sold about 25,000 wedding dresses. They’re essentially a bridal boutique that operates like a thrift store.
They partner with local charities and non-profit organizations with a special focus on helping women. The proceeds from their shop are used to fund these women-centered organizations that offer programs like:
- promoting self-esteem and a positive self-image among young women
- relief for single mothers and women who are victims of domestic abuse
- promoting employment opportunities for women
Like most charities in this list, they only accept wedding dresses no more than 5 years old. So again, no vintage dresses and anything older. They also accept bulk donations.
6. Angel Gowns
The Angel Gown Program by NICU Helping Hands is unlike any other donation program on this list. Instead of reselling or giving the donated gowns away, they are turned into funeral dresses for babies.
Losing a baby is difficult, especially for the parents. Obviously, these grieving parents would want to send their children on their final journey in decent clothes. But not everyone can afford lace dresses for babies.
That’s why NICU Helping Hands came up with this program. They have about 180 seamstresses from all over the country who painstakingly convert wedding gowns into dresses that a family can use to wrap their babies on their final journey. These baby dresses are provided for free to anyone who will request them.
How to Donate Wedding Dress
Before packing up your donation, here are some tips on how to donate your wedding dress to charity:
1. Make sure the dress is still usable.
Obviously, the main goal for donating your wedding dress is to help a bride in need. So it won’t do them any favor if the dress you’re donating is full of holes or has visible stains. It will only add to the burden of the staff at the charity you’re donating it to.
Though your gown may have been pristine the day you put it in your closet, it may not remain so, especially if not properly stored. Rats, insects, and molds can all do significant damage to your dress. Thus, before wrapping your donation, make sure it’s still in great condition and can still be used by others.
2. If you can, have the dress dry-cleaned.
If your gown had been gathering dust in your closet for years, you may want to drop it off at the dry cleaners first before shipping them for donation. Dry cleaning doesn’t cost much but it can make the charity staff’s work a lot easier.
3. Pack the dress properly and securely.
We all know how easily wedding dresses are ruined. One wrong move can rip the lace or take the beads apart. Plus, they’re white so even a small stain can be visible.
To preserve your wedding dress and make sure that it reaches the charity scot-free, make sure to pack it properly and securely.
If your dress came with a garment bag, you can use that to wrap it up. Otherwise, you can also order one online. Or if you have a suitcase you’re not using anymore, you can put it in there too and donate both.
Donate To The Poor & Homeless Of South Florida
Our Father’s House Soup Kitchen has fed the poor and homeless in South Florida over 900,000 hot meals since 1993. Our tax deductible non profit organization also accepts and distributes donations such as clothing, toiletries, shoes, bicycles, and more. You can donate to help the poor and homeless through our website.
About The Author
Judy Ponio is a professional writer and devoted Christian. She has a passion for writing about topics related to morality and helping the poor and homeless. She is the lead author for the Our Father’s House Soup Kitchen blog.
Correct Digital, Inc is paid by private donors to provide website digital marketing services to this non-profit organization.