The Bride's Project: Giving back to The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation

29/08/2018  |  Recognition |  Posted by: Kate Pettersen



In 2004, Helen Sweet started The Bride's Project as a way of providing an environmentally, socially and fiscally conscious alternative for Brides seeking a dress (or accessories) for their wedding day. Helen recently made a donation of $20,000 to The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation in 2018. The Bride’s Project has raised $121,000 since its inception and Helen continues to give back to the community through her work.

Can you tell us about The Bride’s Project and what you do?
 
We provide an environmentally, socially and fiscally conscious alternative for Brides seeking a dress (or accessories) for their wedding day.  In other words, it's an option that recognizes our need to respect our environment (reduce, reuse, recycle!!), our pocketbooks, and also a means of giving back to the communities in which we live.
 
What inspired you to start The Bride’s Project and why do you love what you do?
 
I lost my best friend to cancer when we were both 9 years old.  In planning my own wedding 11 years ago, I sought a way to incorporate my memory of her and others lost to cancer.  In addition, I had other priorities that precluded spending a lot of money on one day in my life... so I looked for options that were budget conscious while leaving a lasting impact on my community.
 
What is your favourite part of what you do?
 
I never tire of seeing the huge grin on a new bride's face when she feels beautiful in her dress.
 
Who/what inspired you to give back to Cancer related charitable organizations?
 
Losing Lisa (my best friend) at such a young age when my understanding of not only death/dying was limited, but 'cancer' was something that adults whispered about behind closed doors back then (1977).  It was actually not long after Lisa's death that Terry Fox started his run very close to where I grew up in NFLD, and he, like Lisa, had lost a limb and eventually succumbed to his disease in exactly the same way.  In subsequent years cancer seemed to crop up repeatedly... my cousin, my prom date in Gr. 9 in NFLD, then my sister-in-law, my birth father and the list just goes on and on.
 
What feedback have you had from customers?
 
For many of our clients, The Brides' Project plays a very special role in their wedding day.   I've had a bride tell me that by finding a dress with us, she felt her father was with her walking down the aisle.  Another remarked about how proud her father would be of her in making this contribution through her wedding day.  Others feel they are respecting and honouring not only those they have lost, but also the survivors by making the choice to either shop here for their dress or donate their dress after the big day.  For most, being a part of The Brides' Project is an important contribution through one of the happiest days of their lives, and when the party is over, that contribution last a lifetime.
 
What surprised you most since you started The Bride’s Project or since you started donating money to charity through The Bride’s Project?
 
I have been pleasantly overwhelmed by the amount of support that we have received not only from brides, but from others in the wedding industry, the media, and the charities/foundations that we give to.  We entirely owe our ability to give back to the contributions of all these folks!
 
What do you do when you’re not outfitting “Brides to Be” with fabulous dresses?
I officiate, and LOVE it.  Working with couples to make their ceremony a great reflection of 'who they are' as a couple is a great privilege. Of course, it's extra special when I see one of 'our' dresses coming down the aisle!! I also sew and design most of the veils that we sell.
 
What might we be surprised to know about you?

I grew up on an organic farm in the countryside of NFLD... we did free-range chicken farming amongst other things.  

Helen recently made a donation of $20,000 to The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation in 2018. The Bride’s Project has raised $121,000 since its inception and Helen continues to give back to the community through her work.
 
Say ‘I DO!’ to conquering cancer and include The Princess Margaret in your special day. Make a donation in lieu of favours. Suggest that your guests make a donation in lieu of a gift. Visit www.thepmcf.ca/vows for more information.