PORTLAND - A new business in Portland, Brides for a Cause, is ready to help brides find their dream dresses and do good deeds at the same time. Erin Scharf spent months collecting hundreds of dresses, all donated to brides for a cause.
Money made from the donated dresses in Portland goes to the California-based charity Wish Upon a Wedding, which provides free weddings for people in need, whether they're going through a terminal illness or are faced with some serious life-altering circumstance.
"Our goal is to sell these dresses and raise as much money as we can for charity," Scharf said. “I'd say more than half are brand new from bridal stores or ones that still have tags on from brides. The majority are brand new, the rest are gently used - worn at weddings in the last seven years.”
One of their first donations came from a bride from New York, the original cost $4,000 - now it's $1,200.
”This business allows someone to do something with that dress and really help someone," she says.
Right now, there are about 400 dresses at Brides for a Cause. But each week about a dozen packages arrive from all over the country. Each one contains a surprise for Erin.
“It's almost like Christmas every day when boxes arrive," Scharf said. "About 95 percent are from people out of state. We're really able to reach people from all over."
Bride Amanda found her $500 dress in just one visit.
“My theme for my wedding is I'm trying to reuse and recycle when I can, so I'm thrilled to have a second-hand dress," she said.
Brides come by appointment to the temporary location in Northwest Portland. In mid-January, all the dresses will be moved for a three-day show at the Laurelhurst Club. In just a few months brides for a cause has already made dozens of brides say, "I do," when it comes to giving others a dream wedding.
"It helps a lot of people. It helps me, it helps Erin, it helps the charity - it's a good karma dress," Amanda said.
Erin hopes to have as many as 500 donated dresses for the three-day show.