A Winnipeg woman is paying it forward in a big way. Hannah Pratt, founder of The Winnipeg Dress Collective, is making sure brides-to-be in need will have a dream dress without any stress.

On Sunday, a free dress fitting event was held at The Forks.

One of the brides-to-be was Afton Vadacchino. She’s been busy planning her summer 2020 wedding, but has been without the perfect dress.

“All the girls here are amazing, so it’s been so much fun. Everyone’s been so, so helpful,” said Vadacchino.

She’s one of many women who applied for a dress through The Winnipeg Dress Collective.

It’s a project with a mission to give deserving women their dream dress for free.

Vadacchino said she decided to apply after some personal struggles.

“Just based on what I’ve gone through over the past little while, just with my own fitness journey. So I used to be a lot heavier, and I didn’t have a lot of self-confidence,” Vadacchino said.

Sunday’s dress fitting gave the full bridal experience to all of the women selected.

Pratt has been collecting new and used wedding dresses from women across Manitoba since August, preparing for this event.

“These brides are wanting to pay it forward. They’ve given their dresses for free to this project,” said Pratt.

Pratt started the initiative after donating her wedding dress to a bride in need after her wedding was cancelled.

READ MORE: Wedding cancelled, Winnipeg woman gives away $1,300 gown to stranger

She said wedding dresses on average cost $1,700, so she’s hoping to alleviate some stress from brides.

“The brides who have been applying for them have either demonstrated a need financially, or who have gone through some really tough obstacles,” said Pratt. “We’ve had brides who are battling a form of cancer right now, and their focuses and their finances are elsewhere.”

Laura Broesky heard about what Pratt was doing, and wanted to help out.

She donated two wedding dresses: one from her ceremony in Winnipeg, and the other from her ceremony in Toronto, where she’s originally from.

Broesky also stepped up in another way to help by volunteering.

“It’s such an emotional experience, just watching people have the same reaction to dresses that I had the same reaction to,” said Broesky.

The day was also emotional for the brides-to-be.

Vadacchino said she feels honoured that she was selected.

“I couldn’t imagine a more perfect experience to picking out a dress,” said Vadacchino.

If you’d like to donate a dress, or if you’re in need of a dress, you can contact The Winnipeg Dress Collective.