Hundreds of soon-to-be brides braved early morning low temps and long lines on Saturday for a chance to score discount wedding dresses at Goodwill’s annual bridal pop-up event.

Parking spaces were at a premium for the 9 a.m. event at Goodwill’s Opportunity Campus on Wilkinson Boulevard. The crowd started forming as early as 6:15 a.m.

Ashley Brown is walking down the aisle in May 2021 in Rock Hill. She said her fiance told her about the pop-up earlier in the week. The 26-year-old recruited two girlfriends to join the hunt and secured their place in line around 6:50 a.m. with hopes of finding “the dress.”

“I have been to a few bridal stores in the area, but you can’t pass up a deal like this,” she said.

Bride-to-be Ashley Brown (center) shopping with two friends during Goodwill’s Bridal Pop-Up on March 7, 2020. Photo: QCity Metro

As Brown waited for a fitting room with at least 20 dresses in tow, she pointed to some of her selections to describe her ideal gown as a column or A-line silhouette with a plunging neckline and some type of sheer material. 

According to wedding website The Knot, the average bride spends $1,631 on her wedding dress, including alterations. At Saturday’s event, shoppers could choose from a selection of more than 2,400 dresses. District manager Colleen Rizzo said dresses were donated from local bridal salons as well as gowns from Goodwill stores. 

Prices for bridal gowns started at $25 during Goodwill’s Bridal Pop-Up. Photo: QCity Metro

We spotted a David Tutera strapless ball gown with the tags still on that retailed for $1,479. It was on sale for $299.99.

David Tutera bridal gown. Photo: QCity Metro

Samantha Story, Goodwill’s public relations and communications manager, said last year’s inaugural event brought out about 150 guests. 

“We launched our Bridal Pop-Up event last year, and we were blown away by the amount of brides, bridesmaids and wedding guests who came,” Story said.

There were options for other members of the bridal party, including mother of the bride, bridesmaids and flower girls. Shoes, veils and accessories also had discount price tags.

Proceeds from the pop-up sale will fund free skills training and career support for clients in Goodwill’s workforce development program.

Katrina covers Charlotte's Black business scene for QCity Metro. She's a Miami transplant, pescatarian and lover of the arts. She earned a public relations degree from the University of Florida. Got a...