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“My house had been completely destroyed in part by a truck that ripped through it and landed in my backyard,” Acord told Yahoo! Shine. “After making sure my family members were safe, my first thought was, ‘I hope my wedding dress is OK.’” After the tornado passed, Acord returned to what was left of her home and took the remains apart brick by brick. “I didn’t want to bulldoze in case the dress and other valuables were salvageable,” she says.
More on Yahoo!: Underwood to lend voice to tornado relief on CMTsIn April, Acord and her now-husband Justin, 25, a senior airman in the Air Force, had gotten hitched in order to be transferred as a married couple to Justin’s next station in South Carolina. However, they were planning a proper wedding for July 12 for which Acord had purchased a $350 gown from David’s Bridal. “I liked the dress, but it was a little plain and I was on a budget,” says Acord. Sadly, Acord couldn't locate her dress and postponed her wedding. “I was devastated when it was gone. I wasn’t sure I could afford another one.”
On Saturday, her friends offered to take Acord to lunch to cheer her up. While they were crossing the street in the town of Norman, one of them steered her in the direction of a wedding dress shop named BeLoved Bridal Boutique. “I didn’t understand what we were doing there but once inside, I saw my boss, Laura, and Channel 4 News,” says Acord. “Laura was smiling with tears in her eyes and said, ‘I hear you need a new wedding dress.’”
Laura Hilgenfeld, co-owner of a local Chick-fil-A where Acord works as a cashier, told Yahoo! Shine, “We were saddened by the loss of Megan’s home and wedding dress. We started a fundraiser at Chick-fil-A for team members affected by the tornado but I wanted to do something special for Megan. So on Wednesday, totally on a whim, I called BeLoved Bridal Boutique and asked if we could buy one of their floor sample dresses at a discount.”
The owners of the boutique jumped at the chance to assist. “We thought we could do better than help,” co-owner Andrea Mantooth told Yahoo! Shine. “We’re in the business of helping brides so we thought, ‘Let’s just blow her away.’ We called one of our designers, Stella York, and asked if they could donate one of their many gowns we had in stock. They immediately said yes.”
Acord tried on 10 different dresses before settling on her dream gown: A $1,500 jeweled, belted “fit-n-flare” dress with a sweetheart neckline. “It was so rewarding to walk into a bridal shop and choose whatever gown I wanted,” says Acord. “It was every girl's dream! I’m so thankful to my boss. It was such a blessing."
The couple have rescheduled their nuptials for August. So, can we preview the new gown? “Not before my husband sees it. It's a surprise!" says Acord.
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