Monday, January 21, 2008

Bridal Elegance

While I was home for the holidays in December, I went dress shopping for the first time, and I couldn't have asked for a better experience!

Like many women, I wanted my mom to be with me the first time I tried on wedding gowns. When I suggested the possibility of a dress shopping excursion during my trip home, she mentioned a bridal store that she had recently visited with my soon-to-be sister in law. Thus my first dress shopping appointment was made!

I'll admit I was feeling a bit nervous prior to my appointment. I'd heard horror stories about haughty and intimidating bridal consultants and hoity-toity bridal stores with all sorts of rules and regulations. Of course, I should have known I'd have nothing to worry about.

From the moment I stepped foot in Bridal Elegance, Wilma and her daughter Tara made me feel right at home. Tara looked through my favorite dress clippings and asked me some questions to get an idea of the look and feel I was hoping to achieve. She also asked if I was open to suggestions, which I assured her I was. Together we picked out 8 or 9 dresses to try on!

When Tara heard me complain about the crappy (and only) strapless bra I'd brought, she offered a much nicer one for my use. As an added touch, they also provide a slip for the bashful bride who is unaccustomed to the help of a "lady in waiting" in the change room ;)

Tara was the perfect consultant; she listened, she made suggestions, she was honest, she was courteous and she was friendly. She spent over two hours with me, tying up dresses, doing up buttons, carrying trains, and watching me primp in front of the mirror. All this while knowing that my wedding was more than 1.5 years away and would be held in Vancouver.

So for all the southwestern ontario brides out there in the midst of the wedding dress hunt, make sure you give Bridal Elegance a call. Beautiful dresses, affordable prices, and friendly consultants, equal a really fun dress shopping experience!

So what kinds of dresses did I try on? I didn't take any pics while in the dresses, but I managed to find a few of the professional photos online from the designer websites.

Ah the trumpet style dress! The above is from the Alfred Sung collection. I don't think it's the exact one I tried on, but it's very similar. A very beautiful dress; unfortunately, it didn't really work on my figure. I am somewhat straight waisted, without a whole lot of hip, thus all the wrong areas were emphasized!

Again, this dress with the cute little cap sleeves is from the San Patrick collection. Again, it's not the exact one I tried on, but I did try on a couple that were similar in styling. I really wanted to find a dress that wasn't strapless - just to be a little unique from EVERY other dress on the market these days. Alas, the sleeves ended up making my shoulders look like that of a football player. And I don't actually have broad shoulders to begin with!

This lovely number from the Jasmine collection was the 3rd runner up on my list! The full pleated bottom and the unusual detailing around the natural waist were both quite unique; the drop waist was to dye for - perfect for my body type! Unfortunately the seam around the drop waist between the beaded area and the pleated area just didn't sit right on me.

This is another dress from the Alfred Sung collection, and the 2nd runner up that day. I really loved this little A line dress with a slight empire waist and a beautiful lace overlay. The sample size was a tad bit too small on me, so it was hard to get a really good idea of what it would look like when properly fitted. And as the consultant pointed out, the next size up might be too big, thus requiring a whole wackload of alterations (aka more money).

And again, another from the Alfred Sung collection. The lace and sequined overlay on this dress were gorgeous. But the ruching at the top, and the visible line across the midline just didn't do it for me. Also, the sequins sewn under the arm area felt like they would wreak havoc if worn for longer than half an hour at a time!

I definitely learned a few things from my first excursion!

1. Finding a non strapless dress that looks good on me might be a difficult feat.
2. Empire waist is not always a good thing.
3. As beautiful as the trumpet style dress is, it's not really suited to my body type.
4. Dresses with a bit more beading and a bit more train are not a bad thing.
5. Sweetheart necklines look good on me.

Can't wait for the next dress outting!

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