It gives me enormous pleasure to introduce one of my lovely brides, Carla, who was married on May 5,2012 When we met at Valencienne about one year ago, Carla had been looking all over the city for her dream wedding gown. which she will describe as Carla graciously agreed to be a guest blogger for Valencienne.
As we all know there’s always a story and it goes something like this… Sometimes a bride will walk into the my store and I take one look at her and a wedding gown design just pops into my head. I saw Carla and thought OMG, she reminds me of a vintage advertisement for Taittinger champagne. I was trying to remember what famous model had been used and it was driving me crazy. When I spoke to Carla I explained my vision and asked if she knew what I was talking about – I said that the ad was very famous and vintage and if I showed it to her she might recognize it. She asked me to describe the dress and I think she was sold from that very moment. I said ‘let me sketch it quickly for you’ and my pencil hit the paper. Carla was beaming from ear to ear, explaining to me about her vintage wedding theme and how I had captured her vision.
Valencienne is proud to play host to our brides contributions so Carla has put pen to paper in order to share her bridal experience with all of you. She has also included some vintage wedding photographs and we are just thrilled – I hope we can all agree that Carla and Valencienne went together as perfectly as a dry martini and an olive.
It is eight weeks post wedding. If I’m being completely honest, at least twice a week since I donned my gown I have gone to visit it in its dust bag. I pull down the zipper, push back the protective casing, and admire the beautiful French lace and Swarovski detailed straps. After getting my fill and returning it to its bag, I promptly put on my fountain veil and saunter around the house. Last Sunday I wore it while dusting, which I do recommend as it really brightened up such a mundane task.
I realize that this may sound extreme to you, and at times I have wondered if its wrong to love a dress this much, but I have since concluded that this is really as it should be. A wedding dress should knock you off your feet, keep you up at night, and make your head spin in just the right way – much like the person you’re marrying. You should never want to take it off, and in fact I am currently brainstorming a way in which I can wear my dress again (a fundraising event perhaps?). I am very lucky that I found my dress, and that’s why I am so honored that Kim asked me to be a guest blogger and share my wedding dress shopping experience. I hope that other girls out there can avoid some stress via my story and find the dress of their dreams.
Contrary to popular belief, most girls do not spend their childhood fantasizing about their perfect wedding. However, I’m sure that any girl has a vague idea of how they want to look, or who they want to “be”, on their wedding day – a vixen, a princess, a diva. I should tell you right off the bat that I found wedding dress shopping nerve-wracking. Especially as I did not have a clear picture of the dress I wanted. I was only set on the feeling I wanted, and also very aware of the fact that in my lifetime, my wedding would probably be the only opportunity I had to wear a gown. Personally, I adore the glamour and attitude of Old Hollywood – light a cigarette, have a martini, swear with enthusiasm, and your troubles are no longer troubles…at least for a while. For my wedding I wanted to recreate that sleek 1940s feeling, and throw a party that Frank Sinatra would approve of. Naturally, my dress also had to capture the spirit of those glamorous times; my dream was to feel as beautiful as Ava Gardner, who I believe is the ultimate bombshell. I began my quest for an “Ava” dress by visiting some of the most popular bridal shops in Toronto: Dina Alonzi, White, Ines Di Santo, Pearl Bridal…the list can go on and on. Although I found some very pretty dresses, none felt right. Even the dresses I thought might be contenders weren’t really; they all left me feeling like I was settling. I am not someone who has the finances to be a “fashionista”, but I love shopping and was truly excited to begin the search for my dress. Wearing a gown and feeling truly glamorous is at the top of my list for sensational things to do. After all of the failed wedding dress shopping attempts though, I felt really discouraged.
As the time ticked ever closer to our wedding day, I was desperate to buy a dress. Eventually, I narrowed my options to two gowns that had a vintage vibe. On what I called “Decision Day”, with a few of my loved ones in tow, I just couldn’t pull the trigger on purchasing either of them. No matter how much I tried to force it, neither dress was my dress. It also didn’t help that during the visit, one of the candidates was being passed from girl to girl to girl. While it was finally my turn to try it on and I was assessing myself in the mirror, another bride jumped in front of me and squealed, “I just bought that dress! Are you going to wear it with a veil? I’m still undecided!” Even though she was friendly and well intentioned, the exchange just cemented the fact that this was not my dress, nor my bombshell moment – Ava wouldn’t buy a gown this way.
Feeling completely disheartened, I took to Google and began searching for wedding dress boutique reviews. Valencienne Bridal came up numerous times with seemingly unreal appraisals. Brides claimed that after all of their failed dress shopping attempts they had met with Kim, and after chatting for a while, Kim had miraculously sketched their dream wedding dress. Am I a skeptical person? A giant resounding: “YES! I am.” But after all of the wedding dresses I had tried on, I figured I had nothing to lose by checking out Valencienne for myself.
I walked into the store about thirty minutes before closing time. After taking a look at the beautiful gowns, I mentioned to Kim that I was thinking about a custom gown but didn’t know what it should look like exactly. To my surprise she said, “All you need to know is the vibe! You remind me of the girl in that vintage champagne ad.” That’s when I completely relaxed, in a few minutes she already got me and I knew she’d make my wedding dress. She pulled a few of her creations for me to try on, and after doing so and discussing each one, we sat down and she sketched my wedding dress and veil. It was incredible! Finally, I was going to look and feel the way I wanted to on my wedding day. Just like when I first met my now husband, I spent a sleepless night with excitement.
The especially amazing thing about the wedding dress experience at Valencienne is that after designing your dress, your vision slowly starts to come to life. For me this was especially magical as my Grandmother was a seamstress for 71 years. Watching the dress be slowly built, stage by stage, was priceless. I felt like my Grandmother was with me at each fitting.
Reflecting on my wedding day brings forth a lot of wonderful memories and some learning. Perhaps there were decisions that I should’ve rethought, and undertakings that I shouldn’t have let get under my skin. When it comes to my dress though, I do not have a doubt in my mind that working with Kim was a wonderful decision. My wedding dress made me feel fabulous while remaining completely myself. Both the dress, and the experience itself, is something that I will always cherish.
Photography – Renaissance Studio Photography
Wedding gown – Valencienne Bridal
Cinematographer – Calico Cat
Reception – Liberty Grand
Decor and Flowers – Luc Leclerc Liberty Grand
Make Up – Melanie Lino
Car rental – Erin Mills Limo
Church – St. Agnes Church