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    A school told its staff to wear something from the back of their closet, so 2 teachers dug out their wedding dresses

    Loreal Hemenway and Stephanie Osmundson with two other teachers who wore bridesmaids dresses for the dress up day.

    Courtesy Loreal Hemenway and Stephanie Osmundson

    Art teachers Loreal Hemenway and Stephanie Osmundson wore their wedding dresses to work.The teachers captured their colleagues’ reactions in a video on their Instagram page.The duo’s story highlights the fun ways to reuse wedding dresses.

    With the average US wedding costing $33,000, it makes sense to get the most out of your wedding-day purchases.

    So Loreal Hemenway and Stephanie Osmundson, two elementary school art teachers in Henderson, Nevada, found a creative way to use their wedding dresses again.

    Their school administrators sent out an email in January about a professional development day themed “Back of the Closet” and asked staff to find the “hidden gem” in their closets.

    While some of their colleagues wore old Letterman jackets and sports jerseys, “the idea came to mind that we should dig truly to the backends of our closet and wear our wedding gowns to school,” Hemenway told Business Insider.

    They decided to capture their coworkers’ reactions and share the video on their Instagram page, Happily Ever Elementary, which has over 270,000 followers. Their reel, which they uploaded in January, has since had 11,000 likes.

    “There’s always a little bit of a shock value to everything, but at the end of the day, I don’t think anyone we worked with was even remotely surprised that we’d do that,” said Osmundson.

    Having fun with the theme

    Osmundson has been teaching for eight years; Hemenway for 10. Both women, who’ve shared an art-teacher position for three years, originally started in kindergarten, a grade they say allows more silliness and fun.

    “If the teachers aren’t matching the energy of kids and bringing the energy, then what’s the point? So we’re always the ones that try and bring extra fun factor and engagement through costumes,” said Osmundson.

    But Hemenway, who got married 10 years ago, and Osmundson, who has been married for seven years, only agreed to arrive in their wedding dresses if the other one promised to as well.

    After Hemenway dug out her gown from her old bedroom in her parents’ house, the friends exchanged photos of their dresses, which still fit.

    Loreal Hemenway and her husband, Keith Hemenway, as she tried on her wedding dress for the dress up.

    Loreal Hemenway

    They also had the support of their husbands. The Hemenways took a photograph together to mark their 10th anniversary a little early, while the Osmundsons celebrated by dancing in the house.

    “It was really nostalgic and meaningful,” Osmundson said. “I think that was an unexpected perk of embarrassing ourselves that day.”

    Stephanie Osmundson and her husband on their wedding day.

    Jaclyn Raymond Photography

    Then it was time to to show their colleagues.

    “We were very nervous and anxious about what it would look like when we walked into our staff,” said Hemenway. “So we waited until the room was pretty full before we walked in, and we were only met with laughs and smiles, which was great.”

    In the video, the two women walk into the school in their white, floor-length gowns, accessorized with their backpacks and water bottles. Their colleagues can be heard laughing and cheering, and one yells out, “Oh yes!”

    Osmundson thinks the experience teaches a good lesson.

    “Your students are going to gain a lot of excitement from what you do, but just don’t be scared to do things,” she said. “A lot of the time, what you build up in your head is a fleeting thought in other people’s minds.”

    It also turned out to be an unexpected bonding moment with two other staff members who were wearing bridesmaids’ dresses.

    “So even though things can be intimidating, I think doing things that sometimes scare us or might embarrass us are still worth a try,” she added.

    Reusing and preserving a costly item

    According to The Knot Real Weddings Study, which surveyed nearly 10,000 US couples who got married last year, the average wedding dress cost in 2023 was about $2,000.

    Hemenway and Osmundson’s story is one example of how brides are finding creative, head-turning ways to get more wear out of their dresses. Some brides have opted to wear their gowns for casual nights out, while others have worn them to formal events.

    Some brides choose to professionally preserve their dresses, which can cost between $250 and $1,000, the Knot reported. The process includes restoring and cleaning the dress before wrapping it and placing it inside a box.

    It can help a bride pass down their dress to a future generation or turn it into another garment — TikTok videos show brides wearing hand-me-down gowns for rehearsal dinners or receptions. Preservation could also help a bride sell their dress.

    Hemenway’s dress from Bowties Bridal cost around $1,800, while Osmundson’s cost around $1,000 from Brilliant Bridal. Before this experience, they hadn’t meticulously stored their dresses, but now they want to be more intentional about preserving them.

    “I think moving forward when we put ours away, we showed them a little bit more love and affection,” said Hemenway.

    After all, there could be another dress-up day.

    Read the original article on Business Insider

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