Photos: Paul Stoloff
It all started on October 26, 1999. He was 19, and she was 18; both Jessica and her boyfriend were just out of high school. They were together for more than ten years making plans and building their futures, when late in the fall of 2011, he proposed!
In April of 2013, they finally set a wedding date of September 28 of that same year, and Jessica launched into full wedding planning mode. Jessica was speaking to her friend about the wedding and her friend mentioned The Brides Project. The more her friend told Jessica about the Project, the more she felt touched by the cause. Jessica lost her grandmother, aunt and her best friend’s mother all to cancer, and has two close friends who are breast cancer survivors. Jessica has seen “all this disease can do” and decided that she would only buy her dress from The Brides Project.
As soon as she made an appointment, Jessica felt the excitement and magic of The Brides Project. Jessica says, “When I showed up I was nervous, overwhelmed, excited, happy and anxious.” Brides Project Consultant Jill helped Jessica search for the perfect dress. She tried on a ton of dresses and narrowed the selection to two. Being very overwhelmed, Jessica decided to take a break and come back another day with her mother.
On her second visit, she found the perfect dress and immediately knew her search was over. She was even more excited that she could buy her veil and slip at The Brides Project as well. Jessica used the preferred alterations specialist, who took her vision and made it better than she ever could have expected. The dress was originally a few sizes too big, but the alterations made it look like it was custom-ordered just for Jessica.
From the moment she made the phone call to make her appointment, all the way to the end of that adventure, Jessica was truly cared for through the whole process. Jessica says, “When you lose a family member to cancer, or you know a cancer survivor, you really, truly understand what a horrible disease it is.” Jessica believes it was hard going through this process knowing those loved ones would not be with her on her wedding day. However, it did put a smile on her face knowing she was helping the organization that will support people facing cancer every day, and that this work could help someone else experience joy (and maybe even a wedding!) in their own family.
67 Volunteers; 21 Wedding Dresses Sold; and $8400 for Cancer Support
A Showcase of Gorgeous Gowns
On what seemed like the snowiest day of January (and that’s saying a lot!) the Cancer Support Community of Greater Ann Arbor (CSC) was transformed into a gorgeous, bright space for our first-ever Trunk Show. The CSC is always safe, nurturing, and supportive place where families touched by cancer receive care. On this day, it served a second purpose. The Brides Project welcomed over 40 brides through our doors to shop for a dress that goes beyond its outward beauty, and offers a hand to those facing the daunting circumstances surrounding cancer.
Brides, Volunteers Support
Fundraising for Cancer
“We set a goal of raising $5000 at this event,” said Beth Foley, Development Coordinator for The Brides Project. “Despite the difficult travel conditions that day, we sold 21 gowns and raised over $8400. That is usually how many are sold in a month!”
Sixty-seven volunteers worked together to receive our new-found brides. “I’d like to express my most sincere thank you to all the volunteers and interns who helped make this event possible. Consultants, runners, photographers, makeup artists, marketing team, setup crew, gown transporters… it all came together beautifully and we couldn’t have done it without you! Beth conveyed.
“We were so honored to meet all the brides and families who braved the weather to come. I hope a good time was had by all, and I hope you know how much your contribution is appreciated by everyone at the Cancer Support Community.”
The dress is just one part of a new beginning. As 2014 unfolds, we hope to hear back from all the brides we met that day!
For this week’s Bride Spotlight, we interviewed Christy Cook about her “happily ever after.” Christy found The Brides Project while searching online for bridal shops. She decided she would purchase her dress at The Brides Project in honor of loved ones who have been touched by cancer.
Photo by Regina Starkey, Honeysuckle Hills
Wedding Dress Shopping in Michigan
Christy recalled, “We arrived in Michigan on July 14, 2013 for a family visit from South Carolina and I was so grateful when The Brides Project was able to make an appointment with me that week!”
She and her sister, Trisha, made the drive to beautiful Ann Arbor together. Despite a few setbacks on the road, when they finally arrived at the store, the two sisters were blown away by the large array of dresses. They found the store to be warm and inviting, and felt as if they were VIP clients during their one-on-one appointments. With the assistance of their consultant, they began pulling and trying on dresses immediately.
Six dresses in and feeling discouraged, Christy threw on one last dress and instantly fell in love. “The Brides Project also ha[s] accessories to go with my dress of my dreams, so I was able to get my veil and the under skirting all within my budget,” Christy exclaims! She purchased a Karelina Sposa gown that was perfect for her rustic mountain wedding.
Christy’s first look at her wedding dress in at The Brides Project shop in Ann Arbor.
Christy and her husband got married on September 29, 2013 in the breathtaking mountains of Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. The wedding involved good food, great company and gorgeous weather all enjoyed while wearing a magnificent dress. “What more could a bride ask for?” Christy asks.
