Woman Creates 'Sisterhood of the Traveling Wedding Dress' for 12 Brides-to-Be

sisterhood of the traveling wedding dress
Schirmbeck Photography

For many brides, picking out your wedding dress is a significant moment, or maybe even a rite of passage, if you will. However, not all brides are able to afford their dream dress. So, when Nebraska-based Dawnetta Heinz got hitched last year in her own dress, she decided to use it to help other brides have the wedding they've always wished for. 

  • Make that 12 brides, to be exact -- all of whom were found via her posting in a buy/sell/trade group on Facebook.

    Originally, Heinz planned to donate her $550 corseted wedding dress to one bride "on a tight budget," but she received too many offers to decline, according to her Facebook post. 

    More from CafeMom: This 93-Year-Old Bride Asked for Help Choosing a Wedding Dress & the Internet Lost It

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  • Giving back has always been important to Heinz, especially "giving somebody something as simple as a wedding dress," she tells CafeMom.

    She and her now-husband Jared understand what it's like to struggle with money. They were once homeless and living out of their car. But now they own a successful fitness training company called Booty Sculpt, and she feels this is the perfect time to give back to others in her past position. 

  • In the three weeks since she made her post, the dress has already gone through two women. "It's literally crazy," she tells CafeMom.

    Arianna Pro is one of the two brides who has worn it so far, donning it for her vow renewal ceremony in San Francisco. "It's becoming like a sisterhood," she told Today. "We are all forming a chain of forever friendships, especially since it's all local."

    During Pro's original wedding six years ago, she just wore a dress from Goodwill. But now, Heinz's dress helped make Pro's vow ceremony "perfect." 

    "We live paycheck to paycheck, so there was no way we could find the money to get a dress," Valerie Fitzgerald, another bride who wore Heinz's dress, explained to Today

  • Heinz expects the dress to eventually experience wear and tear, but she doesn't want its altruism to end there.

    More from CafeMom: The Joys of Wedding Dress Shopping as a Shotgun Bride

    She hopes to ultimately donate it to an organization that'll turn it into burial gowns for stillborn children. 

    But that's not until a few weddings from now. For now, she hopes her story encourages others to also give back, or to just do something kind in a world where we're "always tearing each other down and always judging," she says. Instead, we should "just help people uplift one another."

    Heinz has definitely done this with her small act. What's more, she has heard from another woman who is also going to pay it forward with her dress. Here's to hoping we have a movement on our hands! 

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