Tabin understands the unique demands on military brides, with uncertain work and deployment schedules and living far from family.
 
“As a Navy wife, I can definitely relate to military brides. That’s why my heart was captivated by Brides Across America and the group’s gown giveaway program,” said Tabin, owner of Privée Bride of Ghent. “My husband, John, and I never had a wedding of our own. Now it’s my passion to give military brides and others the weddings of their dreams.”
 
Tabin added, “When you are married to someone in the military, you build bonds with other military families quickly and often form lasting friendships during a single tour.”

During the Brides Across America event held at Privée on July 7, more than 30 gowns were selected by military brides. The gowns, donated by designers and others, were displayed like works of art in the sleek salon. Pretty fabrics in flowing chiffons, stunning silks and satins, were complimented with beading and sparkling accents.
 
Tiffany Chatman was the first bride in the salon and she said “yes” to the first dress she tried on. “This is an amazing, awesome experience. I can see myself walking down the aisle in this dress,” Chatman said. “Not having to worry about the cost of the gown and shopping all over — that certainly is a stress reliever.”

Debra Taylor tries on gowns at Privee Bride of Ghent
Debra Taylor tries on gowns at Privée Bride of Ghent

Debra Taylor, added, “We drove here from North Carolina, and it was certainly worth the effort. I’m thrilled with my dress and appreciate how the gowns are displayed here so we can actually see them.”

Tabin grew up dreaming of weddings and sketching images of special occasion dresses. “I’ve always been fascinated by fashion, and I’ve found that I enjoy all aspect of owning a business,” Tabin said. “I’m just so happy to be here doing something I love.”
 
Bride Katherine McPherson said she was captivated by the light, airy dress that Tabin selected for her. “I only tried on this one dress and I knew it was for me,” McPherson said. “I’m so thankful for this gown giveaway, because we have a limited budget and this is a big help.”

A Virginia native since age 6, Tabin chose Tidewater Community College when it was time for college. “TCC was a good way to get my foot in the door to the grown-up world. I wanted to stay local, while getting a quality education,” she said. “It was a good balance for me, because I could be around my family and friends and learn in my comfort zone.”

Tabin studied interior design at TCC, learning design concepts and the CAD (computer-aided design) software. She earned her first associate degree in 2005 and a second degree from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in 2009.
 
“Many of the terms and subject matter mirrored what I needed at the Fashion Institute. It was a seamless transition for me,” Tabin said. “The investment I put into TCC certainly paid off as I stand here in my own salon. For me, TCC was a gateway to greater things.”
 

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