Bride with Goodwill gown ties the knot

Claire Westlie and Bryan Lauer’s wedding couldn’t have been more perfect.

The new Mrs. Lauer said “I do” on April 23 in the same church she grew up in, where she was baptized and confirmed. It was a special moment on a day filled with all sorts of special moments.

claire 1Guests from near and far — Connecticut to Washington and points in between — gathered to wish the Appleton couple well.

And the 60-degree temperatures and sunshine were ideal for enjoying the water views from their reception at Seven Seas in Hartland, Wis., on the shores of Nagawicka Lake.

But Claire’s wedding gown, which she purchased at Goodwill, was the icing on the cake.

“I was so happy,” she said. “It was such a perfect day. I felt so beautiful, and the dress was perfect. It was just perfect and everything was so wonderful.”

Claire, 24, bought the gown from the Darboy Retail Store and Training Center in March 2015 after getting a tip from her friend to go and look at it. The dress, which she bought for $80, was similar to one she had been looking at for $1,500. It features a form-fitting vintage look with a sweetheart neckline and a sheer top. It offers a statement back with lace and a slight, attention-getting train.

claireIn the end, her alterations cost more than the dress itself.

While the dress was in pristine condition and fit well when she initially tried it on, Claire still paid to have it cleaned and needed to have it altered twice to get the midsection, which was several inches too big, to fit perfectly.

claire 2All told, she spent $403 on her gorgeous wedding-day look: $80 for the dress, $140 to get it cleaned, $110 on alterations, $50 for shoes, $15 for her hairpiece and $8 for a bracelet. Her pearl earrings were borrowed from her aunt.

Claire was one happy — and beautiful — bride. “The dress was amazing,” she said.

The dress also was a point of pride for the family and something her father shared freely with the guests, who were impressed with the Goodwill find.

Still basking in the wonder of her wedding day, Claire and Bryan are going to be heading to Puerto Rico in May for a relaxing honeymoon.

And Claire wonders what she is going to do with her wedding dress.

claire dress back“Part of me wants to continue the magic and donate back to Goodwill, but I want to be selfish for a while and keep it my closet.”

While she is going to keep it for now, come her one-year anniversary, Claire could be heading with her priceless dress to the donation doors of Goodwill.

And maybe to make another bride’s dream come true.

Photos: Photos courtesy of Julie Collins,

Goodwill NCW is a not-for-profit human services organization that in 2015 helped improve the lives of more than 63,700 people across 35 counties in north central Wisconsin, through 29 programs and services. The organization includes 26 retail stores and training centers in communities from Manitowoc to La Crosse, and as far north as Rice Lake and Rhinelander, as well as provides a unique shopping experience at its Appleton outlet store. It offers eight Donation Express sites and 45 donation bins located throughout the Fox Cities and surrounding communities. Goodwill NCW uses the revenue from stores to fund a variety of innovative programs and services that serve north central Wisconsin communities.

4 Responses to Bride with Goodwill gown ties the knot

  • This is an awesome story – touched my heart! The bride is beautiful and it show that “One man’s silver, is another man’s gold!” Way to go to the beautiful bride and whoever wrote this story for GoodWill! My favorite store!

  • What a beautiful dress!! That is what I truly LOVE about the finds you can score at Goodwill.
    I have already purchased my mother of the bride dress and my daughter isn’t even engaged yet!
    Wonderful story!

  • It’s a beautiful dress….what a wonderful find! Before giving the dress away…consider holding on to it for possibly making baptismal, 1st communion, etc. dresses/veils for your future children, if that’s what your future holds. Enjoy life together!

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