It started back in 2009 when the magic of reality television let Ashley Dehelean, an Illinois teen, watch Edmonton business owner Rychelle Tuck find the gown of her dreams.
Or, to be more precise, the gown of both their dreams.
“I imprinted on that dress when I saw it,” said Dehelean, recalling the reaction of her 16-year-old self to that episode of Say Yes to the Dress.
The fabric was “feminine but boho” and featured gorgeous leaf petals that clicked with her personality, Dehelean said.
“I saw the way she had a connection with it as she was putting it on and I was having the same kind of connection with it as I was watching, as a teenager.”
In 2014, Dehelean was married to her partner Chris in a small ceremony with an even smaller budget that didn’t include much room for a special dress.
But recently, Dehelean discovered that the marriage paperwork was never submitted.
That has given the couple a perfect opportunity to have the wedding of their dreams — and for Ashley to have the dress of hers.
The hunt begins
Finding the perfect wedding dress is difficult for any bride, but the search Dehelean was undertaking was a little more complicated than most.
“It was just dead ends everywhere,” she said. “It’s been years and I can barely find clear pictures of this dress online.”
She even tried to get a replica made but was told the fabric used was too difficult to find.
So after hours of searching, Dehelean went back to where it all started. She re-watched the episode of the show and then tracked down Tuck through social media.
“Let me take this last chance, and if she doesn’t respond or if it’s not the right person, it is what it is and it’s a sign for me to move on,” Dehelean said, describing her mindset as she sent Tuck a message.
Within five minutes, she had her answer.
Yes, Tuck said. I’ll share the dress.
“I was recently thinking about getting rid of the dress because it’s just taking up room,” said Tuck, who owns the Red Ribbon boutique in Edmonton’s High Street area.
“But I feel really happy that I can pass it on to someone else that would enjoy it,” she said. “And now this dress gets another wedding.”
As for Dehelean, she still can’t believe it worked out and is waiting with great anticipation for the dress to arrive for her August wedding in an Illinois forest.
The pair are even the same height, which makes them both think this was meant to be.
“It makes the world a whole lot smaller,” said Tuck. “Hopefully in a positive way.”
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