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Nebraska woman lends her wedding dress to brides on a budget

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – A Nebraska woman is lending her wedding dress to brides on tight budgets instead of letting it gather dust in her closet.

Dawnetta Heinz started sharing her dress a month ago with brides who can’t afford to buy one, the Omaha World-Herald reported.

The strapless dress with a beaded bodice has already been borrowed by two other brides, and at least eight others have expressed interest.

Heinz said she bought the dress on sale for $550 at an Omaha bridal shop. She offered it on a Facebook classified ad page for free, and within 48 hours a dozen women inquired about borrowing it.

She said she’s faced financial hardships and even homelessness in her life, so she’s glad to help any woman who can’t fit a dress into her wedding budget. Heinz and her husband are now personal trainers in Omaha.

Valarie Fitzgerald, 28, wore the dress for her wedding last month. She and her husband were planning a courthouse wedding because of their tight budget, but after finding out she was able to wear Heinz’s dress, a friend helped Fitzgerald plan a decorated outdoor wedding.

“I felt amazing,” Fitzgerald said.

She said she loves the sisterhood of the shared dress, and by wearing it she felt a bond with Heinz and with women who will wear it in the future.

“I can’t wait to see how far this dress goes,” she said.