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Brides Across America Gives Frontline Workers Free Wedding Dresses During Pandemic

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Planning a wedding can be a lot of work in the best of times - right? - the food, the venue, music guest list. And for the bride, there's the issue of the dress.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Well, one organization is trying to help those who are juggling all of that as well as responding to this pandemic. Brides Across America is giving away wedding dresses to brides who are front-line workers fighting COVID-19.

MARTIN: Like Nicole Harris (ph). She's a nurse in Massachusetts who has dealt with the virus every day.

NICOLE HARRIS: For a couple months there, we were exclusively a COVID floor.

MARTIN: Nicole got engaged in February and says planning a wedding during a pandemic, well, it was all just a bit too much.

HARRIS: We were like, I can't do anymore. I just need to sit and just not think about anything (laughter) after some days at work.

GREENE: So her mom heard about the dress giveaway. And Harris applied.

HARRIS: The room was full of dresses in all different styles, all different kinds. And they were gorgeous dresses.

MARTIN: One stood out.

HARRIS: And my mom went with me. And she said, your face even under the mask lit up when you put this dress on.

MARTIN: Megan Roberts (ph) is part of the Navy Reserve Nurse Corps and volunteered to serve in New York City aboard the USNS Comfort.

GREENE: She is now back to nursing in Kansas City and still seeing COVID patients.

MEGAN ROBERTS: We are the designated COVID ICU. So my work with these type of patients has not changed from what I was doing on the ship to what I'm doing every day.

GREENE: Roberts got engaged in May. But she was nervous about gown shopping during a pandemic.

ROBERTS: How many people can I bring? Does everybody have to wear masks?

MARTIN: Roberts also went through Brides Across America.

ROBERTS: I tried on probably 10 different dresses. But I tried this dress on probably five times.

MARTIN: Decision made.

ROBERTS: I got teary-eyed. My mom started getting teary-eyed. And we just kind of knew, like, this was - this is the dress.

GREENE: Harris and Roberts both say they still have a lot of planning ahead. And, yes, a dress is just a dress. But being excited about it and planning a wedding can bring a sense of normalcy in a time that is anything but.

(SOUNDBITE OF DANNY WRIGHT'S "BRIDAL CHORUS") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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