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What to do with the white dress…


… and ring… and photos?

Bridget has a wedding chest filled with memories from her wedding day to her husband Matt. There’s her dried bouquet, weddings albums and video, the many cards they received from guests and loved ones offering their well wishes and finally, her wedding dress.

It was a day that Bridget still says made her feel like a princess, but it’s also a day that is now long gone.

Bridget and Matt are separating after 15 years of marriage. Matt has moved out and he and Bridget are in the process of formalising parenting arrangements for their children and finalising their property settlement. Bridget has looked at her wedding chest more than once, wondering what to do about its contents.

Are you facing a similar situation? What should you do with your ring and your dress—mementos that hold such mixed emotions?

Let’s start with the dress because, for many, this is often the first memento to go.

When deciding what to do with your wedding dress after you’ve said “I do”, there’s no right or wrong answer, although you should give it some proper thought in order to avoid regretting anything later on down the track.

Would a family member ever want to use your dress or an element of it, and how would you feel about that if they did, or could you benefit financially from selling it?

Another great option for parting with a wedding dress after separation is donating it. Wearing your dress might completely change a future bride’s whole wedding and her memories of it in the years to come. Think of donating your dress as one of the silver linings of separation. A quick internet search will reveal various charity and other organisations that will gladly accept the dress.

Moving on to your ring. What should you do with this piece of beautiful jewellery?

There is no right answer here, and it is completely up to you. There is often great sentimental and emotional attachment to the ring that you most likely wore every day of your relationship. Some people are ready to sell their ring pretty quickly after separation, while others wait a long time—sometimes years. Having it remade into a different piece of jewellery is also an option.

Aside from material reminders, another issue many separated people face is what to do with their photos and other mementos?

Some people rip them up out of anger or frustration and there are certainly those who have thrown their entire wedding album into the rubbish! However, even if you aren’t interested in your photo collection because of the emotional side of the separation, it is important for you and your children to have photographic (and video) memories from the past. In that respect, it’s wise to focus on keeping photos that are quality over quantity.

In today’s digital world, the issue of who gets the family’s photo collection in separation is a non-issue as you can just scan the printed photos or copy the digital files and both parties can have the whole collection.

If this article raises any questions or concerns, or if you are in the process of separation and would like to talk to someone about your options, please contact one of our experienced Toowoomba divorce lawyers.