Do you have old prom dresses still hanging in your closet?
Are you looking to repurpose your wedding dress?
Or would you like to put those bridesmaid dresses to good use – the ones the sales attendant told you that you could just cut short and wear again, the ones you never touched after the wedding?
There is a beautiful opportunity for you to take these dresses from what might have been some fun moments in your life and use them to help families in grief.
I’m going to tell you about just four of the many organizations in the United States that will take your old gowns and use them to honor the dignity of babies who have passed away, by making “angel gowns” (or “angel pouches” for babies for whom a gown would be too big). One of your old gowns can make several of these burial garments.
Often, families who lose a child are left with very few options of clothing in which to bury their child. One common recommendation they receive is “doll clothing;” you can imagine that such a suggestion could be trivializing or hurtful to someone who just experienced the loss of their child. So several charities, including those listed below, work to provide burial garments to these families. They often also include blankets, shoes, and other momentos as well.
Angel Gown accepts wedding dresses or pale pink, pale blue, and lavender bridesmaid gowns. The burial garments made from these gowns are distributed at no cost to grieving families or hospitals that are affiliated with the organization.
Little Angel Gowns accepts white and off-white wedding dresses in addition to pale pink, pale blue, lavendar, navy blue, and black satin or satin-like bridesmaid dresses. They donate the burial gowns to hospitals and funeral homes.
The Littlest Angel Gowns accepts wedding gowns to turn into burials gowns donated to hospitals and charities for babies aged 13 weeks gestation through infancy.
The Emma and Evan Foundation will accept wedding, prom, bridesmaid, mother of the bride, mother of the groom, evening, and flower girl dresses. They will also accept christening or baptismal gowns, tuxedos, and even materials you have around the house (they list fabric, lace, threat, and buttons as potential options). There are no color restrictions. The gowns go to birthing centers, hospitals, and funeral homes in or outside of the U.S., and you as the donor can request that the burial gowns made from your donation go to a particular place if you’d like.
You can also search for state-specific organizations (here is one list).
If you know of another organization that is currently accepting gowns, please tell me about it through the Contact me form.
Have you donated your gown? Tell us about it in the comments below!