wedding dress up close



Written by Samantha Watson



It’s a loss most people can’t imagine going through—the loss of a baby or young child.


There are few things more tragic than a life cut short, especially as it is just beginning. But across the U.S. and in a few other countries, women are stepping up to provide grieving families what little closure they can.



Through hundreds of local tailors, seamstresses, quilters, and crafters, the Angel Gown project may take many shapes but they all use the same beautiful idea.


Angel Gowns are burial gowns made for newborns, infants and young children through the donation of old wedding dresses. Though it’s unclear where the movement began, there are now groups in Seattle, Washington; Fort Worth, Texas; Garden City, Michigan; Indianapolis, Indiana; and many other places that perform this service free of charge and donate the gowns to families who need it most.


Each wedding dress that is used to make gowns is donated as well, so even if you don’t know how to sew, you can get involved with this project by donating your old wedding dress or other formal gown to an Angel Gowns maker in your area.


There is nothing that can erase the grief parents feel when they lose a child, but small gestures like this can make all the difference. If your funeral home is serving a family who has recently lost a child, there is a good chance you can find an Angel Gowns provider in your area by searching online.


Some other ways funeral directors can show they care:


  • Suggest one of these baby loss books for bereaved parents.
  • Consider reducing the cost of the funeral, or suggesting financial assistance from organizations like the TEARS Foundation.
  • Read these tips to help families who have dealt with pregnancy and infant loss.
  • Suggest support groups specifically for the loss of a child in your area.
  • Have them check out the artist Carly Marie, who has an entire project dedicated to helping families remember the children they have lost.


Have you helped bereaved parents in the past? What are some things you have done for them to help them grieve and cope? Let us know in the comments below, and sign up for our newsletter for funeral news, innovative ideas, and the ways we can make things easier for you and the families you serve.