The Wedding Dress Project

The Wedding Dress Project was developed as an artful way to help victims of domestic violence cope with and grow beyond their experiences; to help teens envision and engage in dialogue about what healthy relationships look like; and to help all participants learn to recognize early warning signs of domestic abuse. The project engages the community in a variety of ways, most notably through dress deconstruction workshops. Dress deconstruction workshops allow groups of teens and/or adult victims to deconstruct, re-imagine, and rebuild aspects of their emotional selves, their perceptions and self expectations through the deconstruction and reconstruction of an actual wedding dress, often seen as an icon of both the contemporary female ideology and the idea of the American wedding. Dresses and art supplies for the workshops are donated by community members. Art objects and writings resulting from the workshops are displayed publicly. Acts of donation, deconstruction and display collectively raise awareness about the issue of domestic violence and encourage community involvement in its prevention.

In addition, the Wedding Dress Project is deeply passionate about inspiring dialogue concerning gender relations and gender stereotypes. The activities of the Project endeavor to change old perceptions and expectations concerning gender roles and responsibilities, and replace them with an understanding of what it is to be an individual and to respect others as individuals. Deconstruction workshops with the LGBT community and allies of the LGBT community allow participants to be empowered through art making, giving voice to the need for social change and global acceptance, beginning with acceptance of the self.

To donate your dress or art supplies, go to the Garment Donation Page and fill out a contact form.

If your organization, support group, teen group, or shelter would like to host a dress deconstruction workshop, please e-mail Project Director and Workshop Facilitator, Cara Hagan at theweddingdressproject@gmail.com