Marisa Wiens

Brides who lost dresses in fire get help

Surrey woman starts Facebook group for donating wedding gowns

Surrey’s Marisa Wiens had never been to the Golden Brides wedding shop in downtown New Westminster.

In fact, she bought her own wedding dress from a competitor on Columbia Street’s bridal row.

But when she heard about the Oct. 10 fire that destroyed two heritage buildings in New West, including the one that housed Golden Brides, her thoughts immediately went to the women who’ve suddenly found themselves without their dream gown.

She looked at her own dress, packed away in a bag in the closet of her Surrey home for the past three years, and had an idea.

“Really, my dress is just sitting there,” she thought. “I’d love to donate my own wedding dress.”

So, she started a Facebook page to put her idea out to other women whose own dresses are similarly packed away, but might be able to salvage a new bride’s big day.

The response, she said, was immediate and overwhelming. In less than a day, the site had more than 450 “likes” and dozens of women had uploaded photos of their dresses to a special album.

Each photo is accompanied by a description of its size, how old it is, who designed it and any special features.

“It’s amazing to see so many women willing to donate their dress,” said Wiens, who hasn’t been able to make contact with anyone from the Golden Brides shop so she can connect women who lost their dresses in the fire with those donating dresses. She’s hoping as word spreads, those women will be able to browse the gallery, and find something that suits their needs.

Wiens said she’s taking it on good faith that those browsing the donated dresses are genuinely in need. She’s not collecting dresses herself; recipients and donors will be able to connect to each other directly through the Facebook page.

“I’m more so thinking of the brides who are in a pinch,” said Wiens.

“I hope there aren’t people out there who are going to take advantage.”

To donate a dress, or to find one to replace a dress burned in the fire, go to www.facebook.com/gownsforgoldenbrides

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