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    Say Yes to the (Thrifted) Dress

    Well now that we’re past the holidays and Valentine’s Day, chances are few of you out there are in wedding planning mode. So let me be the first to tell you– you’re about to take a wild ride on the sticker shock express. But fear not. Simply put down the bridal magazines and cancel your appointment at the fancy bridal store. Goodwill® is the best place to start.

    Shocked? Don’t be. Plenty of happy marriages have started with thrifted dresses and decor. Unless your last name is Rockefeller, you’re probably more interested in spending money on the party and honeymoon than on a dress you’ll wear once.

    But it goes beyond dresses, and so do the expenses involved in getting hitched. Pinterest is literally filled with DIY ideas for centerpieces, decor and even unique floral arrangements using upcycled vases and frames. It may not be a one-stop-shop, but it’s certain to be a completely you, one-of-a-kind experience for you and your guests –for literally pennies on the dollar.

    wedding dress 1wedding dress 2

     Photos courtesy of Julie Collins

    Claire Westlie and Bryan Lauer’s wedding is a great example. They got married in 2016 in Appleton, Wisconsin. Tipped off by a friend, she went to her local Goodwill to check out a dress that closely resembled one she liked that had a $1500 price tag. The big difference? This gorgeous Goodwill find was just $80 and cost more than she paid for it to get altered! All told, she got a beautiful gown she wanted for a savings of $1170. That’s some serious honeymoon margarita money, so it pays to keep an open mind.

    Here’s some great inspiration of cobbling together the dress of your dreams from thrifted dresses, because when you think about it, who wears a dress right off the rack anyway? Don’t know how to sew? Don’t worry, there’s always someone willing to alter dresses and even then the savings are often substantial over buying new.

    Need more proof? Some regional Goodwill stores host wedding and prom dress events of their own each year.  A Goodwill bridal event in Pennsauken, NJ recently had over 400 donated dresses from size 0-30, all for $49-$299.

    Are you reading this from Florida? You can get free tickets to a Goodwill bridal show in Orlando on March 9, 2019 by clicking here!

    Don’t forget the decor. The variety of items you can find at Goodwill adds the perfect shabby chic look, and puts a unique eclectic touch to your big day. Here’s a great example of items easily found in thrift stores– vases, ceramic figurines, timepieces, candles, old books, and tea sets that can really bring a tabletop to life.

    wedding dress 3

    Photo by @mrs_plath

    So go out! Get creative! It’s your day to make your own. There’s more than one way to throw a wedding, and we’re here to make sure it’s fun, memorable, and saves some of that precious cash for your future life together.

    Jenna Pfueller
    Jenna is a design junkie, lifelong thrifter, and founder of All Thrifty States (allthriftystates.com), a documentary project about thrift culture across America. She writes about sustainable style, unique decor ideas, and upcycling tips for secondhand stuff.
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