Wedding dress designer will donate more gowns to Goodwill following viral TikTok video

Galia Lahav is donating the gowns to ensure more brides find their dream dress.

September 15, 2023, 4:39 PM

Emmali Osterhoudt may not be engaged, but her recent discovery of a designer wedding gown at Goodwill for just $25 has caught the attention of millions -- including the wedding dress designer herself.

Osterhoudt's TikTok video showcasing her lucky Labor Day find has racked up over 3.1 million views since she posted it on Sept. 6.

"I'm making this video because today, I found my wedding dress at Goodwill for $25," she explains in the video before showing how the opulently beaded, mermaid-style dress fits her "like a glove."

She continues, "I found it online, and the original price was like $6,200."

PHOTO: Emmali Osterhoudt found a $6200 Galia Lahav wedding dress at a Goodwill for $25.
Emmali Osterhoudt found a $6200 Galia Lahav wedding dress at a Goodwill for $25.
Courtesy Emmali Osterhoudt

The gown's designer, Galia Lahav, is known her for elaborate wedding creations. Her celebrity clientele includes Paris Hilton and Beyoncé (Osterhoudt mentions both in the TikTok clip), as well as Jennifer Lopez, Katy Perry, and Christina Aguilera.

News of the viral video made its way to Lahav, who said in a press release reported on by People that she contacted Goodwill and plans to donate several more gowns to various locations so that even more brides can uncover their dream dress on a dime.

Speaking with "Good Morning America" over Zoom, Osterhoudt talked about how she felt knowing her discovery would directly help even more future brides, as they scour thrift stores across the country in hopes of finding their own Galia Lahav gown.

"It makes me really excited, because a lot of the comments I was getting were like, 'Why would [you] buy that when there are other women who are getting engaged or already engaged who need it more?' Or 'People who can't afford dresses like that -- why are you buying it and not giving them the chance?'" she said. "It makes me feel good that other people are now going to get that opportunity."

PHOTO: Emmali Osterhoudt found a $6200 Galia Lahav wedding dress at a Goodwill for $25.
Emmali Osterhoudt found a $6200 Galia Lahav wedding dress at a Goodwill for $25.
Courtesy Emmali Osterhoudt

Ironically, Osterhoudt had already checked out with her purchases without even seeing the wedding dresses when a sale sign caught her eye.

"There was a sign that said '50% off.' One of my friends thrifted a Coach bag for $3, so I was in the purse section!" she told GMA. "My roommate was the one who saw the dress and said, 'Emmali, they have wedding dresses here!' I went over and looked at it, and I was surprised something that pretty was in a Goodwill."

While Osterhoudt and her boyfriend aren't engaged, she explained that he's been "very supportive," even responding to some of the more negative TikTok commenters with his own read on the situation: "Emmali's bf here. She looks absolutely beautiful in this dress and it fits her perfectly! Y'all think she is lucky for finding this but I'm so lucky."

PHOTO: Emmali Osterhoudt found a $6200 Galia Lahav wedding dress at a Goodwill for $25.
Emmali Osterhoudt found a $6200 Galia Lahav wedding dress at a Goodwill for $25.
Courtesy Emmali Osterhoudt

When we asked if she had any superstitious beliefs regarding her likely future-fiance seeing her in her dress ahead of any wedding, she offered a delightfully refreshing take on breaking the tradition.

"If I were to go wedding dress shopping in the future and got a dress while we were engaged, I would probably end up showing him because he's my best friend and I tell him everything. Even his Christmas and birthday presents -- I can't keep them a secret!"

"I understand why women want to surprise their partners with their wedding dress, but for me, your wedding day is about the two of you, so it's about how you want to do it," she continued. "I don't think you should let other people's opinions sway your decisions. I want to be able to spend the whole morning with him -- I want to eat breakfast with him before the whole day starts."

She added, "People aren't actually with their partner as much on their wedding day as much as they think they're going to be. They have to mix and mingle with so many people! I have no superstitions about the dress."

While the dress is a showstopper with plenty of potential to wow a huge crowd, Osterhoudt explained that she would eventually prefer a smaller wedding with "around 50 people... If I have not talked to you in like a year, it's not that I don't want you there, it's just that weddings are so expensive."

The couple have already discussed the possibility of getting engaged next spring. In the meantime, Osterhoudt is already dreaming up her ideal theme.

"One of the couples from 'The Bachelor,' Hannah and Dylan -- they just got married at a French chateau, and that's kind of the vibe I'm going for, just more colorful," she explained. "But I'm trying to do it as cheap as possible, so it might just be in a backyard somewhere."