EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

December 10, 2012

Saying thanks the fairy tale way

ANDOVER — Unfortunately, the call to duty for many military men and women is an impediment to having that special wedding day.

But, for one military couple that could change.

More than a dozen businesses at or near The Bridal Center in Andover’s Elm Square are joining forces for the “Military Dream Wedding” giveaway contest.

They’re looking for couples who have been denied a full wedding experience due to circumstances involving military duties to enter the contest.

“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 they’re giving their lives every day, it’s the least we can do to pay back a little bit.”

Many military couples who get married do so with “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. “We were coming up with ideas. How could we do something that could benefit the military? Suddenly, this idea came alive and everybody expanded on it, and it became what it is today.”

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.”

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