Sep 19th, 2012 by Holly
Did you know there’s something lurking in your attic with the power to change the world?
No, it’s not the pile of 1990s Cosmos, your first pair of deathtrap teenage platforms, the tent unwashed from Glastonbury ‘03 or last summer’s wasp nest.
It’s wrapped in tissue, pristinely folded, cost a fortune, is full of memories – and will never fit you again.
And yes, your daughter might want to wear it in 30 years’ time if the fickle fashion barometer happens to point the right way, she’s handy with a needle and thread, and the moths haven’t eaten it, but think about the good it could do right now. Let’s do some wedding dress maths:
- There were 241,100 weddings in the UK in 2010 (last available figures)
- This means 241,100 wedding dresses
- Say the average price a charity sold a wedding dress at was £100
- That’s a potential…wait for it…£24,110,000 !
That’s right, folks…over 24 million pounds could be raised
if everyone donated their wedding dress to charity
And that’s with conservative averages. In fact, the average price of an Oxfam Bridal dress is £250, taking our figure to over £60 MILLION. Just one £250 dress would pay for Oxfam to provide 100 people with clean water, build two toilets, train one midwife and feed a family for a month.
Yet, according to an Oxfam survey, 82% hang on to our dresses – and 20% admit that’s only because we hadn’t got round to thinking about what to do with them yet. So let’s creep back to your attic or root around the top of your wardrobe again. What power do those layers of silk and lace hold? What problems could they solve?
Well, there’s easing world poverty, saving the lives of starving children, reducing deaths from diseases like malaria and giving kids an education – for starters. Then there’s refugee aid, emergency response to natural disasters, famine relief and clean water programmes.
Closer to home, that 3 foot train could alleviate homelessness, beat cancer, help the elderly and fight heart disease.
So much power in one dusty little box
All you have to do is walk down the street to your nearest charity shop, or get in touch directly with the wedding department of these organisations…
Till death do us part
Your dress can be useful in another way, too. There is a need for pre-loved dresses to be unpicked and made into baby burial gowns. Loving Hands is an incredible group of devoted knitters and stitchers who are currently looking for brides’ and bridesmaids’ dresses for this purpose.
Wear it and share it
If you really can’t bear to part with your dress, at least commit to opening the box once a year to raise money without saying goodbye. National charity Brainwave, who support children with disabilities and special needs, hold a Wedding Dress Day every August when you can wear your dress around your house or office and raise money at the same time.
Send it to Malawi
Earlier this month, we were thrilled to team up with a big hearted reader, a community in Malawi and a lady with an entrepreneurial spirit, to give your old wedding dress an adventure – and another bride a smile. Read more here and get in touch with us to find out how to send your dress off for some goodwill globetrotting.
Our interview with Oxfam Bridal co-ordinator Barbara Walmsley
Spread the love (part 1): How to plan a charity wedding
Spreading the love (part 2): If you love something give it away
Top charity wedding venues
Donate your wedding dress to Malawi
Charity wedding lists: How to give as well as receive
How to give your wedding dress to another bride