Weddings are often a joyous occasion and people keep many keepsakes from their big day. From the wedding dress, place cards, photo album, a guest book, cards, marriage license and of course wedding rings, these are all items that are kept to remind a couple of the day they said I do.
So what happens to these mementos if your marriage ends in divorce? It may be extremely difficult for you to figure out what to do with these items that once sparked joy and may now trigger anger, pain and sadness.
Deciding what to do with wedding memorabilia is a very person decision and it will largely depend on how the characterization of the marriage and divorce. Throwing children into the mix can also have an impact on how you see and deal with these items.
Here are a few of the most common wedding mementos and some options for what to do with them.
- Sell it. Make some money off it and use the money for some self care like a spa day or vacation with your kids. Use the dress to help fund some new happy memories.
- Donate it. There are lots of places that will take used wedding dresses and sell them at a reduced cost for brides that can’t afford the price tag of a new dress. Check out The Brides Project in Toronto which takes used wedding dresses and donates all the proceeds of the sale to cancer charities. Knowing that your dress will be going to a charitable cause may give you piece of mind that you dress did some good.
- Keep it. There is nothing strange about wanting to keep your wedding gown. After all your wedding day was probably filled with many happy memories and depending on how your marriage ended you may not WANT to forget them. If you have a daughter you might also want to keep it in case she wants to wear the dress on her own wedding day.
- Sell them. If you have a designer ring (Tiffany’s etc.) you can probably get more for them on eBay then you would going to a jeweler. Selling your rings can be a good way to get some extra cash. Buy yourself something nice or add the money to a savings account for your children’s education. There are lots of ways you can use the money from the sale of yours that will be of benefit to you and your family.
- Re-use them. Some people take the stones from the rings and turn them into another nice piece of jewelry. That way you can still remember the good times of the relationship without the symbolic nature of rings. Passing the stones down as a necklace or earrings can be a great way for children to remember the union that created them even though it no longer exists.
- Keep them. Regardless of the fact that they symbolize a failed marriage your children may still want them as a keepsake of you and your ex. Make sure you consult with them before you do anything to make sure you aren’t getting rid of something that still means a lot to them.
- Toss it. If looking at wedding photos causes too much pain, there is no reason to keep it. Getting rid of some memorabilia can feel very cathartic and be important in your healing process but don’t make this decision hastily or when emotions are running high. If you can sit down calmly and identify that you never want to see those photos again there is nothing wrong with throwing your wedding album away.
- Save it. You may not want to have it displayed in your living room but it is not uncommon for people to keep their wedding album stored away. It is likely that you were very happy on your wedding day and there is no issue with wanting to remember that. Keeping the album for your kids to remember their parents as a couple can also be an important reason to keep it. Although you may feel angry and sad when you look at the photos your children may not have the same reaction. They might be really glad to be able to look at their parents when they were happy and in love and be able to share the album with their own children down the road.
Figuring out what do to with wedding memorabilia depends greatly on the marriage. Maybe you had a wonderful few years but drifted apart and parted amicably or maybe it was rough from the beginning. Regardless your marriage was a big part of your life and being kind with yourself as you decide how to move forward is important. Take a deep breath, take your time and make the decision that feels the best for you and your loved ones.