By MIKE CHAIKEN
Brides to be on a budget, who also want to help in the fight against breast cancer, have an opportunity this weekend to fulfill both desires.
Brides Against Breast Cancer, a national nonprofit that tours the country selling donated wedding gowns— with the proceeds directly going towards programs and services for people who are impacted by cancer— will be make a stop of its Nationwide Tour of Gowns at the Westfield Meriden Mall on Saturday, Sept. 27.
Ashley Ritter, sales director of Brides Against Breast Cancer, said the program began with the recognition that some brides can’t afford new gowns for their weddings. And there was a recognition that selling discounted gowns, which are donated to the organization, would be a great—and novel— way to take on the fight against breast cancer.
“Everyone getting getting married, needs to get a dress,” said Ritter. And it was recognized that with the myriad of methods to raise funds to battle breast cancer, the sale of donated bridal gowns at a discount price was a unique approach.
Additionally, Ritter said, the fund raising approach of “Brides Against Breast Cancer” is “beautiful, positive, and raises hope.”
Press materials for the organization explain, “The thousands of generous donations we receive from designers, manufactures, bridal shops, and individuals worldwide, enables Brides Against Breast Cancer to deliver free information and services to thousands of children and adults impacted by cancer.”
Asked why some women donate their gowns to this cause, Ritter said there are a variety of reasons. For some women, it’s a way to give back to the community and foster the fight against cancer. For other women, Ritter said, they see a bridal gown in the closet that will never be worn again so they figure it might as well be donated to someone else who can use it. For bridal shops or designers, Ritter said the gowns are donated because they may be last season’s and the stores need to make room for new inventory.
“There are lots of different reasons (why people donate their gowns),” said Ritter.
Ritter said Brides Against Breast Cancer is 15 years old. However, she said the program has grown substantially in the past three years. The tour of gowns once hit 30 to 40 cities a year. Now, the tour reaches 120 cities.
For the Meriden stop, Ritter said brides-to-be can expect to see between 600 to 1,000 gowns for sale. There will be all sizes (from 4 to 18), all kinds of different styles, and different designs. Prices go from $99 and up as high as $4,000.
In addition to the gowns, Ritter said shoppers at the Brides Against Breast Cancer event will find all of the necessary veils, shoes, and undergarments for their wedding day. “Anything a bride could ever want,” said Ritter.
Ritter said shoppers at the 5,000 square foot space complete with dressing rooms, also will find several local vendors exhibiting their services on site. Bridal consulants also will be on-site.
“It’s one-stop shopping for brides-to-be,” said Ritter of the Brides Against Breast Cancer event.
As for why future brides should support this venture and cause, Ritter said, “Why not? You can find a great deal on designer gowns while backing a great cause.”
Brides Against Breast Cancer will bring its Nationwide Tour of Gowns to the Westfield Meriden Mall, 470 Lewis Ave., in Meriden on Saturday, Sept. 27. There will be a VIP event from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. for $25 for a bride and a guest and $15 for each additional guest. At the VIP reception, there will be light bites, signature beverages, entertainment, and giveaways. Additionally, guests at the VIP event will be among the first to browse through, try on, and buy their selections.
General admission for the Brides Against Breast Cancer event from 1 to 6 p.m. on Saturday is $5 for brides and the guests.
If you have a gown you would like to donate to Brides Against Breast Cancer, you can drop it off at the event at the Westfield Meriden Mall on Sept. 27. The organization said it is in need of “all gown styles, slips, veils and accessories dating from 2009 until the present day.” If you can’t get to the mall on Sept. 27, you can mail your garment donations to Brides Against Breast Cancer, 6279 Lake Osprey Drive, Sarasota, FL 34240. The donations are tax deductible.