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Saturday, March 12, 2011

Don’t “Trash the Dress!”

The trash the dress trend has become increasingly popular. Brides pose in their wedding gowns, but instead of the typical pose in a botanical garden or outside a church, they are often featured in waist deep water or in a pile of leaves. While I understand the opportunity for getting some pretty interesting images in these shoots, the idea of destroying the dress does leave me wishing there was a better option.  
Maybe she'll donate the fabric?
And there is!  Instead of trashing the dress, find out how you can donate your bridal gown to someone who would otherwise not be able to afford it.  In my post "Helping Others by Saying Yes to the Dress," I wrote about my visit to NYC’s not-for-profit bridal salon, the Bridal Garden, which accepts lightly worn gowns and resells them to educate and care for under-privileged children in Brooklyn. In the same post, I briefly mentioned a very special organization that operates on a similar premise- Brides Against Cancer.

The Brides Against Breast Cancer - Nationwide Tour of Gowns is a fundraising project for Making Memories, which aims to “make a difference” in the lives of people who are battling terminal breast cancer. Like Make-A-Wish or Wish Upon A Wedding, their wish-granting service is designed to help patients who are dealing with the realities of fighting a terminal illness. Making Memories tries to give these patients the chance to put the issues that arise when dealing with a terminal disease aside, even if just for a few days, in order to allow them to spend quality time with their families. In essence, Making Memories name is very appropriate to its mission, which is to ensure that every metastatic breast cancer patient can “pass from this world comforted with the joy of having left his or her family a final beautiful memory.”

So, how does your wedding gown fit in? It’s pretty simple: donate a gown, make a wish come true. For more information on how to donate your gown visit their donation page. You can also help Making Memories by purchasing a lightly used or designer donated gown from one of their bridal shows.  

Find the gown of your dreams and make a wish come true.
Brides Against Breast Cancer (BAC) gown sales are crucial fundraising events for Making Memories. Every year, BAC holds about 30 shows featuring lightly worn and never used wedding gowns. In turn, brides-to-be have the opportunity to find their dream gown (at a highly discounted price), while also making wishes and dreams come true for those who are losing their fight against breast cancer. Most gown prices range from $99 to $799, including hundreds of brand-new name designer gowns valued at around $8,000. There are even some exclusive designer and couture gowns valued up to $20,000 that are available at 25% to 75% of their original prices.

More than half the gowns presented during each event are new designer gowns that arrived directly from designers, manufacturers and bridal retailers. While these designers, manufacturers and bridal shops make the nationwide tour possible, it is truly inspiring that individuals choose to donate their gowns to help make wishes come true for others. 

BAC sale in Arlington,VA.

To date, the Brides Against Breast Cancer program has received more than 50,000 wedding gown donations, with an estimated resale value of over $4 million dollars.  Until recently, BAC accepted all gowns from all eras and in any condition, but due to their rather extensive inventory of vintage, antique and retro gowns, they now recommend that donors with vintage dresses withhold their contributions until they have more room to accommodate vintage garments. 

Still not sure you can part with your dress? That’s okay too. Wedding gowns are often heirlooms in families and many brides want to save their dress in hopes that it will be part of their own daughter or even their grand-daughter’s big day. Whatever the reason, it’s okay- it is after all your dress!

One option that might work for those who want to help a good cause, but still keep their dress is to help locate a donated space in your area where BAC can hold its traveling charity wedding gown sale. Since BAC travels across the country, they are always looking for places to hold their 32 yearly stops. Their site says that a 4,000 – 6,000 sq. ft. of ballroom space is the best size to accommodate the show.

Not sure you can locate an event hall? If you would like to volunteer during a Brides Against Cancer event in a city near you, click here.  Still dress shopping? You can also check out their schedule for an upcoming BAC show near you and register for one in your area.