"I would like to say thank you to the girl who donated it to Goodwill because it made my whole entire year," Emmali Osterhoudt said in a TikTok
One person's charity donation just became another's treasure.
Emmali Osterhoudt was shopping her local Goodwill store in Birmingham, Alabama, when she stumbled upon a stunning wedding gown she just couldn't resist buying — despite not being engaged or having plans to get married anytime soon. She paid just $25 for the dress, before later discovering that it's a Galia Lahav couture design worth a jaw-dropping $6,200.
Osterhoudt showed off her glamorous Goodwill find in a TikTok video last week, modeling the lace, pearl and rhinestone-embellished dress for the camera as she recounted her wild story.
"I’m making this video because today I found my wedding dress at Goodwill for $25, and it fits me like a glove. It's gorgeous," she began, as she twirled around to show off different views of the gown. "I found it online, and the original price is like $6,200. It’s by Ghalia Lahav. Paris Hilton — her most recent wedding dress was from this brand."
The video went viral, quickly clocking millions of views — and naturally, people had lots of questions for Osterhoudt, which prompted her to make a follow-up video over the weekend.
"So the dress video completely blew up and I did not expect it to get this big," she said in the second TikTok, before answering one of the most-asked questions: which Goodwill location was she shopping at?
"It's in Birmingham, Alabama, in the Green Springs area — and it had nothing,” she said with a laugh. "It had nothing but the dress."
Osterhoudt then recounted how she came to find the designer item, explaining that she had gone into the store in search of some picture frames for a gallery wall she was putting together.
"I had already checked out, I was about to leave and I saw a section that we hadn’t hit," she recalled. "And so we went over there and boom, it was beautiful and it was there."
She said she had no idea how major her find was until she saw the Galia Lahav label on the dress and and looked up the Israeli wedding brand online.
Not surprisingly, people were also very curious to know why Osterhoudt bought a wedding dress when she's not even engaged — though she does have a boyfriend. "Even if I never planned on getting married, I probably would have still bought that dress just because of the value," she answered. "I could have resold it if I wanted to for such an amazing price."
However, despite receiving quite a few DMs and inquiries from people wanting to purchase the dress, Osterhoudt has absolutely no plans to part with her fashion treasure. "I do not plan on selling it," she declared. "I do plan on wearing it on my wedding day whenever that time comes. Hopefully I’ll still be able to fit in it by then."
She also brushed off concerns that the dress might have bad energy since the previous owner chose to get rid of it. "Will I clean it with sage to get the bad juju out? I will not. I don’t really believe in superstitions like that," she said in her video. "I think beautiful things can come from bad situations and I do think that this dress might have actually been God’s plan or fate."
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Osterhoudt also took a moment to express her gratitude to the anonymous bride. "I really don’t know how I got so lucky. I would like to say thank you to the girl who donated it to Goodwill because it made my whole entire year," she said. "And little Emmali, who has loved weddings since she was probably 5, is kicking and screaming right now because she’s so excited."
She concluded her TikTok by teasing, "Maybe in a few years I’ll make a video actually wearing the dress. Who knows . . .”
Galia Lahav heard about Osterhoudt's lucky find, and has been inspired to play wedding dress fairy godmother to a few more brides-to-be. The brand said in a press release provided to PEOPLE that it has contacted Goodwill and plans to donate some more dresses for customers to find at their local stores.
"It's a reminder that sometimes, life's surprises can be as beautiful as the dress itself," Galia Lahav said.
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