Grace United Methodist Church hosting free prom dress giveaway

Over 1,000 dresses, shoes, accessories and minor alterations are being provided at the event.
Published: Mar. 31, 2023 at 8:09 AM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - For many students, prom remains a month or two away, but preparations have already begun.

As students prepare to get everything they need for the special occasion, a local church group is working to get prom dresses to teens in surrounding areas who otherwise may not be able to afford them.

Wilmington’s Grace United Methodist Church is hosting a free prom shopping event called Cinderella’s Closet on Friday, March 31, and Saturday, April 1.

Over 1,000 dresses, shoes, accessories and minor alterations are being provided at the event. It’s a volunteer-ran event with positions to fill from greeters to seamstresses.

The dresses are donated from people in the community, along with prom dress stores that want to get rid of their out-of-season dresses, which means some dresses in Cinderella’s Closet are still brand new.

Additionally, all students from surrounding counties are welcome to attend, the event is not limited to those in New Hanover County. The church group says that even home schooled students are welcome to attend if they have a formal event coming up.

With it being the first year the giveaway is back since being shut down during COVID, volunteers are excited to find dream dresses for those attending prom this year.

“I really love being able to help girls come here and just feel beautiful for the day. It’s not just about feeling beautiful on the outside, but also just being able to sort of share the love of our community with them,” said Hope Inman, a chairperson for Cinderella’s Closet ILM.

So how does the process work when you arrive? Julie Crow, another chairperson for Cinderella’s Closet, explains the process.

“The princesses will walk in downstairs in our Welcome Center and they will be paired with their fairy godmother. They’ll come upstairs to browse all the dresses. They can tell us what color they’re thinking about and if they want a long or short dress. We also have undergarments to try on and they get their own dressing room and full size mirror. Once they choose their dress, we have a jewelry room where they can pick out all their accessories, shoes and sometimes a clutch as well. If their outfit needs any alterations, we have a couple of seamstresses available and they can adjust some straps and do simple hemming,” said Crow.

Each person who signs up can only have one adult inside Cinderella’s Closet with them.

No walk-ins are available and the event is by reservation only. As of Thursday, there were about 40 girls signed up and there are still time slots available for Saturday.

To reserve a time slot, email Cinderella’s Closet ILM at or them on Facebook.