A while back I posted a blog about the ethics of the bridal gown industry, and shared with you my own struggles with trying to make the “right” decisions. (See my prior blog, or this article with similar sentiments – http://www.canadianliving.com/life/green_living/eco_friendly_wedding_attire.php) .
Last week I finally got a chance to go wedding dress shopping and found myself struggling to find a dress that would both make my morals and my pocket book happy. My mother and I went shopping at a store in Ajax that carried both consignment and new dresses, just so that I could get a sense of the types of styles that looked good on me in preparation for the big shopping the next day. The sales staff at this store could not have been more fabulous! To my surprise, I found a dress that I loved, designed and manufactured by a Toronto based designer, Paloma Blanca, for an AMAZING price, and it was BRAND NEW!. This being my first bridal store experience I wasn’t quite ready to purchase, and so my sister and two of my good friends came along with me the next day as I navigated four stores in Toronto.
I was appalled by the service that I received in some of these stores. I expected that I would have been stepping into a high pressure sales environment. What I experienced at one locale in Toronto was COMPLETELY the opposite. The sales lady assigned to us didn’t care about her job AT ALL! She didn’t take the time to listen to me and what I wanted before she started plucking dresses off the rack and shuttling me into a change room with an 8 dress limit! I barely explored 1/10 of the store, and to my dismay ended up trying on dresses that were not in line with my ethical priorities. I must admit that some of these dresses were BEAUTIFUL and had they been made in any other manner I would have purchased one of them in an instant, but I stuck true to my heart and my word. In this store I asked the sales lady for a particular Paloma Blanca dress by style number, the dress that I had tried on at the store in Ajax with my mother, just so that my sister and friends could see me in it. The style of this dress was remarkably similar to many of the over-seas dresses that I felt suited me the best. Price tag $1700. Price tag in Ajax $489 including tax. The reason for the price difference? I have no idea. I know that the dress is no longer in production, a past season’s style, but why one store would discount the dress so much and another store would leave it at nearly full price, I cannot say. I do know however that the owner of the Ajax store has a business relationship with Paloma Blanca and carries many of his dresses at amazing prices. Needless to say I went back to Ajax and bought the dress immediately, carried it out of the store, and it now hangs in my mother’s closet.
It is possible to find locally made wedding dresses to fit every budget! One of the four stores that we visited in Toronto was Adele Wechsler’s store, and although I found that the dresses are out of my price range, their products are certainly VERY eco-friendly and very gorgeous. Paloma Blanca and Mikaella dresses are more appropriate for budget conscious brides, and since they are produced on a larger scale, you’re more likely to find great sales on them like I did.
I could not be happier with the dress that I purchased. I knew that if I came home that day having ordered a dress manufactured overseas that I would be one of those crazy brides that ends up buying a second wedding gown just weeks before the event because she’s not happy with the first one. I cannot wait until the next time I get to put my new gown on!
Written by Chrissy Lackner