Worn just once, for one day and then abandoned to the back of a closet for a lifetime, the wedding dress is most likely the least sustainable garment in our wardrobe. In light of this fact, and the desire to help a future bride in need make her dream come true, an American woman from Ohio decided to donate her wedding dress on Facebook and in the process kickstarted a genuine movement now followed by nearly 2,000 people.
Like many women, Gwendolyn Stulgis spent weeks searching for the perfect dress to wear on her wedding day. Starting with a budget of about 1,000 dollars, she finally fell in love with a dress that cost three times as much. A long princess-style dress in lace, decorated with pearls, and transparent fabric on the sleeves, that she couldn’t pass up when she saw it, feeling such intense emotion on the occasion. That’s how she describes it on her Facebook account, adding that she felt beautiful on her wedding day, May 6.
And the story of the dress could have ended after the festivities, but the young bride made a choice that was both radical and original, by creating a Facebook account intended to find ‘THE’ bride-to-be who would succeed her in wearing this same dress on her own special day. The idea was to not relegate this unique piece to abandonment in a closet and to allow a bride-to-be in need to experience the same emotion and feeling of magic and beauty that she experienced in this outfit.
“So after much consideration I have decided to give away my wedding dress. I want it to go to a woman who deserves to have a dress of her dreams that can’t afford one or settled for something more in her price range. I felt absolutely gorgeous in it and want someone else to feel how I felt,” explained Gwendolyn Stulgis in the launch message of her account.
For this new-style form of giving, the American woman did, however, impose some conditions. To be the chosen one, the bride-to-be had to get married within the next three months, and commit herself to cleaning the dress after her wedding in order to pass it on to another woman, and so on. She also had to explain in a few lines the reasons why she deserved this dress more than anybody else. The unique piece found a wearer a few days later, and since then even a third bride-to-be has already been selected to take over.
In just over a week, the public Facebook group “Shared Dream Dresses” had some 300 members, with 15 dresses donated or in the process of being donated. More than 1,900 people now make up this community which has embraced altruism and sustainability to give the traditional and so-coveted wedding dress several new lives. An initiative that could quickly give birth to others like it around the world.
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