Today is the day: 1 year, 4 months, and 5 days after my wedding and my dress is packed up in a “Hello Fresh” box ready to be sent off to California. “What’s in California?” you may ask. Well, let me tell you the story.
After my wedding (and my wedding dress fiasco), I knew that I wanted my dress to be used for something more. Some people recommended preserving it; others said I should save it and have it made into dedication dresses for my babies. But that didn’t quite satisfy my want for it to be used, and my desire for it to make someone else as happy as it made me.
I’ll briefly explain what happened to my original wedding dress. The week before my wedding I went to pick up my altered wedding dress from David’s Bridal, only to find that they had ruined the satin skirt while adding the bustle and told me that was what I asked for. I was heartbroken. In the end, they found the same dress that was used as a sample in another store and brought it in for alterations (and refunded me for the cost of the bustle alteration, but nothing else). Honestly, that ordeal could be an entire post about how David’s Bridal didn’t fix it until the day before my wedding and gave us a constant run-around. But it created a disconnect for me: the sample dress wasn’t the one that hung in my closet so many months, that I would put on when I got my jewelry and shoes to make sure everything looked right. But in the end, the dress I wore on my wedding day made me so happy and was the garment I wore when I married the man that I praise God for every single day. In those moments, nothing that had happened mattered. I felt beautiful and classy, and I want someone else to feel that way as well.
The first thing I wanted to do was turn my wedding dress over to a non-profit that makes funeral clothes for deceased babies. I know that sounds very morbid, but the idea that my dress could give a family in sadness a little bit of comfort was beautiful to me. I had seen a feature story on the nightly news and wanted my dress to be part of that program. So for a year I sat on the waiting list.
Leading up to my husband and my one year anniversary, and having still not heard anything from the non-profit, I started toying with the idea of a “wreck the dress” photo shoot. We could take it to the Bahamas with us this Christmas and go swimming in the ocean, or we could go up to Ithaca to the gorges and have a one-year anniversary session with our photographer. When I brought these suggestions up to my husband, he laughed at me and told me he didn’t want to do anything like that. And I knew I didn’t really want to either.
Last month, I was on Facebook scrolling my newsfeed when a post from one of my friends popped up. My friend Heather and I had met while she was on a missionary trip when I lived in Mandeville, Jamaica, and I remembered she was a sweet girl who loved the Lord. What she posted took my breath away, and instantly I knew God had been saving my wedding dress for her.
Heather’s post read: “I’ll be donating my wedding dress to our [Help Haiti 180] new project called ‘Gowns of Grace’! If you’re interested in donating your dress, it will not only bring joy for a bride-to-be but it will help start a business for the newlyweds as they will rent it out after their wedding!”
So simple. I immediately looked up Help Haiti 180. It’s a small non-profit that works with Orphan Prevention in Haiti with a couple different projects that they have currently being funded. They are a classified 501(c)3 US public charity working with individuals in both the US and Haiti.
And it was when I read that post that I knew God desired me to do something else with my wedding dress. So I contacted Heather and started the process.
And now, my beautiful wedding dress is on it’s way to Haiti via California. From NYC to the Long Beach area, my 5lb box cost me $23 and will take one week. Heather has said she will get a photo of the woman the dress is given to, and I am more than excited to one day see it. I pray it provides her with as much joy on her special day as it did on mine.
For more information about this program, please visit their website Help Haiti 180, or visit the Facebook page. And if you too wish to donate your wedding dress, let me know in the comments! I can’t wait to see what the future holds for this program and the loving members behind it.