Planning a wedding is stressful in its own right. There is so much to think about, and there seems to never be enough time to cross off everything on the bride's to-do list. The entire process can be downright overwhelming.
Every bride wants to look her best on her special day, but finding the perfect wedding gown can be daunting, and even more so when the wedding date is moved up unexpectedly. The cost alone can put that dream of affording the perfect gown just out of reach.
Perhaps nobody knows this pressure more than military brides, especially those who have very little time to pull it all off before deployment.
With this thought in mind, the non-profit group Brides Across America was born.
The Massachusetts-based charitable organization started by Heidi Janson focuses on military couples facing deployment, whose dreams of the perfect wedding have had to adjust by impending separation. Since 2007, Brides Across America has donated over 7000 wedding gowns to support the troops and their families.
Together with the Joining Forces program, a national initiative developed by First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden to help and honor military families, Brides Across America has teamed up with Danvers own Bella Sera to host a bridal gown give-away on Saturday, July 14 and Sunday, July 15 for qualifying military brides.
In order to qualify, brides or their fiancé must be active duty in the military, either currently deployed or deployed within the last five years to Afghanistan, Iraq, Bahrain, Libya or Japan. Identification or deployment papers must be presented at the vent to qualify. Brides must also call ahead to schedule an appointment for the event.
Tara Antonucci, Marketing Director for Bella Sera, said shop owners Lisa Almeida and Heidi Nicholson were thrilled to be a chosen to participate in such an amazing event, and if this event proves successful, they hope to partner with Brides Across America for future give-aways.
"Brides Across America is connecting with bridal shops across the country to promote the military spirit...They chose Bella Sera to participate because of our excellent reputation in the industry, we can draw in a lot of people. It's so nice to be a part of Brides Across America, and give back to the community who have always been there for us," she said.
According to the Antonucci, Bella Sera opened its doors in 2005, and under Almeida and Nicholson's careful attention, the little shop thrived. The boutique was moved to the larger space in Danvers on Route 114 next the Tommy Bahama's and Joker's Wild in 2009, and has quickly become a fixture in the bridal business. Almeida and Nicholson are committed to making each and every bride feel special and considers each "a special jewel in the mosaic that makes this business shine."
With dozens of dresses in a variety of sizes ranging from $500-$4,000 slated to be handed out, Antonucci stressed that more than anything, the folks at Bella Sera hope to ease the minds of military families and help make their situation a little better.
"Fashions and styles change every year, and we always have high-end, quality gowns out on the sales floor," Antonucci explained. "We'd rather give them to these deserving brides. It's nice knowing we can help alleviate some of that pressure: if you or your fiancé are going somewhere, you dont have to worry about the gown."
She continued, "We always have area military brides come in, Heidi was in tears just the other day after meeting one of the brides and hearing her story-I know Saturday is going to be very emotional for all of us. Just listening to their stories, whether it's them (in the military) or their fiancé overseas...to be able to affect these women's lives and make the most important day in their lives special and to give back to them, it's an honor."
For military brides who are interested in more information, please contact Bella Sera Bridal at 978-774-4077 on how to qualify.