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How To Bond With Your Father-in-law Before & After A Wedding.

Bonding with a new father-in-law, especially one who you don’t know very well yet can be one of the most challenging things to deal with in a marriage. Of course, each situation is different and the process is not the same for a new daughter-in-law as it may be for a new son-in-law.

So how do you bond with your new father-in-law?

It is possible to create a bond with your father-in-law without having to fake common interests or change who you are, and although it may feel like a difficult, and daunting thing to do, these feelings won’t last forever. Being an important influence on your marriage, it’s a battle worth fighting.

If you are dreading spending time with your new father-in-law, then this is the article for you. I’ve worked through the problem with my wife, Lea, and we have come up with some crucial tips for bonding with him more effectively.

Our experience with father-in-laws

Initially, for my wife, she just didn’t know how to start bonding with her future father-in-law, and he always made her feel a little intimidated and awkward (way to go Dad!).

To be fair, I did invite her on the annual family vacation my parents had been taking to France after only knowing her for three weeks. When you know you know, right? But it was the first time she’d ever met my entire family and spent so much time with British people!

However, she did get through this and successfully took steps towards creating a strong and meaningful bond between them. They now get on like a house on fire after a few more interactions and trips away. At the end of the day, it was mostly to do with cultural misunderstandings.

In my case, my wife’s father died several years before I met her in Bordeaux, France, but I certainly know what the experience is like through previous relationships with ‘father-in-laws’. Nevertheless, I have the pleasure of knowing her mother, which has its own unique challenges!

How to build a relationship with your father-in-law.

Bonding Tip 1:

Firstly, you may need to change your perspective of him. Often you’ll realize that you are the one who views the relationship with your father-in-law negatively, because of your feelings of intimidation and fear or what have you. When you realize that if you can’t get past your negativity you’ll see that things can never change between you.

Bonding Tip 2:

Tackle building a bond with him in a fun, relaxed and completely different way. Start by just trying to put less pressure on the relationship and then made some plans to create fun and positive experiences together. Learning to have a good laugh together will lighten the mood between you.

Bonding Tip 3:

Plan to do fun things in a group if you feel intimidated by one-on-one time together. Invite his friends or family to play board games, go on a hike, go golfing or on a bike ride together. You could even try a comedy movie night or go out for dinner. Keep it simple so you don’t get stressed out.

Bonding Tip 4:

Find an opportunity to take an interest in him. Ask about his interests and hobbies and try to learn something new from him. You don’t have to fake you’re interested in what he does, but showing you are interested in him will create a positive imprint in his mind. Learn about his childhood, his life, his friends and what he considers acceptable behavior. You should learn what type of man he is and show him the sort of person you are.

Bonding Tip 5:

Avoid any political or highly opinionated discussions with him that might lead to an argument. In the midst of these types of conversations, it is very hard to avoid verbal attacks and judgment and although it is great to have a relationship where you can have discussions and be open to each other’s views, not everyone can do this. When possible steer developing conversations in another direction or simply ask if you can talk about something else, even explaining why if you feel up to it.

The more you talk to your father-in-law the easier it becomes. Sometimes you just need to face your fears head-on to realize they are not as great as you imagine. As you learn to bond with your father-in-law, you’ll likely realize how important this relationship with him is.

My father is the head of my childhood home and when there was conflict he was the mediator. Through building a solid relationship with him, my wife found he was more likely to stand up for her where my mother and even I did not. It did take time, and it wasn’t always easy. My wife said she often had to remind herself how important a relationship with her father-in-law was.

Building a good foundation with your father-in-law.

Remind yourself that he will be a strong influence on your marriage and in the lives of any future children you might have.

Creating a strong foundation with your father-in-law will, most likely, strengthen your marriage. It is easy to want to give up but remember his importance when you are feeling down. Your husband or wife’s father is important to them and by building a strong lasting relationship with your in-laws, you are honoring and strengthening your relationship with your spouse.

You both share a love for your spouse.

The love you share for your partner should always take precedence. Remember your father-in-law raised and loved your spouse before you, so don’t put him in a position where he has to defend his child and don’t say negative things about your spouse around his father. You can ask for advice but be careful how you do it. Respect goes a long way.

Focus on your father-in-laws’ positive qualities.

No one is perfect so try to look at him in a positive light and remember he is probably doing what he thinks is best. It’s better to try and look at what you know is good in him, instead of focusing on what annoys you which causes unnecessary arguments. Learn to love and accept him with all of his quirks and eccentricities and don’t criticize him. Just be kind.

