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A to Z with T&C: Everything You Need to Know About Finding Your Wedding Dress – Part 2

Owner of T & C, Debbie, and her daughter, Kasey, visited with designer Lea-Ann Belter in her Toronto flagship store. Lea-Ann’s gowns are handmade with the finest fabrics and laces in Toronto!


We’re back with the second part of our A to Z series! Find more tips & suggestions below!

J – Jewelry – Jewelry and other accessories are definitely things you may want to consider beforehand and bring along to your appointment. Especially if you have anything old or borrowed, making sure it will blend with the style of dress you pick is an important part of making sure your look comes together smoothly!  We also recommend removing any distracting items while trying on wedding dresses as they may take away from what you see in the mirror and pictures. That cool Apple watch just doesn’t quite fit in with a stunning gown.

K – Keepsake – Your dress will likely be the most expensive piece of clothing you’ll buy and will be a keepsake you’ll want to cherish. There’s a lot of preparation that goes into the dress before the wedding, but usually we don’t think too much about afterward.  If your gown is not dirty at the end of your wedding day, then you likely didn’t have enough fun 🙂 You’ll want to know ahead of time where to take your dress to be cleaned after the wedding. Getting the dirt and stains removed as soon as possible is best. Perhaps your family can take your gown to be cleaned while you are soaking up married life on your honeymoon. If you want to make sure you’re dress will stand the test of time, you’ll need to take your dress to a preservationist who will take special steps to ensure your dress is cleaned and stored properly. Talk to your local bridal salon for recommendations on cleaning and preservation.

L – Legal Stuff – So you’ve picked your perfect dress, and now it’s time to purchase – but before it’s final, you’ll likely be asked to sign a wedding dress contract. Your wedding dress is being ordered from the designer just for you so it will likely be a final sale. Just like any other contract, it’s important to read all the details before you sign! In the middle of all the excitement and emotions, take the time to read and understand all of the terms of the contract. Make sure all the information is correct, including size, style number, color of your dress and any extras like customizations. Pay attention to delivery times, what happens once your gown arrives, payment schedule expectations and the alterations costs too. Most importantly, do not hesitate to ask questions of your stylist or the manager of the store.

M – Measurements – This is a big one! In order to find the perfect fit for your dress, your bridal salon will need to take accurate measurements to help determine the best possible size for your gown.  Most measurements will be taken over undergarments and should not be taken over clothes – unless you plan to wear yoga pants under your gown 😉 While each designer may require additional measurements, bust, natural waist, hip, and height from the hollow at the base of your neck to the hem are pretty standard.  The salon will also ask about the heel height that you plan to wear to help determine any special needs in regards to the length of your gown so try to have a general idea before you Say Yes!! Most importantly, remember that bodies change in so many ways and you are perfect just the way you are.  But if you plan any changes to your body, it is critical that you discuss this with your stylist when getting your measurements taken. Even something as simple as lifting weights can completely change how a gown can fit.

N – Neckline – Necklines come in all styles, and by knowing which types you prefer and look best on you, you’ll be able to better navigate the dress options available to you. Here is a quick rundown:

  • Straight: Cuts straight across the décolletage.
  • Sweetheart: Looks like the top of heart, with a dip in the décolletage.  There are endless variations to the Sweetheart and subtle changes can really impact what looks best on you.
  • Off-the-shoulder: Can vary on sleeve type, but will expose the shoulders – this style has been super popular lately! Also remember that most strapless gowns can have off the shoulder straps added in alterations.
  • Jewel: A high-cut that exposes just a bit of neck with a curved neckline, and as the name suggest is perfect to highlight a special necklace.
  • Scoop: A rounded neck that is lower than a Jewel.
  • V-Neck: A neckline in the shape of the letter V.
  • Deep Plunge: Probably one of the most popular necklines right now, a deep plunge can provide the drama and little bit of sexy that you are looking for. We don’t want a wardrobe malfunction with this neckline so alterations for that perfect fit are key. And a little bit of fashion tape can go a long way!
  • Bateau: A rounded neckline that is wider than a Jewel.
  • Square: Where the neckline and straps look like a square shape.
  • Halter: A high neckline close to the neck that exposes more shoulder than a Jewel.
  • High Neck: With or without sleeves, this style is modest but super classy.
  • Spaghetti Strap or Ballerina: A classic and a favorite, spaghetti straps are delicate and look amazing paired with a variety of silhouettes.
  • Asymmetric: Also known as a the one-shoulder look, this look is modern and chic.
  • Queen Anne: This is a very distinct neckline, featuring a high collar around the back of the neck, and an open neck with a sweetheart cut.
  • Illusion: This style is so popular right now, with a sheer panel of material covering the neckline and looks beautiful paired with a sweetheart, straight, or even a deep V-neck!
  • Cowl: With extra material draping around the neckline, the cowl neck is a more traditional look and can pair with short or long sleeves.

O – Opinions – When it comes to finding your dream dress, you’ll have so many opinions on what you should or SHOULDN’T wear. Before you start the process, think about whose opinions are truly important to you. If the answer is – my opinion is all that matters, then shopping by yourself may be the best option. If you choose to take guests shopping with you, just lay the ground rules on how you want and need them to behave. And NEVER hesitate to enlist your stylist to be your advocate in the process. Make sure to stick to your gut on what you want, what makes YOU feel beautiful, and what works for your budget. After all, you’ll be the one wearing the dress and seeing it in photos for years to come!

P – Pinterest and Pictures ­– Pinterest is the perfect place to find inspiration and save photos of dresses you love to be able to easily show your stylist what style you’re going for. It’s always good to have visuals of your favorite styles to help narrow down your search. And seeing how you look in the gowns you try on is just as important – make sure to check whether your salon allows photos!  It will also be helpful to share photos of your in your favorite gowns from previous appointments so that your stylist can visualize what you are liking. Our main caution when looking at gowns on Pinterest is that it is super easy to fall in love with a gown that is way out of your budget. Gowns that cost the same as a small car are all over Pinterest.  Just try to not get too attached to gowns you see on Pinterest until you start the process of trying them on and understand the prices too.

Q – Quality – The largest component that impacts the price of your gown will be the quality of the materials that are used to make your gown and how your gown is created. You really do get what you pay for. A gown that costs $1,000 vs. $4000 will feel and fit differently due to the quality of the fabrics and the construction. You will just want to decide what is important to you and how that impacts your budget for your gown. While we really don’t like to admit it, the vast majority of bridal gowns are made in Asia. Don’t hesitate to ask the bridal salon where you gown is made and where you gown is designed. And even how your gown is made. Keep in mind that if your gown is not made in Asia, the price will likely reflect the increase in quality and workmanship. A gown that is lovingly made by hand in Toronto can’t compare to a gown made in a factory in China. We encourage you to be an informed and thoughtful consumer.

Stay tuned for more tips in our final post next week!

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