By Dustin Luca
---- — Military couples planning to tie the knot don’t always get the wedding they dream of. But because of The Bridal Center at Elm Square, one military bride and groom will have the fairy tale they envision.
Over a dozen businesses around The Bridal Center in Andover’s Elm Square are coming together for the “Military Dream Wedding” giveaway. They are looking for military couples who have been denied a full wedding experience by their call to serve our nation.
“They make a commitment to our country, and they may be out on base. They don’t have the money to have a big, lavish wedding,” said Michael Edwards, owner of AllStar Entertainment & Uplighting. “With the tremendous sacrifice they have given to the country and how [people] are giving their lives every day, it’s the least we can do to pay back a little bit.”
Many military couples face “a rush wedding, where they’re being deployed, and we may not even be able to order anything,” said Steve Kalman, co-owner of Cristina’s Bridal.
Over a dozen businesses are participating in the effort, donating everything from a wedding gown and adjustments, a set of tuxedo rentals and a limo to tanning, fitness training and a justice of the peace. The wedding bands are also included.
When asked why she was donating her services, Photography By Linda owner Linda Jennings said she started tearing up, just thinking about her experience with military weddings.
“We’ve all done some military weddings here,” she said. “It has always been a special experience, even to just see a mother-son dance, where the son is scheduled to ship off after the wedding.”
In some cases, “they find out that the military bride or the military groom is coming home just for a brief time, and they don’t have the time or know-how to put the wedding together so quickly,” Jennings said. “We can band together and put the wedding together for them.”
The event must take place within 35 miles of downtown Andover. Those seeking to win the giveaway can submit up to a one-minute video telling their story and why they are entering the contest.
The deadline to apply is this Saturday, Dec. 15. At that point, the businesses will review the entries and select three finalists. Their videos will be put on the Internet for the public to vote on.
For more information on the contest and to enter, visit thebridalcenter.com and click “Military Wedding Giveaway” at the top of the page.
SERVICE DONATED BY VALUE Wedding gown, alterations Cristina's Bridal $2,000 Photography services Photography by Linda $2,000 Disc Jockey/Emcee AllStar Entertainment $1,550 Up-lighting with designer AllStar Entertainment $1,350 Formal-wear (five tux rentals) Russo Tux & Limousine $1,000 Floral design Exquisite Linens & Florals $1,000 Specialty linen rentals Exquisite Linens & Florals $1,000 Bride, 4 bridesmaids' makeup Rouge Couture $510 Wedding bands Hidden Gem $500 Wedding coordinator The Love Affair Wedding Planning $500 Invitation package Soiree Andover $500 Hair styling package Salon Invy $500 Nutrition/fitness training Shaperella $450 Justice of the Peace Justice Elizabeth Gemelli $425 Intimate apparel and lingerie The Ivory Corset $400 Limousine (8 passenger) Russo Tux & Limousine $400 Spray tanning services Elite Bronzing $330 Hydrafacial and salt scrub Kiki Skin & Body Spa $220