Making A Difference | Wedding Dress Donation

Wedding Dress Donation

Now that you’ve had the best day of your life (not to mention the honeymoon), how do you keep that happiness high going?  One way is to pay it forward is by donating your wedding gown.  Gone are the days of saving your gown for your daughter, most women want a gown of their own to match the trends of the day and their own personal style.  And if re-sale isn’t for you, why not help another woman out by donating your dream dress to one of these worthy organizations, and earn that first newlywed tax write-off too!

wedding dress donation options

Please visit these organizations websites for specific details on their individual donating procedures and tax deduction information.  You can make a donation to any organization across the country by following each one’s donation guidelines.

Brides Across America | National
Brides Across America is a national organization that provides free wedding gowns to brides who serve in the U.S. military or are marrying a service member.  In addition to providing free gowns, they also resell used wedding gowns and wedding gown samples from designers and bridal salons directly from their website to help raise funds to assist military families and veterans.

Brides For A Cause | Washington state locations and national events
Brides For A Cause resells weddings dresses in two locations in Washington, at traveling “roadshows” across the country, and through an online boutique.  Like its retail operation, this nonprofit organization partners with various charity groups.  One of its main benefactors is Wish Upon A Wedding, a national non-profit organization with local chapters run by some of the top talents in the wedding industry to grant wedding wishes to couples with medical illnesses or life-altering circumstances.   Brides For a Cause is one of the few organizations that holds “Dress Drives” across the country to make it super easy to donate.

Fairytale Brides on a Shoestring | Rockville, MD
Fairytale Brides on a Shoestring is a nonprofit bridal salon located outside Washington, D.C. that accepts donations from anywhere in the country. The salon’s motto is “empowering women one dress at a time.”  To do this, they sell used wedding gowns and bridal accessories at a fraction of the original retail cost and donates all of the proceeds to women’s charities, such as Suited for Change and Victims Rights Foundation, as well as providing college scholarships to local high school seniors.  The salon’s staff is made up of volunteers and they often participate in local charity events throughout the community.  They are truly Fairy-Godmothers!

The Brides Project | Ann Arbor, MI
The Brides Project is another locally-based bridal salon that focuses on the resale of used bridal gowns and unworn samples and accessories to raise money for the Cancer Support Community (CSC) of Greater Ann Arbor.  The Ann Arbor location is the sister location to the original Bride’s Project based in Canada.  Donating your gown to The Bride’s Project in the U.S. or Canada is a wonderful way to honor the memory of a loved one who has fought cancer.

The Bridal Garden | New York, NY
This New York City boutique is a true find for brides who are looking to donate or shop for a wedding gown.  In addition to the wide range of designer gowns in all sizes, the shop also has a wide selection of accessories such as headpieces, veils and jewelry.  The proceeds of all sales go to the education of disadvantaged children in New York.  The Bridal Garden is a favorite among top designers too, many donate their wedding and ready-to-wear items to them directly.  Your mom or maid-of-honor may be able to find an evening gown for your wedding at one of their ready-to-wear sale events!

Let your gown be enjoyed again and help a great cause at the same time.  What’s not to love about that?

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7 Tips to Help You Find Your Wedding Dress Style

7 tips to help you find your wedding dress style

After the proposal, the biggest question on every bride’s mind seems to be “What will I wear?”  With more and more fashion designers offering bridal collections every season, the options seem endless.  Is your style classic or fashion forward?  Big and dramatic or sleek and sophisticated?

7 tips to help you find your wedding dress style

Not sure what you’re looking for in a wedding dress?  Here are 7 tips to help you find your wedding-day look:

1. Book the hall first.
Pick your wedding date and book a venue before you start shopping for a wedding gown.  Where and when your wedding will be held will dictate the overall style and theme of your wedding.  For example, the gown you would wear in a ballroom with a guest list of 300 is not what you would wear on a beach for an intimate ceremony.

2.  Pin away.
Start browsing the websites of your favorite wedding magazines and blogs.  Most of them will have galleries of all the latest designer collections, usually categorized by price points and searchable by silhouette, neckline, sleeve-length and several other design details.  See what catches your eye and start a Pinterest board that you can share at your wedding dress shopping appointments.  You may also want to bring an iPad or tablet with you to make it easy to share.

