Help a Reader Out – What to do With Her Wedding Dress and Rings?

by Katy on March 18, 2016 · 70 comments

I recently received an email from a Non-Consumer Advocate reader asking for advice. Alexandra (not her real name) is recently divorced and looking to raise money by selling her wedding dress and rings.

“I need your advice. I have my beautiful wedding dress and rings I really don’t want to give up the rings, they are beaufitul and diamonds dont have the value they use to, what to do with them? The dress I could sell, but mom spent $900 for it and selling local thrift stores for 60 bucks. (I also don’t want to take it out of package since its vacuum sealed.)”

I replied that “Unfortunately, your financial return on your dress is inevitably going to be scant. It’s a sunk cost. The same is likely true for the rings.”

The wedding industry is notoriously rife with overpriced expectations. (Guess who came up with the idea that an engagement ring should cost two months salary? Yup, the corrupt diamond industry!) Unfortunately, it’s near to impossible to resell either a dress or a ring for anything close to the initial cost, so I didn’t feel that my response to Alexandra was anything close to helpful.

I want to open to question up to you, the readers. What should Alexandra do with her dress and ring? Have you been in a similar situation? If so, were you satisfied with the transaction? Perhaps you have a unique and completely different take on the issue?

Whatever your perspective, please share your ideas in the comments section below.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

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{ 70 comments… read them below or add one }

Tabitha March 18, 2016 at 10:35 am

I would say to save the items is she has kids. Her daughter could use the dress in her own wedding, even if was just the material to design a new gown. Likewise she could give the rings to her son to have them reset for his future bride or even have them reset for her daughter for a special gift on perhaps a special birthday. If she doesn’t have kids than perhaps try craigslist or eBay for her dress as she should get a little more money that way

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A. Marie March 18, 2016 at 10:43 am

Tabitha’s advice sounds to me like the way to go.

And I’d just like to add a plug for a simple courthouse wedding with just the immediate family present, plus a party of your chosen degree of fanciness before or after. DH and I went this route 37 years ago and haven’t regretted it for a nanosecond. The wedding industry has brainwashed people so thoroughly these days that when I try to recommend this to young folks, they obviously think I’m nuts. (Which I am, but not for this reason!)

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Beth March 18, 2016 at 10:36 am

She could have the rings melted down and redesigned into a different ring or a pendant.

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Pat March 18, 2016 at 10:45 am

Look at wedding resale sights. If the wedding dress is recent, you won’t get the full amount back but you should be able to get closer to 1/2 or 1/3 of the price vs a local consignment store. Jut Google “wedding resale” and you’ll find a number of sites. Look into Poshmark if it’s a name brand designer dress.

For the rings, go to a high end jewelry store and ask for an appraisal and what they would pay for them. You may get spot price for the gold (or whatever metal) and the same for the stone. It would be more than a pawn shop.

Research, research.

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Emily March 18, 2016 at 10:49 am

Try to sell the dress on poshmark (app) or ebay! You may get more than the thrift store.

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Bethany March 18, 2016 at 11:07 am

I gifted my dress to a friend after my divorce, I was glad to see her happy and I no longer wanted to hang on it as there were bad feelings attached to it for me.

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Maureen March 18, 2016 at 11:07 am

My daughter bought her wedding dress on Craig’s List and it was beautiful. Fit her perfectly. She bought it for $250. And I had it dry cleaned. My sister in law did the bussel and any alterations since she loves to sew. She was actually able to remove the cap sleeves. So I would try selling it on your own first before a consignment shop. And being that its preserved already means it was cleaned too so be sure to let any potential buyers know that.

As for the rings, see how much it is to remove the diamonds and sell the metal if you want to keep the stones. And go to several different jewlery stores that buy jewlery and take the best price offered.

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cheryl March 18, 2016 at 11:25 am

Weddings are a big business, women are fed the cock and bull line that it is “Their Day” and play on the emotions to get them to spend. Immature and selfish women cry, demand their way and money is wasted on the stupidest things. I mean look at some of the bridesmaid’s dresses. I think most brides must hate the girls they are forcing to buy and wear them. 2nd time around we are smarter, some are smart upfront when they realize that mommy and daddy are not giving them carte blanche and they have to pay for extra, unneeded garbage. And running up debt versus saving money for the new apartment, house, etc. is the better way to go.

