What Happened When I Tried to Get Rid of My Wedding Dress

A wedding dress is a big symbol that many women like to keep for sentimental reasons. Here's why I want to get rid of it but have held off for now.

Now that I’m slowly but surely becoming a card-carrying minimalist, nothing in my house is safe. If it’s not nailed down, it’s going to get scrutinized and categorized into a keep, sell, or donate pile in my latest purge. Even the dogs aren’t safe. (Just kidding.) 🙂

My main area of disdain is my closet. I want to be one of those people who has ten items hanging in a nice, neat, color-coordinated row in my closet, all on matching hangers. My closet is (very) far from that, and any hardcore minimalist would laugh at me if they laid eyes on my closet at this moment, but I am getting there.

Physical Clutter Weighs You Down


My desire to get rid of things has really irked some of the people who are closest to me. My mom thinks it’s a phase I’m going through and keeps giving me gentle reminders to keep things. She has even offered to keep some things in her attic for me for when I finally come out of this “phase” and want all my stuff back. She means well but truly thinks I’ll regret it later. I’m not sure she recognizes the fact that the more stuff I get rid of, the lighter and happier I feel. Physical clutter really does weigh you down mentally.

My husband is on the fence about things. He is weary of my no-holds-barred purging, but as long as I don’t get rid of his things, he is okay with it. He likes the idea of our house being cleaner and more simplified, but he isn’t quite on the minimalist bandwagon himself.

Time to Ditch the Wedding Dress


One day after cleaning out my closet for the thirtieth time, I came across my wedding dress and contemplated chucking it. I can hear the gasps of virgin brides everywhere, because that thought is sacrilegious in the bridal world. The only reason you would ever think of doing that is if you were getting a divorce, right? Well, not only am I not getting a divorce, I’m very happily married.

The dress has been wilting away in a large plastic bag in the back of my closet for six years. After our wedding, I didn’t feel like shelling out the dough to have my dress preserved in a box to be thrown into my attic. Not only is it expensive, but I just think it’s a weird tradition.

I hardly think my daughter will want to wear my dress two or three decades from now if she chooses to get married. My mother didn’t keep hers, and I wasn’t sad about not getting to wear her dress for my wedding. Like most new brides, I wanted to pick out my own dress, but unlike many brides, I’m just not that attached to my dress. It was lovely on the day I wore it, and I’ve got plenty of pictures of myself in it, but I’m never going to wear it again. Why keep it?

How My Husband Feels About It


My husband panicked when I told him I was considering getting rid of my dress. I argued that there are other brides who could make use of it, and that supporting the secondhand market is not only green, but it could help out a frugal bride in the future. How awesome to think that my dress could have a second life at another wedding! It’s frugal and green!

My husband didn’t agree. Although he never wore the dress himself (at least not that I’m aware of), my desire to get rid of it really freaked him out. He is apparently more attached to the dress than I am, and I think it’s because of its sentimental value for him.

My Most Prized Possession…A Unicorn Snow Globe?


I can hardly throw stones. Most of us are really attached to our things, myself included. When I first started purging my things, I had an old musical snow globe with a unicorn in it that my grandparents had gifted me when I was a child. To anyone else, this was nothing special, but to me it had become my most prized possession, never mind the fact that it had a random, nasty twig floating around in there, and the water had started to yellow and evaporate, meaning it was only partially filled after sitting for so long. It was a sight to behold.

The whole thing was detestable (no one would have even taken it for free at a yard sale), but in my eyes, even at 30, it was still a sweet little water-filled musical toy that I kept because I loved my grandparents and they loved me. I had placed so much sentimental value onto that silly little thing that I couldn’t think of getting rid of it because that would be akin to me saying that I didn’t love my grandparents… right?

Take a Picture of Sentimental Objects– and Toss


I showed the snow globe off one day to my mom and husband, and their look of disdain for it opened my eyes for what it really was. That thing really was disgusting. Why had I kept it so long?

Getting rid of that object did not mean I didn’t love my grandparents. It really had nothing to do with them anymore, and they probably didn’t even remember giving it to me so many years ago. I had placed all the value into it. The next day, I took a picture and got rid of it.

A wedding dress is a big symbol that many women like to keep for sentimental reasons. Here's why I want to get rid of it but have held off for now.

Things Are Just Things


Why are we so attached to our things? We think that our things say something about who we are, that they share our economic status with the world, and that they hold precious memories for us. What we forget is that they are merely objects, objects that we place way too much value on, and it comes to a point where our things start to own us rather than us owning our things.

The things we own and the things we purchase don’t define who we are, they are just things, sentimental snow globes and sacred wedding dresses included. What’s important to you is just another silly object to someone else. We are the ones who give value to them.

As for the dress, it’s still hanging in that bag in my closet. I feel as though I’ve already made my peace with getting rid of it, but before I do get rid of it, I want my husband to be okay with it, too. I’ve assured him that the act of getting rid of my wedding dress does not mean I’m getting rid of our marriage. Instead, I’m getting rid of things that I don’t want to take care of anymore so that I can focus on things that are far more important to me, like nurturing my marriage with him. After all, I’m married to my husband, not my dress.

