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Goodwill Hunting

When Bailey’s wedding dress was accidentally donated to Goodwill four months before her wedding, Bailey was heartbroken. Her family, friends, community, and Goodwill worked together to find a solution. Read on to find out more!

Stay with me: There is a happy ending.

In August 2023, in the beautiful region of Northwest Arkansas—a land blessed with large lakes, flowing rivers, high mountains, and a copious amount of trees—a tragedy occurred.

After a garage sale at which her mom sold several gently used prom dresses, she gathered up all of the unsold, gently used clothes to donate them to a local Bentonville Goodwill store. This is a kind gesture to benefit the world.


Bailey's dress
Bailey Dobson's lost wedding dress

Unfortunately, Nicole also scooped up her daughter, Bailey’s, brand new wedding dress—a gorgeous long-sleeved dress with a lace-embroidered bodice split by a deep V-neck, and finished off with a sheer back. Once she realized what happened, Bailey panicked. “I had a meltdown for sure,” she recalled. “I had a little bit of a freakout.”

Knowing that Northwest Arkansas is a community of helpful people, Nicole and Baily posted on social media that they were willing to buy back the dress from the person who purchased it from Goodwill.

“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,” Bailey explained. 

And, they started hunting through every single Goodwill in the area.

Goodwill pitched in too with a social media campaign to locate the buyer—which they did!

“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 said.

Bailey met the buyer who reunited the bride with her dress. Overcome with gratitude, Bailey invited the woman to her December 19 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,” Bailey stated.

Bailey has her dress back and is prepared for her upcoming wedding.

And there is your happy ending!

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