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dusty March 18, 2016 at 11:26 am

I have been divorced for almost 2 years. Yesterday I decided to take my wedding set, (engagement and band) and sell them. I went to three locations, 2 pawn shops and a jeweler. I assumed I would get about $600 for them, I ended up with $200. All three were in agreement that the setting was cracked (I was married for 33 years so no surprise there), and the diamond was only 1/2 carat and diamonds (especially that small) don’t really sell that well. Initially I was upset considering my ex paid about 2k for the set but it is what it is. I think getting rid of things like this and moving on is the most important part. BTW, took the money and bought tickets for me and the new man in my life to go see Kathy Griffin and have a nice dinner. Life goes on!

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Alison March 18, 2016 at 11:56 am

My dress still hangs in my closet. It is 26 years old and was made for me. It’s not a traditional wedding dress, but is a short strapless dress with a jacket overtop. I loved it at the time. It wasnt too expensive. I still don’t know what to do with it. The marriage lasted 10 years and my ex is now deceased. My rings I really love, and I’m
wondering if I should get them remade into something for my daughter. She is 21 and will graduate from university soon. But she wears little jewellry, and may not really like it. So I guess I have no advice and really am in the same boat! My sister is divorced and gave her daughter her wedding rings when she turned 21 and she wears them all the time.

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Lea March 18, 2016 at 1:39 pm

How about having a different stone – your birth stone, your favorite stone, your children’s birth stones – put into the setting and wear them again? A friend of mine did that after her divorce since she loved the rings so much.

Lea

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lulutoo March 18, 2016 at 2:07 pm

Lea, that’s a great idea.

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Patty March 19, 2016 at 9:27 am

Could you have the gold turned into a charm that can hang on a chain? It could be of significance to her and she wouldn’t have to wear it all the time. Maybe something that reminds her of her father or the U where she will graduate.

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Robin March 18, 2016 at 12:05 pm

I’ve heard of people using their wedding gowns to make christening gowns.

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Chris March 18, 2016 at 3:59 pm

I have my mother in law’s dress in the basement cedar closet and have thought about cutting off some of the lace for used in a christening gown/to tie around a bouquet for my daughter’s upcoming wedding. I did make my own dress and still have a 1/2 yard of lace that I may add to the bouquet embellishement.

PS she is buying a $100 dress on a website that is pale pink and very sweet.

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April March 18, 2016 at 12:09 pm

I agree with all these ideas. Unfortunately, the markup on anything associated with a wedding (be it a dress or rings) is so insane that it makes resell disappointing. I once had a jeweler tell me that the best bargain in the world was a cast-off wedding ring because the of the low resell value. But I agree with either saving the items for your kids, or selling them to the highest bidder and putting the money toward something special for you.

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Reese March 18, 2016 at 1:00 pm

I’ve been divorced since June 2015 and separated since September 2013. I still have both my dress and my rings.

My dress was never cleaned or packaged appropriately after purchasing. It was $200 bucks to get that done, and after paying for a wedding, why the heck would I want to pay EVEN MORE?

Our library has done a “life rings” project. Where fabrics have been cut and wound into a ring that hangs on the wall as art. Wedding dress fabric is just gorgeous to me.

But likely I’ll keep it and think about it…or see if a seamstress can fashion it into a different gown for the next wedding.

With my rings…. hell… I got the ring I loved! The diamond is exquisite, and I want to reuse it. I figure the next man I marry will have a conversation with me about it. And we’ll get a new setting, but reuse the diamond.

WHY WHY WHY can’t we reuse things for the wedding industry, but it’s fine to reuse other things? WHO put the stipulation on these items that the next marriage would be doomed and things have bad luck?

If you made a cheesecake in a springform pan and it didn’t come out…would you throw out the pan and say it’s bad luck for baking moving forward?

If you like it…keep it. The dress. The ring. The husband/wife. The gifts. Etc. If you don’t like it? Then get rid of it. Just don’t expect the same valuation. 🙂

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Isabelle March 18, 2016 at 6:40 pm

I didn’t wear the same dress the second time around, but I did wear the same earings! It was my “something old”, ahah!

