22-year-old Nebraskan woman Dawnetta Heinz recalled that after she got married in July of 2016, her wedding dress just sat in the back of her closet. When packing up for a recent move, Dawnetta decided to do something with her vacant dress.
“I never put much thought into what I would do with the dress. I am moving so I had the idea to give the dress to someone less fortunate,” Heinz told Inside Edition.
In a Facebook group, Heinz wrote that she would lend out the dress for free. To her surprise, she received several responses from women hoping to wear her dress for their big day.
“I didn’t expect it to blow up like it did,” Dawnetta said. “That’s when I had the idea to ask them to pass it forward.”
Currently, there are 11 brides and counting who are waiting to wear Dawnetta’s dress. Thus, Dawnetta decided to have them pass on the dress, sending it to the next recipient, but having it dry-cleaned beforehand. The borrowed wedding dress remains free of charge for any expecting bride.
The first bride, Arianna Pro, donned the dress a few weeks ago to renew her vows to her husband.
“I just so happened to be browsing on Facebook,” Arianna said. “I saw the beautiful dress and I was the first one to comment. When my husband and I got married, it wasn’t a necessity to have the big dress and the big party. We had just lost a son and we needed a little light in our lives. When I saw the dress, all the feelings came back. It was overwhelming. [Heinz] snowballed my dream to have a real wedding.”
The couple renewed their vows on a yacht in San Francisco, and Pro attributes much of the evening’s magic to the lovely dress.
“It was so amazing to get the recognition as a bride,” Pro said. “You are wearing this beautiful dress and everyone is gawking at you. It was a surreal experience.”
On sending the dress along to the next bride, Arianna is happy to be a part of the chain that passes along her delightful experience. “I shipped the dress to the next girl,” she said. “I know how I felt when I wore the dress and we get to pass that feeling on.” And so it goes.
Heinz couldn’t be happier that her dress is allowing brides the experiences they deserve, with her wonderful deed going a long way – literally.
“It’s amazing to see other people happy and knowing they are going to feel good in it,” Dawnetta said. “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.”
Sign Up For Our Newsletter
Help us continue our mission of empowering women while shedding light on the effects of inequality.