Although a wedding gown is one of the most important and memorable items of clothing a woman will purchase, it's only worn once. After the big day is over, a bride is most likely going to shove her dress in a closet or an attic. Instead of stashing your dress away and hoping that maybe one day a family member will wear it, help others by donating your wedding gown to a charity. Women who otherwise could not afford a beautiful gown can purchase yours, and the donation is tax deductible as well.
Decide if you'd like to donate your dress to a local charity shop or if there's a specific cause you want to support. Brides Against Breast Cancer (bridesagainstbreastcancer.org) uses donated gowns to grant wishes to women with breast cancer, and The Bridal Garden (bridalgarden.org) helps Sheltering Arms Children's Service that provides education for New York City children.
Visit your local Goodwill, Salvation Army or church thrift stores to inquire about wedding gown donations.
Keep the style and age of your dress in mind when selecting an organization; a 1980s gown with huge puffy sleeves is probably not going to be of much use to a modern bride. Brides Against Breast Cancer, for example, only accepts wedding gowns from 2005 or later. Vintage dresses are more likely to be accepted by groups such as Goodwill or Salvation Army.
Check with the specific organization or charity shop for the donation rules. You may need to fill out a form to include with the gown, including the purchase price, designer and year.
Take your gown to be professionally cleaned before sending it to a charity, especially if it is stained with food or makeup.
Obtain a receipt for your gown once it is dropped off or shipped to the charity. Keep this for tax deduction purposes.