By Cristin Trosien
Photos courtesy of Eli Pitta, Eli Photography
A Classic California Wedding
The Imperfections Made It Perfect
Before they were officially engaged, Diana was walking Main Street in Ann Arbor with her future husband, Josh, when she saw a window display for The Brides Project. Recognizing that it addressed her budget-minded and environmental values, she knew she would be shopping at TBP.
A few months later when Josh popped the question, she searched out The Brides Project immediately. Diana came in to the shop with an idea of what she wanted, but her mom had a different idea, with her eye on a “dark champagne, off the shoulder, embroidered-crystal-1980’s” gown. Diana gave it a shot, but her God-sister, Monica, ultimately chose “the one” – a classic ballgown with a sweetheart neckline and ruched bodice. Diana loved the raw silk material the most. “The little imperfections made it perfect for me.”
Although Diana was already destined to buy her gown with The Brides Project, it became even more personal to her in the months surrounding their engagement and wedding: “About a month before we got engaged, my dad’s best friend died from a long fight with metastatic prostate cancer. A few months later, one of my mom’s best friends passed away from a devastating battle with lung cancer. It was a really hard time for my parents. They would have both been such an important part of that time.” Diana feels that donning her Brides Project gown was a way to “pay tribute to these two amazing people” and was “one more way they would be with us that day.”
Diana and Josh had a country-club wedding in Diana’s hometown of Orinda, California. Decorated like a 1920s hacienda, the club was a beautiful backdrop to their neutral color palette of creams, browns and blacks. The flowers were primarily hydrangeas, significant to the family since they come from the Azorean Island, Flores, which is covered in the beautiful white flowers. Her dress with ballgown skirt, dramatic train, and beaded sash fit the day perfectly and Diana’s family teased her about always having wanted to be a princess. “They were completely right, and I really do feel that’s what I had: a princess wedding.”
Say hello to our featured volunteer, Melissa Miller!
Volunteer Position: Bridal Consultant
How long have you been volunteering with us? April 2015 (I purchased my wedding dress in March 2015)
What do you like most about volunteering at The Brides Project? I, unfortunately, have many family and friends that have been touched by cancer. I love being able to help raise funds for cancer patients and families through a joyous occasion such as a wedding.
Favorite memory while volunteering: I had a plus size bride come in feeling extremely stressed and apprehensive. She had been to 5 other salons and she felt none of them catered to plus size brides. She was very fearful she would not find a dress and this was her last option. Not only did she find her dream dress, but she couldn’t decide between 2 of them. She couldn’t have been happier.
Current Celebrity Crush: Adam Levine
Any interesting hobbies/hidden talents? I am a runner and LOVE Zumba. My favorite race was the Disney Princess 10k in Orlando with my daughter. I also make bows for local cheer teams.
THANK YOU MELISSA AND ALL OF OUR WONDERFUL VOLUNTEERS – We couldn’t do it without you!
By Cristin Trosien
“We Did Live Life, And Loved Each Other
Every Moment Of It.”
An Engagement and A Surgery
After two years of dating, Mike took a relaxed moment at home to propose to Kristen on her 25th birthday. Not wanting a long engagement, the couple planned to have their wedding only six months later. The bustle of planning quickly took a backseat only two months before the big day; Mike began to feel sick and was subsequently diagnosed with testicular cancer. During a time when most engaged couples are preparing seating charts and menus, Mike and Kristen found themselves preparing for a major surgery. The surgery left the doctors optimistic but just two weeks before their wedding, they found out that Mike would also need to undergo chemotherapy after the nuptials. Kristen remembers, “We were devastated, but determined to have an incredible wedding and to enter into this battle as husband and wife.”
An Absolutely Perfect Day
Kristen and Mike were married on July 17th, 2010, at Kristen’s grandparent’s church in Cheboygan, Michigan. After the ceremony they took pictures in front of the Mackinac Bridge and danced the night away at their reception, surrounded by family and friends. Kristen describes the day as “absolutely perfect in every way… Mike and I vowed that day to always love each other and to be together until death do us part.”
Mike Smiling Down
With Kristen by his side, Mike continued to fight his battle with cancer for the next four years, but lost to it in December of 2014. As this month marks their five year anniversary, Kristen decided to donate her gown to The Brides Project, feeling that it would be the perfect way to celebrate the brief but loving relationship that she and Mike shared. “To be able to help cancer families in need by donating my dress means the world to me and I know Mike is smiling down on this!”
Kristen and Mike may not have gotten to grow old together as planned, but in her words, “we did live life and loved each other every moment of it!” The Brides Project is so proud to represent the Cancer Support Community as it supports those families, just like Kristen and Mike’s, touched and scarred by Cancer. And, we are beyond honored to be entrusted to pass on Kristen’s gown – and all of the love that it represents – to another Brides Project bride.
Say Hello to our Featured Volunteer, Krista Gravatt!
Volunteer Position: Bridal Consultant and Volunteer Event Planning Assistant
How long have you been volunteering with us? Since Feb 2015
What do you like most about volunteering at The Brides Project? The fact that we are taking a positive experience (getting married) and using it to help support people who may be in a difficult situation (cancer diagnosis, chemo, surgery, etc). People who come into our shop usually have a passion for our mission and want to help. Also, the fellow volunteers are awesome!
Favorite memory while volunteering: We had a wonderful, good-humored family come in-a mother and two daughters. They were bilingual and the bride said something to her
mother through the dressing room curtain, and I asked if she was telling her mother how much the dress cost. Her mom started laughing and said I must be bilingual too. We had a good laugh about it. She ended up buying that dress!
Current Celebrity Crush: It’s a tie between Bradley Cooper and Channing Tatum.
Any interesting hobbies/hidden talents? I was a fencer in college, I play piano by ear, and I’m a licensed Zumba instructor.
Would you like to volunteer with The Brides Project? Contact us!
By Cristin Trosien
Photo courtesy of Kat Foley Photography
The Brides Project loves to extend its family of fabulous brides to those who didn’t happen to purchase their gown from us, but do find us after their big day and decide to donate. Bride, Julie McGill, was one such bride.
A Great Time Dancing All Night
A Donation She’ll Never Regret
She goes on to offer this advice to brides, struggling with the same decision: “If you are hesitating about donating… Think about your wedding dress in a box in the back of your closet. You may think you want to save it for your daughter…but IF you even have a daughter, don’t you think she will want to shop for her very own wedding dress, just like you did? You are NEVER going to wear this dress again. Love your photos and memories and share it with someone else!!! It is truly the best thing to do. Just DO it.”
Thank you, Julie! We couldn’t have said it better. Your donation is greatly appreciated, and inspiring. Donation information is always available at http://www.thebridesproject.org/donate/