GASTONIA, N.C. – A group of 20 military brides got the gowns of their dreams for free from a salon in Gastonia Sunday.

Poffie Girls salon and Brides Across America teamed up to help the brides pick their gowns, a veil and a piece of jewelry for their big day. All at no cost.

To qualify, the women had to be on active military duty or engaged to a fiancé who is active duty or served in the last five years.

Poffie Girls’ owner Syble Latta joined the national effort to give back to service men and women six years ago. She said it is the shop’s favorite day of the year.

The brides, like Sgt. Lydia Thorpe, whose fiancé is also deployed.

She said the dress is a relief for her special day at a time in the couple’s life when money is tight.

“It’s really nice to have the community giving back and actually being able to do something where you’re not in camo, you’re not in uniform,” Thorpe said. “It’s a relief to feel girlie after trudging through mud all those times.”

Poffie Girls and Brides Across America have given away 150-thousand dollars worth of gowns at the salon in the six years since the program began locally.