Meet The Maker: Brittany McNeal || Married To The Military

If you have ever had the opportunity to visit our local retail shop in beautiful downtown Southern Pines, NC, than you have most likely had the honor of meeting our delightful Retail Manager, Brittany! All of our Riveters bring something bold + exciting to the R. Riveter family, and Brittany is no exception! Her optimistic spirit and bright smile light up our newly remodeled retail shop every day, and combined with her fashion forward charisma, she has become our unofficial "Director of First Impressions." You can always expect Brittany to provide you with a shopping experience like no other.

So just who is this one-of-a-kind Riveter... really? Well, Brittany is a proud graduate of Ohio University, a Co-Founder of fashion blog ChicNaturalistas and... a bride! It was only a few short weeks ago that Brittany and her fiancee, Alonzo, said, "I do." On this memorable day Brittany not only took vows to love, honor + cherish the love of her life forever, but embraced her new life as a Military Spouse.

When Brittany met Alonozo she was terrified at the idea of falling in love with someone in the military. But it wasn't long before her knight in shining armor tough G.I. Joe had broken down the barriers around her heart... and the rest, as they say, is history. "I truly knew I wanted to marry Alonzo as soon as I met him in person. He was very charming and he had a crazy sense of humor. He always kept me on my toes and still does."

And so, one year ago, Brittany relocated to Fort Bragg, NC with her future husband. This is where she found R. Riveter. "It's been an incredible year! When I read about R. Riveter for the first time, I fell in love with it! The idea that a company like this could exist blew me away." Empowering women is always something that has been important to Brittany, so when given the opportunity to become a part of something that she saw as "bigger than herself" - a chance to lift other women up and build meaningful relationships with those who shared that passion - she knew it would give her purpose and prepare her to become a Military Spouse.

"The most exciting part about becoming a Military Spouse was being able to take that next step with someone who is truly my best friend. Alonzo is more than a soldier. He has the most caring, thoughtful and loving personality I have ever known. He knew that becoming a Military Spouse would be not be easy for me, but he was always open and honest about how much life was going to change. I couldn’t be doing this with anyone else. He has helped me to build emotional strength I never knew I had."

That new found strength was tested in 2014, when Brittany and Alonzo's wedding needed to be rescheduled due to a deployment. Brittany admits that it was a shock. "I knew as we planned the wedding that there was always a chance, but there was no way it would happen to us... right?!" Fortunately, the separation did not change anything about the love they felt for each other. They put the wedding on hold for a year... and held on.

"R. Riveter definitely helped with my transition while Alonzo was away. I could always find someone who was going through, or had gone through, the same thing I was. I’ve always been able to talk to my fellow Riveter Sisters and be open and honest. We truly are family here, and I’ve really appreciated the bond we’ve built!"

During that deployment, Brittany spent her days exploring her new home in North Carolina, planning her dream wedding and, of course, helping to the keep the legacy of Rosie the Riveter alive. It started making her really think about what kind of legacy she hopes to leave behind. "I love making people feel welcome -- whether it be in my home or during my events at R. Riveter. Years from now, I hope to be remembered as someone that was easy to talk to, caring, loving, thoughtful and full of life."

Twelve months, hundreds of emails and a couple thousand American Handmade bags later... Brittany's fiancee was coming home, and her wedding day had finally arrived. "When I tried on my dress, I felt like I was in a dream. But, I knew I still needed something unexpected to add to my look. I've always taken risks with my fashion, so when I found my veil... I knew I had to have it. It gave my look just the right edge but was somehow, still elegant."

Brittany's new life as a Military Spouse and new outlook on life and love was something she wanted to share and celebrate with her family and friends on her wedding day. To accomplish this, Brittany and Alonzo gave members of their wedding party each something from R. Riveter. The bridesmaids received custom Dopp Kits and the groomsmen received hand-stamped leather card holders. "I wanted them to have something that they would use for years to come. They loved them!"

Many of our Riveters, stationed near and far, may not have been able to witness Brittany and Alonzo become husband and wife, but their joy for the newlyweds runs deep. We are so proud to welcome Brittany to our Military Spouse ranks and are confident that she will do great things for our growing community. "I hope to inspire women of the military community by showing them that it is possible to support your husband and country as a Military Spouse, without losing your independence, personal identity and everything that makes you unique."

Story by: Kellie Gunderman