I cruised out to the Minneapolis Marriott West this morning to check out the first-ever Minneapolis stop for the Brides Against Breast Cancer Nationwide Tour of Gowns. Hosted by the Making Memories Breast Cancer Foundation, a non-profit that grants wishes to men and women battling breast cancer, the charity gown sale runs through tomorrow, May 15). My verdict: If you’re searching for the wedding dress of your dreams — or know someone who is — you must stop by this event. Beautiful gowns. Bargain prices. All proceeds go to breast cancer patients = can’t lose!
The general sale (free admission) is 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. tomorrow — Saturday, May 15. You can browse hundreds of gowns donated by manufacturers, designers, retailers, and individuals. Lines include gowns by Vera Wang, Melissa Sweet, Amsale, Ian Stuart, Pronovias, and many more. Sizes range from about 2 to 28. Prices range from $199 and up, including designer and couture gowns valued up to $8,000. Tiaras, veils, crinolines, and other accessories are also on sale. The organization is also accepting donations of gowns from 2006 and newer.
Note to the modest: It's a group-style dressing room (in a separate ballroom area), so make sure to wear something form-fitting over which you can try on the gowns . . . unless you're not shy!
Big props to the Marriott — they donated the ballroom space, on a Friday and Saturday in May (nearly high wedding season). As I walked into the hotel’s main ballroom, I was just in time to see Gretchen Olson find the trumpet silhouette gown of her dreams—a strapless beauty with beaded sweetheart neckline by Eden Bridals. (Gretchen assures me that her fiancé will never read this blog because he only likes sports websites. I hope she’s right or I’m in trouble!) Gretchen, of Coon Rapids, was there with her entire entourage in memory of her Grammy, Hilda Windmeir. Grammy passed away 10 years ago, after battling breast cancer.
The mother of the bride, Annette Olson, told me that Gretchen and her close-knit family were eager to find The Dress at this sale, as a way to honor Grammy’s memory at the wedding on October 23.
This is the first time this gown tour has stopped in the Twin Cities, but it likely won’t be the last, says Lora Grafenstein-Kinzel, Twin Cities wedding consultant and the local brains behind the charity event.
“The response has been phenomenal,” Grafenstein-Kinzel says. “So many volunteers were contacting me — it was overwhelming.” Most of the volunteers dressed in pink “Brides Against Breast Cancer” T-shirts, and they represented some of the Twin Cities's most venerable wedding vendors. I spotted Amy Rubins of Fete Perfection, and Savvi formalwear donated the handy gift bags for attendees. The best part may have been the hearty rounds of applause, which followed each bride who found her dream dress — as she walked out the door in the glow of a good deed, at a great price.
If you missed the sale, you can still drop off your used or new gowns (2006 or newer) all year ‘round at the At Your Service Weddings office (Grafenstein-Kinzel’s office) at International Market Square, in Minneapolis.
For more information, visit bridesagainstbreastcancer.org. Marriott Minneapolis West, 9960 Wayzata Blvd., Mpls., bridesagainstbreastcancer.org