For many 2021 brides, wedding planning, including dress shopping, is a lot more difficult this year with all of the restrictions currently in place. However, one local shop owner is hoping to make things a little easier for brides, at least when it comes to finding the dream dress with a tight budget.

Julie Costa is a single mom who attended a final prom gown sale at Macy’s last year with her mother. Their intention was to donate their purchases to local students who might otherwise be unable to purchase one themselves. With the cancelation of proms due to the pandemic, she was unsure of what to do with the gowns.

In December, Costa decided to open “Miss Louise Prom Closet and Special Occasions Rental” in Bridgewater. The shop will provide gowns and accessories to girls in need for prom and affordable formal rentals.

“I started a prom closet for girls in need during this trying time,” Costa said. “My idea escalated to what is now a rental service option to help women in need for their special occasion. I have collected over 500 dresses and gowns so far.”

Costa has dedicated herself to this work since losing her job as an account manager at the beginning of the pandemic.

“I haven't been able to find a job so I put all I have into this, said Costa. “It's also something to show my daughter, to pay it forward. I haven’t received an unemployment check since the end of January, so it's been extremely difficult to support my family. This is a dream turning into reality for me."

While the store is not scheduled to open until Saturday, May 1, Costa will host a special sale for young ladies looking to celebrate a different event this month.

“A local man offered me bridal gowns that have been in his storage facility,” Costa said. “His mom and aunt owned a bridal shop but it had closed. He needed to get the gowns out and offered them all to me. Although I will soon be opening the storefront, I have no room for the bridal gowns. I asked him if I could do a closeout sale and he didn't mind at all.”

Costa had a team of helpers to make this bridal gown blow-out sale happen. Someone donated Eldon T. Cole Hall at Methodist Church on 15 Cedar Street in Bridgewater. For those of you who are familiar with the Bridgewater State University campus, it is the church behind Boyden Hall. BSU offered the moving services to get the gowns and bring them to the hall for her.

Photo contributed by Julie Costa
Photo contributed by Julie Costa

“I am totally grateful and blessed for everything,” Costa said. “That is why I am offering between $20 and $200 per dress. Most of these gowns have a price tag of $2,000 and up. There are accessories too.”

Costa notes that the sale is not just for brides-to-be, but for fashion designer students, theater productions, and more. It will be cash and carry with over 500 bridal gowns and accessories to explore.

“Some are vintage and some are timeless, but all must go!”

The sale will take place on the following days:

  • Friday, April 16 from 4 to 8 pm
  • Saturday, April 17 from 10 am to 3 pm
  • Sunday, April 18 from 12 to 5 pm

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Curious what names are trending in your home state? Keep reading to see if your name made the top five -- or to find inspiration for naming your baby.

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