Yay! Free U.S. Shipping


Your Cart is Empty

5 Ways To Reuse Your Mother’s Wedding Dress For Your Wedding

5 Ways to Reuse Your Mother's Wedding Dress

Today's blog post is about one of my favorite two topics put together: heirlooms and wedding dresses! More specifically, I'm going to give you a few unique ideas for what to do with your mother's wedding dress on your wedding day, besides wearing her dress. Or maybe you have your grand mother's veil that is so beautiful, but you aren't quite sure what to do it with it, you just know that you want to incorporate this family heirloom into your wedding.

5 ways to reuse mother's wedding dress


Family Heirloom Garters

I've become known for making wedding garter heirloomsout of vintage wedding dresses. I  carry a few in my wedding garter collection, which you can shop anytime. I also make quite a few wedding garter heirlooms out of the bride's mothers (or grand mother's) wedding dress or veil. You can see a few of the different family heirloom wedding garters that I've hand made over the years! There are even garters made from wedding dresses in my custom wedding garter album.

I just love it when the brides (and sometimes their sisters or their moms) send me the material from their mother's or mother-in-law's wedding dress or veil and I turn it into a special, custom wedding garter for their family to have and pass along as an heirloom. Get the tissues ready though, because there are always plenty of happy tears to go around when I make these heirlooms – myself included!

custom wedding garter made from sleeve of mother's wedding dress

You don't need a lot of material to make something special for the bride to have and to hold on her wedding day; you can even cut the material from underneath the dress or in the lining if you want to keep the bulk of the wedding dress in tact for a future use. I often use the sleeve of the wedding dress or just a bit of tulle from the veil. And, I always cut from a part that is not easily noticeable if I can help it! I understand, it is hard to cut that wedding dress! (I don't even like doing it myself!)

Here is a picture of a vintage wedding dress that I use to make wedding garters out of. For this wedding dress, I typically make my polished wedding garter style.

Heirloom-Vintage-Lace-Wedding-Garter-Style-602-The-Garter-Girl-3 copy

But, I Don't Want To Wear It

I completely understand where the brides are coming from. They want to have a piece of their mother (or grandmother) with them on their wedding day, but they don't want to wear their actual dress. It is such a tough call, because their mom has probably saved her dress for all these years with the idea that her daughter would wear it for her wedding day. But, as a bride, you might have ideas of what you want to wear on your wedding day, maybe you've been dreaming about it since you were a little girl. So many emotions come up, I know! Here are some great and unexpected ways to reuse your mother's or grandmother's wedding dress without actually wearing the dress itself. Because, after all, everybody is different and styles do change, even in bridal!

Every time I get the vintage wedding dress material from the mother or grandmother, my mind is spinning about all of the other ways besides a wedding garter that they could use this dress material. After all, once the dress is cut, it is cut! You might as well make the most of it! There is nothing like a vintage wedding dress that has been passed down from generation to generation.

5 Ways To Reuse Your Mother's Wedding Dress

Here is a round up of ways to re-use your mother's wedding dress without actually wearing it as is on your wedding dress to create a new family heirloom.

1 – Embroidered Patch

Perhaps you've seen those pretty patches on the inside of a wedding dress? Sometimes the patches are embroidered in blue, or a monogram, a wedding date, a heart, a special saying or quote – the wedding dress patch options are endless. If you are looking to personalize your wedding dress or hold something extra close to your heart on your wedding day, you can sew an embroidered patch onto the inside of our wedding dress. And, you can use the material from your mother's wedding dress for the base of the patch.

For a patch, you'll want a smooth piece of material, maybe from the skirt of the vintage wedding dress or from the lining of the dress. There are lots of sellers on Etsy who make these embroidered patches, our you could embroider it yourself by hand.

I even have a DIY tutorial on how to hand embroider the inside of your wedding dress! I explain it all in this post, but you could easily use your mother's wedding dress material to make a patch and sew it onto the inside of your wedding dress.

heirloom wedding dress made of blue lace

(The blue vintage lace wedding dress seen above, I use to make my alluring wedding garter style, which you can shop anytime.)

