When it comes to preparing for a wedding there are many factors to consider. So much has to be done to prepare, and one of the most important is finding the bridal dress shop to get the wedding gown from.
While it is possible to find cheap bridal gowns online, if you are wanting something elegant and unique and made just for you then it is best to shop in person and try on the dresses. It is also important that you consider what kind of wedding you are going to have, what the theme is, and where you are holding the event,
What you would wear to a classy barn wedding may be very different than what you would want for a beachside wedding. Many people search online for ideas of what they want the stress to look like with searches such as create my wedding dress look. There are many ideas out there for cute bridal dresses so be sure to give yourself time to look around and find the one that is right for you!
Many girls dream of their wedding day and what their dress will look like, so brides in 2020 were faced with some major disappointment. During a time when most brides are visiting venues, tasting cakes with their future spouses, and trying on dresses with excited bridesmaids and family members, brides in 2020 have been trying just to stay afloat.
Fortunately, communities and brands have responded by helping brides have something to look forward to in the future. While gatherings may still be limited and weddings are still on hold, some lucky brides have been recipients of a free wedding dress giveaway.
Check out some of the heartwarming stories below.
Weddings Took a Turn in 2020
The average number of guests at a wedding in the United States is 136. With the crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic, weddings have been either delayed or reduced to small groups of the closest family and loved ones. For much of the year, gatherings of more than 10 people have been strongly advised against, or not allowed at all, and financial hardships have clouded the excitement many couples usually feel during wedding planning.
For many couples, wedding planning is an exciting and fun, and sometimes stressful, experience, and it is one that couples who were planning to marry in 2020 missed out on. Visiting venues in person, creating a gift registry with a stroll through a store, meeting with caterers to taste food, and sampling wedding cakes have all been difficult, if not impossible, to enjoy.
Rather than having bridesmaids order custom t-shirt printing supplies for a girls weekend, brides have found themselves isolated and uncertain during what should be an exciting time in their lives. Trying on dresses has simply not been possible for many brides-to-be, and paying for a dress has become more stressful than ever before.
Brides who work in healthcare and who have been on the front lines of this pandemic to help their communities find themselves frustrated and disappointed at missing so many momentous occasions.
Fortunately, many wedding dress brands, bridal boutiques, and other charitable organizations have all responded with some version of a free wedding dress giveaway for those who have spent the past year saving others’ lives instead of focusing on their own. While a free wedding dress is not the same as being able to have a dream wedding, it is an act of thanks that many brides-to-be are beyond grateful for.
Ava Clara Couture Bridal Shop in Virginia Beach
Through good times and bad, great weather and the fallout from storm damage, Alex Fleear has spent a decade running her store, Ava Clara Couture Bridal Shop. In March of 2020, for the very first time in 10 years, Fleear had to close her doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Like many, she was concerned about her community and she couldn’t help but wonder what her purpose was. How could she continue to feel a sense of purpose when she was unable to keep her store open?
Over the years through her nonprofit, Tulle 4 All, Fleear has organized bridal gown giveaways for teachers or people connected to the military, so she decided to organize a free wedding dress giveaway for hospital workers on the front lines during the pandemic.
Said Fleear, “I think there needs to be way more community right now to show we can get through this. We can all do our part to make a difference.
Healthcare workers from across the country applied to receive free gowns, and Fleear was inspired by workers who continued to treat patients and risked their own health due to little access to personal protective equipment. Email marketing helped connect Fleear to members of her community, and brides all over the country, all hoping to have some good fortune come their way through the free wedding dress giveaway.
“It helps to read these stories and to get out of my own personal funk,” said Fleear. “With the doom and gloom and feeling low, it gave me a sense of someone else has it way worse. It has helped me a lot with my emotional grief.”
Originally, the bridal shop planned to have 50 gowns for their free wedding dress giveaway, but with the outpouring of donations, she was able to give a free designer wedding gown valued at up to $4,000 for 75 health care workers.
With no end to the pandemic in sight and couples unsure about wedding plans, Fleear said she will do another free wedding dress giveaway in 2021 or 2022 to help brides who were not selected this year.
One of the lucky brides for 2020, 25-year-old Alex Schweiger, graduated nursing school in May of 2020 and has been working at Sentara Heart Hospital in Norfolk. She said, “Graduating nursing school during the middle of a pandemic is definitely unique. With everything going on with COVID-19, it has not stopped me from wanting to pursue health care.” Schweiger will begin a nursing residency program in the fall. Her maid of honor was the one to tell her about the free wedding dress giveaway from Ava Clara Couture Bridal Shop, and while every aspect of her wedding planning has been challenging, she remains positive.
Spanish Luxury Bridal Group Pronovias
Amidst the pandemic, many families have been faced with uncertainty and economic hardship. Couples planning weddings now find themselves worried about how to pay for a roof replacement, monthly rent, or even food, rather than saving for a wedding.
With the desire to help as many frontline workers as possible, a number of brands and local communities have responded to help maintain some sense of normalcy during wedding planning for couples. Pronovias, a luxury Spanish bridal group, is helping hospital workers with a free wedding dress giveaway that allows them to get a gorgeous gown without having to worry about finances.
