Special Feature: Brides Across America
This July 4th, we wanted to take some time on BravoBride to highlight an amazing nonprofit: Brides Across America (BAA). Founded in 2008 by Heidi Janson, Brides Across America provides the brides of military and first responders with free wedding gowns. In her bio, Janson explains that she was struck by an article written by a soldier in Afghanistan. The article shared the soldier’s feelings that Americans had forgotten about them. In response, Janson wanted to do something to show her support and appreciation. So, on the 4th of July, she opened up her own bridal boutique for a two-day wedding dress giveaway event for military brides. The response was overwhelming. As Janson writes,
“The brides were filled with happiness and tears that I knew at that time this was my journey to continue to transform these women. Most of them were waiting for their loved one to return home from Iraq or Afghanistan, some of them had babies that were never seen by their spouse, and the reality of the financial struggle to make the wedding happen existed. News flew from coast to coast of when the next giveaway was going to be and that was the stepping stone of the charity.”
What started out as personal has now become national, the organization hosting giveaway events in local bridal boutiques all across the United States. Now, military and first responders can find a bridal boutique near them that offers just-like-new gowns and accessories twice a year at no cost. Additionally, Brides Across America has now opened up a permanent location in Andover, MA, and is currently in the process of creating an online store.
The impact has been enormous. As you see above, BAA has now donated 20,000 free wedding gowns to military and first responder brides, subsidizing the cost of a wedding for some and making a wedding possible for others. However, none of this would be possible without your help.
So what can you do? Brides Across America, of course, takes wedding dress donations. Simply fill out the online form and submit pictures of your wedding dress to find out if your used gown qualifies for donation. Additionally, you can also give cash donations to a variety of causes and programs, listed here. Programs include Dream Bridal Box, Adopt a Hero, Give Monthly, Help a Deserving Couple, and Honor a Loved One. Additionally, you can make a one-time donation to the organization here. To find out how to volunteer or start an internship with BAA, click here.
Are you a military or first responder? Click here to learn how to receive free wedding attire for your special day. We thank you, and appreciate your service and commitment to our nation.
To learn more about Brides Across America, or hear about some of the experiences of the brides, please visit their website. Have a wonderful 4th of July!