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!
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.
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.
Courtney believes in The Brides Project and is so grateful that it has become part of her history!
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.
We are so excited to have Keri as our Featured Bride!
Before her appointment with us, Keri had been looking for her wedding dress for about a month. She had tried on nearly 50 dresses before she found a dress she really loved. Even though her older sister didn’t give her the reaction she was looking for, Keri was pretty confident she had found “the one”.
Keri made an appointment with The Brides Project after meeting with our volunteers at the Whimsical Occasions Bridal Show in Ann Arbor. We’re so thankful she decided to give our bridal salon a chance, especially after all of the dress shopping she had done!
Since Keri had a dress she was confident about, we asked her how she would decide which dress to go with if she found another she loved. She told us that if all things were equal, the cause of The Brides Project and the Cancer Support Community would weigh more heavily in her decision. Keri has been touched by cancer through friends and family and in the few hours we got to spend with her, you could tell how much she believed in our mission.
“It feels amazing – makes me feel incredible to be doing this” – Keri
We’re delighted to say, that not only did Keri find her wedding dress at The Brides Project, she was also the amazing bride to mark our first sale in our temporary location! We think Keri looks stunning in her dress, a gown by the same designer (Maggie Sottero) as the dress she had originally planned to purchase before finding us.
As if there wasn’t enough to love about Keri, she has promised to donate her dress back to The Brides Project after her wedding next March. She hopes there are more brides that will give full circle, and re-donate their dresses to support our cause. We hope so too, Keri (and we can’t thank you enough)!
Thank you, Keri, for believing in The Brides Project. We wish you all the best and hope to see you after your wedding next year!
Robbie Bender is our first Featured Bride of the Month! Each month we will feature a bride who has purchased their gown from us, or donated their gown to us.
Robbie Bender was looking for a way to give back through her wedding and she found The Brides Project was the perfect place to do so. Although she thought about supporting a small business by buying a gown on Etsy, she fell in love with the idea of buying a wedding dress to support a charity. Although she lives in Chicago she knew that she had to come to Ann Arbor for an appointment at The Brides Project.
There were many reasons why Robbie was so drawn to The Brides Project. The prices and value are unbeatable – she was able to try on many different types of dresses in her size, all priced very reasonably. “Getting a good deal at other stores is hard because the sizes of dresses on sale are always so small,” said Robbie. But the biggest factor for her coming to TBP was the cause. She lost both of her grandmothers to cancer and has other loved ones with the disease as well. Her and her fiancé lives have been touched by cancer in so many ways it just felt right buying a dress where the money impacted the lives of others like themselves.
Here is a little more about the bride to be and her upcoming wedding:
Robbie is 27 years old, living in Mundelein, IL, a northwest suburb of Chicago. She works full-time as an associate pastor and loves her job. She says that “being able to impact the lives of others for the better is amazing, and being able to be there for them during the worst of times is humbling.”
She met her fiance Mac her freshman year of college. They were friends for nearly 8 years before they ever went on a date. It wasn’t long before they both knew they’d be together forever.
He proposed the weekend before Robbie’s birthday in August of 2011 at her favorite place in the Chicago area, the Chicago Botanic Gardens. He got down on one knee in the waterfall gardens overlooking the Japanese gardens, right after the sunrise. So romantic!
Robbie and Mac are busy planning their wedding and life together. The wedding is September 22, 2012 in St. Joseph, MI where they had their first official date! They are counting down the months until the big day. Robbie is a generous person at heart, ”We’ve tried to give back in other ways through our wedding as well, and our wedding reception is being held at a museum and cultural center. It is great to know our money is being used to impact others.”
We will be posting photos of Robbie in her wedding dress after her Sept 22nd wedding. We don’t want to spoil her big reveal! (Hint: she looks amazing!)