Your father-in-law can get anxious too.

He may feel like he is losing or has already lost his spouse, and letting go is hard. Accepting another family member is never easy, and remember your father and mother-in-law have to accept their child will have less time for them now. It is likely they too have fears of their own in response to this. Remember trust takes time, and you will need to be patient.

Communication is key to building relationships.

 Be honest.

Be honest and share your thoughts and feelings with your in-laws. Every family is different and likes to deal with situations in different ways which can lead to difficulties in an extended family. Just let them know what these difficulties are and try and talk things through.

Always communicate, brushing things under the rug will only cause issues later on. Remember difficulties don’t last forever, as you learn more about each other things will get easier.

Learn to listen.

A lot of misunderstanding arises because we do not listen. We cannot read each other’s mind and we can only truly understand someone once we listen to them. Sometimes this means asking questions that can also show another person we are concerned for them and care. This is a helpful strategy when working through a misunderstanding with an in-law.

Show respect for different views.

It always pays to have an open mind. We all have different opinions and often in a misunderstanding no one person is right. Show your in-laws you appreciate their thoughts and ideas by affirming them and show them you understand or at least are trying to see their point of view. You don’t have to agree but always be humble and learn to forgive.

Just be yourself.

Above it all, always be true to yourself. Don’t try to be like anyone else, it will cause problems later on. We aren’t all alike, we have cultural differences, religious differences and we all have personality differences. Even if it does take a longer time than what you expected, your in-laws will learn to love you for who you are.

Respect should be mutual and they should show you just as much grace and respect as you show them. Your spouse loves you for you and you should be free to show his parents exactly why they do love you so much.

Building a relationship takes time as you all learn to get to know and love each other. A successful in-law relationship needs lots of love, patience, and kindness. A loving attitude will pave the way to similar behavior. When you try to reach out to your in-laws and they see your efforts, it is likely they will respond with similar behavior.

How to admit defeat

In the rare case that your father-in-law is dead set against you, for whatever reason, when do you just give up?

First impressions are hard to overturn and prejudices are even more challenging. If your father-in-law just doesn’t seem to give you the time of day, it’s ok to stop actively spending time with him. But, don’t become the enemy in spirit.

Time can soften relationships, and by just being the best partner you can to your spouse and perhaps even a good father or mother to your children, you’ll see a change in your relationship.

Until that does happen, however, make sure that you don’t get your partner caught in the middle of the toxic relationship between your father-in-law and yourself. He may be unpleasant to you, but don’t complain too strongly to your partner about it and put them in a difficult situation of having to choose between their father and their soul mate.

It’s not an easy situation, but how you deal with it can make it more or less manageable. Avoidance is best when possible and acceptance of the things you can’t change yourself the only other policy which won’t cause a strain in your marriage.

Related questions.

How do you keep your in-laws happy?

Loving your spouse is the best way to please your in-laws. All parents what to see their child happy and cared for and if you can show them this, they will probably approve of you more. Don’t nag or put your partner down around them and try to avoid arguments with them at all costs.

Spend time with them and try to get to know them. Find out about their love story, about their childhoods and your spouse as a child. See them often and invite them over for dinner. Spend time with them on their own too. Ask their advice often, even for small things. It will make them feel special and included in your life.  Always be respectful and warm towards them and be thoughtful on their birthdays and special occasions, respecting their family traditions even if you don’t agree or practice them.

Making a good first impression with the in-laws.

Dress well to make a great first impression. Dress in clean, smart-casual clothing and don’t wear anything too revealing or too flamboyant. Your actions and physical appearance will form an initial opinion of who you are, so watch how you speak and act around them. Be courteous and polite and greet them with a big smile. You want to come across as warm and friendly. Do some research with your partner beforehand, and find out what topics will interest his parents.

This way, you will be able to start conversations and know what not to talk about. You might even find out you have similar interests. Remember to compliment them and to ask them questions. Let them know you are happy to meet them and that you enjoyed your time together. Thank them for spending time with you.

Wedding Roles For Your Blended Family (Parents & Children)

Blending two families together through a wedding is a beautiful act, but it can be a very stressful one too. Not only do you have the normal worries of planning a wedding, but there are also very important people you can’t risk leaving out of the proceedings.

