When the ‘I dos’ have been spoken, the cake cut and the bouquet thrown, most brides dry clean and carefully pack away their wedding dress, to rarely think about or set eyes on again.
Dawnetta Heinz was one of these women, but a year after her big day, found herself wondering how the gown might serve a greater purpose than being a beautiful source of nostalgia.
It was then the personal trainer from Nebraska, US, reflected on the past year of her life and decided to give it away to someone in need.
You see, Heinz knew what it was like to be homeless with no money to spare for everyday clothes let alone a $1500 (US$1200) wedding gown.
“I would like to give my wedding dress away to someone that is on a tight budget and in need of a dress,” she wrote in a post to a local buy/swap/sell Facebook group earlier this month.
The mum-of-one was overwhelmed by the many heartfelt messages she received from women explaining how they couldn’t afford the dress of their dreams. Each had their own reasons why wearing the dress would make their day all the more special.
And so rather than choose which of the dozen commenters to send the dress to, Heinz suggested they share.
“Then I just commented on the post, ‘What would you guys think if we just passed the dress on to the next person?’ And one of the girls said, ‘Yeah, it could be like sisterhood of the travelling dress!’,” she told Yahoo Style.
And so a plan was devised so each woman would get the chance to don the gown on their wedding day, with Arianna Pro wearing the dress this weekend when she renewed her vows with her husband of six years.
“We had just lost a son, and we just needed a little light, a little love,” Pro told Yahoo Style.
“We got married at the courthouse. Now we have four children and kind of have the means to do it right, and have them be there with us to let them see that mommy and daddy love each other still.”
Pro will then clean and pass the dress onto the next woman, a tradition Heinz hopes will extend beyond the first dozen women, gathering a photo of each bride in the gown.
Listen: Mamamia’s former Executive Producer of Podcasts, Monique Bowley sold her wedding dress to a listener. Here’s how it went.