Military Brides Get Sweet Wedding Surprise


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?


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Rose Savoie

Seriously?  I think this is stupid.  First off, a wedding dress doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg.  I personally got mine for free from a friend of mine who (lucky her) had bought 2 dresses, and gave me the one she didn't wear.  I have also seen many beautful (some brand new) wedding dresses and many second hand stores from around $50-$100.  Secondly, I know their husbands and are in the military and all, an I totally commend anyone who can do that (either be in the military, or be married to someon in the military) because I am sure that is a constant hardship to put on your family life, but what makes these women more deserving than any other bride struggling with the costs of a wedding?  And maybe I am wrong here, but I have always been under the assumption that people in the military make a pretty decent living. 

Stephanie Wiltcher

people in the military get the security of being in the military. healthcare, housing, things like that. The pay is NOT FABULOUS. especially the lower ranking enlisted folk. 

where i think that the previous person has a point about every bride deserving a wedding, i disagree with this being stupid. Someone started this tradition because they felt that it is hard for military wives to husbands-to-be to have a proper wedding. And that person is right. and it is not only due to lack of funds. there are deployments and station to station moves that are in the way as well. For example, before my husband and i got married, he got orders to japan. he would not be able to take me with him since i was not technically married at the time. we were married by a Justice of the Peace before our actual "wedding" so i would be able to move with him to japan and be with him. I dont really see any other situation like that outside of the military. 


I think this is a nice thing. I know so many people who didnt get to have a wedding because of orders out of country and things. it is sad, and it is something that most women dream about. 

nonmember avatar arin shipley

duuuhhhhhh for the wifes and the military husbands .....some poeople r so selfish all they think aboutis them selves and what they would do ...mind your business and let it work for those who need it . i thought ur comment was stupid ...honestly. below me.

Heather Grudzien

i myself was a military bride. it is very hard to be a military spouse. yes we get healthcare but that is a nightmare itself. you always dont qualify to live in housing depending on your rank. lower enlisted do not make very much. if you live in housing they take money from you. i do agree that you can get a nice dress for a lower price. my husband and i did. we got married at the base chapel to save money. its all about budgeting.

nonmember avatar Mel

"Make a pretty decent living." REALLY???? I guess we know who the stupid one is. The pay is next to nothing, and they have their lives on the line for spans of a YEAR or more at a time. Most of the time, they nearly all live paycheck to paycheck. If they need to run to the market for food, it has to be timed for the day after pay day. The assumption they make a pretty good living, is b/c they choose not complain about how little the pay is for such an honest, admirable, hard working and demanding job. They aren't in it for the paycheck, or trust me they would have picked a better job, they are in it for their country. The percentage of the population who serve in the Armed forces, is very low. And they live lives everyday, that civilians can't understand. If a free wedding dress is offered, it is a BIG deal to them.
Thank you to all those who offered the dresses!
And thank you to those who serve, both soldier, and family.

Ashley Hamilton

As a recently married woman to someone in the military I think this is a great idea. Yes every woman should have the opportunity to have the dress and wedding of their dreams. But to call this stupid is just beyond ignorant. Being married in the military is no easy task, quite frankly being married to a civilian I think would be a lot easier. The fact that this woman and these designers are willing to do something so amazing to help those who are risking their lives everyday is great. If someone has a problem with the fact that this is being done then they themselves should start an organization to help others that are in need buying a wedding gown. These dresses can be quite costly and most places do have dress sales so you don't have to pay an arm and a leg for a dress. But the problem is is that every woman is looking for "the dress" that one that will make them cry, smile or just be plain excited about. You can't always find that dress for under $100. For those that are able to get theirs from others, thats great. And you may be entirely happy about that but not everyone fits into someone elses dress let alone looks good in it and looking good on your wedding day is one of the most crucial things because it's a day you are going to want to remember for the rest of your life.

Theresa Hambrice

At first I thought it was a little silly.. not totally silly.. because of the prices of the dresses BUT i had to think about it again and i think its AMAZING.. because i know their are expensive dresses and their are cheep dresses.. but i think that its a great thing to honor these people because all too often we as a society forget our military people, the ones who serve directly in the military and the ones who serve by being a family member of one who serves, and the spouse or fiance.. i honestly am over joyed to see people actually taking care of our everyday heroes.. and the military MAY have some nice benefits, BUT their pay is NOT that great and who cares even if their pay was great its the least we can do to give them a memorable wedding day!

nonmember avatar Laurel

i also am a military wife and i understand the hardships of being with someone in the military but in my case its even harded... due to a custody arrangment i have to live in a diff state than my husband.... so even when he is home from deployment he still isnt really home, and when it came to planning our wedding... not fun... but even with what little help i did have from him during the process we still had to cancel all our plans and loose out on deposits due to him getting deployed so our beautiful wedding got turned into a Justice of the Peace wedding.... having someone help me out on the dress would have been great cause that would be one less thing we would have to worry about financially... especially with his sgts pay and my job with two rents and other expences you have from living seperatly. I think this is a wonderful idea and for the lady who thought this was stupid... try to put your self in our shoes it takes a strong woman to be a military wife.... unless you live this life you just dont get.

Linda Varholla

To Rose Savoie, You need to get your head out of your own back side before you go running your mouth. Know what you are talking about before you make such comments. I am the mother of a US Soldier and Proud of it. I have seen the struggles, the hard ships, the deployments. They don't have a free ride!!!!If you haven't lived it you need to keep your opinion to your self. Oh wait it is these same men and women, and those gone before that gives you the "right" to make such remarks. Would you put your life on the line every day, in a war zone for 25k a year. And yes that and less is what many of these soldiers and their families live on. So you tell me. I think this is a great program....God Bless them and the USA

Michele Mulholland France

This is a fantastic program and I couldn't be more proud that the bridal boutique my brother in law owns has HAPPILY been a part of this. Chevy Chase Bridal in Washington DC - Nick Kassman. Seriously. Do people not get how special those who serve - and those that love them - are to this great nation? Every little bit helps. Love Brides Across America - keep up the good work!!

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