Ann Arbor boutique collecting wedding dresses to help those battling cancer

ANN ARBOR, MI – Brush the old wedding dress away in the closet – a local boutique is looking for dress donations.

The Brides Project, the business arm of a local organization supporting those affected by cancer, launched its “60 out of 60” campaign in September, with the aim of collecting 60 wedding dresses by the end of October.

Although it operates like a typical bridal boutique, The Brides Project sells donated dresses, with proceeds going to the Greater Ann Arbor Cancer Support Community. The Cancer Support Community offers free support groups, educational workshops, nutrition and exercise programs, and stress reduction classes for people with cancer, as well as their friends, family, and children.

Being able to purchase a dress from charity was a draw for at least one local bride.

“I’ve had a lot of people in my family and even friends who have had cancer or died from it, and so just being able to buy my dress and have it do a charity thing at the same time felt really meaningful,” said Nikki Penecale.

Penecale began volunteering with The Brides Project after meeting the organization looking for her own wedding dress.

“It’s not very often that I buy something as expensive as my dress,” Penecale said. “In a way, it also brought me a sense of comfort knowing that my big purchase of this beautiful piece of clothing that I will probably wear for a day will actually be much more beneficial than if I had bought it in a store. typical set up.For me personally, this felt essential once I discovered it was even an option.

The store was launched “as a way to create a sustainable source of income outside of individual donations and grants,” said Bonnie Dockham, executive director of Cancer Support Community. The project generates approximately 30% of the Cancer Support Community’s annual funding.

“It really depends on collecting these dresses,” Dockham said.

The project is currently looking to collect 60 dresses by the end of October. Donated dresses may be pre-worn but must be from 2016 or newer. The project does not accept bridesmaid or mother of the bride dresses.

Donations from individuals and commercial shops are welcome, as are local and non-local donations.

Penecale plans to donate her own wedding dress after her wedding in October – a common occurrence, according to Dockham.

“We have a lot of dresses that have come back to the store multiple times and resold,” Dockham said, pointing to a Vera Wang dress that was particularly popular. “It’s been sold three times through The Brides Project, which is just amazing.”

Dresses can cost as low as $50, with most ranging from $99 to $300, even originally expensive dresses are heavily discounted. A dress that typically sells for $8,000 was sold by The Brides Project for around $1,500, Dockham said.

“It’s often a very large expense, and knowing that this money is going to change the lives of people who have been touched by cancer is really deeply meaningful and personal to a lot of women,” Dockham said.

For more information about The Brides Project or to find out how to donate a dress, visit The Brides Project online, on social media or by phone at 734-506-8271.

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