NASHUA — This weekend, dozens of future brides are expected to participate in a unique wedding dress expo designed to raise money for New Hampshire veterans.
All proceeds from the sale of the dresses will be donated to Harbor Homes in Nashua, specifically for its Veterans FIRST initiative that helps homeless and low-income veterans find housing, work and health care.
“These veterans are really so important, and they need a lot of assistance,” said Alice Carbonneau of Deerfield. “Homeless veterans need to get the care that they deserve.”
A few years ago Carbonneau purchased a large inventory of new wedding gowns from Chalifour’s Flowers in Manchester when the business closed its upstairs bridal shop.
Since then, she has sold many of the dresses on eBay, shipping them to places all over the world, including brides in Norway, Sweden and Germany.
After those sales began to dwindle, Carbonneau said she was inspired to do something worthwhile with the remaining dresses. She recently read an article about some wedding gowns being donated to future military wives.
With veterans holding a dear place in her heart, Carbonneau reached out to Harbor Homes to see if they were interested in using the leftover 115 gowns for a fundraiser.
Organizers decided to host a wedding dress expo similar to the famous Running of the Bride event put on by Filene’s Basement.
The “Vows for Vets” wedding dress expo was created, and will take place from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday in the grand ballroom at the Crowne Plaza Hotel.
The dresses will be tagged to sell at dramatically low, discounted prices, some as much as up to 70 percent off, according to a release. Participants are encouraged to wear comfy clothes if they wish to slip the dresses on over their clothing.
“I am really hoping this will be a successful event, as I would like to see all of the veterans benefit from this,” said Carbonneau, who is asking for nothing in return. “Our veterans have not asked for anything, and neither am I.”
The dresses range in sizes from 6 to 16, and will cost between $100 to $500, according to Carbonneau. The gowns may not be models from this year, but she said they are still new, unique and beautiful. and are available in a wide variety of styles and from various industry designers.
Harbor Homes is the only agency in New Hampshire that provides housing for men and women veterans and their children, allowing the family unit to stay together in time of crisis, according to the release.