‘Sisterhood of the traveling dress’ helps brides in need

The gown has now been worn by 12 brides.

A wedding gown is a huge expense for one of the happiest days of a woman’s life but, inevitably, the dress gets vacuum-sealed into storage for the rest of eternity after the reception is over and the “I do’s” are exchanged.

Understanding all of this and what a stressful experience it could be for a woman to find a dress in any given price range, Dawnetta Heinz from Omaha Neb., posted the details of her David’s Bridal gown onto a buy/sell/trade Facebook group page, hoping to donate it to a bride in need.

“I would like to give my wedding dress away to someone that is on a tight budget and is in need of a dress,” her post began. “The dress has a corset, can fit a size 5 to 2! I’m sure it can be altered as well! Here are some pictures, it will need (to be) cleaned!”

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She and her husband know what it’s like to be down to their last dollar, so it was especially important to her for the dress that helped bring her so much joy help another woman, too.

Dawnetta Heinz of Omaha, Nebraska has created a 'Sisterhood of the Traveling Dress' by lending out her gown to brides on a tight budget, she has helped out 12 brides so far.

Dawnetta Heinz of Omaha, Nebraska has created a ‘Sisterhood of the Traveling Dress’ by lending out her gown to brides on a tight budget, she has helped out 12 brides so far.

(Schirmbeck Photography)

“We were homeless and living in a car. Our last money was given in the offering at church,” Heinz told HuffPost. “And then everything sort of turned around for us. Since then, we have become personal trainers, helping people feel good about themselves. We just wanted to help give back.”

But the response was overwhelming and Heinz didn’t want to say no to any of the women who wanted to wear her dress on their own big days, so she created the “sisterhood of the traveling dress,” and so far, 12 brides have walked down the aisle in the strapless, beaded number.

“Everyone kept on telling me their story, and I was like, ‘I wish I could give the dress to everyone out there!'” Heinz told the news site. “That’s how I came up with the idea to keep passing it down.”

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Thanks to the corset, the dress can fit differently-shaped women. Arianna Pro from San Francisco, Calif., donned the outfit, complete with a veil, at her vow renewal last week.

Arianna Pro wore Dawnetta Heinz's wedding dress during a vow renewal ceremony in San Francisco on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. Dawnetta Heinz of Omaha, Nebraska has created a 'Sisterhood of the Traveling Dress' by lending out her gown to brides on a tight budget, she has helped out 12 brides so far.

Arianna Pro wore Dawnetta Heinz’s wedding dress during a vow renewal ceremony in San Francisco on Wednesday, August 30, 2017. Dawnetta Heinz of Omaha, Nebraska has created a ‘Sisterhood of the Traveling Dress’ by lending out her gown to brides on a tight budget, she has helped out 12 brides so far.

(KETV)

“We had lost a son, so (their first wedding) wasn’t about the dress,” Pro told Global News. “We just wanted a light in our life. And then I saw this beautiful dress and thought, ‘I can see myself wearing this one day.'”

After her, bride Valarie Firzgerald got Heinz’s dress in the mail and wore it to her Omaha, Neb. wedding on Sunday.

“We live paycheck to paycheck, so there was no way we could find the money to get a dress,” Fitzgerald told TODAY. “But it was very important for us because we waited so long to get married and felt like it was the right time.”

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The experience has been “a blessing” for Heinz who’s strong in her faith and is thrilled to know that she’s helping so many other women feel beautiful.

“It’s amazing to see other people happy and knowing they are going to feel good in it,” she told Inside Edition. “A wedding dress is so special to a bride, and knowing that a dress that I picked out will make someone feel just as good as I did, is a blessing.”

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weddings

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