From the Archives ~ Day 294 The Wedding Dress

Continue reading with these posts:

  • Cindy’s Weekly Wisdom – Too Good to Use Do you own anything that's "too good to use"? I bet you do. I started this post by asking my mother. The first thing she said was, "Yes, and do you know what a mistake that was?" What I […]
  • Eight Year’s Storage Cindy's Weekly Wisdom My Grandfather passed almost exactly eight years ago, a few years after the passing of my Grandmother. They had lived on the same farm their whole married life - 64 […]
  • Mini Mission Monday ~ Perishables Mini Mission Monday is about finding ten minutes a day to declutter. To make it easy for you, each Monday I set seven declutter missions, one for each day of the week for you to follow. It […]
About Colleen Madsen

Colleen is the founder of 365 Less Things and lives in Newcastle, Australia.


  1. Thankfully I don’t have a wedding dress to worry about. Not that I would–worry I mean. When I got old enough to make a decision about my Mom’s wedding dress I told her I thought we should give it away. We gave it to a local theater group. They were excited to get it because it was one that could be used for many eras as it was rather classic. They eventually dyed it for one particular play that they do yearly.

    • Hi Deb, this is my preferred method of disposal for my wedding dress as well. There is a theatre group just up the street from my house. I will go up there is ask if they would like it.

  2. It felt good to take my dress out of its big preservation box for donation (inspired by this blog about a year ago). Cleared up a lot of closet space. Also, there are many things where I feel like nothing good can come from keeping them. They’ll certainly be neglected, and will probably suffer harm at some point which then I’ll feel guilty about.

    I started decluttering when I read a blog post by a pop culture writer (Linda Holmes) about a flood in her apartment that ruined most of her belongings. It was a small apartment, she didn’t have a lot of stuff, but she had a couple boxes of beloved books and mementos in a closet0 and she was sad that they were destroyed. I had a very strong reaction – I suddenly felt that I didn’t want to have beloved things sitting around in closets waiting to be destroyed. I think I’ll always have some mementos, and certainly I have plenty in my closets, but a lot of my precious stuff is now out circulating and hopefully being useful to somebody else.

    • Great reason to begin decluttering Rebecca J and great attitude to setting items free to circulate. How much more joy you can get from a cherished item when you share it with others. Good on you.

  3. Hi! My wedding dress was rented. If it hadn’t been I would probably had kept it until now… 😀 I can understand the emotion and importance placed in the wedding dress, but isn’t it much better to look at pictures and remember the day? As I never had to make that decision I am not butting in…

  4. I still have mine and I’m working on 29 years now. I got it out recently (2009) when my daughter got married but it didn’t fit her and wasn’t current enough to have altered. Nor was it retro enough. At this time I have my dress AND her dress. I did get rid of her back up dress. I paid $200 for it at an Expo but she found the perfect dress later. I sent it to a friend who used it in a Halloween 5k. 😀

    As for my daughter’s….she’s divorced now and I need to take it to a charity shop. Mine? I’m working on getting into it again. I think that once I do fit, I’ll have pictures taken and then decide.

    I do have lots of things that aren’t as precious as the dress to get rid of.

  5. Both times I was married in a Registry Office: first I wore a blue and white summer dress (that my Granny made for me!) followed by a long evening dress for the reception. Then my first husband passed away and after a few years I remarried and I bought a lovely pink silky suit which I wore many times afterwards for posh occasions. Never had the problem of the white wedding dress, much easier!

  6. I sold my dress less than a year after my wedding. The money paid for a flight to visit my mother with my new baby. I would not have afforded to go without selling the gown. This was in the days before cheap flights. My husband didn’t want me to sell but I knew I would never wear it again, that if I had a daughter fashion changes so I doubt she would want it (as it turned out I only had boys), and that I wanted to see my mother more than I wanted to look at my dress.

    I kept my veil as a momento. 20 years later I donated it to a school drama costume collection. It had lost some beeds and gained some holes. Would not be worn by any bride! Should have given it with the dress.

    I am so glad I didn’t keep the weight of responsibility that grows heavier the longer you keep something of emotional value. The longer it stays, the greater the responsibility, the harder it is to part with!

    • Lucinda – I think you have nailed it with “the weight of responsibility that grows heavier the longer you keep something of emotional value”.

    • I agree too Lucinda, I know I don’t want to keep my dress and yet it is still here. I will not be going to my next location so my only task now is to investigate to options of disposal. I have to say that the dress still looks beautiful to me but that doesn’t encourage me to want to keep it any longer.

  7. Yes I have the poofy-style dress with the big sleeves and a ginormous bow on the bum sitting in a box. Andreia has encouraged me to get rid of it, but as someone said in the article (Great article by the way Cindy and Colleen) there is almost a superstitious factor to getting rid of a wedding dress.

