Why leave your used gowns to gather dust when you can donate bridesmaid dresses to a good cause? I recently decided to gift my own A-line pink chiffon number, so set about finding out where to donate bridesmaid dresses. I was pleased to discover there are several deserving charities, and I’ll share the details of those with you shortly.
Bridesmaid dresses vary in price, but some are very expensive and it seems a shame to spend all that money on a gown to just wear it once. Of course, there are many options for what to do with your used dress, such as sell it, re-style it, or simply bin it. However, selling your dress takes time and effort, as you’ll have to take the obligatory photographs, list your item, deal with interested callers, etc. Re-styling sounds fun, but unless you’re an adept seamstress I’d strongly advise against butchering your beautiful gown in the name of fashion.
As for throwing your dress away, what a waste! Around 70% of discarded clothing goes to landfill, creating unsightly trash and causing damaging carbon emissions.
Why not go for the better option? Donate your bridesmaid dress and you can free up storage space whilst helping to save the planet. All this aside, there’s an even better reason for donating – your act of kindness can really make a difference. In the current economic climate, families across the U.S. are struggling to afford prom dresses and bridesmaid dresses, so why not give your gown a new lease of life and put a smile on someone else’s face?
MODERN MOH TIP: If you donate bridesmaid dresses you could be eligible for a tax deduction. If you receive a donation receipt, you can claim when you file your taxes.
How to Prepare Your Bridesmaid Dress for Donation
Before we start running through where to donate bridesmaid dresses, let’s talk through what you need to do to prep your frock. Not all charities accept all dresses, so you’ll need to check the donation guidelines. Remember the charity wants to maximize profits, so the more current and stylish your dress is better.
Some only accept dresses that are less than five years old, while other charitable organizations will take older gowns. Either way, the dress should be in good condition. Give your gown the once over – ensure there are no rips or tears and carry out repairs before donating.
You’ll also need to make sure your used bridesmaid dress is clean. Even if there are no visible stains it’s worth getting the gown professionally cleaned, so it looks its best and is as fresh as a daisy for its excited new owner.
The charity should be able to advise you on the donation process. If you’re packing your dress in a box or placing it in a garment bag, affix a label with details such as the brand/designer, when the dress was bought, and its size (including details about any alterations). There will be instructions regarding delivery, you might need to mail the dress to a particular address or deliver it directly to a specific drop-off point.
MODERN MOH TIP: Ask your dry cleaner if they are willing to offer a discount – some do if you’re planning to donate the dress to a good cause. It’s a good idea to get the dress cleaned as soon as you can as ingrained dirt can be difficult to remove.
Where to Donate Bridesmaid Dresses
If your bridesmaid dress is in good, clean condition there are plenty of places you can donate it. Let’s explore a handful of the top picks for bridesmaid dress donation.
Concerned that some pupils would miss out on special events, Becca, a sixteen-year-old freshman, set about collecting and then distributing prom dresses to those in financial need. The inspirational teen collected over 250 gowns, before tragically losing her life back in 2003. Thankfully, her legacy continues, and you can donate bridesmaid dresses, prom, and homecoming dresses to various Becca’s Closet chapters (just make sure the dresses are clean and undamaged). Check the website for the address of your chapter of choice and mail your dress direct.
The Cinderella Project
Championed by the South Carolina Bar Young Lawyers Division, The Cinderella Project calls for charitable donors to gift their pre-loved bridesmaid and prom dresses to princesses in need. Donations can be made directly to locations in Anderson, Charleston, Columbia, Greenville, and Orangeburg. Students attend one of the boutiques, where they are provided with the dress of their dreams – and the good news is they won’t turn into pumpkins at midnight!
Committed to empowering women and children, WGIRLS INC established Project G.L.A.M to provide prom dresses and accessories to underprivileged New York City students. The project is comprehensive, there are more than several thousand gowns available and so far, more than 15000 promgoers have been provided with assistance. Project G.L.A.M accepts personal pre-loved and new dresses and accessories from personal and corporate donors.
Ali’s Prom Project
Founded in 2015, Ali’s Prom Project started out providing prom dresses to teens in foster care. Nowadays the charity also offers dresses to low-income families, to ensure everyone can attend their prom looking good and feeling great. The project accepts formal gowns no more than three years old and donations can be made mailed or dropped off at several locations in Washington.
Adorned In Grace
Adorned in Grace sells new and pre-loved wedding dresses and special occasion frocks, with the proceeds used to raise awareness and aid the fight against human trafficking and exploitation. Stores are located in Arizona, Portland, Tacoma/Lakewood, and Mesa, and donations are welcomed from individuals and businesses alike.
Adorned in Grace accepts dresses less than five years old, along with accessories such as petticoats and jewelry. If you’d like to donate your bridesmaid dress and live in Portland, Arizona, or Tacoma you can take your item directly to the store. Alternatively, you can mail your dress, just print out and fill in the donation form, package your gown and send it to the address listed on the website.
Operation Deploy Your Dress (ODYD)
If you like the idea of showing your appreciation to military service members and their families, why not donate your bridesmaid dress to Operation Deploy Your Dress (ODYD)? Founded in 2015 by a group of military spouses, ODYD began life as a simple dress swap, created to offset the expense of attending official military events.
However, media attention caused the project to snowball and now there are thirteen stores in several states, including Alabama, California, Colorado, Georgia, Louisiana, New York, North Carolina, Texas, Washington, and Virginia.
To date, over 20,000 gowns have been provided to military families. Deploying your dress is straightforward, simply download, complete, and print the online form, package your dress, and send both your bridesmaid dress donation and the form to your chosen store.
The Salvation Army, Goodwill & Local Charity Stores
You also have the option to donate bridesmaid dresses to charitable organizations. Part of the universal Christian Church, The Salvation Army vows to meet the needs of the people in the name of Jesus Christ, supporting a wide range of community projects. Drop off clothing at your local Salvation Army store or make use of the free pick-up service.
Alternatively, donate your bridesmaid dress to Goodwill, a charitable organization dedicated to preserving the planet, building community, and tackling unemployment. There are Goodwill donation points across the country, check the website for more details.
Don’t forget to check out local charity stores too – they will be grateful for your help and can often sell bridesmaid dresses for a higher price than everyday wear.
MODERN MOH TIP: Not got a bridesmaid dress to donate? Many charities also accept monetary donations, or you could buy an affordable bridesmaid dress online and donate it. Check with your chosen charity if they are short on particular sizes or styles so you can choose the most appropriate gown.
Frequently Asked Questions
What can I do with my bridesmaid dress if I don’t donate it?
Can a bridesmaid dress be worn as a prom dress?
With their stylishly elegant looks, bridesmaid dresses make wonderful prom dresses.
Ready to Donate Bridesmaid Dresses?
You now know where to donate bridesmaid dresses and you know how to do it, so if you have a lovely gown sitting idle in your closet go get it now. It could be the answer to someone’s dreams and take their prom or bridesmaid experience from average to amazing.