Wedding Leftovers — What To Do With The Dress?

A  married woman tends to keep three major things from her wedding:  The Rings, The Dress, The Photo Album.   Well, I’m not married anymore.    Since there are kids I suppose I have to keep the wedding album.   The Rings?  Well, I recently sold them.  Didn’t get much.  Told myself I would buy something for myself — not for the house, not for the family or kids –with whatever I could get for them.  It felt empowering.  Bought  myself an  iPod.   Now the dress.  When I moved to a much smaller home, I didn’t feel like making room for the box that holds my dress.  Right now it is at my parents’ house.   I couldn’t get a local consignment shop to take the veil so it went to Goodwill.   The shoes finally got thrown out.  They were stained satin, unwearable.  I was only keeping them for sentimental reasons.  I’m devoid of sentiment these days, so they are gone.   But that danged dress!   It’s a little harder to get rid of.  I looked good in that dress.   I was wed long enough ago that the dress is completely out of style, but it’s not old enough that it  could be worn as vintage.   Even if it was wearable,  I guess I’m just superstitious enough that I wouldn’t want someone I know wearing my wedding dress since the marriage ended in divorce.   So what to do with it?   Halloween?  Perhaps.  I keep thinking I’ll have one of those parties for women when you wear a wedding or bridesmaid dress just for fun.  Yeah, that’ll  happen — not!  My daughters want to play with it.  Maybe I’ll let them — before I get rid of it.   But I think I kinda don’t want to see it, ever again.  Donating it to a theatre company?  Possible.  Burn it in the fire pit I built with my own bare hands in the yard of the  house I now own  by myself (well, with the bank)?  hmmmm.  I just don’t know.   Seems so wasteful,  maybe like the wedding, maybe like the marriage.   (yeah yeah I know, I got the kids out of the marriage — but for the kids, though, what a freakin waste) .    I looked damn good in that dress— a lifetime ago . . .

Divorced Ladies:   What have you done with  your wedding gown?

Just Me With . . . a big old white dress.
See Also: Wedding Album, Time to Reduce it, Perhaps by Fire

27 responses

  1. I was married before when I was very young. I kept my dress as well. When my brother got married, he and his wife had virtually no money. So my mom, who had been holding my dress, offered it to my sister-in-law. She took it and had it altered and decorated enough that it didn’t even look like my old dress.

    I shredded any and all the pictures. And the rings were sold. I was fortunate that we never had children together, as well as I was the one who left him, so I really had no emotional ties to any of it.

    Having said that, I don’t mean to make light of your feelings, but this might cheer you up a bit: After this gentleman went through a sad end to his marriage, he decided to get creative with his ex-wife’s dress. He really did have a lot of fun with it. Maybe you could do something really creative with it!

    Also, if you look around, there are organizations that accept secondhand wedding gowns to make Christening gowns for babies, or sadly, funeral gowns as well. Just a few thoughts!

  2. Right now, my wedding dress is knocking around in the back of my mama-van, mostly because I do not have any room for it in the tiny guesthouse I am renting. I’d like to donate it and found this organization that benefits both the brides and breast cancer: .

  3. My wedding dress was the first to go….straight to the Goodwill. We never has a wedding album, only the proofs, I have saved those for the kids should they want them and the same with the rings.

  4. The Reality of White Picket Fences | Reply

    ” Seems so wasteful, maybe like the wedding, maybe like the marriage. (yeah yeah I know, I got the kids out of the marriage — but for the kids, though, what a freakin waste) .”

    I just had to add…. I say this all the time… told the ex when he left…”it’s ok, I got the best part of you and they are waiting at home for me right now”

  5. I made my dress myself and by the time of the wedding– I HATED IT. On top of that, the outer layer of my dress got ripped during the reception when a 6 year old girl stepped on it. I cut it up and made it into Christmas ornaments for our first Christmas. The tulle made an excellent garland! We split after 14 years and I don’t miss the dress or him.

    I still have my veil, as I think I did a really nice job on it. It’s in a box, just in case my daughter wants it, with a bunch of other wedding stuff. When my parents divorced, my mother destroyed everything. As much as their marriage was a disaster, their union IS a part of my history. (Learn from your history or you’re doomed to repeat it? Ooops. Blew that one.) I resent that my daughter robbed us of that piece of our story, so I’ve kept the pix, video, rings and paraphernalia for my daughter. If SHE chooses to trash them, that’s her prerogative.

  6. I left mine in a heap in the attic of the house where I left him. It was a dress I didn’t want to buy (3 sizes bigger because I was still wearing a hard back-brace at the time) for a poorly-timed wedding for a marriage that never should have been. Haha. No emotions here, right?

  7. I have it in a box of other memories from the marriage…for my kids when they are older. It’s sealed, that box. No use getting into it. I hope one day I can just take it to my grown daughters house and leave it for her. She can do with it what she wants.

  8. Oh, this is tough. I say donate it, if anyone will take it. There are some organizations (so I’m told) that take used wedding dresses for repurposing. I’m not sure I could stomach watching it be on fire or anything like that (ruined in any way) if I were you, but I could see it going to a good cause!

