After “I Do”: Dress Decisions

By April 12, 2018Uncategorized

After “I Do”: Dress Decisions

The gifts have been put away and thank you’s have been sent out. Whew..finally…your list of to do’s are done!

Sorry to break the news to ya, but, there is one task to decide on…

I got married July 30th of 2016 and my wedding dress was  still in its bag hanging up in the closet like 6 months later. Oops, at least I put it back in the bag? Ok, ok, I know that isn’t going to be good enough. Which prompts the question…

What do you want to do with your wedding dress after the wedding?

This conversation came up when I recently met with Monica and Sarah from Grand Occasions GR. Monica happened to bring up with question above – “So, what are you doing with your wedding dress now?”.  I already knew that I wanted to preserve my dress but she had a totally different idea- to TRASH THE DRESS! That’s when we got to thinking about all of the options brides have now.

I wanted to share some ideas on what you can do with your dress-from traditional to the creative!


Preserve the Dress

So you don’t have to follow my path on this but preserving your dress is a very valid and traditional option. Having your dress be perfectly preserved like it was your wedding day is, in my opinion, one of the greatest keepsakes you can have. My mom wore my grandmothers dress for her wedding and I want them to be my daughters option one day if I am blessed with a daughter. There are several ways that you can preserve your dress.

Ryan Inman Photography

Online Mail-In Preservation Kit: Little did I know but The Knot actually offers wedding dress preservation through them with their trust partner Happily Ever After Gown Preservation! If you are a recent bride I’m sure you all are very familiar with The Knot. If you aren’t, its a one stop shop website for every question you may have and gives a trusted list of vendors that are vetted by The Knot team. I trusted The Knot with multiple facets of my wedding planning and it never let me down.

The site gives you multiple options of what type of preservation you need from only cleaning at $175 to cleaning, preservation and up to two accessories for $350. Some local preservation shops will up-charge if you have lots of beading or sequins on your dress- they just charge a flat fee! Once you place your order. they will send you a mailer kit including a garment bag and box to put your dress in to mail it to them. They also have up to $1,000 insurance coverage on your sacred gown. I was unable to find how long the process usually takes on their website but I would assume it could take up to 6-8 weeks based on how high of a demand they have at that time.


Finding a Local Preservationist: If you don’t really trust a website to do the job (don’t blame ya) you can find a local preservationist near you. Be sure to do your research before giving them your precious wedding gown. The Knot suggests you should decide your dress cleaner/preservationist before your wedding day in case of a worst case scenario (aka glass of red wine down the front of your dress- ya, who invited that person to the wedding?). First place to look for recommendations? Friends and family of course! These are the people you trust so why not start there. Another place to look in put your nose to your computer screen and do some research online. These shops are harder to find than you think but keep looking! Once you find a few suggestions don’t stop there. Be sure to ask these following questions:

  1. 1. What method they use when they clean the dresses?
  2. Are they familiar with the fabrics on your dress?
  3. Do they hand clean and pretreat stains?
  4. Do they clean in house or do they ship to an outside source to clean and package?
  5. The packaging of the dress is the most important part of keeping it pristine. Everything has to be acid free. The paper, box and even the window needs to be acetate instead of plastic. Some shops even offer a Coroplast (hard plastic) box instead of a cardboard one for durability purposes.
  6. Be sure to also make sure that the cleaner is responsible for any damage that happens to the dress while they are cleaning it. Usually the answer is no but don’t be alarmed if you trust them after these questions and like the answers they should be a trusted professional
  7. The next and very important part of preservation is how much will this cost me? You can expect to pay anywhere between $250 and $1,000 depending on the beading, material and degree of stains. This estimated price is also based on where you are located. Do your best to get a close of a quote as possible before committing to a cleaner.


If you are located around the Grand Rapids, Michigan area I sent mine to Afendoulis Tuxedo & Cleaners. The employees were packed with helpful information over the phone and the ladies in the shop were friendly as well. I was impressed with their flexibility of me picking up my dress and the packaging was pristine. No complaints at all! It cost me around the $250 mark. my dress was a lace bodice with tulle skirt with no beading or sequins.  I didn’t put any of my accessories in there even though I wish I did!

Tip- the longer your dress sits the harder it is to get your stains out of your dress and the more expensive it takes to clean it!

Trash the Dress 

While this is the complete opposite direction of preserving your dress a ton of brides do it! Monica at Grand Occasions GRactually admitted that she wanted to do that after she gets married. Get it girl!

Meg Courtney Photography


The best way to remember you trashing your dress? Having a photo shoot of course. While most people opt for the water/beach trash your dress route which can turn out to be absolutely beautiful. Here are a couple less traditional ways to trash your dress…

Color Powder – Wedding Chicks

Gallivant Through the Woods – Magnolia Rouge


Sell the Dress

Backed by The Knot they recommend to use Nearly Newlywed to sell your wedding dress. From poking around the site myself; you enter the measurements of your dress, snap some photos and send in the application with some answered promted questions to get your dress sold! Once approved by Nearly Newlywed they do all of the grunt work of asking and answering questions with the inquiries. A small fee of $25 gets you all of that! The site is very informational and gives you lots of tips and tricks to make your dress ready for its close up!

From what I researched, other sites require a posting fee to put up your dress for sale and or a percentage of what you sold the dress for.

If you are a DIY’er and don’t mind doing the grunt work of listing it try a local Facebook wedding page where brides can sell decor, flowers, and yes even your dress! Be sure to check the Facebook group policy and abide by them. Also keep in mind that whoever you sell it to will most likely negotiate whatever price you put up initially.


Whatever you decide have it reflect you and your needs. Happy decision making!

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