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Maya March 18, 2016 at 1:44 pm

I got married 3 years ago in a big Indian wedding. Complete with 8 different events (and outfits!). I’d never dreamt of a big wedding (my initial idea was 15 people on a beach for the ceremony followed by dinner). But it was important to both our parents so we went with it. I paid about $4K for my 2 main outfits (wedding and reception) including the elaborate costume jewelry. Each outfit weighs about 30 lbs!
Last year I posted both outfits on Craigslist. It sat there for over 6 months with not much interest but then sold to the first person who came to view them. She was so appreciative of the designs and sent me the most lovely thank you note for helping her find her dream dress. It made me so happy that they were going to a loving home! And I made back $3K on the sale 🙂

So my suggestion would be to try and sell your dress through Craigslist or Ebay. And to be patient.

As for the rings, if you have a daughter, I would gift them to her.

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chris March 19, 2016 at 7:01 am

30 POUNDS? Bless. Your. Heart.

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Pauline March 18, 2016 at 2:02 pm

Last year I made a friend’s wedding dress into Christening dresses for her twin girls. Her mother was horrified, but as C said, how else was it ever going to be ‘fair’ as to who got the dress! I managed to salvage the embroidered/beaded panels and hand stitch them onto the sleeves and hem of the new dresses I made.

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kathleen March 18, 2016 at 2:14 pm

In my experience, daughters/granddaughters rarely want to wear old wedding gowns. As a former mother of a bride, making the one gown into twin Christening dresses would have thrilled me to pieces. It sounds like you did a fabulous job, and unlike a wedding dress, there is a great likelihood that they will be treasured and worn through generations.

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Diane C March 18, 2016 at 6:14 pm

My grandmother did this. Her children wore the christening gown, and so did a lot of her grandchildren, until it became too fragile. It lives in my hope chest now. DH and I married late in life, so no kids to christen.

We got married at the courthouse and are thrilled that we did. I chose to marry the man, not be “The Bride”. Best decision ever.

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Kim March 18, 2016 at 2:25 pm

I would not have put the guilt on my kids to feel the need to wear my old dress. As I had two boys that wasn’t an issue so my dress went to a charity in either Portland or Seattle, can’t remember the name of it right now. They are similar to Make a Wish but grant wishes to adults with terminal illnesses. I’m sure you can google charities and find it. I was never going to wear it again and trashing it seemed like a huge waste.

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Donna March 18, 2016 at 2:32 pm

I went through a similar situation. Since I was not getting much for the diamonds in my ring, I had it made into a pair of earrings and a necklace. When my daughters turn 18 I plan on giving one the earrings and the other the necklace. Could you possibly have it reset into something you might like to wear? Pawn shops would not give you much, but possibly private listing it might earn you more.
The wedding gown I also could not get much for. It was also vacuum packed. I sent it to Angel Gowns who uses it for infants who passed away during their hospital stay. You can google The Angel Gown program.
Good luck!

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Paige March 18, 2016 at 4:33 pm

Angel Gowns is an AWESOME ministry to donate gowns to. Not only wedding dresses…all formals. I donated my daughter’s pageant dresses too. They make not only gowns but outfits for infant boys who have passed away, and small coverlets for babies too small for outfits that have passed. It’s a labor of love that I wish we didn’t have to have, but a great thing to do with your dress.

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Ashley in Texas March 18, 2016 at 5:35 pm

Angelgowns was exactly what I was going to say! Such a beautiful way to reuse.

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Debbie March 18, 2016 at 6:45 pm

So glad you posted this. Angelgowns was going to be my suggestion also. I am seriously contemplating gifting mine in this way. It served it’s purpose for me and I have been happily married for 22 years. Can’t imagine losing an infant, but can think of no better or more meaningful way to recycle something that is serving no purpose hanging in my closet. I do have a daughter, but her tastes vary enough from mine that she has indicated that there is no need for me to save it for her to use. May have to sell the idea of getting rid of it to my sentimental husband.

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Heather in L.A. March 21, 2016 at 5:53 am

I was about to suggest Angelgowns as well. You are never gonna get the $$ you think you should. They are more than likely a nonprofit that will give you a donation receipt for tax purposes for an amount larger than you would get for resale. When you seal those gowns they are not meant to be reused. The longer they sit in the packaging the more prone to yellowing they become once the seal is broken. Fabric hates plastic and needs to breath, especially some of the materials used to make those dresses, my aunt had her preserved and when we broke the seal to use the veil at one of her children’s wedding the dress yellowed in less than a week.

hector March 18, 2016 at 2:37 pm

I would not expect my children to want a wedding gown or a ring from a marriage that ended in divorce. It’s not that it’s bad luck or anything, but wedding jewelry and clothing have huge symbolism in our society. Sell everything and buy yourself something nice with the proceeds.