As a way of saying thank you to all the heroic frontline workers, Pronovias has announced that it will donate wedding dresses to bride-to-be hospital workers including doctors, nurses, and janitors. The free wedding dress giveaway program began in China, but has since been extended to other countries that have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.
With the hashtag “LoveConquersAll, the brand is hoping to bring more awareness, love, and warmth to the frontline heroes helping heal their communities and countries. In addition to the free wedding dress giveaway initiative, Pronovias also designed a line of dresses dedicated to hospital workers. Alessandra Rinaudo, the group’s artistic director, curated “The Heroes Collection” and said the workers were “soldiers, unrelenting in their battle to heal the sick.”
Ashley Grace Bridal Partners With Brides Across America
Working in the medical field often requires a college education, so many doctors, nurses, and other hospital workers are in debt before they begin their careers. Whether a dermatologist or a human resources manager, healthcare workers have continued to struggle during the pandemic to make ends meet while taking care of their communities.
Inspired to honor local healthcare heroes, Ashley Grace Bridal decided to do a free wedding dress giveaway. Named Operation Wedding Gown Giveaway, the bridal boutique wanted to donate dresses to honor first responders, COVID-19 frontline healthcare workers, veterans, and military members.
Social Media Manager for Ashley Grace Bridal, Elizabethe Eckhart, said, “We believe that they are heroes for our country. Whether it’s love for your country or love at the altar, we believe that they deserve to be celebrated and this is just one way to honor them with a gift.”
Dresses will be donated by Brides Across America, and other bridal retailers will donate designer bridal gowns to the bridal salon for the free wedding dress giveaway.
Heidi Janson, Founder of Brides Across America, said “Together strong is my new mantra. I am so grateful for the selfless acts of our healthcare workers, first responders, and military that provide us support each and every day. This is our way to keep us united in love and our way of thanking all of you.
In order to be eligible for the free wedding dress giveaway, participants are required to show proof of employment.
Brides for a Cause in Seattle
Before a wedding, brides may invest in things like teeth straightening, gym memberships, and of course, the perfect dress. Unfortunately, in a year when many people rely on their credit card to make necessary purchases for everything from rent and food to car repairs and medical care, it has been next to impossible for some brides to make room in their budget for wedding-related costs.
Brides for a Cause in Seattle, a bridal boutique that raises money for charity, is teaming up with Brides Across America’s Operation Wedding Gown. While Brides for a Cause has spent the past six years partnering with Brides Across America to provide wedding dresses for military and first responders, this year the mission is bigger than ever.
Megan Murphy, manager for Brides for a Cause, said, “The most special part about this event is that we’ve opened it up to even more people.” Hospital workers on the frontline have been added to the list of eligible recipients for the free wedding dress giveaway. Said Murphy, “It’s very exciting. I think we’ve all really obviously been in this together to see how important those people are and helping us with it, so it’s nice to be able to give back in a way that we can with a free dress.”
One of the lucky brides this year, Skyler Means, said of the initiative, “I think it’s great. Anyone who puts their life on the line to protect the people of this country. I think that’s a great opportunity for them and I was even more excited when I heard they were offering it to people on the front line of this crisis, too.”
After 40 minutes in the bridal boutique, Means found the dress of her dreams in an experience she will never forget.
Dubai-Based Brand Esposa
Esposa, a high-end bridal boutique with stores in Beirut, Dbayeh, Lebanon, and Dubai, announced midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, it would be giving free wedding gowns to frontline workers who have so selflessly cared for others. So far, over 90 brides have received free wedding gowns, and Esposa even shared these special moments with followers on social media.
A mobile friendly website and app, Instagram is one place both the brand and recipients have visited to express their excitement and sincere thanks. CEO of Esposa Group, Juliana Romanos, said “It’s hard not to notice all the sacrifice and risks nurses and doctors are taking nowadays to save our people, while we just stay at home with our loved ones. This is our way to make them smile during their tough days and let them dream about their big day.”
Esposa is a family-run business, headed up by Juliana and her sisters Kristie and Jihane Romanos. It has been providing stunning bridal gowns for 30 years. With designers such as Carolina Herrera, Vera Wang, Zuhair Murad, and more, Esposa helps brides feel like the most beautiful versions of themselves, and with a free wedding dress giveaway, the group is proud to help those most deserving this year.
For engaged couples, 2020 was a year of challenges and uncertainty, and so far, the outlook is the same for couples who were planning a 2021 wedding. While couples may not be able to visit reception halls or meet with planners to go over table linens and centerpieces, the hope of a beautiful celebration is enough to remain excited about an engagement and hopeful for an incredible future. After all, if a couple can make it through quarantine and plan a wedding during a global pandemic, they have a strong foundation to see them through future challenges.
Through the goodwill of community members, bridal boutiques and brands, and charitable organizations, deserving healthcare workers who are brides-to-be are able to check at least one thing off of their long list of wedding-related to-dos: buying their dream dress.