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November 24, 2014
Posted by WeddingGirl

Wedding Dress Shopping: 101

 10 steps to being a super-awesome

wedding dress shopper

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By: Angela Kerry of  Gown And Glory Consignment Bridal Boutique

Gown and Glory Consignment Boutique Logo

It might be your decor, wedding colours, venue, timeline, the influence of others or just the pure joy and love that you experience when you spin around and stare in the mirror; there’s no way to know why, where, or when you will feel compelled to finally choose the gown that you’ll wear down the aisle on your wedding day.

 Wedding Ceremony Dress Bride Groom Minister

For some brides shopping for their wedding gown becomes a favourite part of the planning process, while for others, it’s a daunting task that they either keep putting off or can’t wait to be done with.

So why do some brides hate dress shopping?

Maybe it’s that they aren’t huge fans of shopping all together.

Or maybe they don’t have the kind of passion for fashion they feel is needed to pick out a gown thats flawless and flattering.

Maybe they’re overwhelmed at the selection, the prices, the accessories, the alterations.

Maybe it’s all of the above?

Wedding dress shopping can be stressful even for the most style-savvy bride, and your shopping experience will vary depending on expectations, preparedness and open-mindedness to the process. Here’s a few expert tips to get you started (or keep you going!)

 

1. Do some research

You don’t need to spend hours pouring over Pinterest or hundreds of dollars on wedding magazines to get a sense of what you like (and don’t like) in Wedding-Gown-Land. A few quick screen grabs of silhouettes and textures can go a long way when consulting with a bridal fashion expert.

Couture Wedding Gown

 

2. Have a vision

Are you going classic, timeless, Grace Kelly inspired for your big day?

Or do you see yourself as more of an eco-chic, barnyard bride?

When setting out to buy your gown, your wedding plans will set the stage for the type of dress you should be wearing.

76IMG_8810

 

3. Set a budget

I know. I know. *groan* – nobody wants to set a budget when it comes to a wedding gown. But please believe me when I say that having a sense of (more or less) how much you want to spend on bridal wear really will help us zero in on the perfect dress for you. Sure, my fashion-forward approach and eye for all-things-flattering can pair you with the dress of your dreams…. but if it breaks the bank you’re going to be really disappointed, and totally disheartened with the process. Just be honest with what you want to spend and I promise I’ll find something that fits (both your body and your budget) perfectly.

mINK-Creativetorontoweddingweddinggirlca22

 

4. Be in the mood to shop

It might sound simple, and perhaps even silly… but, trust me, hopping from shop to shop trying on wedding gowns can get incredibly tiring – both emotionally and physically!

Early morning appointment? Nobody wants to roll out of bed, feeling groggy and battling bedhead, then dash off to try on dresses. The same applies if you’ve just come off the worst day at work, unable to shake the negativity from your boss and clients. I assure you, regardless of how sparkly these dresses are, none of them will shine to you if you’re just not that into it.

Book your appointments at a time of day when you feel your best: some brides prefer early weekend mornings while others look forward to shopping for frocks in the evening, after work. (I work around your schedule – so feel free to get particular!)

Toronto Hilton Hotel Wedding Planner

 

5. Be open-minded

So you’ve done your due diligence.

You’ve scoured the pages of all the bridal magazines and think you know exactly what you’re looking for – amazing! Bring in those magazine pages or Pinterest tabs and we’ll use them as a starting point… but keep in mind that what you love on that Maggie Sottero size-2 may not translate to your body the exact same way.

Wedding dress designers often use teeny-tiny models and the photos they’re in are styled beyond reality.

To find a dress you love, you’re going to have to not only try on your favourite styles, but also a few others as well. I help brides learn what suits their personal proportions, statue, personality, comfort and confidence levels.

If I had a nickel for every time a bride left my boutique with a dress totally different than what she came in imagining…

Jaime + Chris - 12:01:12 - Wedding Day 16

 

6. Be realistic

Don’t shop for your wedding gown under the assumption that you will lose weight to fit into it.

