Designer Vera Wang at her studio.Vera Wang, New York

In Washington, two morons have worked hard to delay or dilute via an amendment approving ongoing funding of the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund for first responders. In New York, two entities are joining ranks to do something nice for people who dedicate their lives to the protection of others.

Global Goddess of Bridal Vera Wang is pairing with Brides Across America, an organization that gifts bridal gowns and underwrites weddings for U.S. troops and, more recently, first responders.

Wang got involved as part of the observance of a major brand milestone. “2019…celebrating our 30th year in business! Who’d of thunk it?!” she mused. The approaching anniversary led her to reflect on more than her own place in fashion. “Milestones also make us grateful for all the opportunities that have come our way,” she said. “Given the world we live in, with all of its complexities and challenges, it is so joyful for me to celebrate my anniversary by celebrating people who have given their lives for us. I look forward to dressing 10 couples on their happiest of days.”

Brides Across America has been gifting gowns and weddings to military personnel since it was founded in 2008 by chief executive officer Heidi Janson. Through her work with a charity based in Afghanistan, Janson developed a sense of connection with members of the military. “Until then, I’d go about my life, and never think of what their lives are like,” she said. In determining what she could do, a bridal connection seemed obvious. She said she grew up in the industry (her mother works for a bridal designer). She now owns Tulle Bridal in Andover, Mass., and once managed a Vera Wang store in Boston. She considers Wang’s involvement a highpoint of her work with the nonprofit. “This will be amazing,” Janson said. “These couples are so deserving, and Vera is an icon and a celebrity. They will be so excited.”

The Brides Across America website.

The Brides Across America web site. 

Over one weekend in October, Wang will host 10 brides and grooms at her New York headquarters for what’s being billed as a “VIP bridal experience.” Beginning today, couples can enter the online contest at bridesacrossamerica.com/events/landing/vera-wang-vip-bridal-experience. The application requires an account of each couple’s story and a photo. Active-duty military and first responders (fire, police, emergency response), and those who have been active duty within the last five years are eligible. Wang and Janson will select the 10 winning couples, one of which will get the added thrill of a fitting with Wang herself.

The couples will all be feted at private appointments. We’re talking weddings and Vera, so obviously, the dress selection is front-and-center. But marriage takes two, and the grooms will be fitted for Black by Vera Wang Tuxedos. The wedding parties, women and men, are covered, too.

To that end, being Bridal’s Global Goddess has benefits, and Wang will have plenty of help in this endeavor. She rounded up all of her licensees for participation, starting with Men’s Wearhouse and, for the bridesmaids dresses, David’s Bridal. As for other wedding necessities: invitations, wedding bands and fragrance — check, check and check, from Crane, Zales Jewelers and Coty, respectively. The experience includes items for the home — tabletop, towels and bedding, from Wedgwood, Kohl’s and Revman International, respectively. There’s eyewear, too. While it’s not known as a major wedding accessory, who doesn’t want a new pair of sunglasses? Wang’s are from Kenmark Eyewear.

“We want to honor these couples and give them the experience that they deserve,” said Janson.

What they deserve. A celebratory afternoon selecting bridal attire isn’t compensation to cover medical care for life-threatening diseases acquired on the job while protecting the rest of us. It is an act of recognition of service and sacrifice. Bravo, Vera and Brides Across of America. Sens. Rand Paul and Mike Lee, why aren’t you embarrassed?

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