All brides had to show proof that they or their fiances had been
deployed overseas sometime after the terrorist attacks of September
Chalupsky said a number of the girls had served or serve in the
"We just would love to support the girls -- they're very
deserving," Chalupsky said. She added that many of them have had to
delay their weddings because of overseas service..
Summer Talbot, 19, of San Diego, said she is waiting for her
fiance to return home safely before they set a date for their
"He's coming home in two weeks," she said gleefully. Talbot
speculated that having a dress just may speed up the wedding process.
Talbot said the employees at Mon Amie were wonderful and helped
her find the perfect dress -- a tube-top style with lots of sequins
and a three-foot train.
The dress was priced at $865, which she said is probably what she
would have spent if she had had to buy a dress herself.
She said the dress she chose was the second of five that she tried
Mon Amie also gave her shoes and a shawl to accessorize her gown
and a bridal magazine to help her plan the wedding.
Talbot started waiting in line at 7 a.m. and finally got into to
try on dresses around 2:30 p.m.
"It was totally worth it," Talbot said. "The lady [a shop
employee] was so nice -- she told me all of the stuff that I would
need for the dress and how to get it."
Many of the future brides camped out overnight to ensure their
place in line, as the advertisement promised a free gown to the first
100 to enter the store.
Chalupsky said Mon Amie assigned each bride a personal consultant
and made available a variety of sizes and styles to try to meet every
She said they gave away a broad range of dresses, from sizes four
"We've given a gown to everyone who has come today," Chalupsky
said. She added that Newport Florist donated a free bridal bouquet to
be raffled off to one of the lucky brides-to-be, and that eight of
the girls won a tiara, compliments of accessory designer Renee
Jeanette Ouellette, 22, of Chula Vista, served in the Navy and
came home in April. Her fiance -- whom she met in the service -- is
still on active duty, which is how she heard about the Mon Amie
"They're giving us everything," she said as she poked through shoe
boxes, searching for the perfect pair to match her dress. "It [the
dress] is perfect -- oh, my God, it's perfect."
All the bridal store employees who worked Sunday did so off the
clock, volunteering their time.
"Everyone's found something today," Chalupsky said. "They're all
very grateful and very sweet.... We definitely made 40 girls very