Most dresses have up to an inch of fabric in their seams to let out, or you can easily take a zipper out of the back of a dress and add a corset to give flexibility in size – but it’s extremely risky to choose a wedding gown based on losing weight.

Even the most regimented diet or exercise routine won’t guarantee weight loss at exactly the spots you need to lose, and circumstances leading up to your wedding can alter your life, stress levels, and eating habits in ways you can’t prepare for.

Instead of worrying about your size, let’s put that time and energy into finding a gown that makes you feel gorgeous the instant you put it on!

Allure Couture Bridal Wedding Gown C189

 

7. Pick your posse

Decide in advance who you will be bringing with you to your gown appointments. Pick the 1 or 2 people in your life whose opinions you trust most and limit your entourage. All too often, depending on how decisive or strong-minded they are on their own, brides can quickly become overwhelmed and confused by handfuls of differing opinions being tossed at them from the sidelines. Sadly, I’ve seen all too many brides be talked out of the dress they loved most.

Or, why not start out by shopping on your own first? Get an idea of what you like and once you’ve built up your own opinions and style preferences, then introduce your final favourites to your mom, your aunt, your Maid of Honour. Make sure your nearest and dearest understand that you’ve narrowed down the dress selections on your own in advance, but that you want their final vote of approval before making the leap.

Ivory Bridesmaid Dresses

 

8. Be decisive

I would advise against shopping for a wedding dress unless you’re actively out to make a decision.

Sure, trying on gorgeous gowns is every bride-to-be’s right-of-passage into the world of wedded bliss – and don’t get me wrong, some brides do find their dress when (and where) they least expect it – but don’t deliberately book appointments “just to see what’s out there” if you’re not planning on making a decision in the near future (or better yet, if you’re not even engaged).

Yup. Sometimes you might find yourself out running errands, be drawn into a bridal boutique, follow your intuition, and walk out with the dress… but not every bride can always be so lucky.

Shopping before you’re ready to make a decision ends up being a waste of time for both bride and boutique. Our selection of styles changes frequently – what you may fall madly in love with now likely won’t be around six months down the road. Of course, if there’s a gown you just have to have, and you’re willing to put down a deposit, then shop away! But if you’re ‘just trying on dresses for fun’ or ‘just to get a feel for it’ you’re going to end up overwhelmed and frustrated when you can’t remember, six months down the road, what you tried on what one day.. at that one shop…. where was that, again?

Brenda + Kris - Rick Denham Photography C Hotel Hamilton Carmens WeddingGirl.ca planner Photography 6

 

9. Don’t rush

Being decisive is different from being hasty when it comes to picking the gown of your dreams.

Every bridal boutique offers a different experience and brides often tell me about the spectrum of quality in customer service they encounter along their dress-shopping-journey.

Be prepared to be pressured.

My biggest piece of advice here – if you’re feeling panicked, leave! Don’t fall for sales tactics that scare you….

“You’re running out of time!”

“This style might not be available in a few months.”

“But we’re only having a taxes-included sale today!”

Buying a gown is overwhelming on a good day. What happens if you love two dresses equally?

And let’s face it, it’s not a cheap decision to make.

For the love of all that is right in the world…. just sleep on it. A day or two won’t make any difference (and don’t be afraid to negotiate the taxes-in sale a day later… the worst they can say is no).

Brent Foster Wedding Photography Toronto

 

 10. Don’t cheat on the one you love

When you’ve found ‘the one’… stop looking!

Just like men.

There will always be beautiful dresses out there, and the rack your dress came off of will be filled with beautiful new designs from the next season’s styles in just a few short months. Unless you’re absolutely distraught at the choice you made, trust yourself on why you chose the dress you did. So long as you’re wearing that gorgeous gown with confidence, you’ll radiate with unforgettable bridal beauty.

