February 23, 2024

NJ library director loans vintage wedding gowns for free

NEW YORK (1010 WINS/WCBS 880) – A library in Fair Lawn, New Jersey, is letting people borrow wedding dresses from the library director’s vintage collection.

In an interview with NJ.com, library director Adele Puccio explained that she has loaned at least 30 dresses to brides over the years. She now has more than 20 vintage dresses at the Maurice M. Pine Free Public Library and at her home in Bayonne.

Since the dresses belong to Puccio personally, brides who would like to borrow a dress do not need a library card.

“It’s not like I’m slapping a barcode on it and checking it out,” Puccio told NJ.com. “If somebody comes in and wants a wedding gown, they just have to tell me, yes they want it, and what they want it for.”

Her office at the library now has a couple of mannequins dressed in a small collection of wedding gowns. People borrowing the dresses are able to alter the dresses, according to Puccio.

Puccio began this public service in 2000 while working at the Bayonne Public Library. Her interest in vintage dresses led her to starting the “salute to brides” event, transforming the library into a showcase of matrimonial history with bridal gowns and wedding memorabilia.

This then turned into a memorable display named “Brides of the Century,” where library staff and patrons donned wedding dresses representing designs from various decades of the 20th century. It included a flapper-style gown from the 1920s, a fur-trimmed 1968 gown reminiscent of “Austin Powers,” and a 1992 creation by Canadian designer Arnold Scaasi, which had an original price tag of $5,000, according to NJ.com.

A couple of years later, Puccio, after giving out many to friends, neighbors, and anyone interested, found herself drawn back into the world of wedding dresses. Now, Puccio offers these gowns to local brides, leveraging both word of mouth and a Facebook group named “Shared Dream Dresses” to connect with those in need.

She usually gets the dresses from second-hand stores or through Freecycle, a nonprofit organization that promotes the recycling of goods to new owners at no cost.

The service is free and Puccio explained that she has expectations of their return, acknowledging the sentimental value they hold for those who wear them.

The average wedding dress costs nearly $2,000, according to a survey by The Knot Real Weddings. Borrowing would be an alternative and a way to cut wedding costs.

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