So what roles should people have in your blended wedding?

Blended families are more prevalent than ever and that is a wonderful thing. When these blended families come together for a wedding, everyone should have a role, parents and children alike. Being inclusive is vital from the start as is planning well so that it is special for everyone involved.

In the following article, I’ve put together a comprehensive guide to the most important things to consider when choosing which role to give which person in your blended wedding. some of the ideas will surprise you and others I’m sure you will have never thought about before!

Important things to remember

The most important thing when having a blended wedding is to be inclusive. You want to make sure that everyone is involved in as many of the steps as possible. From the meeting of the family members to the proposal, and the actual ceremony. There is a lot that goes into bringing two families together. With some patience and planning, you can do it. By having the right knowledge, it can also be fun for the whole family and bring you even closer. 

Plan together

Both of you should be on the same page during the planning, so feelings don’t get hurt later. You and your partner probably have varying ideas on what inclusiveness means to each of you. That is normal and OK. As a couple and a family having conversations about this before final decisions are made will make this process easier.  An open line of communication is essential during all phases, but integral during the planning phase. 


Trying to make sure all your and your spouse’s family members are involved and can show off their individuality is key.  This means different things to each family, and you should be cognizant of this. You are not just joining the immediate family; you are bringing together everyone and everything in their lives. This includes their cultures as well.

When younger children are involved, they may feel left out. Having them involved in different aspects really will bring together the two families as a cohesive unit. For older children, they may or may not want to be the focus of attention.

Every family is different, and you need to find what suits you best. The closer the family is before the actual wedding the smoother and more enjoyable it will be for everyone.

Don’t force it

Unfortunately, not every family member is going to be as thrilled about your upcoming nuptials as you are, that’s just life. Whether it is your child who is feeling overwhelmed with a sudden change in their life, or resentment to a perceived outsider intruding into their family or even a parent or sibling who is being uncooperative; learn to pick your battles.

If you are struggling to find a place for your child in the wedding, perhaps that day isn’t the day to force the issue. You have a lifetime to win them over and insisting they share in your joy may backfire.

The same goes for an adult. If they really don’t want to be there then honor their wish. If you know they will attend but likely be a difficult guest, then anticipate that and get another guest to help you keep them away from your spouse or anyone else they may offend.

At the end of the day, you can only do your best and the main objective is to celebrate the love you share with your partner and the new life your family will have.

While this is a splendid start to having a successful blended wedding, there are many more things to think about and ways to incorporate everyone. You don’t want to forget someone or something on your special day.

Bringing Together the Families 

Just in case you are reading this in preparation for popping the question, or indeed deciding as a couple to get married, let’s start at the very beginning.

By making sure to start the process early, this will bring your families closer together. After you have established that you want to take things to the next level, you can start to form a plan to bring everyone together.  This takes time, so don’t feel like you have to rush it.

You two may be comfortable with the children separately, having them as a unit is very different. The children may feel that the new spouse or the other children are monopolizing the time they want to spend with you. So they don’t get as much attention. Which in part is true, spending time as a family and doing activities together can bring everyone together,

First impressions

As with most things the first meeting is important. When everyone meets for the first time it should be in a comfortable setting, you want this as stress-free as possible for all parties. A place that offers other things to do is great.  It can be an ice breaker where everyone can bond with each other as a group or break off into smaller pairs. Also, if things get awkward you have something to do.

After the family is comfortable with each other and you have bonded. Make sure they are involved in the planning of the wedding. This is not just a marriage it is a joining of the two families.

These things will also depend on the age and child’s personalities. Sometimes the child in question is shy and does not want to be the center of attention. Or they may feel that it is a bit childish if they are in their teens.

Again this is OK, give them their space and find out what is suitable for them. They may just need some more time or they may just want a small part in the wedding. Together you have to find out what is a good fit for you and your family. You never want to push them, this should be an enjoyable day for all involved.

Getting the whole family involved on your special day

There are multiple ways on the big day that you can involve everyone, these range from art projects to the reading of the vows. Here are some different ways that you can incorporate the family into your special day. 

Art projects are a great way to get everyone involved and to show off the children’s individuality. These can be displayed during the wedding/ceremony or just kept for you and your new family.

Tip 1: The family can create art that everyone has contributed to. This could be a painting of heart that everyone has made a stroke. Or have everyone draw each other and put it together like a collage. Be creative, have fun, make this something to treasure.

