Volunteer role: Volunteer Sales Consultant
How long have you been volunteering with TBP? About 1.5 years
What’s your favorite part (or favorite story) about volunteering with TBP: I love that we get to establish a personal connection with all of our brides. Learning about what brought them to the Bride’s Project and hearing about their wedding plans is so much fun. We get such a diversity of brides in at our shop, and I love hearing everyone’s unique story!
What do you do outside of TBP? I work in downtown Ann Arbor in the online advertising industry.
Any fun hobbies? I love to travel, but currently most of my free time is spent planning for (or obsessing about!) our first baby, which my husband and I are expecting in February!
Best place you’ve traveled recently and why? My husband and I went on a two-week European vacation in May, during which we visited Dublin, London, Bruges, and Paris. The whole trip was great, but I especially loved visiting Dublin since I’m Irish and had never been to Ireland before.
Favorite dress in the shop? About 6 months ago I sold an amazing Vera Wang gown. It had big, bold stripes and was so unique. The bride loved the dress, and looked gorgeous in it!
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!
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!
First she bought a dress. Then, she volunteered. Now, she manages The Brides Project. Today, we’re very proud to introduce you to our very own Hannah Lowe!
A Move to Michigan
Hannah and Mark began their relationship in Maryland, where Hannah’s professional background was in the banking industry. Then, a job opportunity for Mark brought the couple to Ann Arbor, Michigan. In her new town, Hannah’s search for a wedding dress ended at The Brides Project store. There she not only found her dress, but also decided become a volunteer consultant. As a consultant, she was able to meet and assist others whose purchases would also provide cancer support.
Bride-to-be; Volunteer; and A New Job
After finding her dress and then volunteering for some months, in the fall of 2014, Hannah accepted the job of coordinator for The Brides Project. In this capacity, she manages all volunteer activity and day-to-day operations. She has brought a great amount of diligence; attention to detail; and a warm, effervescent spirit to her new position. In just three months, her leadership has notably included the monumental task of moving the store into a fantastic new space; hosting a successful trunk show; and organizing an ever-growing team of people. Hannah began her new work with incredible competence and grace, all while simultaneously beginning her own married life.
Hannah and her husband Mark were married on December 6th, 2014 in Montego Bay, Jamaica. The joy they brought to each other, together with their families, shone through in this tropical paradise. Hannah, we are so grateful that you found The Brides Project! Your dress suited you perfectly, and that was only the beginning.
– By Monica Miklosovic
Special thanks to Natatlie Franke Photography for all photos.
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.
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.
Since learning about The Brides Project, Gloria has served through consulting and by helping with various events. Gloria admires and supports The Brides Project because its initiatives encompass 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!
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!
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.
Love this beautiful dress? You can thank one of our volunteers, Hilary, for donating it to our salon!
Hilary learned about The Bride’s Project from viewing the great logo on our salon door. Soon after, she replied to a request from one of our founding photographer volunteers, Melanie, to help photograph the larger dresses available for sale. Hilary photographed about 7 or 8 of our beautiful dresses and was hooked.
“It all seemed so organic, that these cherished dresses would more than double their value by being donated to support such a crucial cause. And allow brides to wear high end unique bridal gowns for a great savings. Beyond that, I love that the dresses live again, rather than getting stiff in a box in the attic.”
After learning about The Brides Project, and getting to know the better designers, Hilary saw a wonderful 2nd-hand Maggie Soterro Dress, for such a great price, and knew she had to pass it along to the project.
“This dress is so easy to wear, to move in comfortably, and to look like a movie star. I love the rhinestone spaghetti straps, and the flattering line. It feels like a summer dress, with the added grace of really good lace.”
Hilary hopes the bride that wears this dress feels amazing, gorgeous and at ease. We hope so too!
Thank you Hilary, for your wonderful contributions!
You can contact Hilary through her website.
On Saturday, at our temporary location, Kathy rounded up a couple of beautiful bridal models, Liz and Eva, to help The Brides Project showcase a few of the gorgeous gowns waiting for their perfect bride. Kathy is a Detroit based photographer, who graciously travels to Ann Arbor to volunteer her time with us. She found out about The Brides Project when one of her best friends purchased a dress from us, “I came with her and everyone was so helpful and amazing.”
Kathy wanted to get involved as a volunteer because she believes in the mission of The Brides Project and the support provided by the Cancer Support Community. She knows first hand how much help additional support can be for the family dealing with cancer. Kathy’s uncle was diagnosed with cancer three years ago, passing away last week; “It makes me even more determined to make people aware of what a great thing The Brides Project is.”
What does Kathy love about volunteering for The Brides Project? “Taking pics of the beautiful dresses of course!” She especially loves being involved because all the dresses are different; “there are some super cool vintage ones that you probably wouldn’t find at any other bridal shop!”
We asked Kathy to tell us her favorite thing about weddings: “I love capturing the moment, when no one is watching. I love bringing out the beauty in everything, and being a part of someone’s special memories. I also LOVE my couples, they are always so amazing, and I have so much fun with them.”
We have a lot of fun with you too, Kathy! The energy Kathy brings into the salon is incredible, and she does a fantastic job of showing off the dresses we have for sale.
Pictured above, Kathy and awesome models Liz and Eva. Thank you Kathy for all you do!
Kathy can be contacted through her website.