Gowns for Good

From left to right Shannon – Assistant manager, Andy – Store Manager, Lorenza Rabenold – Air Force Partner, Lauren – Stylist

Belle Vogue Bridal hosted its eighth annual bridal gown giveaway event for military brides in support and appreciation of those who serve in the armed forces and their families.

As a thank-you for their service, the bridal store just outside of Kansas City, Kansas, gave away free wedding gowns to military couples this Veteran’s Day.

The event started eight years ago, shortly after the store opened. The owners wanted to give something back to the community and those that serve and protect us, and they decided to give gowns to military brides or spouses planning a wedding on a tight budget. Lorenza Rabenold, Air Force Partner, was able to partner with Belle Vogue this year to help fellow spouses schedule an appointment to say yes to the dress.

Gowns for Good was able to help 60 spouses this year find the dress of their dreams! Andy and his stylists would love for that number to grow! If you are planning a wedding in the next year or so, please check out our event, held yearly around Veteran’s Day in Kansas. If you are a spouse that never had the opportunity to have a wedding, this is a great opportunity to get the dress of your dreams. We interviewed a few spouses from across the command about this event and what it meant to them.

Staff Sergeant Christi Walker, 509th Bomb Wing 509 AMXS, 393rd AMU Weapons Team Chief, fiancée to Master Sergeant Daniel Tomlin: “It meant the world to me to receive the dress of my dreams. Each dress I tried on was so beautiful it was a challenge to pick just one. My mom attended this event with me. When she started crying when she saw me in the dress, I instantly knew it was the one.” Staff Sergeant Walker and Master Sergeant Tomlin will be married in Petoskey, Michigan, at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church on June 22, 2019.

Holli Kelley, spouse to Master Sergeant Christopher Kelley, 349th Recruiting Squadron stationed in Lenexa, Kansas: “Gowns for Good event will allow my husband and I to have the wedding that we dreamed of having.” Kelley never had the opportunity to try on wedding dresses but because of this event, her dreams of wearing a beautiful wedding gown came true and she said yes to the dress! “When we got married in 2002, we always planned on having a large family wedding,” she said, “but with TDY’s and deployments we were never able to set a date and keep it. Now because of Belle Vogue Bridal, I will be able to have the wedding of my dreams with all of my family present.”

Amber Blake, spouse to Master Sergeant Mitchell Blake, 349th Recruiting Squadron Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: “It is an amazing feeling to receive a wedding dress from Belle Vogue Bridal. Mitch and I eloped because neither one of us nor our families could afford a wedding. We have always wanted to renew our vows; however, between school and having four children, there has never been an opportunity to save money for the dress of my dreams. It is exciting to have a dress that I can wear to renew our vows but also a dress that I can pass down to our daughters to wear someday!”

Mandy Kline, spouse to Master Sergeant Ian Kline, 343rd Recruiting Squadron, Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska: “This event gave me the opportunity to renew my vows with Ian. Not only does this give me the opportunity to renew my vows, but I will be able to have pictures of our special day in the dress of my dreams and to have wonderful memories to look back on. Without Belle Vogue Bridal this dream would never come true! Thank you to everyone at Belle Vogue Bridal.” Mandy and Master Sergeant Kline plan on renewing their vows next year.

Staff Sergeant Lindsay Wiggy, NCOIC, Personnel Section, 349th Recruiting Squadron, Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, fiancée to Jeffrey Wilson: “Saying yes to the dress means that I can have an actual wedding that I have always dreamed about. Without this dress, I would not have a wedding ceremony and my fiancé, Jeffrey, and I would not get to experience one for the best days of our lives. I am so thankful for the opportunity and I cannot wait to walk down the aisle in this dress!” Wiggy and Wilson will be married next fall.

Stacey Carter, spouse to Master Sergeant Lewis Carter, 349th Recruiting Squadron, Lenexa, Kansas: “This was an extra special event for me because my wedding anniversary fell on the day of the event. Lewis and I have been married for fifteen years and have always talked about renewing our vows and having a ceremony. With living far from family, we have never been able to plan to have our ceremony. The event made my anniversary a memorable one, even though Lewis was out of town for our training.”

Katie Casali, spouse to technical sergeant Philip Casali, 349th Recruiting Squadron, St. Joseph, Missouri: “Philip and I have been married for three years. When we originally got married I was wearing a white maxi dress that was beautiful but wasn’t made for a bride. This event gave me the chance to have a wedding dress of my dreams! We plan on renewing our vows June 2019.”

Kelsey Jones, fiancée to Seaman Daniel Mullins, stationed at Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Florida: Kelsey is beyond grateful for Belle Vogue Bridal’s event because this means she can have the wedding of her dreams. Kelsey and Seaman Mullins are to be married this December.

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