Tip 2: A piece of jewelry that has everyone’s pictures or fingerprints on it is also a heartfelt way that everyone is always together. It is not as big and can feel more personal.

Tip 3: A homemade puzzle with everyone’s name on it shows that you are all different but are one. The children can make the shape of the puzzle pieces and decorate them to make them even more special.

Tip 4: Cake toppers are a subtle and fun way to show off everyone. These could be made of sugar or plastic if you wanted to keep a more tangible memory of the day.

If you are not the artsy type and or want to have something different to get the family included in the actual ceremony here are some ideas to consider:

Idea 1: Before the ceremony even starts and you have a photographer handy, get a family photo. This could be the traditional photo or something that is a little more abstract. Use your imagination, be creative, maybe the kids have an idea. If they do, this will make them really feel a part of the proceedings!

Idea 2: Walking in together as a whole family for the first time really shows that you are one. You could be more formal or more relaxed, you can even bring your beloved pets.

Idea 3: Having your children in different roles is a special thing that they will always remember.  They could have many different roles besides the traditional ring bearer or flower girl. 

Idea 4: Your child could walk you down the aisle or walk down the aisle with you. Walking down with you is a way that they can be there and join you during the reading of the vowels. Some children may be shy so you don’t want to put any pressure on them if they are uncomfortable.

Idea 5: Traditionally, the best man/bridesmaid gives the speech, but this wedding isn’t your traditional wedding. One or all of the children could be involved with making speeches. It could be one speech where each says a part or they could create them individually.

Idea 6: If the kids are a little too young for the pressure of live performances, then recording the speeches beforehand and playing them on a projector can be a great way of making them feel a part of the ceremony without all that pressure. If you do it as a surprise for your spouse, so much the better!

Idea 7: A member of the family could be the officiant. Where you live,  it may be as simple as just applying for a permit. Depending on your beliefs, you could also be a registered minister online in only one day, for free. Having the children in your vows is a unique way that you can have them involved. This way they are not forced into the spotlight.

Wedding roles for extended family

Although the focus is often on the most vulnerable and impressionable members of your family, your darling little ones, there are other family members to consider.

When relationships break up, it’s not only those under the roof of the couple who are affected, parents, siblings, Aunts & uncles, cousins, and even close friends receive some of the fall-out too.

So, when both sides of the family have had a similar experience, it’s also important to get them involved in the wedding and interacting with your partner’s family too.

Inclusive and interactive activities on your wedding day are a great way to do this as are well-thought-out seating plans. Getting key members of the two families in your wedding party is also an effective way of promoting unity.

Best Man & Best Woman

Traditionally this is a role for a very close friend of the groom, and increasingly a role for a good friend of the bride. If you are trying to keep the wedding child-friendly, then forgoing the usual banter and jokes may open up an interesting role for someone else.

Asking one of your kids to be the best man or woman can really get them feeling special on your special day. However, this could be a role you offer to your spouse’s brother or sister, especially if you are trying to keep the guest list down.

They may not have known you since kindergarten, but they can certainly speak about how you have totally changed the life of their own brother or sister.

Maid & Man of Honor

Again, this is another role where you turn tradition on its head, especially if this isn’t your first rodeo. Making the gesture of including your partner’s son or daughter in this role can make a very strong bond early on in your marriage both with your step-children and new spouse.

Also, as I mentioned before, asking your new brother or sister-in-law to take on this symbolic role can really fuse a friendship with them which will make your future interactions closer.

Bridesmaids & Groomsman

Ok, sometimes you just want your best friend to be your best man or maid of honor after all this is a big step in your life and it’s important to have familiar faces around to support you.

So, why not relegate your soon to be step-children to the role of bridesmaid or groomsman. There’s nothing cuter than a little girl in a beautiful dress or well dressed young man.

In the same breath, if your wedding is blended why not get your teams of bridesmaids and groomsmen to reflect that also. Getting siblings from both sides to rub shoulders can be a great way to extend the blending effect and really get everyone off to a great start.


To make this truly a family affair, you can employ your and your spouses’ nieces and nephews to be ushers, assuming of course that you have any and they are invited. In this way, you are able to not only show that you are united in your small family unit, but even those distant relations are part of your wedding team.

Ring Bearers and Flower girl

Of course, it goes without saying that if you have a few adorable children in the family then they simply have to be a flower girl or ring bearer. This is a great additional role for a daughter or son but could also work for one of your or your spouse’s nieces or nephews; ideally one from each side of the family.