  9. […] Compared to many women, I haven’t been a bridesmaid that often.    I don’t come from a large family and only have a  small circle of good friends.   So I’ve only done the bridesmaid thing four times:  two sisters, one high school friend, one college friend.    I was a bride  once.  Yeah, that one didn’t work out.   Took a generation not to work out, but . . .   I digress.    The hundreds of dollars I spent on pictures for my own wedding, the dress  — well , it’s all boxed  — like some sort of evil time capsule.  Wedding Leftovers. […]

  10. I had to read the suggestions…as I’m still holding a dress I hated to buy, that I don’t want to see again, but I really don’t know what I want to happen to. I may sell it, I may donate it…I definitely don’t want it in my house, so its been sitting at my mom’s.

    1. Yeah, mine is still at my parents’ house.

  11. […] while back I wrote a post entitled, “Wedding Leftovers” where I discussed what to do with the remnants of a failed marriage.  I concluded that […]

  12. I read an article in Bust magazine last year about a woman who started a non-profit that collects wedding dresses & sends them to the rufugee camp where she has been working for the past few years (I believe the camp is in Uganda but I’m not entirely sure.) I guess because of the instability there many couples haven’t been able to get married so, they’ve been facilitating the weddings doing these mass wedding parties to celebrate. I’m making it sound very strange but it was actually pretty inspirational. Maybe you could find somewhere to donate the dress? Although your marriage ended in divorce, doing something good with it might reverse the karma or something (?) Anyways, that’s just my 2 cents. I have no idea what I would do with a wedding dress either!

    1. The dress itself is a tough one. I’m glad it’s not in my house, though. The veil, shoes, jewelry — all gone now.

  13. I never had a wedding album, the rings I left behind when I moved across the country, and to tell you the truth, I don’t know what happened to the dress. I know it was in a box at one time, but I have no idea what happened to it. When I moved (escaped) I had 3 children and 3 boxes of clothes in the trunk of my sister’s car. What happened to all the rest, I have no idea, but the wedding dress may or may not have been around when I left. If it was not there, I have no idea what happened to it, if it was there, it never entered my mind to worry about it.

  14. Juliette de Saint-Vincent | Reply

    Dye the dress black, and wear it when you dress up as a Goth on Halloween.

    (I’m not divorced, but the idea just occurred to me.)

    1. Ha! That’s a great idea! Right now the dress is still in a box under a bed at my parents’ house.

      1. Juliette de Saint-Vincent

        I love your blog, BTW. It’s pure dead brilliant.

  15. Not long after my divorce, my cousin borrowed and wore my wedding dress when she married. Not long after that, my sister borrowed it for the elementary school’s yearly fund-raising carnival–she was the “bride of Frankenstein” in the haunted house. The bottom of the dress got quite dirty at that function. I then folded it up into a small bundle and put it in a box which is still in my attic. It’s now 49 years old. But darn! I did look good in it all those years ago, so I’ve just kept it to remind myself that I used to be very thin, and that I DID have a beautiful wedding. To make matters totally absurd, four years ago, I received a letter from the Catholic Archdiocese saying that my ex wanted to re-marry his wife of 40 some years IN THE CHURCH, so our marriage was now considered null and void. Unbelievable.

    1. Whoa. Null and void? I guess it never happened. Huh.

      Using the wedding dress for Halloween type stuff is a great idea. Mine is still at my parent’s house, in a box, haunting me. heh heh heh. If only I could talk to the young woman who wore that dress . . .

  16. I had two sons (who are now grown and married) and knew they would have no need for MY wedding dress. And….why would they….it was tarnished with the evilness of their dad (but I don’t say this to their face) and their future wives would want their own dress. My kids were 15 and 17 when their dad and I separated/divorced. Several months after my divorce I put an ad on Craig’s List and sold it to a girl for $50. I then took my kids out to dinner. As for pictures, I scanned a few and then shredded them all. I gave each of my son’s digital copies of our “family” album. I sold my wedding rings to a pawn shop and never looked back. For 18 years I endured mental and physical abuse from this man…..and I wanted no keepsakes.

    1. First off, hugs to you. Second, I completely understand wanting no keepsakes. People often say that people have to keep items for the kids. Well, we don’t have to keep everything. Not all memorabilia conjures good memories. My dress is still at my parents’ house. Meh. I’m glad it’s not in my home.

  17. […] before about how I have dealt with the mementos of my lengthy but ultimately failed marriage.  Wedding Leftovers — What To Do With The Dress  and The Wedding Album — Time to Reduce it,  Perhaps by Fire.  And the gist was that I […]

  18. After i was married at 22,i had my dress and veil cleaned and boxed.After our son was born a few years later,i had to have a hysterectomy.When our son was 14,we wanted a daughter to complete our family so we adopted a 14 year old girl from an orphange.Her profile said that she was never baptized as a baby,so we made arrangements to have her baptized and christened.I had my wedding gown made into her baptism dress.It was short sleeve and poofy with lace down the front and it came to the top of her knees.With the left over material a bonnet was made to match her dress and a ruffled diaper cover to go over her cloth diaper and rubberpants.She wore the lace anklets and white mary jane shoes with her dress.Her ruffled diaper cover looked very cute and babyish over her white cloth diaper and the white rubberpants!I was thrilled to have her baptized in her outfit that was made from my wedding gown!

    1. Oh that’s very sweet! I’m glad you made good use of your gown! That made me smile. Thanks for sharing. ❤

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