Bonnie Karges loved to make people happy. She spent eight years at Taylor’s Bridal doing just that, helping brides and bridesmaids choose the perfect gowns for their special day.But on Sept. 28, 2013, she left behind an unfulfilled bucket list, one that included running a bridal show for charity, when she passed away from cancer at the age of 64.
Tamara Buehler and Linda Taylor are on a mission to finish her bucket list for her, with a charity bridal show on September 21 where all proceeds will go to the Grand River Cancer Centre.
Taylor, owner of Taylor’s Bridal, said Karges’ passion was really bridesmaids and for a long time the staff found it difficult to go downstairs to the bridesmaid section because it was her space.
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“She was the type of person that everybody loved,” said Taylor. “She was one of the most caring people that you could ever imagine.”
Karges contacted Buehler, a local hairstylist, last year to plan the bridal show because Buehler had some similar fashion shows for charity before. They had just started planning when Buehler got the phone call saying Karges had passed.
The idea for the bridal show came from an unlikely place, the Woolwich Memorial Centre. Karges and her husband walked the track daily, and every day she’d think to herself it would be an ideal venue to have a bridal show.
“She kept thinking that it would be a great place and it would be great to do a charity event and because she had cancer the obvious choice was the Grand River Cancer Centre,” said Buehler.
She said once they started planning again, it didn’t make much sense to do it at the arena, and will instead be held at Lions Hall.
Before Karges passed, she was able to knock one goal off her bucket list, to go to Kleinfeld Bridal in New York. She made the trip in September, just weeks before she died.
Buehler raised more than $5,000 at fashion shows she put together before, so this time, she’s got a bigger goal in mind.
“When we had talked at first, $5,000 was thrown around, but I said ‘let’s not low ball it, let’s go for $10,000,” said Buehler. “That would be a great amount to raise.”
The event is focused on showcasing local vendors. Buehler said as someone who gets her business from the community, it’s important to support other local businesses. There will be photographers, hair stylists, estheticians, people from venues, caterers, and travel agents, among others.
“Oftentimes people will have a coupon,” said Buehler. “If you go to someone’s station they’ll have a coupon for you, if you want to use our catering service because you saw us at the wedding show you get $5 off a plate or something.”
There will also be a fashion show where models will show off gowns and hairstyles. For those without ties to wedding planning, there will be a barbeque going outside to raise further funds for the cancer centre.
Buehler first got the idea for charitable fashion shows when she went to a motivational speaker a few years ago. They talked about how to make your hairstyling work stand out and offered ideas like photo shoots or helping with fashion shows. Last year the money raised went to the Kate’s Kause park.
She said the show is probably a one-time event to honour her friend.
“My main hope is that people from Bonnie’s family can come to it and see that it was a good honour to her name,” said Buehler. “That’s really why I’m doing it now.”
For Taylor, Karges was part of her family. She said she had a true passion for life and she never heard her say something bad about anyone.
“It’s going to be a tough day,” said Taylor. “It’s going to be an emotional day because all of the staff here loved her. I don’t think she had an enemy in the world.
“To sum it up, I guess you would say she was the kind of person everyone wants to be.”