Recycling your wedding dress

How do you wear a wedding dress again without it looking 'weddingy'?

How do you wear a wedding dress again without it looking 'weddingy'?

So, I had my first ‘bridal fitting’ last week.

Well, it wasn’t exactly a 'fitting'. But it's much easier to say that than, "taking down all my measurements for the first time".

It still meant getting my kit off for The Seamstress, who had the foresight to pop the heater on.  I have to mention something here about bodies. No, I am not thrilled with mine. But it works. And it works really well.

And the stuff I do like about myself - like boobs - I LOVE. (#silverlining)


But you know what? It’s not what you think. It’s not really the scales I’m upset with - I get more annoyed that some clothes just don’t fit the way they’re supposed to. Mostly, they’re cheap, ill-fitting, crappy clothes.

Ever since my trip to the underwear place, I am now at the very least, wearing better-fitting understuffs, which can just make you feel like you fit things better. And, pretty much most the time, that’s all I want.

So there I am, staring at my bare hips in the full-length mirror while The Seamstress whips the measuring tape around my curves. This was not the place to have that ‘how did it get to this?’ conversation with myself.

Then The Seamstress said ‘this is going to look amazing on your body’. Suddenly, I snapped out of my self-hate trance.

It's not a compliment I hear often. I swallowed hard on the lump in my throat and started to believe her.

The thing is, having a one-off dress made is a disgusting luxury. But I knew hoofing up The Bridal Mile in Leederville was only going to be a waste of time. So if you find something you love, off-the-rack, you have skills my friend – and that is a gift.

I have saved a small mountain of money for this purchase for myself. And for it’s price, sweet lord, I plan to wear it again. And again.

But how do you wear a wedding dress again without it looking weddingy, or worse, mistaken for a desperate Muriel Heslop?

The first thing I learnt about finding out how to reuse a bridal gown is don’t trust Yahoo Answers for a good suggestion.

But I seemed to have waltzed right into a crafter's wet dream.

Here is a selection of real comments on the interwebs about how to reuse your bridal gown. (Hence some of the spelling nightmares...)

  • "My aunt (a crafty person) used fabric from her daughter's wedding dress to cover photo frames, the wedding guest book, and the photo album."

  • "Look into having a christening gown made out of it for your future children."

  • "My grandmother took her wedding dress and designed wedding dresses for her daughters' dolls (my aunts). Those wedding dress dolls are now heirlooms."

  • "I have a friend who has a teddy bear custom made from her wedding gown. I don't know where she got it done, though."

  • "I know someone who bought one of those dress dummies and had it set up in her bedroom with the dress on it with pictures and stuff on the wall, very nice "scene"."  (seriously, WTF)

  • "I know ladies who volunteer to use old wedding gowns  to make burial gowns for babies who have died."

  • "Use it on Holloween and be bride of frankenstien. I'm not kidding,  just rat your hair up and spray a white line on top and paint your lips black."

Read the list again. Just to really take it in.

If you're not quite up to speed with all the Edward Scissorhands possibilities for your pre-loved gown, for the love of God there are some some alternatives.

Trash the Dress 

Also known as 'Rock the Frock'. If you don't want to put your dress on a weird mannequin in the corner of a special room of your house (I seriously can't get over that), how about having a photo session of you completely ruining your dress. It's totally a thing right now. You can ruin it with paint, mud, or you can channel the Olympic swimming team and dunk it for some unique underwater shots.

Sell the dress

Just about every major online wedding site has it's own classifieds section, such as, but there is nothing wrong in checking out the stuff on Gumtree, at least there you can reset it to your local area.  Also, don't write off the idea of selling to a hire company, especially if the dress hasn't been worn, or is in super-mint condition.

Donate the dress 

I'm pretty sure that your local charity would kill to have your gown. But other (less obvious) places that would probably appreciate such a donation would be university costume departments - but don't forget your local theatre group too. These sorts of dresses are usually out of the question budget-wise for amateur clubs.

So what am I going to do with my gown after The Mister and I walk down the aisle?

I'm planning to at least get it drycleaned and wear it shamelessly to the next ball that's in town or I plan to cut off the skirt (I can hear The Seamstress fall off her chair from here) and make a nice dressy-but-funky outfit that's made up of a full, taffeta, fluffy skirt, a black singlet or fitted motorcycle T-shirt, a feathery shrug and some ballet flats.

But we are getting ahead of ourselves.

The Seamstress is yet to cut the first piece of the delicious oyster/latte dupion silk, and when she does, she'll know this dress will have a long and happy life among my everyday outfits long after I become known as 'wife'.


Pippa blogs at The Wry Bride.