Including the guests

Now that you are making it a family affair, you may even want to involve the guests in the wedding.  This is not for every wedding and may work better at a smaller venue.

The guests could have a role at the wedding from the officiant to usher. This is fairly standard for any type of wedding, but again you could carry over the theme of pairing guests from either side of the new family in roles where multiple helpers make sense.

Wedding games

If you are going to be welcoming a lot of families to your wedding, then organizing team games and competitions can really bring people together. This could be straightforward as having lawn games, such as croquet or horseshoes or something more elaborate such as a treasure hunt. Ask a trusted guest to organize mixed teams of each side of the family to participate together and get everyone having fun.

Other activities such as a dance competition or musical chairs can give your wedding a fun and child-friendly twist. When everyone is having fun they are going to start to bond and you will find your blended family blends even better!

Inclusive seating plans

The ideal way to get friends and family who don’t know each other well to mix is to seat them next to each other during the wedding breakfast. Making proceedings less formal can also help to lighten the mood and get people mingling.

Open mic speeches

Now, this isn’t for everyone and you really need to know your audience to pull this one-off. Rather than having the traditional speeches, or in addition to them, you can open the floor to your guests for anyone to say a few words.

This can really make your guests feel like a valued and important part of your special day and it also gives you a chance to hear how wonderful and your new family are.

Closing thoughts

This is not the penultimate list of things that you can do for your blended wedding but it should give you some amazing ideas. The most important thing is that everyone has fun, this is you and your family’s day. There are no rules that must be followed, just try to be inclusive and make it your own.  It will all work out, have fun.

Are Wedding Favors Really Necessary? The Truth Revealed Here

Wedding favors, traditionally identical gifts – sometimes symbolic, sometimes useful, sometimes edible – prepared in bulk and given to every guest at a wedding party, are still commonplace. But are they necessary?

The simple answer: NO! If it’s giving you a headache, you might just want to scrap the wedding favors. But be sure to make it clear to your guests that you don’t expect gifts from them. Guests who have prepared an expensive gift may be looking forward to at least something symbolic in return.

If you are still struggling with this question, there are some factors to consider. Your budget and economic situation, your creative instinct (or lack thereof), and the style of the ceremony/banquet/party may all come into play.

Here are some ideas, both for how to avoid wedding favors and for how to embrace them:

The ethics of the wedding favor argument

Wedding styles nowadays are quite diverse, and guests never know quite what to expect. And for the bride and groom, planning the festivities is often extremely complicated and exhausting even without the stress of choosing wedding favors from the thousands of trinkets and handicraft ideas out there.

But, if you expect something from your guests, you’d better commit to providing wedding favors even though you are basically giving them a free meal and perhaps even a skinful of booze into the bargain.

If budget is a concern, it can be done cheaply. And, if you are the type of person who enjoys creative challenges, it’s a good opportunity to express this side of you on your special day!

Approach 1: Don’t provide wedding favors, and don’t accept gifts

If deciding on and paying for wedding favors is stressing you out, and you are dreading the onslaught of gifts and repeats of gifts that you neither need nor want, here is the perfect solution: on the wedding invitations, make it clear in print that you and your spouse are not accepting gifts or money, and discard the term “wedding favors” from your brain. Don’t print anything about the lack of wedding favors, of course! “We are too lazy to come up with a gift for you, so please don’t guilt us by giving us expensive stuff” would sound just awful.

Something like this, toward the bottom of the invitation, would be just fine: “Please do not bring gifts or money. We have everything that we need.” Or, a little warmer: “We are delighted to have you with us on our special day. Your presence and well-wishing are all that we need, and we are not accepting gifts or money.”

Also, keep in mind that in some cultures, such as in Chinese tradition, people who receive invitations but can’t attend the wedding are still expected to send gifts/money and also expect to receive the standard wedding favors. So, no matter what, you or your spouse should try your best to have a brief conversation with everybody you are planning to invite, before sending the invitations. And if you are not ordering wedding favors, be sure to mention that you are not accepting gifts or money.  

If you do this, then you can escape any guilt you may feel or may be forced upon you with snide comments. What if someone forces a gift on you? Well, in this case, you just have to accept that you can’t win them all and then be prepared to write a heartfelt thank you note!

