Woman starts 'Sisterhood of the Traveling Wedding Dress' group offering used gowns to brides in need

Tina Nguyen started a movement when she offered to lend her wedding dress to brides in need. (Photo: Madalyn Vermeer / MV Photos)
Tina Nguyen has a track record of helping people in need, whether it be providing grooming kits to homeless women and children or raising funds for a local cake shop owner in Minneapolis, Minnesota who was put out of business by the pandemic. But her latest act of offering her wedding dress to brides getting married at this unprecedented time is gaining national attention as women across the country join in her efforts to bring a memorable day to every bride.
"What a privilege it was for me to have everything I wanted, the beautiful dress, the beautiful day," Nguyen tells Yahoo Life of their wedding in September 2019. "To look back on the economic downturn that we are facing, especially on George Floyd, all the racism and pain our cities are facing, I wanted to do something. I wanted to bring joy back. I wanted someone's first next life ... if you get married it will be another chapter in your life. I want this chapter to be filled with fond memories. "
Offering something “as small” as her wedding dress was something Nguyen was forced to do when she explained how her mother and grandmother raised her to be strong and empathetic. Nguyen shares that her grandmother was a widow and her mother was a divorced mother, who both lived as single mothers for their children in Vietnam.
"Every day of my life my grandmother and mother told me about the privilege I have and the responsibility I have to uplift other women, uplift other people who don't have the privilege." She says.
The special idea to borrow her wedding dress came when Nguyen was celebrating her wedding day with her husband, who suggested that she wear the dress to celebrate. “I don't want to wear it just for myself. I want to wear it with a purpose. If there is a purpose to wear it, I would,” she says . So I just put it on Facebook. "
Nguyen posted her dress on the Facebook marketplace, where she explained what it meant to her and how she was ready to "be loved by a new bride". Many of the responses to her post were confusing at first as she said people were asking if it was a real deal at all. Others came up with the idea that more women should borrow their dresses to offer more options in terms of size and style. The latter came to fruition when Nguyen's wedding photographer Madalyn Vermeer saw the marketplace and decided to offer her own dress as well.
“So I started a group and now we have over 80 members in less than a week. And we've already offered five or six dresses on the site, ”says Nguyen of the“ Sisterhood of the Traveling Wedding Dress ”Facebook group. "It warms my heart."
As of Monday evening, the Facebook group has 92 members and even more women from numerous states who publish their dresses for loan. Nguyen and Vermeer have even posted proposals like setting up a deposit to cover dry cleaning costs so their community is most comfortable when borrowing their clothes.
“I came to this country alone as a child, when I was 14, and Americans opened their homes and hearts to me. Of course, I think that I am only trained and brought up to open my heart and everything I have to others, ”says Nguyen. "That was done for me and see where I am now. I want to do the same."
Read more from Yahoo Life:
COVID's real-life "Romeo and Juliet" become engaged after falling in love while being locked from their balconies
"The COVID Virus Is Also Present": Expert Explains How Maine Wedding resulted in over 175 COVID-19 cases and 7 deaths
The nurse says the hospital wedding for a coronavirus patient and his bride was "part of his recovery, but it was also part of our recovery".
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