The dress…oh the dress. I can honestly say that when we first started planning the wedding last fall, my wedding dress was not something that I thought about much. I was more excited about the flowers, decor, menu and most importantly, marrying the man I love.
Thankfully I have a sister with better fashion sense than me and a mother who was determined to find me something I loved, and with their help I was able to find a dress that really did make me giddy. It all started back in December…
The fall had been a really busy time for me, so aside from booking the venue back in September, I really didn’t do much for the wedding until I had some time off during the holidays.
While my family was visiting the cute town of Port Perry, we stopped into a boutique bridal store just to look around. When the shop owner asked me when the wedding was, her jaw just about dropped to the floor when I said May 10th. Apparently you’re supposed to start shopping for your wedding dress eight months before the big day. I had five months left. Oops. I had no idea.
Thus began the dress shopping madness. With my mother and sister in tow, I went to two well known dress shops…and found nothing I liked. I tried on dozens and dozens of dresses, but nothing had that spark. I remember coming out of the change room in a dress that I thought was okay, only to see the look on their faces that just said “no way”. It was nothing like you see in the movies…where the bride comes out and everyone gets teary and there is champagne passed around. The problem was that I wanted lace cap sleeves and a sleek silhouette and all I was finding was strapless and poofy.
At the second store, while I was trying to wrestle my way out of a mountain of taffeta, a sweet bride who was shopping for bridesmaids dresses came up to my mom and whispered three little words: “Go to Elmwood”.
Elmwood Brides is a cute bridal boutique in a big Victorian home in Aurora, Ontario. I’d driven by them before, but had never thought to pop in.
As we pulled up to the shop, my mom spotted a dress in the window and right away we knew we were at the right place. It had lace, an open back and beautiful detailing.
We went inside and found out that not only were they able to take us right away (usually you need an appointment for bridal shops), but they were also having a big boxing day sale on their off-the-rack designs. Having been reprimanded before, I was nervous to tell them that my wedding was May 10th, but they just smiled and said “no problem, we work with some Toronto designers who can do a quick turnaround”. Phew!
I picked out a few dresses and last minute, my mom said “can we try the one from the window too?”
After trying on all the other gorgeous dresses, they brought up the window dress, which was freezing cold from being in the display case…but I tried it on…and that was it. I looked over at my mom and sister, who had tears in their eyes…this was the movie moment.
Then we found out that not only was it my size, it was also part of the 30% off boxing day sale, brand new AND because of the polar vortex ice storm, it had been stuck in the display case for the past two weeks meaning it had never even been tried on. Serendipity.
Over the following months, I went by to see the shop owner Melody every few weeks for alterations to the hem, lace work and bringing in the back a bit. I can honestly say that I really looked forward to these sessions because she was such a treat to hang out with. We laughed, shared recipes and joked about wedding mayhem. She was also a huge help with suggestions for when I was making my own veil (“go as long as you can”) and even dyed my shoes that I’d bought from another store just so that they’d match the dress.
I really couldn’t recommend Melody and the team at Elmwood Brides enough.
The dress is from Allure Bridal and was made with good quality lace. I could really tell the difference from other dresses I’d tried on. It was so beautiful with a long line of covered buttons and gem stones down the back, with a scalloped lace edge all around.
On the front, there is a ribbon sash at the empire waist, with a beaded applique. I’d always said I didn’t want any jewels, beads or sequins, but this was subtle enough that I liked it.
The lace cap sleeves and open back were some of my favourite parts.
Melody put a bustle on it so that I could hook the bottom up for dancing and walking around.
I got a little over zealous at one point and pulled by bustle, but thankfully Garrett’s best man and my bridesmaids was there to save the day with a set of pliers.
The night before the wedding, my sister surprised me with these beautiful dress hangers for me and the bridesmaids…that she hand painted herself! Not only is she super smart, that sister of mine is a really talented artist. Just look at all the details in the flowers!
For someone who never thought they’d care about their wedding dress that much, I’m really glad that I didn’t settle on something else. The dress was perfect and I loved getting to wear it that whole day.
I got lots of compliments on my dress that day…but the best one was Garrett’s reaction when I came down the aisle. We share everything together, so keeping it a secret from him for so long was really hard. Thankfully he loved it too. I tease him that I want to put it on when I’m vacuuming or just hanging out around the house, ha!