Bowing to social pressure

We all do things that we don’t necessarily want to do, especially to please our loved ones. I personally didn’t want to embrace all of my wife’s traditional Taiwanese traditions, especially the ones involving guests giving red envelopes of money (so I saw it) in exchange for biscuits or cakes which are the Taiwanese version of wedding favors.

However, I then committed myself to include as many traditions from my wife’s culture as possible, and it was great in the end. So, if you have decided to bite the bullet on wedding favors, here are some more ideas for you.

Approach 2. If budget is a concern, make your wedding favors 

If you and your spouse enjoy DIY handicraft projects, this may be the perfect solution for you.  Imagine the delight of your guests when they go to sit down and find a beautiful origami paper crane (the bird, not the construction machine!) in the center of their chair.

Did you know the crane is a symbol of love, more specifically, of fidelity, in Japanese culture? Have you heard of the custom of folding 1000 origami cranes to display at the wedding banquet? Well, if that seems a bit extreme, just fold as many as there are guests, and use them as wedding favors! All you need is paper, instructions, and some time to practice.

If you want to make something more complicated, there are lots of stunning designs available with detailed tutorials on Youtube. Browse rabbits, butterflies, flowers, boxes…try them all and pick one to replicate over and over again. And no matter whether you want cranes or something else, if you are too busy to do it yourselves (or love the idea but are not good with your hands) you can also enlist the help of a relative or friend.

Other there are plenty of other handicrafts ideas including useful items like soaps and candles. However, these skills take much more time and practice to master, so you might just end up buying them instead! If you want something super easy, mix CDs of your favorite music with a nice wedding photo as the cover would do just fine.

Approach 3. Food…or weed!

In many cultures, traditional edible treats are the standard wedding favors. If you or your spouse has a knack for baking, cookies and brownies make wonderfully convenient snacks for wedding guests. Especially if your festivities don’t include a meal – if you are just having a ceremony and a simple reception, for example – a package of sweet treats might just be the perfect choice for you. Prepare a variety of several different styles of cookie, package them in bakery bags.

Do you live in a state where marijuana is legal? You may have heard of the trend of “weed weddings” in California, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington. Don’t worry, you don’t need to go completely crazy with the theme! Just preparing marijuana-infused snacks and joints as wedding favors might be the perfect touch.

Have you ever heard of a “doob tube”? Yes, this is possible for your wedding, if you live in one of these states! Just order a bunch of these (or something similar), put a joint in each one, and make sure they are available for guests upon arrival. Also, be sure to prepare enough individually wrapped cannabis cookies; some of your guests would enjoy getting high, but don’t want to inhale smoke.      

Approach 4. Use your wedding favors to make a statement

Religion and politics can be sensitive and tricky, so you’d better be cautious here. On the other hand, if you’re confident in this regard and not worried about offending the guests, your wedding day can be a great opportunity to express something that you believe in.

For all major religions, there are plenty of affordable symbolic trinkets easy to order in bulk. If you are passionate about the environment, consider something eco-friendly (visit:

Wedding favors can be a good opportunity to educate a lot of people about a topic you are passionate about, so you could certainly be creative in using it as a platform for political change. If there is an election coming up soon or a particular bill which needs popular public support, why not use wedding favors as a fight in support of your cause.

No matter what your message or cause is, there is almost certainly something that can be used as wedding favors. You may think there’s absolutely no way to demonstrate gun rights advocacy at your wedding…but you’d be surprised (link:!

If you want to make a statement about a passionate belief or cause, directly to all of your relatives and friends, your wedding party may be the opportunity of a lifetime to indulge.

Approach 5. Don’t need favors because you don’t need a wedding

If favors are not necessary…are weddings even necessary?

By all means, if you’re financing able, be generous and throw a big party! It’s a beautiful tradition and it’s good for the economy. Millions of workers around the world in the event and catering industries depend on it to earn a living.

But, if you and your spouse are struggling to make ends meet, the stress of financing a wedding can be overwhelming and even destructive to the relationship. And you’re not alone. According to CNBC it seems that a shocking percentage of American adults don’t have enough cash on hand to cover a $400 emergency.

Remember: your love and partnership and commitment to each other are so much more important than any kind of public display. Your friends and relatives should be totally understanding if simply register your marriage and skip the wedding. You can save the money for a wonderful honeymoon instead!

If you’re dealing with pressure from traditional-minded parents, grandparents, and others, you can try to crowdfund your wedding within the family. Relatives of a bride and groom might be happy to chip in to cover some or all of the expenses.

