LIMESTONE COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – Ashley Michael never imagined she would be looking for her perfect wedding dress…again. She lost her first one before she had a chance to wear it.
A violent tornado destroyed Ashley’s mother’s Coxey home on April 28th.
“Well, I thought it would be nice since it would be flowy, you know being on the beach and be easy to walk in. With the sparkles that it had on it, it would be pretty when the sun caught it,” Ashley said about her first dress.
That beach sun never caught it. A volunteer found her dress wrapped around a Limestone County tree, tangled in barbed wire.
“When she was there looking for stuff I said, ‘well see if you can’t find my dress,’ and then she was like ‘I’m so sorry,’” Ashley said.
“I can replace my dress, but I can’t replace my mom,” she added.
Ashley’s journey to David’s Bridal in Huntsville started a week after the tornado. She saw the story of another tornado-tattered dress on WHNT News 19’s Facebook page.
Ashley commented on that post, but sadly, that was not her dress.
“I think I commented that it was nice of the people that found it and had it cleaned and were looking for it. I said I hoped the people find it because I know what it was like because I lost mine. But I was more worried about my momma and my step-dad than I was anything,” Ashley said.
And someone else was worried about Ashley–and her wedding day–and stepped up in a big way. An anonymous person noticed Ashley’s comment on Jason’s post and decided to pay it forward.
That anonymous person contacted David’s Bridal in Huntsville and arranged for Ashley to get one heck of a surprise.
David’s Bridal store manager Annie Battle told Ashley, “You exemplify what David’s Bridal represents. A wedding dress is really beautiful, but it’s about family, about two people coming together wanting to build a share a life together.”
“Someone heard your story. We got an anonymous call to the store here the other day and they have decided that they want to pay it forward for your generosity and grace that you showed during the tornado. And they have decided that they’re going to purchase your dress for you here today,” Battle told Ashley.
The first time around, Ashley found her dress alone. This time, she was surrounded with support.
“It’s a little overwhelming. There’s so much to choose from. I never thought I’d ever *ever* be able to just choose whatever I wanted,” Ashley said.
“At least I know I’ll be able to have the dress I always dreamed of but never thought I’d be able to have,” she added.