I Never Thought I Could Afford My Daughter’s Wedding. Then a Trip to Goodwill Changed Everything.

A crafty father of the bride reveals where he got his wedding suit.

Country Magazine goodwill suit weddingCourtesy Dick Schuller
Dick Schuller, sporting his new suit, admires his daughter Annette’s wedding dress.

It all started with a call from my younger daughter, Annette. “Dad!” she yelled into the phone. “I’m getting married!”

“That’s great, honey!” I said. “When’s the big date? Next year, I hope, because Mom and I will need to save some money.”

“Dad, don’t worry,” she reassured me. “It won’t be for a year.”

Well, that was the first of many calls, each bringing the wedding date closer—until the day Annette phoned to say she and Greg would be getting married in six weeks!

But it wasn’t till the next time Dottie and I visited her that she dropped the big bomb on me. “Dad,” she said almost in a whisper, “Could I ask a tiny favor?”

My little girl was asking a favor of me! “Sure, what is it?” I  asked  fondly.

“Well, you’ve had that old gold suit you’ve been wearing for years and years. It would be nice if you bought a new one for my wedding.”

I stammered in surprise. “But—but—honey, there’s nothing wrong with that gold suit,” I told her.

Country Magazine goodwill suit weddingCourtesy Dick Schuller
Dick would have been just as happy wearing what he called “his perfectly good” gold suit.

As I ran on about how much the wedding was going to cost us, even without a new suit, Annette started to cry. Faced with her tears—and Dottie’s support of banishing my perfectly good gold suit—I relented.

I hadn’t bought many suits in my life, since my dad was a tailor. Now I’d have to face the free market and cough up 200 or 300 bucks, sending the wedding budget into a tailspin.

A week later Dottie and I were visiting our other daughter, Linda, in Spokane, Washington, and went with her to the Goodwill store, where  she hoped to find cookware.

I was headed over to the tool display when Dottie called to me. She and Linda were looking through a rack of suits, and suddenly Linda squealed and pulled out a dark tan one. She held it up to me and whistled in approval. Dottie nodded.

Checking the price tag, they laughed. “What’s so funny?” I asked.

“Look, Dad,” Linda said between giggles. “This beautiful suit was marked $12.”

“I’ll take it!” I said.

“No, wait, look at the tag,” she noted. “It was $12, then it was marked down to $6. Now it’s $3.34.”

I tried on the suit—a perfect fit. Then, while checking out, we were informed that it was half-price day. Yes, the suit for my dear daughter’s wedding set me back $1.67—though Annette, who has always shopped at ritzy high-fashion stores, didn’t know what my new duds cost.

That was all several decades ago. I was looking for the suit one day and asked Dottie where it was. “Honey, I  donated it to Goodwill,” she said.

Who knows? Another proud father may soon be leading his daughter down the aisle in my $1.67 Goodwill suit.

Weddings can be expensive; this is how much it cost to get married in the 1950s!

Originally Published in Country