There are plenty of bridal salons in the Bay Area. From chain shops to independent boutiques, brides-to-be have hundreds of options for when it comes to finding their perfect dress. However, on April 5-6 about 140 brides got the chance to say “yes to the dress,” while supporting a good cause, when the Brides Against Breast Cancer tour rolled into the Santa Clara Hyatt.
“Brides against Breast Cancer is a nationwide tour of charity wedding gown sales,” said Tour Manager Mya Widmyer. “We travel to 120 cities a year selling deeply discounted couture and designer wedding gowns, with 71 percent of our fundraising from shows going to programming for those impacted by cancer.”
The thought of charity may have some future brides cringing. Not because charitable causes are bad, but it could conjure up the idea of ratty secondhand dresses that should be destroyed, not resold. But, brides are in luck. While many of the dresses have been previously worn, “more than half the gowns presented during each event are new designer gowns that arrived directly from designers, manufacturers and bridal retailers,” according to the BABC website.
“All of our gowns are donated,” said Widmyer. “They’re either donated from brides who have already said yes to the dress and had their wedding, or we get them from designers or bridal shops all over the country will call us and say, ‘hey can you stop by?’ At our warehouse in Sarasota [FL], we get probably 10 boxes a day packed full of gowns from all over. On each of our trucks, we have anywhere from 750 to 1,000 gowns. In our warehouse we have an additional two or three thousand gowns in sizes from zero through 30. Our price range is amazing. We have some gowns that start at $99 and go up towards $3,500 to $4,000. We do have more expensive, more couture gowns – I think on this truck the highest we have is a $6,000 gown, but the average price of our gown is about $699.”
On April 5, BABC held a VIP event with hors d’oeuvres and cocktails. “We made it more of a bridal show experience along with being able to buy their gown,” said Widmyer. On April 6, coffee, flavored water, and a few snacks were available, but the event was more laid back. Regardless, brides were able to shop for their perfect dresses and meet a handful of wedding vendors from the area. “We team up with local area wedding partners so they can showcase what they are able to offer to the brides,” said Widmyer. “It’s kind of a one stop shop. They can find their photographer. They can find their DJ. They can find their florist and they can buy their dress so it just knocks out a lot of stuff in one stop. For brides, that’s a big thing.”
Brides who wish to donate dresses can do so for a tax deduction. Visit www.bridesabc.org for additional information or to see a tour schedule.