Valley brides share unique sisterhood through previously owned wedding dresses

TEMPE, AZ — Melissa Darr of Tempe, Arizona sat down with ABC15 and shared one of her favorite moments of wedding planning.

“One day I was just scrolling through Facebook Marketplace, and I came across an old wedding dress from like the 70s or 80s, that I just thought looked kind of silly because it was in style then.”

It began as a shared laugh with Darr and her sister. But once the wheels were in motion, her secret search began.

“I told her she should wear it to my bachelorette as a joke,” Darr laughs. “How funny it would be if everybody had a dress, and how funny it would be if they didn’t know that was going to happen.”

Darr found 18 wedding dresses from Facebook, thrift stores and Goodwill that all met her certain criteria. She lists, “Nothing that was too stylish,” and “I had a rule for myself that I wouldn’t spend more than $30 on a dress.”

Darr ended up shelling out $500 on the dresses. She says it was worth every penny because what was up her sleeve, was revealed on the second night of her bachelorette weekend.

“The girls were in shock,” Darr laughs. “Half of the girls looked like they were too scared to even walk towards the dresses and the other half wanted to run over and see what they were right away.”

The group in white trekked from dinner, to bar, to the next bar where Darr says there were additional alterations. And although ripped, with a few more stains, the dresses got a second life.

Which is why Darr couldn’t just throw them away.

ABC15’s Christine Stanwood tells Darr, “I love that it was so fun and just so authentically you.”

Darr replies, “I actually work in corporate sustainability. So, for me, the fact that all the dresses were secondhand was a major plus.”

With sustainability in mind, Darr listed the well-loved dresses on social media. She sold them to fellow Valley bride, Collen Fay out of Gilbert.

“What an insane idea, we have to do this,” Fay recalls seeing the post about the dresses. “Melissa put in so much work to find all of them.”

Each one, like a snowflake: Intricate, delicate, sparkly and mostly white.

Fay says as she thumbs through them, “You can tell these are so well loved. Like at some point this was someone’s dream wedding dress.”

Their new home will take them to Nashville, Tennessee. But what about beyond Music City?

“The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants,” Fay nods. “Yes, yes. It totally reminds me of that.”

And this bridal bond, could last as long as the dresses hold up.

“It’s a way from like bride to bride to get to like, carry on the fun, and pass the torch of like, ‘Now it’s your turn to go have fun with your girls’,” Fay smiles.

As for Darr, she chooses to carry that same joy into her wedding day, and now marriage.

“What makes me happy is just spending time with the people I love,” Darr says. “I figured as long as those people are there and the bar is stocked, then there’s not a lot else that I need to worry about day of.”