This past Saturday, I had the pleasure of volunteering at the Brides Against Breast Cancer event in Pasadena at the Brookside Golf Club.
Brides Against Breast Cancer sells all brands of new designer and “gently worn” wedding gowns in all shapes and styles. Their “Nationwide Tour of Gowns” will contribute over $2 million dollars this year and provides free support programs and services for those impacted by cancer. Education, nutrition, exercise, support and therapy are just some of the many programs and services they support, all designed to help cancer patients, their families and caregivers. Brides Against Breast Cancer will distribute over 10,000 breast “self-exam” cards this year. 2 MILLION DOLLARS. Wow.
It was my first time volunteering for this event, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I arrived at 8am, ready for anything!
You guys, It was SO MUCH FUN! I got to pretend I worked at Kleinfeld and help brides try on dresses! One gal bought a Casablanca fit and flare beaded gown for $175. Yes, that’s right. $175!
Look at this beaded bodice…Amazing!
I was thinking that a gown sale would be overwhelming, but this one was not. There were hundreds of gowns, but it didn’t feel like a huge warehouse. We had dresses in sizes 0-22, and the average price of a gown was around $600.
Before we opened the floor for sales, there was time to meet the vendors.
Then there was a dance party…
Which ended with a dance off down a runway, and then a WINNER was chosen! She won his and hers wedding bands. Awesome prize!
Pro Tip: If you are at a wedding show, and there is a dance off, a combo of The Robot and Dropping It Like It’s Hot is a sure-fire winner. Seriously. I’ve seen it win at least four times now over the years. Don’t be shy, and win yourself some free shiz.
The next few hours were a whirlwind of dresses and hangers and clips and controlled chaos! I have a whole new level of respect for the gals at dress shops. Wedding gowns are HEAVY. SO HEAVY. Especially if you’re carrying three or four at a time! Be nice to your dress consultants, ladies. Their backs are probably killing them. By the end of my shift, mine definitely was.
It was also interesting to be on the other side of dressing room. I know all too well the drama and uncertainty of dress shopping! It took me seven months and over ten dress shops to find my gown. Some gals stood around in their gowns for hours, debating their decisions. It was pretty epic.
Here are my tips for successfully navigating a gown sale like BABC:
- Wear neutral colored undergarments. Preferably, a strapless bra. And because you may be disrobing in a communal area, maybe wear a full panty, and not a thong.
- Bring people with you! When the dress floor opens, have them fan out and search the racks. Search by size, but also details. Do you want a dress with straps? Be on the hunt! Straps are typically hardest to find at these kinds of sales.
- Be open-minded about styles and sizes. Dresses look different on bodies than on hangers. And the size doesn’t really matter as long as it fits you. The sizes at these kind of sales are all jacked up anyway. Most of these dresses are pre-worn and altered to fit it’s first owner. A size 10 label may actually fit more like an 8 or a 6. You won’t know until you try it on!
- You are limited to three gowns at a time and only one other person in the fitting room. A great strategy is to bring at least three people with you. One to stay with you in the dressing room, one to wait on line for the dressing room (while you are in the dressing room), and one to run to the floor to pick more dresses as they go back to the floor. Does this make sense? It’s like a round-robin dressing room approach. Of course, this is a serious method for a bride on a mission.
A very unique benefit to the Brides Against Breast Cancer dress sale is that they allow layaway! I’ve never seen this at another dress show. All you have to do is put down 20%, and set up payments. When you are finished paying off the dress, they ship it to you from the warehouse in Florida. Pretty cool!
It was a great day, and I highly recommend checking out their sale if they come to your town!
Click here to see if the BABC Sale is headed your way! Already married? Click here to find out how to donate your dress. Want to volunteer? That info is right here!
Help brides say Yes to the dress and No to Cancer!