How Free Wedding Dresses Can Be Perfect

Free wedding dresses can easily be personalized to suit your style. 

The wedding dress is a big part of every wedding. We all know that after the big day, this precious one-day wedding dress may be doomed to a life inside of a box, waiting for a future daughter to wear it down the aisle or worse, never to be worn again.  

So if you are a bride with a small wedding budget and have decided to wear a free wedding dress to your big day thanks to a family member, friend, or a ‘pay it forward’ big hearted giver…doesn’t mean that you cannot personalize this free wedding dress and make it your own! Be an artist. Look at the free wedding dress as your blank canvas and get creative in painting your personality on to it by accessorizing!

But can one funk up and personalize free wedding dresses within a budget?

The answer is yes, absolutely. Let's start with something old...

Something old

Incorporate a piece of your mother's/grandmother's/ or family members’ wedding gown(s) onto your own gown and honor that special person in your family. Take for example old pearl buttons or lace or ribbons. Pair your grandmother’s brooch with your mother’s string of pearls for a vintage look. For a more modern feel, combine the bracelet that your fiancé gave you for Christmas with your favorite earrings.   

Something old can be something burrowed. Wear a family heirloom on your gown or flower bouquet. Grandmothers and aunts always have fabulous brooches which make a lovely addition to any gown or accessory.   

Something blue

Although the tradition of the groom tossing the bride’s garter is a bit outdated, most brides still like to wear a garter on their wedding day. If you choose a blue garter, you can cover the ‘something blue’ and you will have another lovely memento of your day.  

Something new 

This can be a mink or faux fur petticoat, shawl or collar to throw on your shoulder(s) can spice up your wedding dress with another look and can have a functional purpose too in warming you up in a multi location wedding venue.

Another simple and affordable idea is to use beautiful ribbons as accessories to personalize your wedding dress and make it some fun for the gown.  

For example you can tie a large blue ribbon as a necklace to make your wedding gown pop as you see on the Oscar de la Renta wedding dress to the left!

Something daring and bold

Haggel for stunning costume jewelry sets from vintage stores or antique markets to really stand out! Match or clash your jewelry to your wedding colors and have fun with it. Chunky rings, bracelets and necklaces are all stunning pieces that will make you shine. If balanced well with the dress, large necklaces can be a powerful statement showing the bride has confidence in wearing something a little bit more risqué than the average bride.

Something glam and feminine

Vintage or self-made lace gloves can give you a royal and glamorous look.

A small bag is a must on your wedding day if your wedding dress doesn't have pockets. You will need to carry a few bits and pieces with you, like tissues or lipstick, and you may collect bits during the day. So choose a small clutch or a satin or lace silk drawstring purse. Also you can easily decorate your bag to compliment your dress.

Something to go with your wedding theme add a classy parasol for a spring or summer wedding or burrow an accessory dog or a bird to liven up the photo shoots. 

Gloves: Badgley Mischka

Parasol: Claire Pettibone 

Something traditional

Multicultural weddings can include is traditional hairpieces and accessories to celebrate your heritage. Think of jeweled pins or multicolored feathers or bold chunky flowers. 

Something playful

...a playful silk tulle veil sculpted as an artsy headpiece or flowing straight out from headpiece with flower trims or hand sewn embroideries.

...bold colorful wedding shoes can add a splash of color when they peek out below your gown. 

...and/or a very sexy and feminine garter with blue ribbon of course! 

Something representing your new love

Sew bride and groom's initials to your dress. This can be done in a very visible manner like on your sash or train, or simply where just you know it’s there. Either way it’s a special way to commemorate the two of you.      


It’s simple to funk up or pimp up your free wedding dresses with a modest budget. It just requires creativity and thinking out of the box. So let your personality shine on your wedding dress. Open all your drawers and tap into your close network for help and ideas.

Don’t forget the 3 key words on how to personalize your free wedding dresses:  
Be creative, Accessorize… and yes Accessorize.

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