Brides-to-be looking for a great deal on a wedding dress had better set their alarm clocks early Friday morning - really early.
The fourth annual Goodwill Wedding Gown Gala will have hundreds of designer gowns on sale in all sizes and styles, with prices up to 85 percent off retail. The gowns are all new and would normally retail from $500 to $1,250.
None of the gowns will be priced more than $300, said Michael Ann Harvey, vice president of marketing for Goodwill Industries Suncoast Inc.
"We've marked them down even more this year because the economy still hasn't turned around," she said. "Brides really need help with their wedding budget, and this event will help them save money."
The sale begins at 6 a.m. Friday at the Goodwill Superstore, 3929 Tampa Road, Oldsmar. But the line starts forming at least two hours earlier.
If brides don't find what they're looking for there, a new batch of dresses will go on sale at 6 a.m. Saturday at the Wesley Chapel Goodwill, 2390 Willow Oak Drive, Wesley Chapel.
Most of the wedding dresses are samples that have never been worn from top designers and salons in the bridal business. Designers include Demetrios, Justin Alexander, Cosmo Bella, Private Label by G and La Sposa.
Harvey advises shoppers to dress in something they can get in and out of easily, like a leotard. And don't wear makeup - or wear as little as possible; it can get on the dresses.
Gown colors include white, champagne and gold tone. Some have long sleeves and are perfect for fall or winter weddings.
A limited number of bridesmaids and mother-of-the-bride dresses will also be available, and many could do double duty for prom. There won't be any jewelry on sale this year, but there will be lots of bridal accessories including new garter belts, toasting glasses, guest books with quill pens, print-your-own invitation kits, picture frames, bridal shoes and veils.
Goodwill employees prepare all year for the annual wedding sale, saving extra full-length mirrors to ensure shoppers get a good fit. They also will have a pedestal so brides-to-be can step up and see themselves from all angles.
"We want the women to feel pampered," said Harvey. "We're going to have a lot of fun and really help brides who want to save money and still look beautiful on their wedding day."