Teachers of Hillsborough County received free wedding dresses in giveaway from Satin & Lace Bridal Boutique.

Satin & Lace Bridal Boutique hosted its second wedding dress giveaway at The Regent on Monday of Teacher Appreciation Week at the beginning of May to recognize the soon-to-be brides of Hillsborough County.

After being nominated by peers, friends and even fiancés, 25 teachers were selected to receive a wedding dress donated by Satin & Lace. The giveaway not only relieved some of the financial burden of a wedding but also gave the teachers the recognition they deserve for their dedication to their jobs despite the lingering challenges of the coronavirus.

Shannon Keil reached out to AnnMarie Courtney, director of partnership engagement for the school district, to see if Hillsborough County teachers would be interested in being the recipients of the wedding dresses. Her response was “Of course!” The brides were nominated and selected after sharing their love stories through an essay.

“It was wonderful to see so many colleagues nominate their fellow teachers and secretaries, and really anyone who works in the district,” said Courtney. “… We need this after a really unprecedented two years in education. Something like this creates such synergy and energy for our district.”

One bride and teacher at King High School shared that she and her fiancé have been together for over 15 years but have never had the opportunity to formally get married. When she received the email saying she won a free wedding dress, she dismissed it as junk mail because she didn’t think she would actually win when she had filled out the application.

“It means a lot,” she said. “I’ve never won anything to this manner, and that’s why I was kind of shocked.”

Local vendors, such as Sugar Lees Gourmet Coffee Service, 3 C’s Catering and Care Package Meal Prep Co., provided food and drinks for the brides and their guests. Precious Plunders supplied crowns that could be worn as accessories for the wedding and Publix Bakery distributed cake to the attendees following the dinner.

At the event, the brides picked up the dresses they had selected and been fitted for prior to the dinner during Teacher Appreciation Week. They had the opportunity to share their stories, thank those that nominated them and talk about their upcoming weddings.

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Lily Belcher
Lily Belcher is a writer for the Osprey Observer. She started as an intern in the summer of 2020 and has continued to write for the Osprey Observer since completing her internship. Lily is majoring in mass communications at the University of South Florida and is a staff writer for the university’s paper, The Oracle. She enjoys writing about local nonprofit organizations and community role models who have made an impact on her hometown.