Free wedding gowns for military brides
Photo: Video by tmj4.com
"Wow" is the reaction every bride wants to have when searching for the perfect wedding dress. But there’s something different about the brides walking through Aeva Couture today - they are getting married to members of the military. Or, like Amanda Betz, are actually in the armed forces themselves.
“I'm proud, definitely proud," she tells TODAY’S TMJ4’s Jesse Ritka.
But serving and searching for something blue is a balancing act, especially when the wedding is only two months away. "I kind of do a lot of the wedding planning when I'm at home and then when I'm deployed, I work and then I come home, do some more wedding planning,” Betz says. And she finally found the time to try on wedding dresses "a little late, but better late than never."
The non-profit Brides Across America, is making it easier for Amanda and other brides-to-be to get the gown of their dreams for free. "I know personally trying to pay for a wedding is... very stressful and you're broke all the time, so any help you can get is really awesome," Betz explains.
For owner Ariel Arnson, the program was a perfect fit. "My grandfather was a World War II veteran," she says. And after watching him return from an honor flight, she registered her shop for the program.
"[It] really shed light on the fact that we don't thank these people enough, our veterans, our current troops and the hardship that is on their families... It just really inspired me to figure out a way that I can give my own thanks and my gratitude to the men and the families in the service and I saw the Brides Across America as my own little way to be giving back to them," Arnson explains.
It's Aeva Couture’s way of saying “thank you”, before the brides say “I do.”
The program ends Wednesday, and there are several dresses left for military brides to choose from. Brides or their fiancées must have been deployed within the last five years and must register for the program, either online or in person at Aeva Couture after meeting the proper qualifications.