Watertown bridal shop gives away first of 300 gowns for military brides
Melissa Deibert had never tried on a wedding dress before Monday, and she ended up getting the first gown she put on.
As she found shoes and a veil to match the lacy, strapless number, the East Falmouth resident almost got a little teary-eyed.
“I’m very excited and very nervous,” said Deibert, 29, who gets married Sept. 4. “This is my first time trying on wedding dresses, and I’m just getting nervous.”
Deibert was one of more than 300 brides-to-be who received a free wedding dress from Vows bridal outlet, as part of “G.I. Gown Giveaway.” The event, organized with the help of the United Services Organization’s New England arm, supplied active military personnel and fiancées of service members with free designer wedding gowns.
This was the first such giveaway for Vows. Owners say it was a way for the bridal boutique, which moved to Watertown from Newton in September, to say thanks to those who serve.
“We really wanted to give something,” said Vows co-owner Rick DeAngelo. “What can we do? We have wedding gowns. It feels small to us.”
Deibert said the giveaway seemed too good to be true when she first heard about it, but she and her fiancé Matthew Jackson, a member of the Air National Guard, were thankful for the gift.
“There’s been a lot of that today,” said Leslie DeAngelo, who co-owns Vows with her husband, Rick. “The first group of people who came in, their reaction was disbelief. You don’t really hear about something like this.”
About 100 brides came through the store on Monday, in appointment blocks of eight to 10 brides at a time. Beforehand, the brides gave the store their sizes and an idea of the styles they liked, so each girl could have an individualized experience, said USO New England Executive Director Jean Mallon.
“We wanted each bride to feel special,” Mallon said. “Not only is it an exciting practical gift for military families and brides-to-be, but it also boosts morale.”
The other 200 dresses will be given away over the next year as requests come in.
The DeAngelos said they chose December to have the giveaway because of the holidays and the number of deployments happening around this time.
“This is the first one, but we’re looking at doing it every year around this time,” Rick DeAngelo said.
In November, Viva Amore on Mount Auburn Street held a similar event.
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