Get a gown like this for less! (Photo: Nathan O’Nions on Flickr)
Budget-conscious brides-to-be have some standard options for cutting costs on their big day: fewer bouquets; fewer guests; fewer rhinestones on the dress. Or they could outfit their entire bridal party in apparel seized from a drug dealer.
Today is the final day of bidding for the Down the Aisle bridal sale, a U.S. government auction which offers a collection of gowns, tuxes, and wedding day accoutrements seized from an Alaska woman convicted of smuggling heroin and methamphetamine. According to the New York Times, the Juneau woman used a bridal store to channel incoming funds from her drug operation.
“Shipments would arrive at a beading supply store that she owned with her husband,” the Times reports, “and the proceeds would go toward the costs of her bridal shop, which was one street over.”
The General Services Administration (GSA), which sells seized government property, is auctioning around 3,000 items recovered from the store, including hundreds of wedding dresses available individually and in lots. Though the items each have a reserve, the prices are set low—as of publication time, a bid greater than $323 will win you the right to the Venus, a brand-new wedding dress with a billowing satin skirt, lace-detailed bodice, and lengthy train.
Got $324? Get this wedding dress. (Screenshot from GSAAuctions.gov)
In addition to viewing the collection online, potential buyers were able to see items in person at a show room in Atlanta created especially for the bridal sale. According to the Times article on the sale, the GSA put an unusual amount of effort into creating a cheery atmosphere:
The organizers wanted to make the show feel special for those who would be bidding on items for their big day in a drab government building. They converted a few large conference rooms into a network of wedding studios, designed to give potential buyers an upbeat shopping experience. The workers draped white cloth over conference tables and dressed up the walls with photographs of employees modeling the clothing.
Auctions end today on a rolling basis, meaning wedding planners have mere hours left to get their bids in on gowns, tuxes, petticoats, invitations, and cake toppers. Once the wedding shopping is done, buyers can pick up one of the government surplus Blackhawk helicopters the GSA has listed on the same auction site.
All items are sold as-is, with no guarantees and no refunds.