Sunday, February 27, 2011
White satin dress with train, worn once, pristine condition.
The wedding and the marriage have been perfect, but she feels it criminal to put the dress away where it will never be worn again, so she offers someone else a sliver of the joy she has.
-- From the poem "14 Sentences On Goodwill Wedding Dresses" by Diana Heidem; I highly recommend you go read the whole thing on Manolo for the Brides
While some brides opt to rent their wedding gowns, many brides purchase their dresses. And perhaps, some time later, a bride might decide that she just doesn't need to keep the dress any more. What to do? There are a number of places to sell wedding gowns - but for today, let's focus on donations.
This post was inspired by my cousin Wendy Robins, who told me her story: "I sent my wedding dress to Israel with our rabbi's wife. She donated it to a place that provides gowns for brides who cannot afford one. I'm sure there are organizations here that do the same. It made me feel good to help another bride on her special day." [e-mail message quoted by permission]
And yes indeed, there are organizations here in the U.S. that make good use of wedding gown donations. The most well-known one is probably Brides Against Breast Cancer, which is currently seeking "contemporary gown styles, slips and veils dating from 2005 until the present day." Gowns sold by BABC raise funds for the Making Memories Breast Cancer Foundation. Update on July 5, 2012: BABC now wants items dating from 2009 onward.
Another reasonably well-known organization is Brides Across America; this group "will pass on your precious donation to a military bride in need." Gowns must be not more than three years old.
There are a number of less well-known groups, too. For example, The Brides’ Project "has two very important purposes: to provide every bride with the things she needs for a beautiful wedding within her budget, and to support cancer charities by donating all our profits." However, you won't get a tax receipt from this group, because it's a "third party fundraiser." Gowns older than five years are accepted, but may be "used for alternative purposes" if the group determines they are unlikely to sell.
If you want your wedding gown to go to good use - but not necessarily as a gown for another bride - consider the Mary Madeline Project. As the project's web site explains: "We are a non-profit organization that donates infant / baby burial gowns and blankets to hospitals for bereaving parents. Women donate their cherished wedding gowns to the project and volunteers give of their time, talents and love by making the baby burial gowns and blankets."
Then there are the big-name charities you may not think of right away. In the U.K., you can donate your wedding dress to Oxfam. "Not only do your donations give another bride the opportunity to wear a fabulous dress that they might otherwise be unable to buy, the money raised by the sale really can make a difference to people living in extreme poverty."
And of course, as the opening poem suggests, consider Goodwill. As Lorie Marrero points out, "Each regional Goodwill member agency is autonomously operated" - so you'll need to check with yours to find out just how things work. Dresses may be sold at the stores or online.
Echoing the sentiment of that opening poem, Andrea DeBell of Britetalk comments on the Project 333 blog: "Even though I looooved my wedding dress, right after our honeymoon I put the dress in its original bag and sent it to Goodwill. I knew I wasn’t going to use it again so I wanted to share it with someone else that maybe couldn’t afford a nice dress. My dress made my wedding day special and I hope it did the same for someone else."
This post comes from Jeri's Organizing & Decluttering News; please see the copyright information included there.