Of all the unpleasant things that can happen after a wedding (not counting divorce), an expensive wedding gown being accidentally carted off as garbage ranks pretty high. Especially if that gown is a pricey Oscar de la Renta.

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How does a dress that goes for more than $4,000 get stuffed into the trash? According to The New York Post, this actually happened, all due to a misunderstanding on the part of a building worker who might need a hearing test. Mother of the bride Lucinda Ballard took her daughter’s wedding dress back to her Upper East Side home after the wedding; she was so exhausted that she asked some building workers to help her bring it upstairs. One employee, handling the garment bag with the gown in it, unfortunately heard “trash” instead of “dress” and helpfully tossed the package into the nearest dumpster to be whisked away and forgotten.

Ballard quickly realized that her daughter’s dress was missing and started searching for it, but by the time she’d figured out that the dress had been tossed, the garbage truck had already come by and hauled off the building’s garbage, dress included. Left with no other options, Ballard was forced to hunt down the truck number that contained the dress and haul ass to a New Jersey dump by 6:30pm, when the truck would arrive and empty its load. From there it was a race against time before the garbage would be compacted and sent off to the midwest for disintegration. Ballard wasn’t going to let any of that nonsense happen.

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From The New York Post:

Ballard, [building superintendent] Porth, building handyman Evan Santiago and Frank Amon, a Sanitation supervisor on site, literally jumped into the “sea of black garbage bags” to find the trashed treasure.

“We were ripping through these bags — wearing masks, high boots and gloves. I was moving quickly, going, ‘No dress, keep going’,” as the crew raced against the approaching nightfall, Ballard recalled.

After more than an hour, the super pulled the shining alabaster dress from the mountain of rotting refuse — crumpled but in excellent condition.

And here’s the best news: the dress didn’t smell like rotten fish heads and dirty diapers. Fortunately for Ballard’s daughter—also named Lucinda (huh)—it wasn’t even stained. And the younger Lucinda didn’t even know that the dress was missing until it had already been retrieved, making it a fun wedding story before the bride had a chance to get anxious or angry.

Why’d Ballard save the dress instead of replacing it or just letting it go? “I thought, ‘This dress is a symbol of a beautiful love story. I can’t get let it go to garbage heaven,’” she told The Post. That is very sweet (if not dripping with over-the-top sentimentality), but you know what would’ve been funny? If, after her mother’s stinky efforts, the newlywed daughter nevertheless took part in one of those “trash the dress” photo shoots. It takes on a whole new meaning and the look on her mom’s face would have been priceless. Guaranteed.


Contact the author at mark.shrayber@jezebel.com.

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