And if you are reading this article on behalf of a friend or relative who is planning a wedding, consider it likely that money is their main concern. The price tag of each individual element in the wedding package, including the favors, can be intimidating. “No, wedding favors are not necessary, but if you want them I’ll be happy to cover the cost” may be exactly what your son or daughter or brother or sister needs to hear from you. Or maybe you are a good photographer? Offer to do it free of charge! Help out in any way that you can, as long as you are comfortable doing so.

Marriage is still the root of modern family life, and the wedding is only the beginning of the story. But whether or not it goes smoothly, and how the bride and groom feel about it, are often good predictors of the future success of the relationship. Wedding favors are just a tiny detail. Don’t get caught up agonizing over them.

What To Do With An Old Wedding Dress (Recycle, Dye, Donate)

Old wedding dress

Your special day is perhaps over but you still have a wonderful memento in the form of your wedding dress. The question of what should you do with it when you are already happily married is one that every newly married bride asks herself.

So, what can you do with an old wedding dress exactly?

Most people suggest that an old wedding dress is a valuable source of material for arts & crafts that will hold strong sentimental value. Recycling the dress for another use can be a practical way to use it each and every day. Donating your dress to a charity is also a meaningful use of the garment.

Many brides simply put their dress in a box and store it away, but that’s such an injustice to a piece of clothing which gave you such joy. In this article I go through many different ways you can repurpose your dress and give it a new life or memory you’ll cherish.

How to use your dress in a craft project

Getting inventive with your dress is really easy and there are so many useful and beautiful things an old wedding dress can become. Here are some ideas to take inspiration from when, and if, you decide to take a pair of scissors the gown of that special day. They include

  • Making a garter for your daughter (assuming you have one)
  • Making a decorative throw pillow full of frills
  • Layering the fabric in a pendant (to keep it close at heart)
  • Wrapping the vase of your daughter’s (or your son’s brides) bouquet
  • Making a quilt (for comfort on the cool winter nights)
  • Making a christening gown for your child (or for any special occasion)
  • Mounting it in a frame to be hung as art.
  • Making a skirt for you Christmas tree
  • Simplifying it down for future special occasions that might arise
  • Making a hairclip (or any other accessory you might imagine)
  • Background for photo sessions for your newborn daughter
  • Letting your daughter play dress up.
  • Letting your bridesmaids try it on for their own photoshoots.


Now, not all craft projects require that you chop up your gown to take advantage of all its potential, but some certainly do. So, if you are really set on cutting, snipping, and re-sewing the fabric here are a few more ideas. You could make:

  • Curtains for a small window.
  • A bookmark
  • Matching earrings and necklace
  • A handbag or change purse
  • A scarf or boa
  • Artificial roses or flowers
  • Doilies or placemats
  • And, god forbid, rags or dishtowels

Who in their right mind would cut up a wedding gown for rags when you probably have a husband lounging around the living room with a rag for a T-Shirt that begs for the job? Sentiment aside, the cost of a gown can be daunting.

Gowns are Pricey suggests that the average cost for a gown these days can certainly be expected to sit around $1,100. Those would certainly be some expensive dishtowel that probably won’t be able to soak up much water anyways. So perhaps, you might be looking for some ways to get some of that investment back. 

Making some of the things mentioned above and selling them on the public market websites like and is certainly an option, as is local craft shows and in your community. However, there might be other considerations too. 

Dye Dress Dye

Iconic wedding dress we know and love today, a white vision which leaves your man transfixed is a fairly new phenomenon. Queen Victoria of British fame was one of the trailblazers of the white wedding dress but even until relatively recently most women took a practical approach to their wedding day frock. My grandmother, for example, married my grandfather not too long after WW2 and she had an everyday but new dress which she wore again after their special day.

One way to emulate my grandmother’s canny clothing choice is to dye your white wedding dress another color and to wear the dress again. Of course, this depends on the cut and style of your dress. A very classic wedding dress may stick out like a sore thumb for what it is regardless of the color, but other designs may look very elegant as a newly dyed cocktail dress or evening gown.

Dyeing fabrics can be easily done at home or you can seek out a professional. All in all, this could be a great way of reusing your dress as a practical garment instead of having to dismember it.

Giving but Getting

Preowned Wedding is a commission-free site that is dedicated to allowing people to resell their old gowns. They have buyers and sellers worldwide with filters for the following countries.

