Brides for a Cause raises money with dress sale

Amber Hayden, Photographer

Bakersfield brides-to-be filled The Patino to buy discounted wedding gowns at the first event of the Brides for a Cause charity dress sale, on March 21. Brides for a Cause donates 50 percent of all proceeds to its partner, Wish Upon a Wedding, which grants wedding wishes for couples facing terminal illness or other serious, life-altering circumstances.

“I’m a bride on a budget, so when I saw the 75 percent off retail, I was all, ‘I’m on it,’” said Elizabeth Puildo, one of the many brides in attendance.

“When I saw it was for a good cause, my fiance upped my budget a bit.”

The VIP event was filled nearly to capacity, according to event coordinator Melissa Puryear. She explained that media coverage and the vendors might have attracted more guests.

Erin Scharf, owner of Brides for a Cause, agreed that there was a great turnout for the first night in Bakersfield, and said that she was hopeful for the following two days as well.

A total of 25 brides found their dress during the road show, according to Puryear.

Although there were quite a few dresses donated, Puryear said one woman donated 18 gowns during the event.

She explained that she was hopeful that the event might create awareness about the organizations – that a guest might know someone who might qualify for WUW.

“We want to have a Kern County bride benefit from the event, not just hold the event and it help someone elsewhere,” she said.

In the past, the Brides for a Cause Boutique in Portland, Ore. has had to close so Scharf could travel to each city for the road show events. However, she explained that she was able to keep the boutique open due to the growth that the organization has seen since it first opened in 2012.

“Before, we would take everything we had with us,” she said. “Now … only half of the dresses we had would fit in the trailer to bring down.”

Two designers, Klinefelds and Jasmine, donated a total of 136 brand new gowns to the charity to help with the road shows.

Scharf greeted each guest as they walked in the VIP event, giving them each a ticket for champagne.

After dinner was served and the brides were informed that they were welcomed to go into the ballroom where the gowns were located.

Brides were able to try on dresses at the event in an area of the ballroom that was transformed into fitting rooms.

Sew Eloquent, a local alteration business, was present at the event to provide alterations.

Puryear explained that brides might have taken advantage of the alteration service to have embellishments placed on the dress if they found an older dress that they liked, but thought the top was maybe too plain, for example.

There were also many other vendors and companies involved in the wedding industry present at the event to donate their time and services. They were also available to talk to brides that might have been interested in obtaining their services for their own weddings as well.