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1689 Plymouth Road
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48105


Bride Spotlight: Courtney Rasor


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Courtney married Chad on August 11, 2012. She originally purchased her wedding dress at The Brides Project because she was looking for a more affordable alternative.  From the moment she walked into the salon, she felt as if she were the only bride in the world, compared to the snooty places she had tried before. When Courtney discovered more about the mission of the project, she was so excited to be a part of it, and she promised to herself the day that she bought her dress that she would donate it back to The Brides Project after her big day.

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Courtney feels that The Brides Project is not only a blessing to the people for which it creates support, but also to the brides-to-be who visit. Since her family is scattered, she only had one friend who came with her to try on dresses. Without a huge entourage, Courtney felt a little vulnerable during the experience. Yet, over the course of her appointment, Courtney felt that the volunteers at The Brides Project not only acted as consultants, but had become part of her entourage of friends.

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Courtney believes in The Brides Project and is so grateful that it has become part of her history!

Volunteer Spotlight: Gloria Lam

Gloria first became aware of The Brides Project from another volunteer, Fiona Nowlin.  Fiona worked for Gloria’s company, Humantech, last summer, and they instantly bonded over their love of music, fashion (J Crew!), and new restaurants. Prior to working at Humantech, Gloria was traveling frequently to Florida for her old job. Now that she is settled in Ann Arbor, Gloria has been searching for a way to become more involved in the community.


Thanks to Fiona, Gloria learned about The Brides Project, and has been involved in consulting as well as with the recent fashion show at Briarwood Mall.  While Gloria is blessed not to have had a family member touched by cancer, the mother of one of her best friends unfortunately passed away at only 54 due to breast cancer. To this day, Gloria vividly remembers the night she took her friend’s long-distance phone call and heard her voice break when she shared the tragic news. Due to her experiences, Gloria admires and supports The Brides Project’s initiatives. It encompasses so many people: brides who can donate their dresses for cancer support, brides-to-be who can purchase gowns that might have been out of their financial reach and/or who want their funds to go a great cause, and the people who are able to participate in the thoughtful programs developed and provided by The Cancer Support Community of Ann Arbor.


Gloria has spent the majority of her career in reference publishing, including stints as a Macmillan Reference editor, and as a product manager for online newspapers and the National Security Archive. As a word geek, Gloria is looking forward to providing writing and editing support at TBP, and selling gowns to happy brides-to-be!

Bride Spotlight: Cara Coolbaugh Brown


Cara says getting married to her husband Gary was one of the easiest decisions in her life. On the other hand, buying the dress, shoes, make-up, flowers, you name it was a completely different story. She claims she “didn’t have winsome childhood dreams of big white wedding marquees and flowing gowns to guide me.” The good-doer bride also did not have much time, considering she had just 30 days to pick out a dress after having returned from a year of rebuilding communities in Afghanistan.

That’s where The Brides Project enters the scene. A close friend told her about the Project and Cara loved the eco-friendly twist, and was even more excited to find a dress when she heard that the proceeds were donated to the Cancer Support Community. Like love at first site, the first dress she saw in the show room was perfect for Cara. It was as if it was made for her, what she says is a “rare and delightful find.”

Gary and Cara got married on October 27th, in autumnal Virginia amongst blaze orange leaves and a sprinkle of rain!



Brides Spotlight: Katie Faiver Holm


Katie first heard about The Brides Project through one of her friends who is a volunteer there, Michelle Barbaresso. She was aware of this long before she was engaged, so when she did get engaged, she knew exactly where she would get her wedding dress. In fact, The Brides Project was the only store she even visited to try on gowns. The dress Katie ultimately decided on was only the 4th dress she had tried on, and it was a simple Casablanca strapless gown with the fit-and-flare style.


She loved the option of taking the dress home that same day, not to mention that the lower price tag was also an appealing factor. Katie and her husband paid for their wedding, so they wanted to do it affordably. Finally, knowing that the money she spent on the dress went directly to CSC made the whole experience extra special for Katie.


Katie and her husband got married in July of 2012, and it ended up being one of the hottest days of the whole year. It was around 103 or 104 that day (plus humidity!), and they had an outdoor reception at Gandy Dancer. Katie was very thankful she did not choose a ballgown with layers and layers of tulle! Katie’s husband is in the Navy, so he wore his summer white uniform instead of renting a tux, which ended up keeping him a little bit cooler that day as well. They also provided hand fans for all of their guests to help them try to keep cool. Luckily once the sun went down, the temperature was not unbearably hot anymore and we had a perfect night. One of Katie’s favorite moments from her wedding when a train pulled up to the station next door and the events coordinator let Katie and her husband go out and take fun pictures next to it and on the railroad tracks after the train left. They got some awesome photos out of it!


