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This past Saturday, military brides were given the opportunity to receive free bridal gowns at the Rusty Pelican in Tampa.
The event, which was sponsored by Operation Homefront, a non-profit group supporting the military, featured 200 dresses donated by designer Alfred Angelo for any bride-to-be who either serves in the military or is marrying a service member.
MacDill Air Force Base and Whole Foods helped organize the event, which went from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
All future brides were required to bring proof of military status or deployment papers, and had access to the dresses on a first-come, first-serve basis. The dresses were modeled on a runway by military models, and consultants from Alfred Angelo were there to assist the brides-to-be.
“This is so generous,” said Air Force Master Sgt. Tami Lamar, who will tie the knot with her fiance next summer. “I can’t even believe that this designer and all these vendors are just being so generous to us. . .For me it’s an emotional thing, even to feel like a bride.”
U.S. Marine Staff Sgt. Carrie Simonds offered a similar sentiment: “For companies just to come out and offer this, it means a lot. It makes me feel, what we are doing, there are people that appreciate it out there.”
There were a good variety of dresses ranging in size, style, and color.
Katherine Caro, one of the bridal consultants, said the many options featured “every taste. . .everything from the very traditional to the very modern, to the casual to the couture. We have destination gowns, from destination to divinity. Short, long, long train, short trains, a sweep of a train.”
Free wedding dresses for military brides? Mission accomplished.