3.  Study your closet.
Think about what your favorite outfits are.  Why are they your favorites?  Because of the cut, the detailing, or how you felt when wearing them?  You want to stay true to your own personal style when choosing a wedding gown, so have a good understanding of what works for you.

4.  Consider your complete wedding day look.
How will you accessorize your wedding gown ?  It sounds silly to think of jewelry and accessories before the dress, but you may have an heirloom piece or something on-trend that has caught your eye that you know you want to incorporate into your wedding-day look.  If you know you want to be married in Grandma’s diamond necklace or your mother’s embroidered lace veil, bring them with you to see which gowns they will go best with.

5.  Be open minded.
As much as you need to understand your own style and what feels best on you, you also need to trust your consultant.  Their job is to have a sixth sense of what styles work best on each bride.  If they recommend something out of your comfort zone, give it a try you may be pleasantly surprised!  However, never let a salesperson make you feel uncomfortable, you always have the right to say no thank you.

6.  Don’t be too trendy.
Choose a gown because you love it and it looks good on you, not because it’s the latest trend and no one has anything else like it.  Being fashionable is good, being too trendy can look silly, especially if that’s not part of your day-to-day style.

7.  Don’t be afraid of color.
Adding a touch of color to your wedding gown can be a great way to show off your individual style.  Go bold with a colorful sash or opt for a rose gold, blush or platinum shade instead of traditional white.  For a subtle touch of color, try on a wedding dress with sheer fabrications that’s layered in different pale-colored shades to add depth and texture.

Your wedding day is about looking and feeling your most beautiful. It’s about expressing your style, not being someone you aren’t. Start to find your inspiration with our editor’s dress picks here.


Photo: courtesy of Lili Hod

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Is Renting Your Wedding Dress Worth It?

Monique Lhuillier Saffron

Modern brides have more choice than ever when it comes to buying a wedding dress – traditional salon purchases, buying PreOwned, or renting. For brides on a budget, renting sounds tempting option (after all, the guys have always done it).  But in reality, renting isn’t always the cheapest option.  And it has big drawbacks.

monique lhuillier saffronFIT
Fit takes a wedding dress from pretty to perfect.  Almost all wedding dresses need at least a little bit of alteration to make the fit exact.  With rental, alterations simply aren’t an option.  So, while you might be wearing your dream dress, it may not look as amazing as it could.

Wedding gown rentals have strict timelines.  Typically, you’ll receive the dress only a few days before your big day and will need to ship it back immediately after.  For many brides, that’s not enough time with one of the most special gowns they’ll ever wear.

Normal wear is excepted with a rental, but anything exceptional could quickly become costly.  A bride should enjoy her wedding without fearing every wine glass bearing guest that approaches to offer congratulations.

monique lhuillier saffron gownBrides can actually save more than they would with rental, by purchasing PreOwned. Let’s use Monique Lhuillier’s stunning Saffron gown as an example.

A bride can purchase this gown used for approximately $2,500.  Or rent it for $1,225. By purchasing it PreOwned, she owns the dress.  That means that she can alter it to exactly her measurements and ensure a perfect fit.  She can also wear it worry free.  After her big day, she can budget to clean the gown ($250) and then re-sell it.  She can expect to earn up to $1,600 on resale, making her net cost to wear the dress only $1,150.  Less than the cost of rental.  And  with more joy (and less headaches).


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The Hot New Wedding Dress Trends for 2017

2017 Wedding Dress Trends

Planning a 2017 wedding?  Then you’ll have plenty of gorgeous wedding dress trends to choose from. Revealing gowns with plunging necklines and backs, bodices, skirts and trains adorned with fabric and shimmering flowers and perhaps as a nod to regal brides, sleeves from capped to wrist-length are the hottest styles from the bridal runways. Here’s a look at the year’s most stunning bridal trends.

Brides looking for the Grace Kelly or Kate Middleton wedding-day look won’t find it hard to locate a dreamy gown with long lace sleeves. Designers added sleeves to many of their gowns this season, some that just graced the shoulder, a few which mimicked tee-shirt lengths, and others which went for a more dramatic look with long fitted sleeves à la Grace or billowing ones.

This minimalist ball gown by Vera Wang made quite a statement with its plunging V-neckline, exposed shoulders and never-ending sleeves.  The clean fabric was embellished by a jeweled belt detail at the waist.


