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Bride shares wedding joy by giving away her $800 dress

Alissa Walter felt incredibly grateful for the numerous blessings she counted on her September wedding day that she decided to “pay them forward” to someone else: She wanted to give away her wedding dress to another deserving bride.

“We had invested in beautiful decorations and this beautiful dress. What better way to use these now than to help them bless someone else, and to spread the generosity that we’ve been given,” the Washington, D.C.-based newlywed told TODAY’s Natalie Morales.

And that’s how she came to meet Renée Stroinski, the woman selected to receive her size 4, $800 strapless Cambodian silk gown. The two met Monday for the first time in person during their TODAY interview, although they have known each other for weeks through e-mail.

When Walter decided to give away her dress for free, to help her find the right bride-to-be. She said she wanted someone who was unable to afford a dress otherwise, or someone who may have originally planned to elope but had since changed her mind in favor of a more formal event.

“Basically, I’m hoping to find someone who really loves the dress and whose wedding experience will be truly transformed by having it,” she told the publication.

Walter said on TODAY that one reason she chose Stroinski, a graduate student from New Jersey, was because of her pledge to carry on the tradition of giving the dress away after she had used it for her own ceremony.

“Renée, more than anyone else, really embraced the idea of ‘Pay it forward.' She really wanted to take this dress and everything else about our wedding and use it to also be generous to other brides,” Walter said.

“I thought this is a really amazing trend. What a better way to think about our weddings as something we can invest in and share, rather than something about a princess day that is all about us.”

Stroinski told Huffington Post that she and her boyfriend plan to marry in the fall of 2014. Heavy student loans for both of them prevented them from planning a dream wedding, one that included the perfect wedding gown.

Stroinski said she fell in love with Walter’s dress when she saw it in the Huffington Post story, and even before she learned it was her size.

“I knew it was the one before I even knew I could have it,” she told Morales.

Stroinski said she appreciated the generous spirit in which Walter was giving away her gown and had no doubt she would pass along the gown so someone else could eventually walk down the aisle with it.

“I can’t believe that I get to wear it and I would love to do that for someone else, too, and just make their memory just as special,” she said.