Cancer touches far too many lives and has heinous as it may be, sometimes it shapes the lives it surrounds for the better. In 2011, Christine Haines Greenberg had just graduated from VCU when brain cancer took the life of her fiance. A month after his passing, she met her first wedding planning client and her career began.
In 2012, Christine’s father won a battle with colon cancer. And in 2013, Christine’s mom, Jennifer, was diagnosed with uterine + ovarian cancer and waged a war against both. As of 2017, the family is healthy, thriving and enjoying the successes of their family-owned bridal shop and wedding planning company in Church Hill.
Cancer brought this family closer together and created a career around making people happy. The next steps that made sense for them was finding a way to give back.
In April 2016, they created a contest called “RVA Love.” The contest rules were simple; anyone in Richmond or the surrounding area could nominate a couple that is already engaged or ready to become engaged that deserves a free wedding. They hoped for someone who positively contributes to the community despite life struggles and hardships.
The response from local businesses that were willing to help was overwhelming! Once the vendors were established, the contest was officially released. They received 150 applicants, all with amazing stories ranging from military service, health issues, family loss, and so much more.
After a month of deliberation, a contest winner was chosen.
A friend nominated Erika Burford, a local woman who works full-time, is raising a teenage son, James, trying to plan a wedding AND is an active fundraiser for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society through her “Team-E Unicorn.”
And Erika does all of that while battling her own stage 4 follicular non-Hodgkin lymphoma, an incurable blood disease. Originally diagnosed in 2014, Erika continues to have to fight cancer with chemotherapy and will have to constantly monitor the cancer for the rest of her life.
Christine called Erika on May 2nd to give her the good news. Erika had actually visited the bridal shop earlier that year at a sample sale, but with medical treatments, she didn’t feel like she could afford a gown from the boutique.
After many tears, Urban Set was happy to announce that Erika and her fiancé, Matt Brooks, will not have to worry about paying for their wedding.
What stood out to the Urban Set Bride family about Erika is that she continues to battle AND give back. Cancer is a tough blow and people have every right to pity themselves, but not Erika. She ran for the LLS’s Woman of the Year 2016 and mentors families dealing with a cancer diagnosis through Camp Kesem.
In December 2016, Erika, James and Matt discovered that her cancer has relapsed. While the news was tough to bear in the middle of wedding planning, they are happy to report that Erika’s oncology team at Bon Secours Cancer Institute has confidently put her on a 3 month “watch & wait plan” until treatment does begin. Her next scan isn't until the day after they return from their honeymoon.
April 22, 2017, Matt and Erika said “I do” on the historic farm, Seven Springs, in Manquin, Virginia in front of 150 guests. The total value of the donated services + goods has exceeded $50,000.
Thank you to all the vendors!
Events By Elizabeth Palmer
Imani Fine Art
Urban Set Bride
Pleiades Bridal Design
Garden Grove Brewing Company
The Veil Brewing Company
Bridal Jewelry + Custom Wedding Bands
Cakes by Favienne
Hair & Makeup
Bridesmaid & Flower Girl Dresses
Groomsmen & Groom Attire
Jim's Formal Wear via Bliss Bridal
The Jefferson Hotel
Rehearsal Dinner Location
Rehearsal Dinner Catering
Full Invitation Suite
Sue Corral Ink
Enso Media Firm
Hair for Rehearsal Dinner
LBG Hair Designs
Falling Creek Barrel Co
Cozy Caravan Club
Luxury Bathroom Trailers
Edmunds Waste Removal
On Pointe Designs
Honeymoon Travel Planning
Simpatico World Travel