In August of 2023, Nicole Dobson decided to sell some of her family’s old clothes at a garage sale, including old prom dresses that belonged to her daughter, Bailey. After the event, well-meaning mom took whatever didn’t sell to Goodwill in Rogers, Arkansas, but she accidentally threw Bailey’s wedding dress into the donation pile, KFSM-TV’s online publication, 5NEWS, reports. Somehow, the special garment—a long-sleeved design with a deep V-neck, a lace-embroiled bodice, and a sheer back that she intended to wear on her December 19, 2023, wedding day—was mixed in with Bailey’s prom dresses. Upon realizing what happened, Bailey admitted that she panicked. “I had a meltdown for sure,” she recalls. “I had a little bit of a freakout.”
To retrieve the misplaced ensemble, Bailey and her mother decided to ask for the public’s help. The two of them posted about the mishap on social media and mentioned that they would buy it back if someone might have purchased it. “It’s hard because we screwed it up, so I just wanted to make it right,” Nicole says to the outlet.
After sharing their message with the internet world, Bailey remained hopeful. “I would hope that the person who found the dress is willing enough to give it back to kind of allow me to have the original experience that I’ve always dreamed of because it’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing, and I probably won’t ever get to do this again,” she explains. Even though Bailey had a backup dress that would be ready in time for her vow exchange, she really wanted her original gown to reappear.
Nicole also wanted the gown to turn up so that her daughter’s dream day would be possible. “If there’s another mom out there who picked it up, for me and my husband, we want to give Bailey what she wants for her wedding,” Nicole says. “And we’re super proud of her. She’s a good kid, and so I really want this for her.”
After Bailey and Nicole alerted the internet about the missing dress, Goodwill also started a social media campaign to search for the buyer. To their luck, the message ended up reaching the right person. “Somebody commented on their campaign that they had found the dress on eBay, so we had contacted the seller, and she was willing to take it down and give it back to us,” Bailey recaps. “Thank goodness. She’s been amazing and super helpful, and we’ve appreciated every bit of it.”
On August 7, 2023, the buyer met with Bailey at a local restaurant, and the dress was officially returned to bride-to-be. Bailey said she was so grateful that the woman agreed to let Bailey have the gown back. “This is one of those things that you read about, and it never happens to you, so I have appreciated and I am very appreciative of like half of Northwest Arkansas [who] has put themselves out there and put me all over social media, and they have no idea who I am,” she expresses. “So, it’s just nice to see the community come together for somebody they don’t know.”
To thank the woman for her kindness, Bailey invited her to the wedding. “We’re hoping that she will show up and support us because she did make the experience happen, and it does only happen once,” the bride-to-be notes.