Anybody Want A Free Wedding Dress?

What would you do if your wedding dress arrived only 3 days before your wedding? Well, if you were Elisa, you’d leave it in the box and wear a spare dress you’d bought off the rack. Then you’d start a website and hold a contest to find someone worthy of your unopened, unaltered, unworn $3,000 wedding dress. From Elisa’s site:

I did get married in October, and I did wear a wedding dress. But it was not my wedding dress: the simple, strapless, A-line gown that made me feel teeny-tiny. (I’m not.) The dress I got married in was my Back-up, bought off the rack two weeks before the big day, in the kind of frenzy I’d sworn I’d never get sucked into.

Which is why, to this day, I haven’t even looked at my original wedding dress. I can’t. I’m still mad at it.

“Um, I don’t know how to tell you this, but I’m closing my shop,” said Paula, the owner of the adorable bridal boutique where I’d found The Dress. My first thought was, Poor Paula. I was not yet jaded or wise enough to think, Poor Me.

This was mid-August. The wedding was still two months away. The last thing I wanted to become was the clich

d hysterical bride, so I chose to believe Paula’s weekly promises that the dress would “definitely be in by next Friday.”

And then one day, Paula stopped returning my calls. The gate to the shop came down. For good.

It was time to become hysterical.

Elisa’s solution? Give the dress away! She says she just wants “a happy ending” for the dress. So if you’ve got a tale of woe, and you’d like a size 10, Mariana Hardwick gown made of Thai silk, you’d better get over to Elisa’s website and pour your heart out.

In less than 500 words, of course. —MEGHANN MARCO

Take My Dress. [Via Brooklyn Record]


Edit Your Comment

  1. traezer says:

    Um, I dont get it. She got the dress before the wedding, why didnt she wear it?

  2. EtherealStrife says:

    @traezer: She’s a woman.

  3. Faerie says:

    If you follow the link, you’ll see that she got the wedding dress 3 days before the wedding, but it still required alterations. Not something easily tackled with just a few days to go.

  4. tozmervo says:

    @traezer: In other words, She’s a woman.

  5. killface says:

    I don’t get why she’s giving it away instead of putting it on ebay or something. I mean it’s $3,000. I want to win this contest so I can sell it myself.

  6. Dude, I would look so hot in that dress. Oh wait…

  7. minneapolisite says:

    She’s giving it away to gain publicity for her story. Her story really does suck.

    To any brides worried that this tragedy could happen to you, I strongly recommend They are the internet branch of a brick-and-mortor store (Rush’s Bridal) that has been in downtown Minneapolis since 1948. I got married in October and I had great success with them: The customer service was polite and prompt, I saved 30% off my couture dress, and I received my flawless dress in record time. Another bonus–Minnesota doesn’t charge sales tax on clothing. I’m not sure if this applies to orders shipped out of state, but it’s still worth noting!

  8. freshwater says:

    This type of thing is actually pretty common. To anyone getting married, I highly recommend the book Bridal Bargains. It addresses the scams and pitfalls of the bridal industry (like small boutiques closing and keeping brides’ money). Based on some of the horror stories the authors tell, it’s pretty impressive that she got her dress at all.

  9. etinterrapax says:

    Every bride hears dress-shop-related horror stories, and it has a lot to do with the lengthy and iffy ordering process. It’s not like ordering any other garment, not even from a catalogue. Sometimes it’s the shop’s fault and sometimes it isn’t. The industry has its share of shady businesspeople, and it’s a major purchase for most women. Those of you who sneer about this wouldn’t accept subpar service on a major purchase of anything else, and this is no different.

    I used Pearl’s Place, back when ordering a gown on the interwebs was a huge novelty, and I was very pleased with them and their prices. It was seven years ago, so take the recommendation with a grain of salt, but I had a very good experience.

  10. shari says:

    My tip is – buy used. 10 years ago, I bought a fabulous wedding dress at a resale shop for $450. They provided professional dry cleaning, and of course the dress needed to be altered, but they all do. And since I had the dress in hand, no worrying about it being lost in the mail or on back order. And after the wedding – I resold my dress back to the store and got $225 back.

  11. cgmaetc says:

    She should donate to the charity. I gave my unused dress to this organization and took the write off:

    The proceeds of the sale of you dress help fight breast cancer.

  12. Framling says:

    This is why my wife and I got married in jeans and t-shirts. Well, she was in a relatively nice tank-top from Victoria’s Secret, but everyone else was in jeans and t-shirts.

    In a movie theater. With trailers and credits, even.

  13. GirlGoneRiled says:

    Bridal shops big and small will have one believe that there is some artisan sitting a sewing machine somewhere out there just waiting for one’s measurements to start sewing the dress of a lifetime, which must be ordered 6-9 months in advance for it requires painstaking detail work which can only be accomplished by virgin elves using their right hands. And then when that dress arrives – the same one for which precise measurements were required and for which one is encouraged to buy extra fabric (“just in case” and at $30+ per yard) – it somehow still requires alterations at an hourly rate that makes management consultants envious.

    The truth is that the dresses are made by machines in less than an hour and stored en masse in warehouses outside Hoboken. It’s a nice fairy tale, though, isn’t it?

  14. Anonymous says:


    Seriously though, didn’t everyone’s mom save her wedding dress? That means that there should be two wedding dresses for every couple, with each dress having HUGE sentimental value.

    Pull it outta the box from under the bed, dryclean it, tailor it, and get walkin’ down that aisle.

    …or elope – which is always a better idea anyway.

  15. formergr says:

    Nice, shari, sounds like you scored a great deal!

    I think weddings have become just a giant sucking industry intended to scam as much money out of as many people as possible (the bride, the bridal party, the guests on gift registries, the couple for the space, cake, and catering, etc).

  16. MentalDisconnect says:

    This is why my fiancée and I are planning to do it Las Vegas style- complete with an Elvis impersonating rabbi. I’ll be dressed like Napoleon Dynamite (in his suit, I mean), and she’ll be wearing an 80’s prom dress with poofy hair. It’ll be great!

    No, we’ll do it normally, but we both agree we don’t need a fairy-tale wedding, getting a dress like shari did might be a good idea. I know we’re supposed to make this “the best day of our lives” complete with coordinating butterflies, but I say the honeymoon is where it’s at.

  17. synergy says:

    I AM a woman and I don’t get it either. If she got the dress BEFORE her wedding, why didn’t she wear it?? Stupid.

  18. synergy says:

    @GirlGoneRiled: Well said!

    @s0crates82: Have you heard we’re all getting fatter? I weighed about twice what my mother did when she got married. O_o There’s no way I would ever have fit in her wedding dress.

  19. blakekr says:

    She didn’t wear the dress because only a certifiable optimist would NOT buy a second wedding dress two weeks before their wedding. What was she supposed to do, sit on her hands and hum Zippity Doo Dah until the first dress arrived on a magic carpet from a dress shop that closed?

    Three days ahead is not long enough to get the dress altered. And besides, being sane, she had the situation taken care of by then — other than the 3K loss. That sucks, because her credit card company might not comp her since the product actually arrived, even though it was far too late to use. I’d be ticked.

  20. Anonymous says:


    What about your husband’s mom?

    I weigh nearly twice what my dad did when he was married, but then again, I could benchpress my dad, if I was there when he was married. We’ve got very different frames.