Wedding Gown Gift – One Way to ‘Pay It Forward’

NEW YORK, NY (November 20, 2012) – Alissa Walter, daughter of Evangelical Covenant Church President Gary Walter, gave away her wedding dress Monday on NBC’s TODAY Show to a woman who could not otherwise have afforded one of her own.

Walter says she gave away the $800 silk dress because she wanted to “pay it forward.”

“We had invested in beautiful decorations and this beautiful dress,” she explained. “What better way to use these now than to help them bless someone else, and to spread the generosity that we’ve been given,” Walter told reporter Natalie Morales.

Two weeks following Walter’s nuptials in September, she contacted HuffPost Weddings to enlist their help in giving away the dress. She told the website that she wanted to donate the gown to “a bride who is unable to afford a wedding, a groom looking to surprise his bride with a dress they wouldn’t have been able to afford, or a couple who had to elope or have a courthouse wedding and is now looking to have a more formal affair.”

Women were asked to send in their story and why they loved the dress. Walter chose the winner.

Walter presented the dress to Renée Stroinski during the Monday morning segment. The two had never met. Click here to view a video of the interview.

“Renée, more than anyone else, really embraced the idea of ‘pay it forward.’ She really wanted to take this dress and everything else about our wedding and use it to also be generous to other brides,” Walter said.

Stroinski told NBC she fell in love with the dress and was surprised to learn later that she and Walter were the same size.

Student debt that she and her boyfriend of five years had incurred while he completed an MBA program and she finished a five-year accounting degree would prevent her from affording a dress, she told NBC.

Morales asked Stroinski if she planned to donate the dress after her wedding. “I can’t believe that I get to wear it, and I would love to do that for someone else, too, and just make their memory just as special,” she said.

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