At the ripe age of 25, I think it is safe to say that wedding fever is spreading wildly in my social circles. It seems every corner I turn or mouse I click lands me smack in the middle of an engagement announcement. Well, none hit closer to home than when my own sister Daniela decided to bite the bullet and get engaged while on vacation in New York City with her now fiancé (say it with me guys, fiannnnncé). There are a hundred and one details to plan out, but I like to keep things predictable and immediately begged to go wedding dress shopping.
Having never tried on anything as white or expensive as a wedding dress before, Daniela was a bit nervous as we made our way to Lea Ann Belter’s flagship store at Broadview and Dundas. It probably didn’t help that we had two photographers in tow to document the whole experience, but I digress.
Luckily we were greeted by Robert (our wedding dress expert for the day) and any reservations went flying out the door. Really, to call Robert an expert is an understatement because not only was he extremely well-versed in the gowns, but he was kind, patient and diplomatic about every option. It was recommended that Daniela check out the dresses beforehand online, to get a feel of what shapes and styles she was drawn to. Her choices ran the gamut but Robert was prepared and picked a variety for her to look at. He reminded us that it is important to have an open mind, as you really won’t know what looks good until you try it on. So try it on she did.
There were about 10 dresses in total which took the full 90 minute appointment. With each dress, Robert gave us the low down on their design, fabric and price. He explained that dresses take about 8 months from the time of order until they are ready for the big day. That is because every dress is custom made and includes any snips or additions you might want to make. As Belter just recently debuted a collection of 27 handmade belts, sashes, jackets and veils we were able to see that the accessories are the final pièce de résistance and can tie the whole look together in a beautiful crystal encrusted bow.
Every dress Daniela tried on was beautiful (she’s my sister, so I am biased) but we had two favourites. Both the Blake and the Penny were tops and garnered a second try on. With full skirts and sweetheart necklines there were similar in style. The Penny however, was romantic and ethereal with its head to toe French lace and simple crystal belt. I was worried I might cry (because that’s what is supposed to happen right?) but luckily my reaction erred more on the site of jubilant kid in a candy store, rather than a weepy maid of honour.
Even though Daniela didn’t choose a dress that day, we were not disappointed. From the warm, sun soaked showroom, to Robert’s sincerity, to the fact that my sister is getting married – the day was just as much about making memories as it was about finding the perfect dress. So the journey continues, but I’m excited to see how it all turns out. And really, any excuse to look at pretty dresses all day is fine by me.
Photography courtesy of: Richard Rallon