BAA was founded by Heidi Janson, owner of a New Hampshire bridal shop, after she read an article about a couple in Afghanistan who felt that no one cared about their plans to marry. Immediately wanting to do something about it, she contacted numerous suppliers who graciously donated a total of 50 gowns to her cause.
To date, with the help of media attention and private donations more than 5,000 brides have received the dress of their dreams.
To be eligible for a gown, you must go through a simple qualification process. Briefly, you must be engaged and planning a wedding within the next 18 months or have already had a civil service and are planning a formal ceremony. You also need to provide a copy of your (or your fiance's) deployment papers and military I.D.
Past and present deployment locations include Afghanistan, Japan, Kuwait, Iraq, Qatar, Libya and Bahrain. Deployment can be pending, current or within the last five years.
Brides across America welcomes both cash and wedding gown donations. Dresses must be no more than four years old. Tiaras, veils and other accessories (except petticoats and underwear) are also appreciated.
I am touched by the thoughtfulness of Ms. Janson and her organization. I encourage everyone to make a donation of whatever you can afford. Remember, every dollar counts and it will make a deserving couple's wedding day one that they will never forget.