Perhaps as a nod to the 70s, Berta’s wrap-like wedding dress has a bead-embellished bodice with soft bell sleeves.  The crisp mermaid skirt has a thigh-high slit and delicate ruffle detail that trails from the waist.

One of the season’s sweeter looks, perhaps for a daytime wedding, is this Lela Rose dress with illusion detail across the décolletage with capped sleeves and a textured polka-dot bodice and tea-length skirt.


Racier looks have reigned on the runways for years, and as part of the trend necklines went from sweetheart to sweeping with V and even U-shapes necklines that go from neck to navel.  Some cutouts are “filled in” with an illusion fabric, such as netting or lace for a more modest take.

Israeli designer Berta consistently shows revealing gowns so a V-neckline is far from shocking, yet this one catches the eye because it plunges beneath a traditional V and continues to the waist line.  The juxtaposition of a feminine floral and tulle gown with a sexy and revealing bodice is what makes this gown so alluring.


Softer than a V, Ines Di Santo created a U-neckline on this sheath with ruffled train.  The bodice cut-out is “filled in” with a sheer fabric with a lattice pattern and embellished with crystal and beaded floral details.


Perhaps inspired by Marilyn Monroe, this Romona Keveza Legends ball gown has a plunging V with a halter neckline.  The minimalist design of the gown itself allows the focus to be on the bodice, which is only adorned by a jeweled belt detail at the waist.


More feminine than playful, ruffles were the newest design detail to walk the runways.  Designers offered ruffles on their own as a delicate embellishment to a sleeve, neckline or hemline, modernized them by creating volume on a skirt, or making a traditional look edgier.

This Anne Barge ball gown gets a 21st century update with cascading ruffle peplums cut on the bias.  The layers add volumes to the already full skirt. The sweetheart bodice is made with a corded lace and the veil is trimmed in large floral lace for a traditional look.


Peplums hit the bridal runway several seasons ago and this ruffled version by Reem Acra gives it a modern makeover.  Quite a regal look, the voluminous ball gown skirt is paired with a minimalist off-the-shoulder bodice and crystal embellishment at the waist.


For an outdoor or laid-back affair, Christos’ light-as-air sheath has delicate ruffles flowing from the skirt and along the cold-shoulder neckline.


A traditional bridal element going back centuries, floral details on wedding dresses can be designed in several ways.  Three-dimensional fabric petals and blooms can adorn bodices, skirts and trains, embroidered and beaded flowers add a light texture to a gown, and all-over floral-patterned fabrics are a pleasant statement-making surprise on the runway.

This floral-embellished gown by ready-to-wear and bridal designer Naeem Khan features three-dimensional daisies in various sizes on the bodice and skirt. The plunging V-neckline and spaghetti straps take the most innocent of blooms and creates a very daring wedding-day look.


Oscar de la Renta pairs a minimal fluted skirt with an embellished bodice made with lace and three-dimensional flowers.  A satin band at the waist separates the two opposite design elements.


This soft, romantic sheath by Ines Di Santo features a one-shoulder three-dimensional floral strap that cascades like a garland to the hem of the skirt and along the waistline.  A train follows, trimmed with the same fabric bloom.

The Hot New Wedding Dress Trends for 2017

Brides who have decided to bare more than just some skin on their wedding day have an option to remain a little modest with illusion fabrics such as lace and tulle, sometimes adorned or embellished, that barely cover their décolletage and backs.  As necklines dip lower and backs become more open, designers are offering up creative and stunning ways to be sexy but still demure as you recite your vows.  Sheer inserts allow for some coverage on necklines that dip deep to the navel, ensuring the feeling that you’re not about to bust out of the bodice.

Delicate floral details cover the illusion bodice on this hi-low gown by Marchesa.  With a crew neckline and tee-shirt length sleeves, small white blooms and petals make their way up from the waistline, over the breast creating a V-neckline and trail off the shoulders for quite a romantic look.


One of the hottest designer’s right now, Inbal Dror leads the pack of Israeli bridal designers with her barely-there gowns. This lace mini dress has a point d’esprit lace over-dress that is trimmed in satin and “covers” both the arms and legs.


Perhaps inspired by commoners turned royal brides Kate Middleton or Grace Kelly, this regal gown by Amsale features delicate long lace sleeves and a crew neckline over a corseted bodice and a tiered tulle ball gown skirt.


Photo Credits:  All images courtesy of designer

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