RIVERVIEW, Fla. — A lot of little girls grow up dreaming of looking like Cinderella on their wedding day. Now, The Regent event center in Riverview is helping those dreams come true for frontline medical workers.
Inside The Regent, the ballroom sat empty for much of 2020 while the wedding dresses piled up.
“We lost probably 65 percent of our income in 2020,” said CEO Shannon Keil.
Keil was supposed to be planning receptions, but instead, she was planning hospital visits.
“My parents both got COVID, my dad was in the hospital, he actually had pneumonia, and he had to have the antibodies, so we were pretty worried, and then my husband and daughter got it,” said Keil.
Fortunately, all her family members have recovered. Keil now wants to give back to our frontline medical workers the best way she knows how by offering more than 30 new wedding dresses for free. The dresses range in price from $600 to $3,000.
“Each of these dresses is going to go on a girl who is going to have a story, and it’s going to be amazing, and we’ve been keeping her story hostage, so I’m ready to let it go,” said Keil.
Keil is going hospital by hospital, looking for nominations of brides to be, starting with Brandon Regional.
“If they did something extraordinary for you or you’ve seen and watched them do extraordinary things, let us help you bless them,” said Keil.
For Shannon, this story comes full circle. She wasn’t able to afford her dream wedding dress, so her father made it for her.
“So he knew how to sew, so he actually found a pattern that was close to a dress I wanted, and it had an eight-foot train, bows, puff sleeves, and he and my grandmother made it for me,” said Keil.
Every dress she gives away is a small thank you to those health care workers who helped save her dad and so many others.
“It is sort of like a fairy godmother. We get to sparkle and shine. We get to give them that,” said Keil.
Robert Boyd at WFTS first reported this story.