Wedding postponements and cancellations have affected couples worldwide, so one brand is doing what it can to help.

By Real Simple
May 21, 2020
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This story originally appeared on RealSimple.com by Hana Hong.

There’s already a lot to think about when planning your big day, but if it happens to be in the middle of a worldwide pandemic, things get even more complicated. Couples everywhere have been forced to cancel or postpone their wedding, and those who decide to get married virtually have had to cancel pricey venues and other arrangements, causing a lot of financial strain in the process. (Related: My Long-Awaited IVF Transfer Was Canceled Because of the Coronavirus)

With so many weddings being upended and families going through tough times, wedding companies have been taking action to help some of the brides affected. In April, in an effort to help brides affected by COVID-19, online bridal dress company Azazie gifted five wedding gowns to brides in need.

"We want you to know that we're here for you and want to do what we can to help during this trying time," the giveaway announcement stated. "Whether you are planning a virtual wedding, opting for a smaller ceremony, or have rescheduled your big day for a later date, we want to hear from you!"

The response was tremendous. Brides everywhere wrote in to share their heartfelt stories about how their plans were impacted by the pandemic.

Among the touching stories featured on Azazie’s Instagram page, entries included people who decided to resume their wedding for personal reasons beyond their control. Emily Talbot, the giveaway’s first winner, wrote in to say that the giveaway has allowed her to have at least a small wedding so that her sick grandparents could experience it:

“My grandfather was diagnosed with dementia and his memory is worse with every passing day. My grandmother got pneumonia and was on a ventilator for several weeks. With the news of coronavirus, all of the celebrations leading up to the wedding have been cancelled. My graduation ceremony from graduate school has been canceled. Through all the loss we’ve experienced in the last year and a half, having to postpone our wedding day hit really hard. My grandparents are already so vulnerable to getting sick that pushing our wedding out a full year could mean that they would not live to see our wedding day. Spencer and I decided that we didn’t want to have that risk, and to have a small ceremony in my parents' backyard. It will just be our parents and siblings and we are inviting our extended family to attend via FaceTime.” 

Another entry came from a newly graduating nurse who has been working in a dialysis unit providing life-saving treatments to patients during the pandemic: “My need at work has tripled. I work 16-hour days, at times don’t even come home, but at the end, it is all worth it knowing that I’m useful in such a difficult situation. If people are strong enough to survive this, I am strong enough to help them. I am planning on marrying my best friend, the man who saved me from abuse, and at a time where I am focusing on caring for others, it would help me emotionally and mentally knowing that someone cares for me by helping me with a wedding dress." (Related: What It's Really Like to Be an Essential Worker In the U.S. During the Coronavirus Pandemic)

The brand was so moved that they decided not to stop there—and because choosing only five brides was difficult, Azazie announced that they will be giving away 30 more wedding gowns throughout the month of May.

Brides will be selected from the existing pool of entries received to date, and more brides can also enter if they missed the previous deadline. To enter, you'll need to write a short statement saying why you need a dress, then email it to social@azazie.com. Each dress is cut and sewn to order and made just for the bride, and winners will get to pick any design they like. The giveaway will be open through May 31, and additional details can be found on Azazie's website.

The company hopes that winning a dress can help not only the brides going through hard times, but also spread a little joy to other people partaking in the celebration: “It is our pleasure to help each of these women celebrate the love and joy in their lives, and bring them some hope at a time when we all need it most.”

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