One of the most important parts of planning a wedding for most brides is choosing the perfect dress. This weekend a national non-profit organization hopes to make that easy by offering Philadelphia-area brides-to-be a chance to choose from hundreds of designer wedding dresses for a fraction of the cost and help a good cause at the same time.
Starting this Friday and Saturday, brides-to-be can browse through 1,000 designer and gently worn gowns when Brides Against Breast Cancer charity wedding gown sale and bridal show comes to Philadelphia’s Le Meridian Hotel at 1421 Arch Street.
"A program like this is so important. The average bride is 26 and she is not even thinking about cancer. One of the largest factors in breast cancer diagnosis is age," said Senior Vice President Amy Paulishak.
"Most women who are diagnosed with breast cancer are over 45 and 50, so for us, this is a great opportunity to reach out to these young girls and give them information and provide resources if they know someone impacted by cancer."
All of the gowns are available in size 4 to 18 and are discounted on average 50 percent. They range from $75 to about $799 with designer gowns valued up to $4,000. For brides on a budget there is layaway. All dresses will include an 8% sales tax. Dressing rooms are available and there will be a seamstress on site to provide consultation.
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If you’ve already said, "I do," you can donate your gown at the show to receive a tax deduction.
In 2012, the Florida-based nonprofit donated 71 cents from every dollar raised during the 40-city traveling bridal show to free programs and services including nutrition and education classes, and Pilates, tai chi and yoga, among other programs for people affected by cancer, according to The Giving Partner charity navigator. This year they are donating 80 cents per dollar from each sale.
Kathy Omara, business manager for the Cancer Support Community of Philadelphia on Chamounix Drive in Fairmount Park, said they received $1,000 from the organization last year. She said they were able to offer those services to both patients and their caregivers.
“Even $1,000 goes a long way to help people because we solely depend on fundraising to be able offer all of our programs free of charge,” said Omara. "It makes such a difference in the lives of people who need the help knowing that they won't have to pay anything."
The program also helps patients network, provides transportation to and from treatment and distributes over 10,000 breast “self-exam” cards each year. Last year the organization raised $2 million and hope to double that amount this year.
"Sometimes counseling can cost up to $58 per hour and when you are talking about providing services to 100,000 people per year it can add up," said Paulishak. "The reality is that more and more people are getting cancer. These programs allow patients to take an active role in their recovery."
This is the second time the group has come to Philadelphia this year.
Friday’s VIP “Unveiling of the Gowns” reception from 6 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. is already sold out. Tickets for general admission on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. are still available. For more information click here.
Contact Danielle Johnson at 610.668.5705, ">Danielle.Johnson@nbcuni.com