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Wedding dresses for a steal at Goodwill stores in Tampa Bay

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Brides lined up early Friday morning Brides lined up early Friday morning

It isn't Black Friday, but it could be called White Friday. Dozens of brides lined up outside the Goodwill Industries Suncoast location in Oldsmar Friday morning. They're all hoping to score a great deal on their dream wedding dress.

"I just wanted to get the best dress," explained Tanya Arendes, as she sat in a lawn chair next to the door.

Arendes was first in line. She got to the store at 11:45 p.m. and stayed up all night waiting for the doors to open. Like many of the brides, she'd checked out the selection online, and came with print outs of several dresses she hoped to try on.

"I picked the top three I wanted to try on, so I wanted to get first choice at those," she said.

This is the seventh year Goodwill has hosted a wedding dress gala. The gowns range in price from $50 up to $300. It's an amazing bargain, considering many of these are designer gowns, some with original price tags of up to $3,500. There are about 200 wedding dresses to choose from and most are donated from local bridal salons.

The brides waiting in line have good timing, too. This is the last year Goodwill will host its wedding gown gala. Director of marketing and public relations Chris Ward says the event is very time intensive and takes a lot of planning to make happen.

"It's very labor intensive to visit all of those bridal salons, and then store the gowns and stage the wedding galas," Ward said.

Arendes was first in the door when they opened at 6 o'clock. She quickly grabbed several dresses to try on. When she came out and saw tears in her mother's eyes, she knew she'd found her gown.

"This is it!" she exclaimed. "I need a bell. Let's ring it!"

The dress has everything she wanted: a train, sparkles and a great price.

"It's originally $375, but it's 25% off, so that brings it down to $281," she explained. "And this was originally a $3500 dress. That's why I got here early!"

The Goodwill Industries Suncoast gala is being held from 6 a.m. until 11 a.m. Friday at the Goodwill Superstore on Tampa Rd. in Oldsmar. There will be another event at the Goodwill on Willow Oak Dr. in Wesley Chapel from 6 a.m. until 11 a.m. on Saturday morning.

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