COPYCandlelit Wedding Aisle Decor The Flower Shop @ WG copy

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A note from the WG wed-iquette team:

As wedding planners, we’ve helped hundreds of brides choose the dress of their dreams. An important note when shopping for your gown? Don’t forget to respect the boutiques you’ve made appointments with. As with any in-person meeting, make sure to call if you’re running late or cancel your appointment if something else comes up (believe me, we understand that things happen!). Many bridal shops like Gown And Glory operate by-appointment-only to give every bride the one-on-one attention she deserves. And from what we know, none of them bite if you need to cancel.

Happy Dress’ing!

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: blog love | photography credits

mINK Creative | Taylor Jackson |  Fresh Canadian Content |  Silverlight Photography | Rick Denham |  Foster Visuals |  Captivate Bridal

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Posted by WeddingGirl

Would you say ‘yes’ to a $199 (wedding) dress?

{ brides, just beware … }

The headline reads, “Liquidator hopes for a bridal wave with wedding gown clearance sale”; a picture of a smiling guy with a wedding dress draped around his neck, stationed in front of racks upon racks of wedding gowns.

The woman standing behind him doesn’t look quite as excited as he does.

TorontoStarBridalWeddingGownClearanceSale

Yup. It sounds pretty alluring, alright…

Every wedding dress is only $199 – because longstanding Windsor Bridal went out of business and Jonathan Ordon just wants to see them sold.

But Jonathan Ordon isn’t a bridal fashion expert.

Neither is his retail manager.

He’s a liquidator… a business owner…. who wants to see 7,000 wedding gowns sold in just 60 days.

One of our fashion insiders visited the Bridal “wearhouse” a few days ago and gave us the inside scoop.

“1999 called… they want their dresses back.”

Any discerning bride can tell you that wedding gowns aren’t created equal. Styles, silhouettes, shapes, and shades change with every wedding season – and just because it’s $199 and doesn’t look offensive on a hanger doesn’t mean that it’s the dress for you.

“But it’s so cheap! I’ll just get a seamstress to alter it into what I love!” – one bride explained why she felt comfortable buying a dress she wasn’t entirely in love with.

For her sake, we really hope she has a runway-worthy seamstress in her back pocket.

“Wedding gowns are designed to be altered slightly – a tucked hem, a cinched waist, cups added into the bust – but they’re not designed for heavy re-creation!” we were told. “Especially with the intricate beading and lacework on dresses – it really would take a top-of-the-line expert to revive a dated gown into something style-worthy today. And it wouldn’t be cheap.”

Angela from Gown and Glory Consignment Boutique in Toronto has already been getting the phone calls.

“Brides walked away from sales like these with 2-3 dresses, hoping that when they get home, they’ll love at least one of them. That’s when the buyer’s remorse sets in and they’re desperate to have me consign their hasty choices. I feel awful, but I just can’t.”

In only a few short days since the liquidation opened its doors, Angela has had to turn a number of consigning brides away.

“Gown and Glory has a strict policy to only sell fashion-forward, high-quality bridal wear.”

Nothing in Angela’s shop is older than three years, and she has a keen eye for what will sell versus what will sit on her racks, untouched. Despite wanting to help regretful brides, Angela is forced to turn all dated and mishandled gowns away.

“It doesn’t matter how cheap they were… nobody wants to wear them next year.”

And that’s just it.

Do you really want to spend just $200 on a dress you don’t love, strictly because it was $200? Sure, you’ve probably had dinners more expensive than that… but brides today are more empowered and more discerning with every meticulous detail of their wedding day – does leaving the single-most important fashion piece you’ll ever buy up to chance make sense?

Ultimately, it’s not for us to decide. We haven’t been to the warehouse, we can’t speak to the quality of the gowns or even the quality of experience offered to brides… but what we can speak to is this….

If something seems too good to be true….. don’t say yes to the dress.

stressed bride

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To read the full article at The Toronto Star, click here.

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  • wedding planner
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    just a girl who loves her job
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