It’s time for another sustainable wedding planning update! Make yourself some tea and get comfy, because we’re about to talk about one of the best parts of being a bride – dressing up like a princess.
Sustainable Wedding Gowns
As many of you know, The Curious Button started as an ethical fashion blog. So it’s no surprise that one of the first things I started looking into after getting engaged was finding myself an ethically made wedding dress. I don’t know much about bridal fashion in particular, but as I looked into it, it seemed like neither did many bridal shops. After all, they are selling dresses from many different brands and designers. Their job is to help you find the perfect dress, not know about where it came from.
The ethical fashion industry, I feel, has covered most of it’s bases when it comes to every day clothing. Gaps still exist, but for the most part, you can find an ethically made alternative no matter your style or budget, especially if you’re including secondhand clothing in the mix. When it comes to ethical bridal fashion – not so much.
Searching for the One
The good news is, if you’re into vintage or more relaxed boho looks, then you’ve got some great options. Designers like Celia Grace, Pure Magnolia and more (see full list here!) have beautiful, sustainable wedding dresses that are surprisingly on par with the typical price ranges of wedding dresses. The bad news is, if you’re like me and want a big ballgown, then it’s going to be a little more difficult.
Savin has a few, but even then I’d say they’re closer to A-line than ballgown in shape. Same with Pure Magnolia. They’re all undoubtably beautiful, but not what I was looking for. After exhausting all my online options, it was time to move on to a more local search. Of course, one of the first places I looked into and visited were several promising vintage and bridal consignment stores.
If you’re in the Toronto or nearby GTA area, I would definitely recommend checking out The Bride’s Project. They’re a social enterprise that accepts donated wedding gowns, sells them, and donates all of their profits to support cancer charities. They’re entirely volunteer run, have a great selection of gowns in a wide size range, and I had an absolutely lovely experience there. Being a consignment store, they’re prices are also much more affordable than typical wedding gowns. In fact, I almost ended up getting my wedding dress from there because I found one that, with some small alterations, could get very close to being exactly what I wanted. I also really enjoyed visiting Sixpence Bridal, another bridal consignment store located in Guelph. Gorgeous, but again, I didn’t find exactly what I was looking for.
Finding the One
Finally, and after multiple visits just to make sure, my high maintenance and picky self found my dream dress. “Found” is probably not even the right word to use – I created it. From the moment I landed on Lea-Ann Belter‘s website, I was in love. They had ballgowns with full skirts, delicate lace details, and best of all, were all made locally in their downtown Toronto studio. I could see myself in so many of their gowns.
During my first visit, I brought my mom and sister along with me and we spent some time trying on all the different styles I had fallen in love with while browsing online. Vanessa, our bridal specialist, was so welcoming and helpful, asking questions about the wedding and J and I as a couple to get to know us and our style better. When I had emailed her to set up an appointment, I let her know which gowns I was interested in, and she had them all picked out and ready to try on.
I found one that was so close to being perfect, but we agreed that it needed some more fun and sparkles to it, so that it felt more me. I spotted another dress that, though it wasn’t what I wanted, had an element to it that I absolutely loved. Of course, because they make the dresses right there in that very building, I asked for the top of one dress, the bottom of another, and a sprinkle of extra sparkles, and voila! My dream wedding dress was created.
The fitting process started a few weeks ago, about 5 months before the wedding. I got to try on the dress almost as it will be, minus a few details and hemming. Over the next couple of months, I’ll make a few more visits to perfect the fit and make sure everything is perfect. Final alterations are going to be done a few weeks before the wedding, and then I get to wear it down the aisle! I am so happy with my dress, and so excited to share it with you after the wedding!
Renting Bridesmaid Dresses
Once I took care of my own sustainable wedding attire, I started looking for something my bridesmaids could wear. While an easier undertaking, I still wasn’t taking it lightly. At first, I started looking for ethically made dresses I could have them wear, but after a few un-inspired searches and seeing some hefty price tags, my mind switched gears: renting bridesmaid dresses. Groomsmen rent suits all the time, I know our groomsmen definitely will, so surely my bridesmaids should be able to do the same!
A couple of years ago, probably not. But luckily, the idea is finally catching on and I had a few options. I quickly found out that many of these rental companies were based in the US, which meant they usually didn’t service Canada. But then I stumbled upon BridesMade, which was exactly what I was looking for!
BridesMade rents (and sells, if that’s your thing) not just any bridesmaid dresses, but size adjustable ones, which gave me even more confidence that the dresses would actually fit and look amazing on my bridesmaids. They currently have two collections: Infinity, which is a convertible dress that you can tie and wear a million different ways, and Classic, which has more traditional looking bridesmaid dresses in 5 different styles. I wanted my bridesmaids to all wear the same colour, but to also feel comfortable in what they’re wearing, especially since I know they’re all so different in their style and clothing preferences. I loved the look of the Classic collection, so I’m going with those.
I’m planning on writing more about this bridesmaid dress rental experience once it’s all over, but needless to say I am so glad I found dresses that my bridesmaids don’t have to spend $300 on and can also just return afterwards! There are so many ways to have a sustainable wedding, and renting as much as you can is definitely one of them!
So there is your very lengthy and detailed update on how I’m dealing with all the clothing in my sustainable wedding! Let me know what you thought, and if you did anything similar I would love to hear about it!
Until next time!