‘I want to help as many women as I can find their dream dress. Everyone should feel the magic and beauty I felt the day I married my best friend.’
After marrying in the wedding gown of her dreams, bride Gwendolyn Stulgis set out on a mission to make gown shopping less stressful for future brides. When Stulgis began her search for the ideal wedding gown, she wanted one that made her feel beautiful. Stulgis found “the one” at a local boutique, Evaline’s Bridal & Tuxedo, in Warren, Ohio, after visiting several shops near her home and trying on many dresses. Allure Bridals’ champagne-colored wedding gown had beautiful sheer long sleeves and gorgeous beading and lace enhancing all the right places.
There was only one catch: Her dream gown cost a whopping $3,000. Stulgis told Insider that she had originally set a budget of $1,000 for the wedding gown and that the champagne gown was far out of her price range, but she loved it too much to pass it up. “I got emotional looking at it because it was everything I really wanted,” she said. “I don’t think I could have pictured myself in anything else. That dress was just made for me.” It was money well spent because Stulgis looked stunning on her wedding day, May 6, 2022, when she married her now-husband, Frank Stulgis.
Stulgis, like many brides, hung her gown in the closet after the ceremony. However, after a few days, she realized that the gown wasn’t much use to her—or anyone else—if it was stored away. She decided to give the dress a second chance by donating it to another bride who could wear it on her wedding day. “I want someone else to feel the way I did on my wedding day—to look beautiful,” she explained. “I want the person to feel like they are worth something. I want them to get the dress of their dreams without worrying about buying one. A wedding dress shouldn’t just be kept in a closet.”
Stulgis took to Facebook less than two weeks after her wedding to express her desire to pass on her wedding gown to a future bride. “So after much consideration, I have decided to give away my Wedding dress. I want it to go to a woman who deserves to have a dress of her dreams that can’t afford one or settled for something more in her price range. I felt absolutely gorgeous in it and want someone else to feel how I felt,” she wrote. Stulgis stipulated two conditions in the post: the bride’s wedding must take place within the next three months, and the bride must promise to pass it on. “I have been very fortunate to have the dress of my dreams, I am forever grateful. There is no real sense to box up such a beautiful dress,” she added.
“In order to decide who to pick I want the bride-to-be to tell me in a couple of paragraphs why she deserves the dress. They can Facebook message me. All messages will be read up until June 2 so it gives us a couple of days to go through them,” Stulgis elaborated. She and her husband went over the submission every night for days until they chose the winner, Margaret Hyde, on June 4. Alycia Ashley, Hyde’s future sister-in-law, had secretly submitted a submission just a few days before the bride-to-be did. “Margaret is just an amazing person. She is the type of person that will give you the shirt off of her back. She’s always the one doing the giving,” Ashley explained that she submitted Hyde anonymously because the bride-to-be had mentioned wanting to enter but was hesitant.
“I was in complete shock; I feel extremely loved,” Hyde said of winning the dress, thanks to Ashley’s submission. “I’m a simple girl that wears jeans and T-shirts, so I don’t normally wear dresses. I’m looking forward to feeling like a princess for a day.” Before seeing Stulgis’ post, the bride-to-be revealed that she had planned on making her own wedding gown. She now intends to pass the dress on, just as Stulgis desires. Since the original post in May, Stulgis has inspired many brides to donate their wedding gowns to future brides who cannot afford one.
She also mentioned that she has seen shoes, accessories, bridesmaid dresses, and mother-of-the-bride dresses donated through the “Shared Dream Dresses” Facebook group she started earlier this month.”I want to help as many women as I can find their dream dress,” Stulgis said. “I honestly didn’t think it would get this much traction but I am excited to see it blossom. Everyone should feel the magic and beauty I felt the day I married my best friend.”