Oak Lawn Gown Shop Pays it Forward to Blushing Brides in Tinley Park
Eva's Bridal in Oak Lawn has shown, once again, that kindness can come from tragedy. The store donated dresses that will be sold at Tinley Park's NU2U resale shop today during its first ever Bride on a Budget expo.
Brides planning their big days on a budget will be beaming Wednesday, thanks to a little help from an area shop that knows what it's like to be down and out.
More than one year after a devastating fire destroyed Eva's Bridals in Oak Lawn, the business is proving generosity can go a long way. That generosity most recently showed up at NU2U resale shop in downtown Tinley Park where Eva's owner Ronia Ghusein sent donated dresses that have gone unused.
The cluster of about 100 gowns were originally sent to Eva's Bridal last year from donors around the country who wanted to replace customers' lost dresses. But they will be showcased Wednesday night at NU2U's first ever Bride on a Budget expo, in which blushing brides-to-be can buy them for $50 to $75 each. Bridesmaids dresses — some as cheap as $10 a piece — and veils will also be ripe for the pickin'. All dresses range in colors, styles and sizes.
While most of the gowns require little or no repairs, some could use a bit of love. Many bridesmaids gowns, for instance, are imprinted with a faint stamp from designers because they were meant to exclusively be used as displays.
"With a little innovation, these girls could have a beautiful dress at barely any cost," said Pat Hosman, manager of NU2U. She's spent time trying to remove some of the designer markings, she said, but suggests placing beadwork, a sash or even a broach over the affected areas.
"These dresses are absolutely beautiful, there's no doubt about that," she said. " … But for some of them, brides will have to put their thinking caps on."
Store employees were buzzing around NU2U Tuesday afternoon preparing for the event. They hoped to expand the shop's two-room fitting area to create several more cordoned off spaces so brides can have a little privacy trying on the gowns.
The free event will feature area vendors like florists, bakers and jewelers, said Marge Seltzner, Together We Cope spokeswoman. It will also include raffles and door prizes.
"We figured, rather than just selling these dresses piecemeal, why not bring everyone in at once?" she said. "This way, brides have an opportunity to select from the group and get these for greatly reduced prices."
All proceeds will benefit Together We Cope—the umbrella nonprofit organization for NU2U, which helps families throughout the Southland who are facing temporary crisis.
"These gowns really speak for themselves," Hosman said. "A little kindness goes a long way."