McHENRY – “I love this dress so much,” Malissa Pagan, 25, of Chicago said while looking at herself in a full-length mirror.
“I always said if it makes me cry, it’s the one.”
The wedding gown Pagan was wearing must have been “the one.”
“It’s perfect,” she said, tears rolling down her face.
Kathryn’s Bridal, 3807 W. Elm St., McHenry, gave away eight wedding gowns Wednesday to military brides.
Owner Kathryn Trocki said this is the second year the McHenry shop has been involved in Operation Wedding Gown, which is held in partnership with the nationwide organization Brides Across America.
Pagan said her fiancé, Pedro Navarro, 24, of Chicago was discharged from the Marines in 2010 after two tours of duty. They have set a May 23, 2013, wedding date.
“it’s hard for military people to find a job now,” she said. “Weddings are so expensive. It’s a blessing to have this opportunity,”
Pagan said she has a full-time job, but Navarro only works part time. He was hit while walking by a car driven by a drunken driver shortly after his discharge and is partially disabled with a titanium knee.
“It’s a big relief to know he’s appreciated,” Pagan said.
Trocki said there were more than 200 dresses available for the brides-to-be Wednesday, ranging in size from 6 to 26 from designers such as Enzoani, Jasmine and Maggie Sottero.
Price tags reached a high of $2,500, but price really isn’t a factor, Trocki said.
“The brides don’t even look at the cost,” Trocki said. “They are so darn thankful that they are finding something that they love.
“The brides and their families are so incredibly thankful.”
Lisa Grzeszczak, 23, of Fox Lake said she was “looking for my dream dress” in the McHenry shop. Her fiancé, Marine Cpl. Kevin Long, 22, of Fox Lake is currently stationed in Japan. They are planning a Jan. 1, 2013, wedding.
“It’s very exciting. It’s hard to decide which one,” she said of the gown selection.
Lindsey Krygsheld, 20, of Crete, traveled to McHenry with her mother, Darcy, and her future mother-in-law, Julie Smit of Munster, Ind.