A wedding gown is perhaps the most important purchase a bride will make leading up to her big day. She’s likely dreamt of it, saved up for it and spent a decent chunk of change on it, but the question always remains: What do you do with it after your wedding day?

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Preservation is the most traditional option. Brides often want to hold onto their dress, possibly saving it for their own daughters one day. However, there’s more involved than simply tucking it in the back of your closet. Sally Conant of Orange Restoration Labs says a good preservation includes a cleaning to remove stains, wrapping in an acid-free tissue and packing in an acid-free wedding chest in a neutral environment. These steps are necessary to prevent your gown from yellowing or stretching. 

“We know the wedding day goes by so fast that you often want to try your gown on again or just take pleasure in looking at it,” says Conant. “Remember the sooner your gown is cleaned, the more successfully stains can be removed, so it’s best not to let more than a few weeks go by.” 

If the photos and memories are enough for you, consignment or donation is a great option. Locally, Brides to Be in Glastonbury has been dealing in high-quality consignment dresses for 30 years. Bridal Garden, just a short train ride away in New York City, accepts gown donations, selling them at 75 percent off retail price to other eager brides. And don’t forget about PreOwnedWeddingDresses.com. 

If you’re looking to create more memories with your gown, the “wear-it-again” or “trash-the-dress” trends of documenting the destruction of your dress could be right up your alley. 

“With all the ‘rules’ and ‘regulations’ of the wedding day, it is exciting to not just break those rules, but smash them!” says photographer Airen Miller of Hartford. “A trash-the-dress photo shoot is a perfect blend of bridal beauty with the unconventional surroundings of shoot location and theme. Zero pressure plus unbridled imagination equals some of the most amazing photos of rocking brides!”