And people, stop ragging on the newly divorced about how superior you were for not giving in to the wedding industrial complex. It isn’t kind or helpful when people are hurting.

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WilliamB March 18, 2016 at 5:59 pm

“And people, stop ragging on the newly divorced about how superior you were for not giving in to the wedding industrial complex. It isn’t kind or helpful when people are hurting.”

Agreed! It’s mean-spirited and doesn’t help the asker.

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Diane C March 18, 2016 at 6:23 pm

Ouch. I just bragged on that very thing, but not with that intent. It just flowed from my christening gown tale, because it’s my real life story, not a criticism of any one else. Could it please be viewed in the spirit it was intended, which was to encourage future brides, first time or otherwise, to seriously consider a “no wedding” marriage as a wonderfully freeing choice?

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hector March 19, 2016 at 9:28 am

I would have loved to have eloped. But my mother literally cried when I told her so we had a modest wedding in a relative’s backyard. Not everyone who has a wedding gown/wedding ring to dispose of after a divorce had a big elaborate expensive wedding. And dealing with these items is just as painful. (I didn’t even have an engagement ring because we couldn’t afford one.)

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Lisa March 18, 2016 at 2:45 pm

I sold my old wedding dress on Ebay. I didn’t get much of a return on investment but I was happy to see the dress I loved get a new life. I sold the ring to a jeweler.
Same thing.

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Chessie March 18, 2016 at 2:56 pm

Find a charity you support and ask if they do auctions or anything like that where they could sell your ring(s) and dress. It could earn money for the charity and give you a good feeling (although no financial reward).

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Laurie March 20, 2016 at 3:49 am

The financial reward might come later on your tax return. Be sure to keep any records if you choose this option so you can take advantage of any deduction.

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LisaC March 18, 2016 at 2:58 pm

I sold mine to a wedding dress resale place online. I’d paid (a looong time ago) to have it preserved, and my daughter didn’t care for the style (guess they don’t do lambchop sleeves and cathedral lengths anymore!). They pay a flat fee, I think it was 250.
I gave her my rings…but her marriage fell apart as well. We decided they had “bad mojo” so I sold them to a jeweler and bought a plane ticket to visit her with the money. Win Win.
Now…what to do with all of those photos…

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Isabelle March 18, 2016 at 6:44 pm

Photos…
I left the album to my ex and I trashed the CD after a couple of years.

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LisaC March 19, 2016 at 6:53 am

I wonder if the kids would want the photos, or would just think they were not helpful to see.

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Martha March 18, 2016 at 3:21 pm

There are groups who repurpose wedding dresses into burial gowns for stillborn babies. I always thought this was a good way not to waste a beautiful gown AND bless a grieving family. Angel Gowns by Michelle is on FB, and I know there are others.

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Trish March 18, 2016 at 3:27 pm

I sold my rings and bought a used washer and dryer. I had made my wedding gown, so it was no skin off my nose to donate it. It was a Vogue pattern, 4 tiered skirt with French cuffs, with a crinoline. Made someone else happy.

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Heather March 18, 2016 at 3:48 pm

I gave my wedding dress to the charity that creates burial gowns for babies who pass away at birth. My wedding rings were rather substantial in gold weight and had a 1 carat center diamond with another carat in smalls. I took the center out and had it made into a pendant, which I will give to my youngest son for his bride if he wants it. The gold I found a custom jeweler, we designed and had made a “mothers” ring. I did have to purchase my boys birth stones and used the small diamonds. It turned out beautiful. The ex thought for sure I’d pawn it. But we made great children, is this honors that.

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Susan March 18, 2016 at 3:54 pm

I donated my wedding dress because, truth talk, it felt to weird to save for my daughters’ possible weddings. Like since my marriage broke up, the dress was cursed. At any rate, it was 25 years ago and the styles have changed.

I still have my rings — and my x’s. He left them tossed on the kitchen counter when he moved out. I’m saving his rings for my kids because they remember him wearing them (there are 3 rings and 3 kids so it works mathematically). My rings will probably be sold for scrap at some point.

