Saying Yes to the Dress
wedding dress shopping in Ottawa
Sometimes you have to be ok with changing plans in order to make room for better memories.
Will and I were engaged in late June and set our date only 10 months away so that meant that we needed to act fast on a few key things like buying a wedding dress. It’s something that I was really looking forward to experiencing, not only because I’m a closet Say Yes to the Dress addict and wanted to try on a bunch of dresses but also because I wanted to share some fun wedding related memories with my bridal party.
We were supposed to go on a weekend at the beginning of July but when the “fun” day rolled in I was just not feeling it. Aunt Flo had paid me a visit and I was feeling really icky. I was bloated, I felt really emotional and I was trapped in a cycle of self-doubt and feeling badly about my diet and how my workouts were going leading up to the day. When I envisioned the day where I would pick the dress to marry my future husband in it was not aligned with how I was feeling at that moment. I thought about it, cried about it and leaned on Will about it and finally came to the decision that it would be better to cancel the appointment.
My family had taken the time to drive into town to be with me for that special day but they were all super supportive when I cancelled the appointment. It wasn’t an easy decision but it was worth it. There is no point in trying to force something that you don’t genuinely feel, especially when picking a wedding dress!
We postponed the appointment by a week so that I didn’t have to deal with Aunt Flo anymore and I could prepare myself better for a fun experience. When the day came around we made sure we started it off right with mimosas and fun girl time by singing some of our favourite songs in the car on the way there – hello Disney, soundtracks from musicals like Hairspray, and Spice Girls of course! My mental health was great, I was feeling myself because I worked out like a maniac the whole week prior and I was prepared to say yes to the dress.
I chose With Love Bridal Boutique in Kanata to be the place to find my gown. I was lucky enough to go dress shopping with my sister in law for her wedding years before and I got to see a lot of the other bridal salons in Ottawa. I realized that picking a boutique is kind of like being a glam Goldilocks. Some were too snooty, some were not aligned with my vision, and then one gave us an amazing experience. When we were at With Love the bridal consultants were super nice and helpful, their new boutique was gorgeous and we had a ton of fun.
Another reason why I chose With Love is because they had my size in sample gowns. I’m a pretty confident person but squeezing my body into sample sizes that were nowhere near my size was not something I wanted to do. With Love has sample sizes from a size 6 – 24 – phew! At the start of my “sweating for the wedding” plan I was a size 18 so this made me feel comfortable that they would have a dress in my size for me to try on and get the full picture without needing a million contraptions for it to stay on me correctly.
When we walked into the boutique we were greeted by the wonderful team and our bridal consultant Sydney. Sydney was the PERFECT person for my appointment because we just clicked with each other the moment we met. I showed her some pictures of the types of dresses I was curious about trying on and my entourage also gave their opinions. We were seven people total and they really helped me by choosing dresses that I may have never even thought of trying on before. Although Sydney was getting bombarded with suggestions from my entourage she would do this thing where she would watch my reaction to whatever someone was saying and then judge on whether she should pull a dress based on that. It was like we were speaking a secret language that only the two of us knew which made me feel understood, comfortable and taken care of – it was the perfect way to feel!
Sydney pulled a couple of dresses and we made our way over to one of their gorgeous bridal suites. It had enough plush chairs for all of my family members and a big spacious room to try on the dresses with a huge full-length wall to wall mirror on the inside. When you’re ready to show the dresses that you try on there are two large curtains to draw back (which makes you feel like a Queen) and they have a little platform for you to stand on so that you can get the true vision of how the dress is supposed to look without having to struggle to put on heels.
When Sydney and I were in the changing room she asked me some more questions to get to know me and my style better and we developed a game plan on how to pick “the one”. I knew that I wanted try to be decisive in that situation. We used the “which dress do you like better between these two?” method to help us. That way I only had to make mini decisions along the way instead of one big and overwhelming decision at the end. Once that was all figured out we got to the fun part – trying them all on!
I ended up trying on twelve dresses in total ranging in all different styles and shapes and colours. I wasn’t sure what I wanted so I asked Sydney to pick what she thought I would like since she is the wedding dress expert after all – this is what she does all day and she knows the stock inside and out. Turns out that it was the best thing I could have done because the dress that she picked was the one that I said yes to!
Picking the dress was not an easy task though. In my head I was juggling my vision of how I want to look on my wedding day, the way each member of my entourage thought I should look on my wedding day and the way I felt in each dress. There were more things to consider though. Some of the dresses that looked great were super heavy or impractical on how I wanted to *FEEL* that day. I had to remember that I wouldn’t just be standing still on a platform that day, I want to be moving, dancing and having fun!
When Sydney noticed that I was getting close to picking the one she brought me over to a three-way mirror. She put a veil on me and gave me a bouquet of flowers so that I could get the full picture. My family stood around me and we had the moment we were waiting for – I said YES to the dress! We all cheered and popped some champagne and took some pictures while my mom snuck away to gift me half of the amount of the dress which she surprised me with afterwards, love my Mama!
All in all it was the PERFECT experience and I am so glad that I made the decision to put myself in better alignment with my expectations and vision for this fun, once in a lifetime moment. I can’t wait for our wedding day to come so that I can show you which dress I picked!
BIG thank you to Sydney and the team at With Love Bridal Boutique for making my wedding dress shopping experience everything I had hoped for. If you’re a bride-to-be in Ottawa I highly recommend them for their service and their selection.
Ps. We had so much fun together that I got to go back and model some of their curvy dresses for them, which are the photos you are seeing here.
Have any wedding dress shopping questions? Ask away in the comments below!