Written by Colleen Ahern
Woman donates wedding dresses to military brides
After Janie Wood’s brother, William passed away last year, she knew she needed to do something in his honor. William, a retired Navy SEAL, asked that friends and family use the money they might have spent on flowers for the funeral to help men and women in the armed services. In his honor, Janie expanded her non-profit organization, All About the Dress in order to assist service members. Janie’s shop is now stocked with over four hundred wedding dresses, plus shoes, accessories, mother-of-the-bride dresses and flower girl dresses that she intends to give away to military brides.
Janie began All About the Dress in 2008 with the help of her friend, Carla Drew, to provide prom dresses to underprivileged teens. For the first two years, they assisted students in Birdville ISD, but since then they have expanded their reach to girls all across North Texas. She recalls a day when a pair of girls walked for two hours after riding a bus and a train to North Richland Hills in order to request prom dresses. “It’s just so heartwarming to see these girls come in,” says Carla.
When they expanded All About the Dress to assist military brides, the shop initially housed a small rack of wedding dresses. It was only after a wedding store in Southlake heard about what they were doing that their efforts truly took off. Because the Southlake store was moving to a smaller location, they gave Janie a large portion of their inventory. Now, the racks at All About the Dress are brimming with stylish, elegant gowns for women in uniform.
So far, Janie has given away at least ten dresses to military brides and is doing everything she can to increase awareness of her new initiative. Janie has been giving out information at schools and military bases, but has also taken a creative approach. During North Richland Hills’ 4th of July parade this summer, she appeared on a float in camouflage surrounded by young women in formal wear. Often, word of mouth is the best advertisement. Since she started, school counselors have been referring students to her. Now, she hopes that the brides she has helped will spread the word to fellow servicewomen as well as friends who are marrying a service member. Just recently, she provided a dress to a recent college graduate whose husband is in the Army Reserve.