Yes, wedding attire and accessories can be pretty pricey (according to the WeddingWire Newlywed Report, the average cost of a wedding dress is $1,600). But it's important to realize that your wedding dress, tux, jewelry, and accessories, can actually have a life long after your big day. When it comes to what to with your wedding dress after the wedding, turns out you have lots of options!
“Every item you purchase for your wedding can be reused or repurposed after the wedding from your dress to your place cards,” says Jamie Chang, owner and destination wedding planner at Mango Muse Events in Los Altos, California. “The key is to choose items that can have a life after your wedding—and the wonderful bonus is that many times choosing the right item is not only eco-friendly, but can also save you money which helps your budget as well.”
If you’re wondering what to do with your wedding dress after your wedding, here are some tactful ways to make use of the special items from your big day once it has passed.
Pick wedding shoes that fit into your wardrobe.
Of course, your wedding shoes might be a little fancier than any other pair of heels (or flats) you own, but if you want to make use of them after your big day, they shouldn’t be overtly fancy—or something you wouldn't wear again. This should encourage you to buy a pair of shoes you really, really like—even if they might be pricier than what you’d spend on a regular pair of fancy shoes. “This way you're buying something that has value after the wedding as well and is a better use of your money,” says Chang.
Donate your wedding dress.
When it comes to what to do with your wedding dress after the wedding, many brides opt to donate or resell their gown using an online resource like Nearly Newlywed—and some decide to save theirs for a future generation. If you go the selling or donating route, consider keeping a piece of fabric from your wedding dress and/or veil. “A portion of your dress, even something hard to see line part of the liner, can be turned into a special keepsake such as a handkerchief,” says Kate Reavey, owner of Chicago Vintage Weddings, in Chicago, Illinois. “Similarly, keep the ribbon from your bouquet so you can use it again for something special or display it!”
Turn your dress into a keepsake.
Since wedding dress trends are always changing, you may choose to turn the fabric from your dress into a "something borrowed" that can be used years down the line, maybe even at your child’s wedding! “The dress fabric can be turned into napkins or even a tablecloth, and can be used alongside your wedding china for many dinner parties to come,” says Kristen Gosselin, owner and creative director at KG Events & Design in Edgartown, Massachusetts. “There are a number of ways to turn an expensive splurge into an investment piece once you consider all of the ways that the dress can be honored, and it serves as a reminder of what it stands for in the years following the wedding.”
Choose timeless jewelry.
Wedding jewelry is like jewelry for any other occasion in the sense that it is not meant to be worn for only your big momentous day, explains Josh Levkoff of Josh Levkoff Jewelry. “It is true that many women and men make or obtain new special pieces for the big day but that doesn’t mean that it is only for that day!” he says. “The pieces are meant to be worn forever and for many occasions down the line.”
Jewelry is especially something that you may choose to pass down to family members, like your children or grandchildren, so selecting a stone or a setting that won’t go out of style in a decade is a wise investment! For this reason, it also makes sense to work with a jeweler whom you trust and who will craft a wedding band and engagement ring using sturdy crafting methods to ensure that they can stand the test of being worn daily for decades. “While diamonds hold a traditional and sentimental appeal, they are also chosen as they are the strongest gems that can withstand wear and tear and resist breakages and scratching,” shares Slisha Kankariya, founder of With Clarity, an online jewelry retailer specializing in engagement rings. “Over 75 percent of couples choose classic styles like halo and solitaire and over 80 percent of couples choose white gold for engagement rings and wedding rings.”
In addition, it’s wise to make sure that the jeweler you work with has a lifetime warranty and a diamond upgrade policy. “The lifetime warranty will ensure that your diamond or gemstone jewelry will be maintained and kept beautiful always,” says Kankariya. “Any jeweler that is offering a lifetime warranty also stands behind the quality of their jewelry from the get-go.”
This passing things down thing isn’t only for women’s jewelry. In fact, Levkoff points out that a popular tradition right now is grooms being gifted watches on their wedding day from their bride with the sentimental goal of passing the watches down to their children one day. “It is a big investment so they want to make sure they invest in a piece that they will wear for a long period of time and/or be able to pass down,” he adds.
Choose a style and color tux you’d wear again.
This is most tangible for the groom, since they’re more likely to rewear a tux or a suit. For this reason, Danielle Rothweiler of Rothweiler Event Design in Verona, New Jersey, always recommends that her grooms purchase their tuxedo or suit for the wedding instead of rent. “This is a great investment because the wardrobe will get used again and again, since there are always opportunities to wear a formal suit,” she says. “By choosing a custom suit or tuxedo, the groom can have exactly what he wants, which means he will be even more likely to wear it in the future.”
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