Christy is so appreciative she found The Brides Project, because it made saying yes to the dress of her dreams not only easy, but affordable.
We were recently delighted to receive a letter from a Paige, a Michigan bride who was married August 31, 2013. She said:
“The Bride’s Project of Ann Arbor is truly a project worth supporting! From the helpful staff and volunteers, to the wide variety of styles and sizes at such great prices, I had a one-of-a-kind experience choosing my wedding dress at The Bride’s Project. In addition to their worthy cause, it was their in-house alternations service that particularly impressed me. Knowing they were a small business, and non-profit, I wasn’t sure if they would offer extra services beyond helping choose the dress. I was pleasantly surprised when my fitting began and there was no middle man—that the same people who helped to see my vision to choose the right dress, were the same people offering alterations if I needed them. I was able to keep my business with The Bride’s Project, and knew my dress wouldn’t leave the store until it was time for me to take it home.
“The dress was perfect (at least I thought so), thanks to the unfaltering work of Jan Lee, my incredibly talented alterations consultant. She customized this dress for me, making it truly my own style and design, knowing I was looking for something special to fit the barn wedding we had planned. I added the black lace bolero (purchased from Angelika Liv’s shop on Etsy), and Jan replaced the dress’s original sequined-banded waistline with a flowing black ribbon I purchased myself. She really made sure every detail was just as I envisioned it, and made our meetings fun and personal. I had a great experience supporting this project, and I thank the entire team for all of the work they are doing. I have certainly been spreading the word!”
We thank you, Paige! We strive to offer a totally unique and personal experience to every bride we meet. Our volunteer consultants are incredible indeed, their work being our heart and soul. We look forward to meeting many more brides this fall!
On Sunday, September 30th, The Brides Project participated in Ann Arbor’s Whimsical Occasions Wedding Event Show. Held in Weber’s hotel, many of our volunteers came out to help with pictures, meeting brides-to-be, dress fittings, etc. The show also included vendor tables with offerings such as flowers, catering, and photography. It was a one-stop-shop event for a variety of wedding needs!
The event was hugely successful and a number brides left very happy to have found a perfect dress. In addition to finding an amazing selection of gowns, one guest told us, “This is a cause that is very important to me.” We wish all these brides-to-be a wonderful wedding day, and are grateful to have met you.
Below are some pictures of our volunteers hard at work. Our consultants were available, as always, to walk brides the whole way through finding the dress to finalizing the purchase!
All photos courtesy of bamphoto.
The Bride’s Project and the Cancer Support Community of Ann Arbor are participating at the Elegant Winter Bridal Show on Sunday, January 20, 2013 12 PM to 4 PM. Experience the takeover of Briarwood Mall Center Court with more than 60 of the wedding industry’s top vendors. Three fashion shows, live entertainment, workshops, prizes and giveaways all day for thousands of brides, grooms and shoppers. Call 734-335-7103 or 313-207-6445.
As more and more people become increasingly conscious about the planet they’re living on, they’re moving towards being more eco-friendly: turning the light off when leaving a room, choosing to carpool with a friend or co-worker when going to the same destination, keeping the windows closed when air-conditioning is on, and so-on. As going eco-friendly is becoming more popular, many people are finding ways to help the environment with their different activities, including weddings. A wedding can be a great way to show your passion for helping the Earth as every aspect of a wedding can be used to promote being eco-friendly.
The first way to make your wedding eco-friendly is to change the style of your invitations. Instead of using traditional invites, why not get paper cards that are plant-able? The invitation will be made from recycled paper mixed with flower seeds. Once your invitees get your invitation, they can plant the card, and within a few weeks, beautiful wildflowers will sprout.
Also, why not even keep your wedding local? A destination wedding can be exotic and fun, no doubt, but hosting your wedding and reception in a nearby place can keep travel emissions for you and your guests down.
Another tip? Pick creative wedding favors! Instead of giving people gifts they’re probably never going to hang up or use, give each family a tree sapling to plant in their backyard, or perhaps even homemade candies (that way you know the candies are organic and no one can resist candy!).
There are tons of different ways to stay environmentally conscious when planning your wedding besides these three tips. Having a green wedding will not only make your wedding unique, but will also help you give back to the environment and the world as a whole!
UPDATE! The fashion show video is now available: The Brides Project Fashion Show
This Sunday, The Brides Project was featured at the Elegant Wedding Bridal Show in Briarwood Mall. Our models did a great job! Here are a few photos from the event. You can see the full set on our Flickr and Facebook pages.
This morning, The Brides Project was featured in Fox 2 Detroit’s Style File! We are so excited that they so generously decided to profile us. You can see a sampling of our dresses featured here: