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A lot of things could go wrong as you plan your wedding. But one thing many brides probably don't plan for is their beloved wedding gown going up in flames.
Sadly, that's exactly what happened to dozens of brides yesterday when a Chicago bridal shop burned nearly to the ground. Eva's Bridals was gutted by a fire that started in the roof and quickly spread throughout the shop and to the building next door, according to the Chicago Tribune. The cause of the fire is still being investigated.
But one ray of hope for these devastated women comes from an unlikely source: Twitter.
Social media and PR guru Sarah Evans of suburban Chicago found out about the fire while reading the news online.
"I started reading online about brides who lost their dresses,” she said. “I think about, when I was getting married, all the different stresses that are involved with that. And then to have your dress go away right before your wedding? I can't even imagine."
Evans wanted to help, so she posted a message on Twitter – where she has more than 50,000 followers – offering to loan her own gown to one of the brides who lost theirs. Within minutes, other women were following suit.
"As soon as I did it, a bunch of other people said, 'Oh, I have a dress, I’ll loan a dress,'" she said.
So Evans got the idea to create a publicly viewable Google spreadsheet for women who wanted to loan their dresses to enter their information: Size, description, whether they could ship or deliver the dress, contact info, and the like. Fifteen minutes after it went live, 12 women had already responded, offering their gowns to the brides who lost theirs. Brides in need of a dress can browse the spreadsheet to find a dress that would work for them and then contact its owner by email.
"I've had the dress just sitting in the closet for a couple of years now, and I can't use it, so why not donate it to someone who lost theirs?" said Kelly Williams of Raleigh, North Carolina, who offered her dress (pictured above) on the spreadsheet.
Evans hopes to eventually expand what she calls a random act of kindness: "I hope to be able to turn this into a larger project to loan nice dresses to people who maybe can’t afford them," she said.
If you have a wedding dress or bridesmaid's dress you'd like to loan to a bride who lost hers in the fire, enter your info on the spreadsheet here.
That is a nice thought
This is such a cool idea. The only problem I see is that anyone can take the names and info off the spreadsheet!
Dear editor: It's "down in flames" or "up in smoke," not "up in flames."
sbb145- wrong answer. People always want to look intelligent to others, they only end up looking stupid. Research a little more.
Shut down all social programs now. Stop paying taxes. Let freedom ring. Party On!
This shows the beautiful side of human nature, and should go a long way towards helping the less fortunate with their special day.
Separately, and FWIW. I think "down in flames" is usually used to describe how an a unfortunate aircraft may have met its end.
Over 120 dresses available to be loaned! That is WONDERFUL and renews my faith in mankind
sbb145. You are wrong, it is indeed "up in flames". Your house went up in flames.
The sad part about 'loaning' these dresses is they may not be returned to the owner. I'd be willing to bet that not all brides will return the dress.
Luckily-I have a spare dress...one that I had purchased on sale before we were technically engaged-but it no longer fit come wedding time, so I have a brand new never worn dress for a bride to wear! And, I'm ok with it-if I dont get it back. :)
This is a very kind gesture. Brides stress out many things before their wedding day, the dress being one of the biggest problems. I'd loan my dress, but how will I know I'll get it back?
@sddb145....way to be an ass!
what an amazing gesture and i agree, it totally restores my faith in mankind!
It's nice that such heartwarming generosity arose from a heartbreaking tragedy. If I had a dress to loan, I would just tell the bride to pay it forward and give it to a bride who cannot afford a nice dress.
We've had more than 200 women offer to loan dresses as of 2:30 PM CT today. Warms my heart!
You'd think they would get the hint and realize that a wedding is a BAD idea. Don't get married!
Wow, 244 dresses already offered. That's awesome!
This is the best news I've read all day...