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24th Oct 2021

Meet the Dublin bridal shop donating their dresses to Barnardos every year

So wholesome.

Weddings are a time made for loved ones to join forces, but with this Dublin bridal shop, it’s all about giving back.

Keeping it under the radar for years, Alice May Bridal in Dublin has been donating dresses to charity nearly three times a year, giving their discontinued and old season gowns to Barnardos Bridal Rooms in Dun Laoghaire.

Donating high-end designer dresses from all over the world, Barnardos not only sell on the more sustainable option for brides, they also take in money for the children’s charity.

While many other bridal shops do this, owner Allison Daly says she felt a duty to give back wherever she could, and after years of secretly doing this, she is opening up about it to raise awareness for the charity.

“We try to give our better quality samples that we just won’t sell here, but [Barnardos] will sell in a heartbeat. Things that would be sitting in our back room can now benefit other people,” Allison said.

With the price tag slashed more than half in the charity shop, this not only gives a sustainable option as the dresses would be headed for landfills otherwise, they are also at a more affordable price for brides, especially post-pandemic.

“They’re getting our dresses, we’ve used them here, they’ve been tried on and they’re all in such good condition, they’re always delighted with it,” she added.

“We do it three times a year and if we can give them shoes and accessories.

“We source all these different designers and bring in a collection of each designer. The one thing about our store is everything is in really good condition so when we pass them on, a bride is going to get a beautiful dress for half the price.”

With dresses sold in Barnardos for under €1,000, the giving back is something that resonates with each staff member, especially with a charity like this as they each have children of their own.

“I love to give something to charity and with Barnardos, for children, it’s definitely why we push that charity more than anyone. We are quite a work-life balance kind of business, all the girls here have children and we just feel that would be an important one for all of us,” Allison said.

“It’s always lovely to be able to do something, but to make money in a business and then pass them on and create something else, and make another bride happy who might not have the big budget.”

“It’s good for the bride herself, and then the second thing is that Barnardos get the money. [Bridal] is a huge industry and if a charity can be making money on it, it’s brilliant.”

Aiming to raise as much money possible for the charity, the staff at Alice May Bridal were surprised that more people didn’t know about the Barnardos Bridal Rooms, and even urge others to go there before their own store.

“Barnardos Bridal Rooms have been working closely with Alice May for 4 years now and we have been delighted to receive their beautiful donations of brand new stunning gowns during that time,” Colette Miller, retail operations and development manager for Barnardos said.

“The quality and design of the gowns have been a great success with our brides and we are extremely grateful to Alison and her team for continuing to think of Barnardos.”