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MB March 18, 2016 at 4:00 pm

Here’s a song for motivation while she decides what to do: Spare Parts by Bruce Springsteen.

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Sharon March 18, 2016 at 4:48 pm

I made the mistake of spending far too much on my wedding gown nearly 10 years ago. Those that aren’t swayed by all the societal BS that accompanies weddings, I’m seriously impressed by you. Although we are still married, I’m not the sentimental type and I donated the dress years ago. I’m glad I did! It felt good to do so. I would recommend donating the gown, it’s likely worth far more as a tax write off than from selling on eBay.

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JoDi March 18, 2016 at 4:52 pm

I would have the ring turned into another piece of jewelry like a pendant that I could enjoy. As for the dress, I’d find a charity that takes wedding dresses and repurposes them into something else or helps brides in need. The monetary value of the dress is gone so I think it would be much more valuable to have the dress your mom bought go to some greater purpose.

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Lynn March 18, 2016 at 5:33 pm

I had my mother in law’s dress redesigned to fit me without the 1950s bustline, and then my mother decided to be offended that I didn’t wear her gown. I do think it’s smarter to turn it into something else. I saw a photo the other day of a gorgeous lacy quilt made out of a wedding gown. I suppose a very sentimental person might want to avoid that kind of daily use repurposing, but I think it would be delightful for a little girl. I will save my ring and bands for my kids to redesign if they want yellow gold and diamonds in their own wedding jewelry.

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Vickie March 18, 2016 at 6:00 pm

I would e-Bay the dress -post a pic with someone wearing it, they need to see what it looks like on. Auction is the best way to get the highest price possible.

The rings could be refashioned into earrings, pendant, diamond hair clip, etc.

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Jean March 18, 2016 at 6:28 pm

I paid the long buck to have my wedding dress (tea length and not expensive compared to many) preserved. I was following the lemmings at the time. The box it was preserved in was ridiculously huge…..it took up a ton of closet space and would not fit under a bed. After 20 years I finally realized it was time to get it out of the house. I donated it to our local civic theater and took a tax write-off. I love my wedding ring but my daughter does not like the style. Jewelry styles change over the years. I expect my kids will sell it or have a jeweler repurpose the gold and diamonds into something they like. I am fine with that.

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Isabelle March 18, 2016 at 6:34 pm

I’ve been in the same situation, unfortunately… (now happily remarried for 6 years, so it’s not all bad!)

Personally, once the mourning of my failed marriage was done, I really wanted those things out of my life. And I made almost nothing on them, financially (dress bought new for around 1500$ and sold to a consignment shop for around 200$, set of rings bought for around 1000$ and sold for the gold, so maybe 100$? And this was just 2 years after buying, so still in style). There was no way I wanted to sell it to a person and see another women trying my wedding dress and putting on my wedding rings!!! This would have been too painfull. It just had to go, it had to be fast and it had to be in a way I didn’t have to see someone else wear them. So I lost about 2200$ from the original value. I’m fine with it.

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marie March 18, 2016 at 6:48 pm

I took my 3\4 carot engagement ring and had it made into a pendant with a white gold chain. It cost about $100, and I still love it.

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Linda March 18, 2016 at 7:46 pm

All 3 of my daughters are taller than me; they each tried on my wedding dress when they were in 6th grade and it fit beautifully. I tried craiglist, but nothing happened, I finally gave it to Goodwill last summer. I hope they can just rent a dress when they get married.

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cathy March 18, 2016 at 9:48 pm

I don’t have a suggestion for the wedding dress, but do a have a suggestion for the rings, if you decide you don’t feel comfortable wearing them as is. Find a good, local jeweler and look at having some or all of the stones placed in a new setting. If cost is an issue, most jewelers will buy gold (not gold-filled) and sterling silver, and you could use your miscellaneous jewelry to a) melt down into a new ring, and b) defray the cost of the work. When my husband proposed, he wanted a ring w/ two stones. Unfortunately, the jeweler didn’t quite get his vision, and it ended up looking like headlights. Years later, I traded the two smaller stones for one slightly larger one, and had it placed in a simple solitaire setting, but THAT ring was just a bit too delicate for someone who spends every day cooking/baking or gardening. Finally, a few years ago, just before the metal wore through, I had the stone re-set. Third time’s the charm. I used the gold from the first two rings plus broken necklaces. I also had a vintage (’70s maybe?) ring that was a gift, but never it wore because I hated the setting. Had it deconstructed, and melted it down. Now I have a ring I love, and all that miscellaneous gold made the new ring super affordable.

