8 Ways to Recycle Your Wedding Dress

How to recycle your wedding dress

Your wedding dress was probably the one item of clothing that you agonised over the most, trying on lots of dresses and doing all the research. You probably also spent a pretty penny on it. Yet, the irony is, you wear it for just one day, not even that, for just a few hours.

“Wedding dresses are expensive, however there’s plenty you can do to either enjoy it for years to come after the big day – or allow someone else to enjoy it,” says Sabina.

Upcycling your wedding dress is also better for the environment. Global campaign group Fashion Revolution says that global textile production emits 1.2 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases annually, so the more we can re-wear and reuse, the better!

If you're looking to recycle your wedding dress, here are some top tips to give you some inspiration...

Dye it

Nobody wears big white dresses unless they’re going down the aisle, however, a quick dye job can transform your dress into one you will wear again. Yes, you may not wear it to do your weekly supermarket shop, but it does mean you’ll have a dress for any non-wedding special occasions to come.

It can be done at home, however, this is probably a job for the professionals, as the outer and lining can shrink at different rates! Also not all wedding dresses can be dyed, so it's best to check the label before hitting the dye.

Those that use 100% silk materials, like our Couture Collection, are a better choice for dying than those that use man-made textiles. 

How to recycle your wedding dress

Hand it down

You may want to keep your wedding dress to hand it down to your daughter one day. It’s a lovely idea, but it’s important to make sure you store your wedding dress correctly – otherwise she’ll be opening a moth-eaten frock down the line.

Turn it into a christening gown

Another way to pass your dress onto your offspring is to get it turned into a christening gown. A local seamstress should be able to help, or alternatively, there are companies such as Little Doves or Infinity Keepsakes who create bespoke christening day outfits out of your big day dress.

Recycle your wedding dress into a christening gown

Donate it

One of the things we do here at Sabina Motasem is to donate pre-loved samples from previous collections to Brides Do Good, a bridal boutique in Kensington who work hard to help end child marriage and other charities. Many charity shops will happily take in wedding dresses as well.

Charity Cherished Gowns also accepts worn wedding dresses, which they then turn into clothing for babies that have passed away. They are currently not taking donations until early 2023.

Transform it into another dress!

Not many occasions call for a full-length, formal dress, however, a few adjustments mean it can be made into something much more wearable. A shorter hem or the removal of sleeves can make all the difference.

And if money is no object, you could also get a beautiful print painted on. Tessa Cox Birch, who creates printed bridesmaid dresses, offers this service and it’s sure to eradicate any touch of bridal from your wedding dress!

Rent it

The clothing rental market is booming. Predicted to be worth a whopping £923m within the fashion market, it’s not only designer dresses that you can hire, but also wedding dresses.

The great news if you have a wedding dress is that you can also lend it out via these services – both Hurr and My Wardrobe HQ allow you to sign up to loan your clothes. That way, it means you’re not completely getting rid of your precious dress, but still making cash out of it and allowing other people to enjoy your gorgeous frock.

Turn it into an accessory

Think outside the wedding dress box and turn it into something totally different – like a piece of jewellery or a bag. If you are handy with a needle and thread, you can create this simple drawstring bag using the fabric from your dress. Alternatively, there are a few companies out there that will use a swatch of your fabric and turn it into a necklace – such as Ceci Leibovitz on Etsy. 

Recycle your wedding dress into a necklace

Sell it

If you’ve got no emotional attachment to your dress – perhaps you want to repurpose your dress after a divorce or you have no room for it - selling it is the way to go. Not only will it get it out of the house, but you can also recoup some of the cost. Just don’t expect to get all your money back – sadly, wedding dresses do depreciate greatly in value.

You can try generic selling sites such as eBay or Vinted, but you may have more success on specialist sites such as Bridal Reloved, Still White or Recycle My Wedding, which not only sells second-hand dresses, but also accessories and wedding decorations. If you don’t want to sell it online, some bridal boutiques may also buy your dress.


September 08, 2022 by Jayne Cherrington-Cook

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