  • United States
  • Canada
  • Australia
  • Europe
  • “Near me”

They have a plethora of articles to help you prepare, sell, ship and manage your sale. Keep in mind that customers might not only be brides to be but might, in fact, purchase your gown for whatever reason they choose, so this should be considered too.

Being Charitable

Although passing an old wedding dress down to one’s daughter is not something that happens very often anymore. (Styles are so different now) There are still options for those that don’t wish to cash in on their treasured memento. is a charitable site that receives donated dresses then resells them at a substantial discount. The proceeds of the sales are then given to charities that help victims of sex trafficking. If you don’t have money in your budget for such a donation perhaps your old gown my fit this niche. is another charitable site that collects dresses for giveaways to military and first responder brides. To quote them directly, “Whether it’s for love of country or love at the altar, our military and first [responders] deserve our very best.”

These two options offer a way to give what you have in a way that you can be certain where your giving goes. 

There is also simply the option of giving your gown to someone you know that needs one, like perhaps, your daughter. 

Mom’s Old-Fashioned Gown

Styles do change, as we touched on very briefly above and sometimes that is the main thing holding your daughter back from accepting the “your mother’s mother and her mother’s mother were married in this dress” hand-me-down. So why not try to utilize it a bit and save some of that hard-earned money for the honeymoon splurge.

If you don’t want to go the full hog and actually wear the family heirloom, there are several ways to pacify your relatives and honor the tradition of that particular garment and even carry it on for future generations.

  • The first suggestion is to simply cut a small piece of the fabric and sewn (or have it sewn in by a professional) into your new gown. Although these certainly won’t save you any money for the honeymoon, it will help to keep the women in your family happy.
  • The second suggestion to utilized it for the rehearsal by shortening it. This will help somewhat but removing the need to purchase (or rent) a rehearsal dress with the added benefit of meeting your mother halfway.
  • The third suggestion is to cut it into handkerchiefs (we are not talking about dishtowels here) for both you and the women in your family to use to wipe the tears of joy that will flow in abundance.
  • The fourth suggestion is to have it tailored into the flower girl’s dress, which most likely will be a “girl in your family, wear the dress in your wedding”
  • The fifth suggestion echoes what we mentioned above with wrapping the bouquet
  • The sixth, and final, suggestion to create a clutch (like a small handbag) to be carried on the wedding day.


That’s Not Good Enough

Well if these options do sedate you, or they don’t save them enough for their wedding day. There is the option of just wearing the dress, or you can try to get it altered to suit you. 

Most wedding gown producers are not keen on doing an alteration to old works and it’s understandable why. From an outsider’s perspective, I can immediately see several conflicts of interest. 

  • Firstly, they are in the business of making and selling their dresses. They want to do what they do best.
  • They might have difficulty guaranteeing the quality and beauty of second-hand work. 
  • Would you ask a painter to repair someone else’s painting? Probably not, professional gown makers are artists in their own right.
  • Fabrics that were used in the former dress might be impossible to match and compatible fabrics might prove just as difficult.
  • Colors and fabrics don’t last forever, even when stored with the utmost care. It might prove very difficult to maintain the tone of a dress. 

These are just a few of the considerations that I have come up with off the top of my head.

You Don’t Have an Option

If it is set or a no-option situation and mom’s dress is the only dress for her, don’t fret. There are many wonderfully touching stories here about brides that have worn a hand-me-down dress to the eternal happiness of both the bride and the mothers that gave them their dresses. has a moving article titled “I Wore The Same Wedding Dress As My Grandmother” which relates the experiences of Melanie, Emily, Jordyn, Sophie, Nicole, Lisa, and Amy, who all wore their grandma’s wedding gown, all of which were altered to some extent. They mention that is was not only cheaper than the brand name gown option but also mention that the experience brought with it a heightened sense of meaning as the gown they wore came equipped with built-in history. 

Weddings are times when people are brought together, the family is joined in joy and romance links are made and promises are forged. Why wouldn’t a daughter want to strengthen the sense of family on this joyous occasion?

Now we have spent some time talking about gowns and dresses. The frightening options that require scissors, thread, glue, and perhaps dirty dishes. The options that might bring in some money and thus put the gown to a new use. And the option of giving the dress to others for charity or to maintain tradition. 

I hope that this has been a valuable read and I look forward to writing for you again.