How Local Military and First Responders Can Receive Gifted Weddings & Wedding Gowns

How Local Military and First Responders Can Receive Gifted Weddings & Wedding Gowns

Brides Across America (BAA), is on a mission to gift weddings and wedding gowns to our military & first responders.

Every little girl dreams of how she’ll look on her wedding day; whether she’ll wear a poufy, white confection of tulle and satin or something a little more sleek and sophisticated, how her hair will look, how her veil will drape dramatically just so and how her groom’s breath will catch when he sees her walk towards him.

Whatever the vision she has in her head, however, that vision may have to contend with the fact that the fantasy might be impossible to achieve. For many brides-to-be, the dream of a dress is just out of reach because finances make it a challenge. That challenge served as inspiration for Heidi Janson, who founded Brides Across America (BAA) in 2008, creating a solution to unite military and first responder brides with perfectly matched dresses donated by bridal salons whose hearts were moved with the desire to give back.

Beginning with only a small network of salons that donated their time and resources to spearhead the program in its earliest stages, BAA donated 50 gowns in its first year to military brides. In 2016, the organization enlarged its mission to include first responders who, much like their military counterparts, heroically put their lives on the line.

Now in its 16th year, BAA hosts countless Operation Wedding Gown donation events at participating bridal salons nationwide. During each Operation Wedding Gown event, brides are gifted with free dresses that have been specially donated. To date, more than 29,000 wedding dresses and 24 free weddings have been united with deserving brides who would otherwise never have the chance to bring their dreams to life.

“At our very core, Brides Across America believes that one seed planted can grow many leaves and it is our duty as Americans to support each other and pay tribute to our troops,” says Janson. “We believe in changing lives and in transformation, and if we can change one life and make a difference, we have done what we set out to do.”

We want to unite our country and spread more love around the world, one dress and one wedding at a time.

Heidi Janson, Founder BAA

The organization has an ongoing mission that is both inspiring and aspirational, as it has implemented initiatives that create person- and couple-specific giving opportunities, including fully gifted weddings, provisions of financial support for specific couples and the ability to honor loved ones through directed giving. “Our mission is so important because Brides Across America not only recognizes the sacrifices made by individuals in service, but also helps create memorable and meaningful moments in their lives by providing the opportunity for dreams to come true through the gift of weddings and wedding gowns,” says Terry Brumley, Director of Client Relations at BAA. “By combining our appreciation for heroes with the joy of creating dream weddings, our organization brings positivity to the lives of those who have served our country and our communities.”

 Adds Janson, “We want to unite our country and spread more love around the world, one dress and one wedding at a time. It’s amazing to see how the work that we’re doing is accomplishing that. These are people who deserve to be honored for the sacrifices they’ve made in service to our country, and this should be the day they’ve always dreamed of. We have the opportunity to repay them in this. Whether it’s for love of country or love at the altar, our military and first responders deserve our very best.”

That’s a vow worth taking, and one that can make millions of dreams come true.

To qualify for a gown through BAA, brides must be military brides, first responders or the fiancé of a military member or first responder. Pre-registration on the website is required and brides must visit one of the participating salons with proof of deployment to select a wedding gown. Events are held throughout the year.



Our Salute to Service feature is sponsored every month by our friends at United States Senate Federal Credit Union (USSFCU), who are avid supporters of our service members, first responders and their families.

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