Do you keep any silly items out of pure sentimentality? Do you spend money and time caring for and storing lots of extra items that you really don’t need? Do you still have your wedding dress or did you ditch it?

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Robin is a freelance writer who chronicles her financial missteps and victories on her blog


  • Well, you know all the answers to those questions, so I’ll pass. I kind of giggled thinking of you taking pictures of that snow globe. I know how gross they can get over time. They’re so lovely when they’re new and it would just be nice if they’d stay that way. Good luck with the hubby on that dress. Mine still has his original wedding band tucked in his wallet. The thing wore down and broke in half at some point, due to the nature of his occupation, and it’s as if he thinks if he ditches it, the marriage is over. I figure since I’ve gotten him down to such a minimalistic existence, the least I can do is not bug him about that ring. Thankfully, it’s small and doesn’t take up any room. You know how I feel about that kind of thing. Thanks so much for the awesome dress update! 🙂 Now for the chickens …

  • I still have my wedding dress. It has a wine stain on it so I would have to clean it to sell it. It wasn’t a very expensive dress in the first place, so I’m not very motivated! I keep forgetting it is hanging in my coat closet.

    • I think if I hadn’t spent so much on my dress ($1,000), I wouldn’t be as worried about it sitting and rotting. That’s what I get for spending more than I should have. I wish I could do that part all over! I’d go vintage and affordable.

  • Ramona says:

    All these years I tried to get rid of some of the stuff that ‘meant’ a lot to me, thinking that it’s just stuff. Not easy to do, sometimes, but I was able to declutter a little. Never wore a wedding dress (we had the civil ceremony only), but we’re clearly not throwing our daughter’s baptism dress (even if she hated it and cried for the entire baptism duration :))

  • Money Beagle says:

    My wife still has her dress, but I returned my tux to the rental shop the day after our wedding 🙂 And so it goes!

    • See, the industry knows how to work women! Men rent their tuxes, and it’s no big deal. Have you ever heard of a wedding dress rental store? Now that would be a great idea to save a lot of money, but a lot of people wouldn’t go for it.

  • This week, I just decided to sell my 3 year old laptop. I really don’t want to sell it because it has a sentimental value for me, but I didn’t use it anymore since I have a new laptop, so I decided to sell it and have some extra money.

  • I laughed at your husband’s reaction, because I can see that happening at my house too. Yes, I still have my wedding dress, and lots of other things I would like to get rid of. My husband is a pack rat though, so lots of the things I would like to get rid of he comes up with reasons to keep.

  • Mrs. 1500 says:

    I still have the Command Performance “medal” that my grade school orchestra “won” when I was in 3rd or 4th grade. It means nothing to me. I stopped playing the flute in 5th grade. I didn’t practice all that much before I stopped playing and let’s be honest, I’m pretty sure everyone who attended that “contest” “won” a “medal” for Command Performance.

    Ever hear an elementary-school orchestra? They aren’t selling out the venue, no matter how small…

    Oh, how I wish that were the only thing I saved from grade school. I finally tossed my yearbooks. I don’t talk to anyone from those years, and the 80’s were an unattractive hair decade…

    • Your comment made me laugh. I DO know what an elementary school orchestra sounds like, because I also played flute in one! Haha, I thought we sounded great (at the time.) 😉

      And I’m glad I’m not the only one who recently trashed my yearbooks!

  • Kim says:

    I still have my wedding dress, considered selling it a while back but I just wasn’t ready. Most things I’m fine to shed but it is funny what things cause that sentimental response. My Grandma left me some dishes that I’ve never even moved from my Mom’s house yet I keep a stuffed iguana she gave me in college out on a shelf.

  • Hannah says:

    I donated my dress after just six months of marriage. Although it was beautiful, I wouldn’t pay to have it preserved, so it wouldn’t be in good shape to pass onto my daughters. I may have been more attached to it if I paid more for it. As it is, I paid more for the alterations than for the dress itself.

  • I still have my wedding dress somewhere at my parents house and I’m divorced. I guess it’s time to let it go.

  • I still have my wedding dress because, like you, my husband is attached to it! I might talk him down though. Funny this post came up because I had been saving my kids’ shoes for the past 5 years. I finally took a photo of all of them and can now donate them with a clear conscience ;).

    • I have to admit, I kept a pair of my daughter’s pink Converse sneakers only because they were so small and sweet. I may get over that in a few years, but they actually fit on one of her dolls, so that gave me an excuse to keep them a little longer. 😉

  • SF says:

    My wedding dress hung in my parents’ closet for years. When my mom was doing her own clean-out, she gave it back to me. I don’t have daughters, so I thought the likelihood that someone in the family would wear it again was pretty low. I ended up donating it to a local charity that helps brides on a limited budget. So glad I did! I have the twin satisfaction of getting it out of the house and knowing that there’s another bride who will get pleasure out of wearing it.

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