Katie’s husband is stationed in Texas and had we not have had to move to Texas right after the wedding, she would have loved to become a volunteer at TBP and stay involved with the project. However, Katie has recommended TBP to all of her friends in Michigan who have gotten engaged recently. She hopes that their wedding dress search is as easy as hers!


Bridal Spotlight: Meet May Lin Kessenich

May met Tom, her husband, while they were in teaching school in Chicago in 2008. Although Tom had a girlfriend, they became fast friends over their love for beach volleyball, warm weather, eating healthy and their similar sense of humor. They began dating in 2009 and got engaged in 2011.

While working for her brother’s cart in the Mark’s Carts food cart area, May witnessed The Brides Project moving into the space next door. This was the first time she had heard about it. May says she “wondered what was going on because there were so many wedding dresses in such a small space!” She later found out more about the project and really appreciated their purpose and wanted to help support the cause.  Her engagement to Tom allowed her to help. She went immediately to the store with her mom and sister-in-law to shop for dresses. She fell in love with Adele Wechsler’s Zoe dress and bought it the very same day.

The two wed on August 18, 2012 in St. Joseph, MI at The Heritage Center. The guests came to enjoy the weekend on the beach where they all played Frisbee and ate at a big beach potluck the day before the wedding. There was also a roast to the couple, where 10 roasters could say whatever they wanted about them. It was really fun for the couple and the guests.

The actual wedding went perfectly.  Pictures were taken on the beach, fun games were played to see who knew the couple best and winners’ tables got to eat first. May says “it was very entertaining (and funny to see who got answers correct)!” The night was fun and lighthearted and guests were dancing until the venue closed. Afterwards, Tom, May and a group of friends went skinny dipping in Lake Michigan. Talk about an after party.

Tom and May live in Ann Arbor and are expecting their first baby this April.

May Lin and TomMay donated her beautiful wedding dress back to The Brides Project and hopes someone will get to wear it on their special day as well.

Meet Your Bloggers: Volunteer Spotlight

Hey! We’re Arielle Weingast and Emily Lisner and we are the newest addition to The Brides Project Team. We are currently sophomores at the University of Michigan.

Arielle, from Tenafly, New Jersey,  is double majoring in Communications and Psychology.  Outside of the classroom, she is a student representative for Rent the Runway (a website that allows students to rent dresses for cheaper) and is on the Public Relations committee for Shei Magazine (the largest student-run Fashion Magazine in the country).

Emily is from Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, and is also majoring in Communications with a minor in writing.  With a creative passion for writing, Emily is a member of Michigan’s Marketing and Advertising Club and and is the social media representative for Rent the Runway.

Together, we plan on having a featured bride story and community based story every other week.  We also launched a Brides Project Instgram!  Follow it at: @thebridesproject for your viewing pleasure.  We are excited to be a part of the team!

Our Memorial Day Sale is TOMORROW!

Are you coming to our Memorial Day Sale tomorrow? We sure hope so! Just check out some of the GORGEOUS dresses we have available and waiting for their perfect bride!


This is an Anaiss Gown in Size 14.

This is an Anjolique gown in size 10.

This is a Size 8 gown – no designer tags.

These dresses are just a small sample of the beautiful gowns you’ll find in our salon! Come on out to our sale tomorrow, over 300 dresses under $300!

Saturday, May 26, 2012
2611 Plymouth Rd., Ann Arbor, MI
10:00am until 5:00pm

Photos courtesy of volunteer Hilary.

Looking for Beautiful Bridal Fabric?

We are so appreciative of all of the gowns that are donated to The Brides Project. Sometimes, we have dresses donated that are unsellable (due to styles that are too out of date or damage that may be unrepairable). Even though we may not be able to resell these dresses, they do have incredible fabric, beading or lace and we don’t want them to go to waste! Some of these dresses we can use to make the fabulous ring bearer pillows you see in our shop, but we’d also like to offer YOU the chance to purchase some of the fabric for your own crafty projects!

