Saturday, June 14, 2014

My wedding gown

(This is the fifth post in my wedding series.)

My wedding gown was at once everything and nothing I'd imagined. I felt beautiful, classy, sexy, and most importantly, me. 


One of the most helpful things I did when shopping for a wedding gown was arriving with a list of general likes and dislikes, rather than specific photos. After all, the odds of a bridal salon carrying the exact style you saw in a magazine are slim. For example, I knew I liked lace and sweetheart necklines, just as I didn't like sheer corsets or accent colours. However, I kept an open mind, which is how I ended up with a strapless dress. 

I made a rule to only try on gowns under the price limit we'd set. Maybe that meant I missed out on something spectacular, but I knew I'd feel worse if I blew my budget. My dress was about the 15th I tried on, and right away, I felt there was a special 'je ne sais quoi' about it. I tried on another 15 or so, including some Vera Wangs and Oscars at a pop-up sale, to be sure. However, I came back to this one and bought it off the rack.


My gown was the Paloma Blanca 4154, an A-line style in dupioni silk with a short train.

 The bodice was sweetheart lace with floral, crystal and pearl appliqué, a style which was repeated around the hem. 

The back came down slightly and had a row of decorative buttons. 

Rutching around the natural waist swept down under the bust and gathered in the centre with more lace and appliqué. 

I loved the vanilla colour (best seen in the photo taken from the back above), which warmed my skin tone. The silk fabric gave the gown a beautiful sheen and nice movement. 

I was lucky that I didn't have to get the length altered, but a lot of alterations were needed around the bust and waist. My tailor was amazing. She suggested small touches, like adding button loops so the buttons lay flat, giving it a more polished, designer look. 

The bow was a custom addition. My parents had bought the fabric on a trip to New York in a store recommended by a bridal magazine. It was sold as imported French silk and there's no question it was a high-quality fabric. However, my tailor takes nothing for granted and test-ironed a small piece. It shrivelled right up, so it was definitely NOT silk. We would have ironed it the day before the wedding and ruined it! Instead she hung it for a couple of months and let the creases fall out naturally. Wow.

I bought my veil second-hand on Kijiji. It was originally three-tiered with satin edging and crystal appliqués dotted throughout. I had the tailor cut away one of the tiers to reduce the bulk.


There are more posts to come on everything from hair and jewellery to food and decor so check back soon! 

Vendor review: Baroness Bridal Boutique, Ottawa
I have good things to say about Baroness Bridal's dress selection, since I found my gown there. However, I'd rate the customer service as mediocre. The owner came across as snobby and slightly condescending. I had to reject her push for a sale before I was ready to commit ('If this is the gown, you should stop looking.' 'I can't guarantee it'll still be here when you come back.'). The fitting rooms seem like an afterthought, and the boutique doesn't allow photos. I'd been hoping to send a photo to my sister to get her opinion (she lives out of town). I didn't think to ask about pre-wedding steaming at the time I bought my dress, but later my tailor told me most salons should provide this service free as part of the gown sale. When I called Baroness, they wanted to charge me $150. My tailor ended up doing it for $30. If you visit this salon, my advice would be to focus on the dresses and don't let yourself feel pressured into a sale. 

Vendor review: With Love Bridal Boutique, Ottawa
I thought this salon was deserving of a special mention even though I didn't find my gown there, because we had a really great experience. The staff are knowledgeable, very friendly and passionate about their work. The boutique is set up with small touches to make the clients feel comfortable and at home. They stock a lot of beautiful dresses, and some came a close second to the one I bought. The prices are reasonable, and they have a selection of second-hand dresses as well as new stock (I don't know of any other salons that sell on consignment in the Ottawa region). Even though they didn't make a sale, they gave me a referral to a tailor, which I appreciated.

Vendor review: Yen's Bridals, Ottawa
Yen's sells bridal gowns as well, but I used them for tailoring services based on the recommendation of a couple of friends. I have nothing but great things to say about Lisa and her business partner (husband?), whose name I don't recall. Lisa's insistence on getting each detail right (I think we had about six or seven fittings) shows how passionate she is about her work. She went above and beyond in a number of ways, and not just by saving my mislabeled bow fabric from shrinkage! For example, my buttons were dirty from the clamp used during the fitting at Baroness. She suggested several options for cleaning them, and when none of those worked, she replaced them and didn't charge me. These are just two of many such examples. Lisa is as personable and professional as she is skilled. I highly recommend Yen's Bridal!!


  1. Oh my!!! KAT YOU ARE GORGEOUS!!! I think this dress is, like you said, sexy AND classic, and oh so you! The neckline and cut is something you wouldn't expect with that kind of detail and hem, but it works so well. And it's like the veil was made for it. <3 this.

  2. I'm just catching up on your blog and I have to say... what an absolutely stunning wedding you had! I expected no less, of course ;) I absolutely love the look of your bridesmaids all in similar but contrasting dresses but your gown absolutely stole the show. You were an absolutely breathtaking bride and your dress could not have been more perfect on you (and I cannot express my envy at the fact that you didn't need to have it hemmed. You lucky, lucky girl!) Congratulations!

  3. Beautiful Beautiful Beautiful Beautiful Beautiful Beautiful!!!!!!! This dress was made for you KAT. You look so breathtaking. WOW!

  4. What a beautiful dress!!! I love this on you! you are stunning!

  5. your dress is beautiful and suits you perfectly. i think you're right about shopping with an open mind, an observation of friends and family getting married, those that had a more relaxed approach towards finding a dress seemed to find one fairly quickly where as the girls who had very specific ideas in what they wanted had to compromise and the dress shopping experience seemed very stressful.


I genuinely enjoy reading everyone's comments. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts!