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Top 10 Creative Ways to Repurpose Your Wedding Dress

After the wedding is over, the average bride takes off her dress, sends it out for a pricey dry cleaning job, boxes it up and stores it away for posterity.

And then she thinks, “How sad that the nicest dress I’ve ever owned (and the most expensive one I’ve ever purchased!) will never be seen again.”

But it doesn’t have to be that way. From turning it into a cocktail dress to setting it on fire, here are 10 creative ways to “repurpose” your wedding dress.

1. Use the fabric to make something else

Love the lace on your wedding dress, or the silk satin bodice? Fabric from your gown can be re-used to make a quilt, pillow, barrette, garter, headband… just about anything!

2. Cut it short and wear it again

This probably won’t work for every dress, but in many instances, you can turn a floor-length gown into a three-quarter, knee-length or even a mini. Voila — a new cocktail dress!

3. Wear it as lingerie

Today’s body-conscious wedding dresses (like the famous Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy gown) almost look more like lingerie. A few tweaks could make it perfect for that special night — or wear it as is!

4. Dye it another color

You might feel silly wearing a long white gown to a friend’s wedding (and stealing the spotlight from the bride is the ultimate no-no!) But dyed in a darker color, your dress could be totally re-wearable.

5. Save it for Halloween

Many a great Halloween costume has been based on a simple wedding dress. Bride of Frankenstein, Bride of Chucky, The Corpse Bride, The Runaway Bride… the possibilities are endless!

6. Donate it to charity

Brides Against Breast Cancer provides brides-to-be with an opportunity to find their fantasy gown (at discount prices) while making dreams come true for women and men who are losing their fight against breast cancer. It’s good karma, and tax deductible, too!

7. Sell your dress

If you’d like to make a buck or two back on your wedding dress, go ahead and sell it! There are a variety of websites where you can unload your dress, but do your research to make sure they’re legit and always pay with a credit card. The Wall Street Journal, Martha Stewart and InStyle Weddings have all touted

8. Save it and have a wedding dress party!

Some women save their wedding dresses, get all their friends together and plan a wedding dress party several months or years later, which provides incentive for the ladies to whittle themselves back down to their wedding-day size. The grooms aren’t off the hook: They have to squeeze back into their tuxes, too!

9. Save it for your daughter/granddaughter

This is the more traditional approach, but if you can’t bear to part with your dress or alter it in any way, send it to a reputable cleaner, box it up and see if your little girl wants to wear it a few decades from now.

10. Trash the dress

Believe it or not, some brides are so desperate to wear their dress one more time that they’ll cover it in paint, smear it with mud or even set it on fire. The event usually involves hiring a professional photographer to capture the event, typically as part of an artsy “story.”

Cinematographer Brian Marks says Trash the Dress shoots are “a modern way for a bride to express her beauty and creativity, while also letting loose and putting more of an emphasis on the joy of marriage rather then a material object such as a dress. … and it’s fun!”

Tell us: What did you do with your wedding dress?  Tell us in the Comments area below.