We’re selling gowns for fabric use at $25 a gown (or we can make you a great deal if you want to buy multiple gowns) – and of course, all proceeds are donated directly to the Cancer Support Community. If you’re interested in purchasing a gown or two for fabric, please contact Barb at!

Volunteer Spotlight: Kellie Bambach

It’s hard not to be in awe over the beautiful blue color scheme and gorgeous logo we have for The Brides Project, but have you ever wondered who the genius is behind the design? Wonder no more – this edition of Volunteer Spotlight is all about our web and graphic designer Kellie Bambach!

Kellie was one of the very first volunteers to get The Brides Project up and running. When she got involved with her friend Ashley, then marketing chair, The Brides Project was just an idea on paper. As the need for marketing materials and a “face” to the project was apparent, Kellie was asked to develop the look and feel of The Brides Project – no simple feat! When reflecting on the inspiration for the design, Kellie says, “because the shop has unique, one-of-a-kind dresses, each comes with it’s own personal history. This individuality translated to a personal touch, and from there the hand-drawn dress form out of type was born”.

What inspired Kellie to get involved with The Brides Project during its conceptual phases? She loves working with entrepreneurial clients! Kellie had experience working with non-profit organizations throughout her career and understood the challenges non-profits face trying to find funds or resources to get their message out in a professional, strategic way. We more than appreciate and love her willingness to use her design skills for a good cause!

The Brides Project is a great source of revenue for The Cancer Support Community and there isn’t a person around that hasn’t been affected by cancer in one way or another. The Brides Project is a great cause and I’m thrilled to be a part of it. – Kellie

Kellie runs her own company (launched in 2010), Sparklefurry, that provides full service branding solutions. What’s the story behind the creative company name? Kellie explains, “Sparklefurry is such a fun, memorable name. If you think of things that are sure to attract attention… it’s sparkles.  It demonstrates what we try to get our clients to do everyday … Attract attention, get noticed!” Of course, Kellie also focuses on providing results for her clients, and she certainly has provided The Brides Project with results oriented designs and strategic thinking in every detail of the marketing materials we use to support our mission. Her work has been so meaningful that she won TWO Addy Awards (see picture at the top) for The Brides Project, as well as People’s Choice and Best of Show. Very well deserved and we are proud and thankful that Kellie is receiving great recognition for all she has done for us!

In true bridal spirit, we asked Kellie if she had any tips for new brides, and she gave us great advice from a design standpoint: “Planning any event can be overwhelming, but particularly your wedding! When planning, think of one element that you are really passionate about (could be a color, the flowers, a location, a cake, a season…) and build a theme around it. Once you’ve chosen your one key component, take your design cues from that. Being involved in The Brides Project, I have become involved in designing wedding invitation suites (save the date, invitations, programs, menus, thank you cards, etc). The invitation is the first real opportunity to set the tone of the upcoming event and it’s a perfect opportunity to be able to put your personal touch into it. The option of having matching programs, menus, thank you cards, etc. is just the icing on the cake. This level of consistency takes a beautiful wedding and makes it an extraordinary event. It’s your wedding day, your dream, and it shouldn’t be like anyone else. Don’t be afraid to make it your own.”

We love Kellie’s thoughtful insight and eye for detail in everything she does. Kellie has been instrumental in bringing life to The Brides Project and we are forever thankful to have her on our team! Thank you, Kellie!

Kellie can be contacted through her website, Sparklefurry.

We’re having a big, BIG Memorial Day SALE!!

Okay all you brides out there: listen up! We’re having a big, big, BIG Memorial SALE in our temporary location on Plymouth road. How big is this sale, you say? Well, how about this little teaser to make your shopping buds tingle:

300 gowns under $300

100 gowns under $150

Designer brands like Maggie Sottero, Oleg Cassini, Justina McCaffrey & Justin Alexander

And, none of our gowns are over $1,000. If you’ve got your heart rate back down to a normal rate, we’ll fill you in on the rest of the details (all available on our events page as well):

Sale date: Saturday, May 26th

Sale time: 10 am – 5 pm

Sale location: 2611 Plymouth Road (in the old Tree Town Toys location)

Appointments preferred; Walk ins welcome.  You can make an appointment on our website here.

And as a reminder, The Brides Project is a project within the Cancer Support Community – all money raised through sales of wedding gowns is donated to help support the services offered to those who are touched by cancer. We hope to see you on Saturday the 26th – spread the word!