**Author’s note: This post was written by the recently married Addie Mena, a staff writer for CNA who lives with her husband Jose in Washington, D.C. 

The average bride spends over $1,000 on a wedding dress, and only wears it once. While many brides would like for their future children or grandchildren, there’s no guarantee that these dresses will get to be reused in that way.

To put the dress to good use in the weeks, months and years after the wedding, think of these ideas for taking out your dress again!

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wedding dress photos.net

Wedding dress. Source: photo.net

1. Turn it into a Christening or First Communion Gown

Add additional sentiment and family history to a Baptismal or First Communion gown, and let a garment so significant for one sacrament be used for the celebration of another.

Two sacraments, one dress. Credit: Pawel Loj via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Two sacraments, one dress. Credit: Pawel Loj via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Crafty? Save a trip to the fabric store and use material from the dress and veil when following a simple sewing pattern or online tutorial.

If you’re not a gifted seamstress, no worries!  Take the dress’s material to a local tailor or online service such as Fairy Godmother Creations.

A tradition for many families, Msgr. Charles Pope of Washington, D.C. once reflected on the significance of this kind of reuse:

“How fitting it seems, that the dress that signals love, marriage, beauty and attraction, should become the fabric of the baptismal robes for the children, who are the holy fruit of that love.”

2. Use leftover material to create a practical or artistic accessory

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Get out the scissors and some accessories! Use trim or swatches from the dress to make jewelry, line the back of a keepsake box, cut down the veil into a chapel veil,sweater or scarf, turn into a quilt for your new home. You can even dye and hem your gown and rewear it as a cocktail dress! Let your imagination go wild!

Lace wrap. Credit: Kimberly Ryan via Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Lace wrap. Credit: Kimberly Ryan via Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Additionally, with many of these projects, enough fabric can be taken from trains, veils, or trim that you could still pass the dress down to future relatives.

Wedding dresses recycled as prom dresses! Source: http://www.parisciel.com/blog/en/55-intelligent-fun-ways-refashion-upcycle-prom-formal-wedding-dresses/

Wedding dresses recycled as prom dresses! Source: http://www.parisciel.com/blog/en/55-intelligent-fun-ways-refashion-upcycle-prom-formal-wedding-dresses/

3. Donate to charity

Help someone out and send your dress to a good cause! There are many charities that will accept wedding donations, using them to help raise money for cancer patients or for schools, give burial gowns to infants, or help brides facing financial hardship look as special as they are on their wedding day.

 

Donated dresses. Source: http://www.shawnaherringphoto.com/blog/tag/donate-your-wedding-dress/

Donated dresses. Source: http://www.shawnaherringphoto.com/blog/tag/donate-your-wedding-dress/

4.Loan to a sister/sister in law or other members of the family.

Want to hand your dress down to family but don’t want to wait decades to do so? Loan the dress to sisters, cousins or other family members!

sisters embracing

Thanks for the dress!

5. Wear it again!

Why wear the dress only once!? Get dressed up for special occasions such as anniversaries or Valentines’ day, or for  “Rewear your dress” parties.

Trash_the_dress_simon_taylor_2398

Or when you want to have a beach day. Credit: Simon Taylor via Wikipedia.

Loryn Brantz described her experience going out in her wedding dress on a date with her husband in a recent Buzzfeed article, saying the experience made her think “a new anniversary tradition is in order.”