- 6 years ago
Hi, Bees! This is my first time starting a discussion thread. I hope a lot of you join this conversation!
I wanted to know if any other Bees looked for a gown at a charity gown sale or shop. I had a fantastic experience at a Brides Against Breast Cancer event (www.bridesagainstbreastcancer.org). I did see one other thread where a Bee had posted something about the Brides Project, which sounded similar: http://www.thebridesproject.org/
Brides Against Breast Cancer travels from city to city and holds gown sales on weekends. The Brides Project operates out of a bricks-and-mortar location in Ann Arbor, MI, and it looks like there is a sister store in Toronto.
Anyhow, I’m both a “traditional” bride (in the sense that we are having a church wedding, I wanted a long, lacy, white or ivory gown, etc.) and a bit of an indie bride, in the sense that I prefer to dodge as much of the Wedding Industrial Complex as possible. I’m trying to avoid bridal shops entirely and find alternative ways of buying or making what I need. When I first got engaged, I had been dreading having to shop for a gown. I also didn’t know what I was going to do about including my mom – I wanted to, but she lives about 12 hours away, and if I was going to look at pre-owned gowns on PreOwnedWeddingDresses.com, RecycledBride.com, craigslist, etc., she wasn’t going to be able to be in on it.
By luck or grace or divine intervention, I was goofing off online one day a few months ago and I stumbled across Brides Against Breast Cancer. I discovered that they had an upcoming sale scheduled in a the city where my sister lives, roughly halfway between where I am and where my parents are – and, by further grace/good luck/divine intervention, I already had plans to be there that weekend! So, I called my mom up and we bought a couple of BABC tickets.
We had a really great experience working with them! I tried on boatloads of dresses and did eventually find something I really love – in a slightly unconventional way! The first several gowns I tried on didn’t fit, in part because of the generally wonky wedding-gown sizing and in part because some of the gowns had been altered.
The first one that actually fit, I liked quite a bit, except that it had spaghetti straps and I was looking for sleeves. I said to my mom, “We could add sleeves to this,” but she wasn’t 100% convinced. I tried on a whole bunch more that we debated over – they actually had lots of great options and at one point I didn’t know how I was ever going to decide! I knew, though, that I was going to walk out of there with a dress – I definitely wanted to buy from them once I saw that they had about half-a-dozen dresses that would work beautifully for me. I kept coming back to that first one, though …
There was another gown that had a lacy, long-sleeved overdress over a simple strapless satin that my mom liked a lot. I liked the topper and sleeves, but the dress underneath really did nothing for me. I said to Mom, “Let put this overdress on top of Gown A so that we can get an idea of how it wouldl look if we added sleeves.” When I did, the two pieces harmonized really beautifully, and both of us realized that the best and easiest solution would be to simply get the lace overdress from Gown B to go with Gown A – if the BABC ladies would allow us to separate the two pieces of Gown B. If not, I had an idea of where I could try to buy one … but they said they felt they could still sell the satin part of Gown B as a stand-alone gown, so they did accommodate our rather unusual request!
I ended up with a really stunning, unique and flexible ensemble. I feel like I have two dresses in one, because I’m going to wear the overdress with sleeves in church for the ceremony, and then probably just wear the spaghetti strap gown alone for the reception. An ordinary bridal salon would have never allowed me to buy just the topper from the second gown, and I would have paid way more buying a piece like that at retail, or having someone make it for me. Working them was just such an all-around great experience. So, my apologies for the lengthy post, but I wanted to share my story, hear from other brides who have looked at sales like this, and publicize these organizations to brides who may not have heard of them before.