A Woman Created a Facebook Group to Help Brides-to-Be Find Wedding Dresses for Free

Shared Dreams Dresses allows previous brides to donate their gowns—so everyone has access to these special garments.

A rack of wedding dresses on wooden hangers

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There’s no question that wedding dresses are an investment: The average cost of these special gowns is around $1,800 to $2,000. To make these one-of-a-kind ensembles more accessible to those on a tight budget, Gwendolyn Stulgis started a Facebook group, Shared Dream Dresses, where brides-to-be can find an outfit for their big day for free. The social media page is filled with dresses that previous brides donated, so it serves as an online marketplace for future brides to shop—but they don’t have to spend a dime.

In an interview with People on October 3, 2023, Stulgis explained that the idea to launch the Facebook group originated after her own special day in May 2022. “My wedding came and went, so I had this stunning dress with no home,” she said. After taking the gown to the dry cleaners, Stulgis posted it on Facebook to see if any of her social media friends needed a wedding dress or if they knew someone else who was looking for one. “I decided I was going to give [my dress] to someone who couldn’t afford one,” she explained. 

After that singular transaction, five other brides wanted to donate their dresses, too. So, Stulgis launched Shared Dream Dresses. Since she created the private group, 19,000 people have joined, and 200 gowns have gone to new owners. “I never in my wildest dreams thought the need was so great or that the group would turn into women helping and empowering others in such a beautiful way," she said. "Many are here just to be kind and lift each other up."

As for how the Facebook page works? Previous brides share photos of their wedding dresses, along with the size and details about the fit. Then, anyone who is interested in the gown can reach out to the owner. If there are multiple people who are hoping to wear the outfit on their special day, the donor selects the recipient before having the dress cleaned and shipped to them. According to People, the future owner usually pays for the shipping fee, but some previous brides decide to foot the bill. Stulgis can also post photos of the dresses herself. 

At first, wedding dresses were the only item marketed on the page, but since the group has grown so quickly, there are now bridesmaid dresses, mother-of-the-bride dresses, and flower girl dresses available. Accessories for the special event, like veils, shoes, and jewelry, are another new component that future brides or wedding guests can browse. Watching the Facebook community expand and witnessing connections form has been a rewarding experience for Stulgis. “You see so much beauty in this group,” she said. “A small gesture, such as a dress, means the world. This isn’t just any dress—it's the dress you marry the person of your dreams in. We’re sharing one dream, one dress at a time.”

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