Why this woman wants an Island bride affected by COVID-19 to say yes to her dress

While planning a wedding in the best of circumstances can be challenging, putting together a wedding during a pandemic can be extremely stressful.

Keeping that in mind, Islander Heather Johnston is hoping to pay it forward pandemic-style. Johnston says she’s got a never-been-worn wedding dress she’d like to give to someone whose wedding has been affected by COVID-19 — for free.

“It’s a very timeless dress, I don’t think it’s one that would ever go out of style,” Johnston said.

“When I walked into the wedding salon it was just sitting on a mannequin, it popped out just kind of an off-white colour, a sweetheart neckline with beading around the waistline, and it has silk buttons all the way down the back. It kind of looks like a little princess ball gown.” 

‘2020 has been difficult’

Johnston said she never had the opportunity to wear it, so she wanted to make sure someone did. 

“I know that 2020 has been difficult for a lot of brides,” she said. 

“I just want to make a bride’s dream come true and make it a little less stressful. It just feels good knowing that you’re able to help someone out during these difficult times.” 

‘It’s a very timeless dress, I don’t think it’s one that would ever go out of style,’ says Heather Johnston. (Submitted by Heather Johnston)

Johnston said she advertised the idea on Facebook and quickly began receiving messages from Island brides. So far, she said she’s heard from about 30 brides. 

She said her main concern is making sure the dress finds a great home and that the bride continues to pay it forward, “to pass on the dress when they’re finished with it and make another bride have her dream wedding as well.”

I hope maybe my story will encourage others to do the same.— Heather Johnston

Some of the brides Johnston has heard from have had weddings cancelled because of COVID-19, while others have been laid off because of the pandemic and are experiencing financial constraints.

Johnston, left, pictured with her sisters Kelly and Jillian, on Kelly’s wedding day. (Submitted by Heather Johnston)

Making the call on who will say yes to the dress will be challenging, Johnston said. She said it will likely involve a sort of interview-like process to hear more on how the pandemic has affected their weddings.

“That is my goal, to make someone’s wedding a dream come true. I know a lot of brides grow up wanting to have a fairytale princess wedding and if I can help them by giving them a dress — I’m very happy to do that,” Johnston said. 

“I hope maybe my story will encourage others to do the same.” 

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