CENTERBURG — Dozens of young women from schools all over the area, including Big Walnut, Centerburg, East Knox, Northridge, Mount Vernon, Fredericktown, Danville, Utica and home schools, flocked to Saturday’s Say Yes to the Dress prom boutique.
Held in the Centerburg Church of Christ and cosponsored by the Heart of Ohio Women’s Club, the prom boutique featured more than 290 dresses and gowns in a rainbow of colors and fashions. From pink princess styles to slinky sheathes in rich shades to spaghetti-strapped gowns in classic black — the event offered a much larger selection than that found in most stores.
Thanks to the generous donations of community members and organizations, each “shopper” was allowed to choose one dress and one handbag, one pair of shoes and one set of jewelry to complement the dress — all for free.
The young women also had the chance have a make-up makeover and have their hair styled into a formal up do, as sort of a trial run before prom night.
Brittany Cramer, Centerburg, said she loved the wide variety of pretty dresses from which to choose, and her mother, Sarah Shelt, said she could make alterations if they didn’t fit just right.
“This is a great opportunity for the girls,” said Shelt. “A lot of people just can’t afford to pay $75 to $200 for a dress you wear one time.”
Many of the attendees, like Jessica Davis from Utica, brought the outfit they wore last year to “exchange” for a new one.
Davis said she was excited to have successfully found a suitable dress, purse, shoes and earrings for free, but there was more to the experience than getting something for free.
“We’re all girls here,” she continued. “This is a more fun way to find a prom dress. Everyone helps each other. They’ll say, ‘Oh, you look good in that dress’ or ‘You look really good in that color.’ And it’s just really nice.”
Besides family and friends and a boyfriend or two, women from the church and the Heart of Ohio group were available to help the high school teens browse through the merchandise and try on their choices. There were also refreshments available to fortify the “shoppers” as well the parents who were patiently waiting for the final selections to be made.
The representatives of the Heart of Ohio Women’s Club said they were pleased with the great turnout, the large number of donations and that they were grateful for the chance to make so many girls happy.