    I’m told the modern thing is to do the “trashing of the dress” photo where the bride does a photo in the water (usually at a later date) and it gets ruined and that is that. I saw a ‘trashing of the dress’ photo recently and it was awesome. HOWEVER, I read an article a couple of months ago about a bride who did her “trashing” photo at the end of the formal wedding photos and she did hers in the river and the current caught her train and she got swept away and unfortunately drowned with the weight of the dress. But on a more cheerful note, if you google ‘trashing of the wedding dress’ you will see there are some really clever ideas.

    • Hi Moni, my husband is keen on this idea but I don’t see the point in trashing a perfectly good dress. It seems wasteful enough after 26 years but while the dress is new and still in fashion that just seems crazy to me. That being said it sure does solve the problem. I might get dolled up and have a photo shoot in mine and them donate it either to the thrift shop or to a local theatre group if they have a use for it.

      • Colleen, I hope you do it and share the pics with us! I was going to get rid of mine when I started decluttering in earnest, and my husband (usually is glad when I declutter) wants me to keep it. We have always wanted to redo pictures; so that is the plan once I fit into it again, and I do still see it a very beautiful dress.

        • I am glad you still see your dress as beautiful too Angela. Mine is a little small for me these days but some nice photos could be taken of me in it without noticing that the buttons in the back don’t do up properly. I doubt I will ever fit properly into it again but close enough is good enough for me.

    • Moni, I guess I am just too much into conservation. I can’t see the trashing idea being smart. To me there are so many women out there who need to buy a dress from a thrif store or something. I’m really into the recycling of clothes and anything else.

  8. I donated mine to the local op shop last year – it was a suit, lovely fabric but the style was very dated. I have not given it another thought since, until this post came up.

    I don’t agree with trashing the dress – far better to find it a new home BEFORE it gets hopelessly out of date. Same for all those “corporate” outfits – a lot of them clutter up wardrobes for years when they could be out in the world doing good.

  9. I’ve got mine and we got married in 1999. I suppose that it is part of the “never to be decluttered items” for me. Colleen, love the picture of you in your dress. 🙂

  10. I also disagree with trashing the dress. For purely environmental reasons, can we not get as much use out of it as possible by selling or giving it away to someone to get married in? Then, much like an old car, strip it for parts? Use the fabric that you can once the style is too old-fashioned or it’s no longer in “good enough” shape to get married in.

    I got married in a suit (dress and matching suit jacket) at City Hall. I also wore it to work, it was suitable for that. I eventually donated it to Goodwill or a person I thought would get some use out of it, can’t remember. But I don’t miss it at all. And my marriage is going strong 15 years later.

    I shudder when I think of all the millions of wedding dresses, even those no longer in style, that someone could use to get married in, or as a costume or for fabric, that is just sitting in those boxes in people’s attics. It’s just ridiculous to me.

  11. Calico Ginger and Kim – I hear what you’re saying and both have very valid points, however…….its the brides day and if she wants some really memorable photos, I actually admire them. It is not very often you get to dress up in your dream dress and have your hair and make up done professionally and have a professional photographer – possibly going to be the photos that you look your best ever. And then to do something fun and creative, I can understand why they would do a trashing of the dress shot, you’ll never get that opportunity again. Mind you, I have a daughter who is a photography student and my perspective comes from talking to her and her classmates, wow those kids do some amazing stuff and have some out there ideas. I know of someone who did a photo floating in the water and got it drycleaned, came up pretty good, and so she later borrowed it to her sister who wanted a similar-ish photo and then later again to yet another sister who wanted to do somethng else for her ‘trashing’ photo. The dress was well and truly trashed by then. Fortunately they all got married within a two year period so the original dress was fashionable enough to be similar enough to be used by all three sisters for these shots.

  12. I just read the Miss Smarty Pants blog. I knew my parents could not afford a fancy wedding and I had very little saved up after graduating from college the year before, so a simple wedding and a simple dress suited me and my personality fine. My mother who had always sewn for me and my three sisters made me a simple dress from white dotted swiss and my younger sister (my bridesmaid and only attendant) a very similar dress in blue dotted swiss. They looked weddingish but not necessarily traditional. I guess I was a little sentimental because I did keep it for about 4 years. When we moved to another state and needed curtains for a bedroom, I took it apart and made them from the material since it had a lot of yardage in the skirt (I can’t remember exactly how long it was). This was a loooong time ago–but I have never regretted repurposing it–isn’t it nice that we now have a word for this sort of thing. Of course, we have a lot of wedding pictures made by a friend who did photography for his hobby. The ladies at the church decorated it as a gift, too. We felt a lot of love from everyone–we hadn’t asked any one to do anything This was the first wedding in this building and I think they enjoyed the opportunity to experiment. We do have two daughters who picked their own dresses and whose tastes are much different from mine and from each other. Growing up they were very girly, girly compared to me, a pure tomboy.

    • You wedding sounds just perfect Nana. And how wonderful, being about to use the fabric for curtains. I was luck to have a mother that sewed too who made mine and my bridesmaid dresses. She also taught me to be frugal so we got all the fabrics for them at a very good price too. My sister was a very skilled cake decorator too so there was another saving. I had a lovely wedding that really didn’t cost all that much as a result.

      Like you I am a tomboy and I wouldn’t have it any other way.