brides across americaWhen it comes to planning a wedding, women in uniform and future military brides face unique challenges. Not only do most of them deal with being apart from their beloved fiance for spans of time -- which is difficult enough itself! -- but they also face juggling their honorable responsibilities with the eternally rising costs associated with a wedding. Just buying a dress can feel like a huge financial burden. That's why the nonprofit Brides Across America launched to help these women "be all that they can be" on their wedding day ... for FREE.

The organization was started by Heidi Janson in 2007 after she read an article about a young soldier serving in Afghanistan who felt that he had been forgotten. She wanted to do something to help the men and women serving our country, and she decided to do it by making it a bit easier to say "I do."

Now, the organization has donated over 6,000 wedding gowns to support the troops and their families. There are many bridal boutiques around the country that participate with Brides Across America to help military women choose a free dress. All they need is proof of deployment papers and a military ID.

I feel like this effort is almost the least we can do to help ease the burden on military brides-to-be. And when so many people who are serving the country are coming home to a difficult (to say the least, right?) job market and no supportive public policy like the post-WW2 G.I. Bill, it makes coming home and starting a new life even harder. But thanks to Brides Across America, at least there will be one less thing these women will have to worry about. Like one woman, An Shwa, who is serving in the army, told FOX News:

We are paying for our wedding ourselves ... Just being able to get a dress and not have to worry about that one expense for our wedding, it just goes a long way.

Definitely makes sense. After all, a wedding dress isn't just a dress. It's a LOT of money ... but it also has a LOT of meaning behind it.

PLUS, who wouldn't be over-the-moon for a FREE Vera Wang? Oh yes! The free dresses that are gifted to military brides are often donated from designers or had been discontinued from the store. They could range anywhere from $700-$5,000! Talk about winning.

What do you think about Brides Across America's effort?

 

Image via BridesAcrossAmerica.com