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Mary Ann March 19, 2016 at 2:38 am

I’m not divorced, but I don’t understand the attachment to a wedding dress. It was worn for the intended purpose, so you got your money’s worth. Why expect to get that money back? I made my own dress and kept it boxed up for awhile. But I live in a smallish house and after 2 kids, I really needed the room. Maybe not the best idea, but one day it just went in the trash, (yes, I should have at least given it to the thrift store). I have never regretted that impulse. I have pictures of me wearing the dress, that is enough.

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AmyWW March 19, 2016 at 7:16 am

This is my thought too. The money spent on the dress was the price for that part of the beautifully special day. It wasn’t an investment. You didn’t expect to make any money on the expensive flowers or the lovely food or the fancy cake or invitations after the wedding, right? You wore the dress, you loved it and looked beautiful in it? Well, you got your money’s worth. End of the dress’s story. What you do with it now isn’t related to what you paid for it.

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Linda H. March 19, 2016 at 1:09 pm

Yes…me too. I am also not divorced but not a “saver”. I was married 17 years ago at 27 and donated the dress within a couple of years after the wedding. I wanted to donate it while the style was still current. No regrets.

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Bettypants March 19, 2016 at 4:20 am

I bought my wedding dress on ebay. It was a vintage late 40s slipper satin gown. All this talk makes me realize I should drag that thing out, iron it up and put it back on ebay. It really is beautiful, and I already paid to have it dry cleaned after the wedding.

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Marrianna March 19, 2016 at 7:39 am

Dress: eBay or Craigslist. There’s another online site for upper level clothing but I can’t think of the name for it. I purchased my wedding dress from a local place like Craigslist in 1962 and was very glad I found it. And I know I paid a LOT LESS than it would sell for today even used.

Ring: Save it for one of the children or sell it for the gold and keep the diamonds for some project or other. Ebay might also work.

I agree that there is no way to re-coop the cost of any of these things.

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Jane March 19, 2016 at 8:28 am

A friend was telling me recently that she found a wedding dress shop that will sell your wedding dress for you at half the original price, they take 30 percent..I think that is fair enough, it’s better than having it hanging in the wardrobe! And you can put the money to better use..if only one knew about these places when you were buying it in the first place..Irish reader:-)

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Kim from Philadelphia March 19, 2016 at 9:01 am

I don’t think you’d end up getting much for your dress.
My suggestion (as above people mentioned) is donating it to Angel Gowns. I did just that.
The seamstresses made 14 burial gowns/ wraps for premature/ newborn infants. They were even kind enough to donate them to the hospital where I work. I think bringing comfort to grieving families is well worth making $100 or so on a used gown.

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Ella March 19, 2016 at 12:07 pm

After my divorce, I sold my accessories (like my necklace, headband, our toasting goblets) on ebay. I donated the dress to a charity who provides them for low-income brides. I was extremely nice and gave my engagement ring back because it was his grandmother’s diamond. I tossed my wedding band into the river in my hometown where I met him (it wasn’t worth much, and the symbolic act meant a lot to me). I even let him have almost all of the wedding presents. My marriage was awful and I wanted to get rid of everything associated with it. But I’m really glad I donated my dress, because it helped someone who would otherwise not have a nice dress.

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Heidi March 19, 2016 at 12:27 pm

Unfortunately, there’s a lot of bad ju-ju on the buyer’s end associated with buying a dress and ring from a failed marriage. This makes it difficult for sellers to offload items “as is.” Unfortunately, we all know things are less valuable for their parts than as a whole. Silver lining: the items weren’t bought as an intended investment or to be resold, so no real potential income is being lost. Take the pennies on the dollar return or do something cathartic for yourself with the items.

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Trish March 19, 2016 at 1:53 pm

I sold my wedding dress on Ebay 6 months after the wedding for 2/3 of the original price– it probably helped that it was still being sold at David’s Bridal, so the gal that ended up buying it could go try it on in her local store.

