Military Brides Wait in Line for Free Wedding Gown, Day of Pampering

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) – Local servicewomen and future military wives got the one thing every bride wants: the perfect wedding dress.  They got it for free on Veterans Day.

“When you find the dress,” said U.S. Army Specialist Janice McMullen.  “You just know it’s the dress, no matter the cost.”

Dozens of ladies waited in the chilly parking lot of the Impressions Bridal shop in south St. Louis Monday.  The line formed before dawn on Veterans Day.  Finally at 8:00am, volunteers from St. Louis Best Bridal Magazine and Eagle Bank opened the doors, revealing 100 free wedding gowns.

“Oh gosh!”  Lindsey Schrage beamed as she tried on her dress.

Specialist McMullen is training to become an Army chaplain.  She looked forward to officiating over many weddings in the future.  But on this day, she just focused on her own August 2014 ceremony.  Her mother, Norma, learned about the giveaway on FOX2 News Saturday Morning.

“I was like, ‘Oh! It’s such a blessing just to see all the people here,’” Norma looked around at women getting massages and flowers.

“It’s actually a blessing to come out and for people to thank you and give back to you as you give to them,” Specialist McMullen smiled.  “It’s exciting.”

Staff Sergeant Jeffrey Brown brought his fiancée Dana Brown to find that perfect dress.

“I want to get a mermaid-style dress, something nice,” Jackson pointed at her fiancée, “Something to make him cry at the altar.”

“Is she going to make you cry,” I asked Staff Sgt. Brown.  “Not that difficult when it comes to her.”

“It takes a real man to admit that,” I pointed out.  He just laughed.

On this Veterans Day, many women said they felt a little uneasy about all of the attention.  One of those women was Jesse Schellman, whose fiancée is on active duty thousands of miles away in the Army.

“I’m just waiting for him to come home safe,” she said.  “I just want the focus to be on him and getting them back here.  I don’t think the attention should be towards me.”

Volunteers and staff disagreed.

“Many of these women are here, with their loved ones overseas for months or years at a time,” said St. Louis Best Bridal Magazine Editor Mary Ann Wagner.  “That’s tough.  And, these women deserve this day.”

The women also got a chance to win a rehearsal dinner and $500 worth of wedding-day flowers from Walter Knoll Florists.

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