2 – Alter It

I think many mothers have this vision that they will save their wedding dress and their daughter will wear it for their own wedding some day. After all, what else are you saving that dress for!?  Wearing someone else's wedding dress – even if it is your mother – is tough. The wedding trends change and certainly no two bodies are alike.

Wearing another person's wedding dress can be difficult, but if you have the right alterations person, it can be done and it will look amazing. You can take off sleeves, take out fullness, change necklines – the option are endless! One of my favorite wedding dress alterations is to shorten it and wear as a fun wedding reception second dress!

So, before you cast off your mother's wedding dress as terribly out of style, think about it more closely. Can you alter it? Can you make a few changes so that you'll love it? Maybe!

3 – Ring Pillow

To make a wedding ring pillow extra special and an instant heirloom, you can add material from your mother's wedding dress to the pillow. You can make the whole pillow from the vintage wedding dress material, or you could purchase plain a pillow from a craft store and add your own decorations from the vintage dress.

One of my favorite ways to make a ring pillow from a vintage dress is to use the lining for the base of the pillow and then use the decorations from the outside of the dress as the details on the pillow. If you purchase a pillow, you wouldn't need to carefully hand sew or hot glue the lace and beads onto the pillow.


Here is a wedding ring bearer pillow and garter that I made from a combination of the bride's mother's wedding dress and her grandmother's veil…

heirloom wedding garter and ring pillow made from mother's wedding dress

For a wedding ring pillow, you could use just about any part of the vintage wedding dress – the sleeves, the neckline or stripes of lace – any part! You'll only need a little bit of material for a small pillow, so you have more options of what parts of the dress to use.

Don't forget to sew a little piece of ribbon or something similar in the middle of the pillow. This is what you'll use to attach the rings (or fake rings, if your rung bearer is too little)!

4 – Tulle Skirt for Flower Girl

If you are going to have a flower girl or two at your wedding, you could turn the tulle lining from your mother's wedding dress into a skit for the flower girl. Some of the vintage wedding dresses have plenty of tulle and lining underneath the main part of the wedding dress that you could use.

Since the flower girl is small, you won't need as much tulle as you think to make an heirloom skirt.

What flower girl wouldn't love wearing a beautiful tulle skirt to twirl around in on her, err I mean your, wedding day!?

Again, you can probably find someone on Etsy who can make a tulle skirt from the mother's dress for you.

5 – Bridal Bouquet Wrap

Your wedding florist will most likely need something to wrap around your bridal bouquet to cover those gorgeous stems. You could trim off a long piece of your mother's wedding dress and have the florist use this heirloom material instead of their own ribbon. Or, most likely, they will use their ribbon as the base and then use your heirloom dress material on top as the decoration.

Your wedding florist will need a long piece of material that is a few inches wide most likely from the hem (or bottom) of the wedding dress. Sections in the lining or the skirt of the dress would be ideal here. Sections of the dress that have beads or buttons might not be the best for the bouquet wrap, because you'll have to hold it and you don't want to hold beads – it will hurt your hand after a while!

Look for the smooth and soft parts of the wedding dress so that it is comfortable to hold. Many vintage wedding dresses have lace trim, that might be a good option to use to wrap the bridal bouquet.

Here is a picture of the wedding dress that is made of lace that I use to make my exquisite wedding garter style. This vintage wedding dress would be perfect (if I wasn't already using it!) to wrap a bridal bouquet because there is a floral lace pattern that runs lengthwise in long pieces.

Heirloom-Wedding-Garter-Style-600-The-Garter-Girl-6 copy


Will you use your mother's wedding dress? If so, how? Let me know! What other ways are there to use your mother's wedding dress that I haven't listed here?

For more wedding garter advice, be sure to check through my garter 101 blog series, or you can shop my wedding garter collection anytime. I'd love to make a wedding garter heirloom for you that you'll love forever!


how to reuse mother's wedding dress without wearing it