Brides Across America’s ‘Operation Wedding Gown’ visits Wyomissing

With hundreds of dresses to choose from, Julia Gipprich hopes to find her dream wedding dress during a Brides Across America event at the Inn at Reading’s Bridal Show. Julia’s fiance is currently deployed in Japan, making the planning of her dream wedding a challenge.

After learning about Brides Across America from a college classmate, she registered online and was approved to choose a dress. Arriving early the venue Julia, her mother Ashley and Aunt waited anxiously in the lobby waiting for their names to be called.

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Founded in 2008, Brides Across America is a nonprofit that provides free wedding dresses to military and first responder brides. The goal of the organization its to lessen the financial hardships unique to servicemen and women.

“Some participants have already had civil ceremony but have not had a formal wedding just yet, so this is a way to say thank you for their service” said Kathleen Cruz, Brides Across America.

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After a short wait it was finally their turn to select a dress. Seeing the dress room for the first time Julia’s eyes lit up with excitement, which quickly turned to anxiety when she realized this was it, the time to try on her wedding dress. Several volunteers from Brides Across America stood by to help guide Julia and her family through the process.

Once Julia found a few gowns of her liking it was off to the dressing room to try them on. For her fan club, Julia’s mother and Aunt waited with bated breath for the big reveal. “Stunning, look at the detail.. It was like it was made for her” said Ashley, Julia’s mother.

After a few trips from the dressing room to the stage Julia was set. Are you saying yes to the dress? said a volunteer. Julia nodded her head and the whole room lit up with applause. The winner was dress number one. “I knew it was the one when I felt nauseous trying it on” said Julia. The next step was to pick out a complimenting veil to complete the look.

With the tentative wedding date planned for fall 2018, Julia is well on her way to planning a wedding her and fiance Damian Schweikert can be proud of.

Jason Hugg
Editor and photographer of Reading Magazine.
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