Bridal store owner gives away free dresses to military families

PORTLAND, Conn. (WTNH) – A local bridal shop owner is giving away free wedding dresses to military wives to be. It’s all a part of a program called Brides Across America.

The wedding binder is information central for any soon to be bride. Just ask, Suzanne Fiore who will tie the knot in July with her fiance, John Randall.

“John is amazing,” said Fiore. “He is the sweetest person that you could ever meet.”

Randall is a Navy reservist who served in Operation Enduring Freedom, which is why Fiore says she wants to make sure her binder is filled with the best so their special day is perfect.

Yet, one area where the binder falls short is that while it may be a great place to collect ideas, it doesn’t always mean there’s money for them. In Fiore’s case, that was especially true when it came to the dress.

“A lot of military families have hardship,” said Fiore. “Wedding dresses are expensive.”

But thanks to a woman with a heart larger than even the most extravagant train, at least that one thing Fiore won’t have to worry about. Her name is Shelley Bailey and she owns The Wedding Dress, a bridal store in Portland. This week, Bailey is giving away 10 dresses to military wives to be, like Fiore.

“We’ve had girls crying and we’ve had girls laughing,” said Bailey.

Inspired by her father’s service to the nation as World War II Army veteran, Bailey sees it as her duty to make a difference where she can.

“On Christmas I like giving the gifts more than I like getting, so that’s just how we are,” said Bailey. “We just wanted to say thank you for all that they do for us because it’s a big sacrifice they make, both the wives and the husbands.”

Bailey’s giving does not end with this latest round of donations. Every year she also gives away several dresses to those who cannot afford them in Haiti.

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