Holding onto something until it becomes obsolete is costly. I knew I had no use for it and wanted someone else to be able to wear a dress she couldn’t quite afford new.

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Stacy March 19, 2016 at 2:04 pm

I found the exact same problem after my divorce. I saved my rings because the value to sell them was so low compared to current value. I ended up meeting my now husband and I remarried 3 years after my divorce. I used the same diamonds in my engagement ring and eternity wedding band with new settings. We did get a credit on the gold (I went with platinum) and only paid the new setting fee. Some may feel weird about this but the actual diamonds do not have any attachment to me to my first marriage. It just seemed to be a waste of money to sell the old ones. We were able to have more money for a new home together, destination wedding, etc.

The dress is another story. I had it preserved and in the closet for way too long. I finally sold it on eBay. It took awhile to sell and I finally got for around $100. It was originally $900 (bought by my mom) also and was now 10+years old. I could not find any consignment shops to take it. I feel satisfied I at least got something for it and I cleared something from the house! My last resort was going to be a wedding dress donation program. You can google for one…possibly in your area. Good luck!

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Jamie March 19, 2016 at 3:53 pm

My wedding dress was a simple formal dress from Ross in off-white. $29. I’ve since donated it to a local charity that provides formal clothes to underprivileged teens for their proms. The dresses and tuxes are cleaned year to year and re-lent to teens at different schools. Perhaps there’s something similar in your area for underprivileged brides-to-be?

As for the rings, we bought ours at an estate-retail jewelry store. The store specifically buys wedding and engagement rings for a great price. With little overhead, they pass the savings onto the new owners. For example, my engagement ring was an estate sale find by them that has a small amethyst and a pair of tiny diamond chips. They sold it to my hubby for $78 (I ran across the receipt recently, hubby doesn’t know) and sized it for free. Wedding bands, such as those you describe, are similar to the pair my hubby sold them from his previous marriage. He sold them for about 2/3 retail. It’s worth trying to find a jewelry store like this in your area.

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Karen March 19, 2016 at 6:53 pm

I had a small wedding and wanted an appropriate dress so I went to JCPenneys (back when they had a wedding shop) and the woman there suggested a bridesmaid dress from a formal wedding in white. Cost me $90, 30 years ago. When my daughter got married 2 years ago I knew she would not want to wear my dress so I donated it to a thrift shop. When I dropped it off they said put it with the other wedding dresses we had come in this week.

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Jan March 19, 2016 at 7:23 pm

I also bought my dress from JCPenneys for about $100 40 years ago. I got to wear it once more at a mother/daughter church lunch/fashion show 10 years later. It then hung in the closet, yellowing and taking up space. I finally just threw it away. No regrets. I did save the veil for future granddaughters. Oh, and kept the husband!

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Ruth March 19, 2016 at 10:23 pm

You won’t get much selling these things, when I was divorced I threw my rings in the back of a draw, my wedding dress is in a box…now 11 years later I have fond memories of my past , the rings are still in the draw, I plan to have them made into a newer fresher better ring and my wedding dress remind in the box because now my daughter is 21 she wants it for her wedding one day and has forbidden me from getting rid of it…I’m glad I waited and didn’t do anything drastic.
Good luck with your decision, it’s a very emotional time so don’t rush but do look after yourself

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cathy March 20, 2016 at 3:24 am

the blog passage des perles has some interesting ideas about getting jewellery remodelled – it’s not cheap though. I agree with the commentators who suggest looking at the cost of the dress as the investment in a special day. If you’re feeling sad anyway trying to get a good return on the dress just seems like a really hard and stressful thing to do on top of making a new life for yourself. Good luck for the future.

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Michelle March 20, 2016 at 8:45 am

My rings sat in my jewelry box for a few years until my aunt’s diamond fell out of her wedding ring. She had always liked my rings and we are very close, so I gave them to her to wear in place of hers. It is good to see that those rings symbolize the love between her and my uncle now instead of the demise of my own marriage.

My dress sits in a closet at my dad’s house, I think I am going to get that out soon and donate it so someone can have a beautiful dress they might not otherwise be able to afford and bring love and life back to it!

The value of those items for me was always that they were wrapped in love, no money from them would bring me any real happiness now, but knowing they bring joy to someone else who’s marriage might have a better outcome than mine does give me smiles!

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