Ask the expert: Toronto’s bridal gown guru

Ask the expert: Toronto’s bridal gown guru

Andrea Anastasiou, owner of the sparkly and elegant Yorkville bridal shop White, has been helping brides-to-be say yes to the dress for three years. She can sort through the styles and spot trends in her sleep

Photograph by Vanessa Heins 

What was your vision for White?
Some of the more mainstream bridal stores I’d been to were kind of austere. I wanted the store to feel like your best friend’s apartment in Paris—a comfortable environment where we could really work with brides-to-be. The colour palette is warm and girly.

What bridal trends will we see in 2010?
I just got back from New York fashion week, and statement accessories are huge, in both senses of the word: I saw
a lot of big, chunky jewellery and sashes that can completely change the look of the dress, so you can have one style for daytime and another for evening. Corset tops in a 1950s style are also popular.

What about bucking tradition with colour?
White and ivory are still the most popular, but we do get adventurous types who want to try something different—we’ve done blush pink. We just worked with a bride who did a gorgeous celery green.

Are veils still a big deal?
A lot of girls don’t think they want a veil, and then they try it on and fall in love. And mothers tend to love veils. Really, when else are you going to get to wear one? At least half of the brides shopping at White end up wearing veils.

Can you offer a tip to avoid dress-shopping disasters?
Bringing a big group is not a great idea. It’s really hard not to be swayed, and the bride ends up totally confused by everyone’s opinions. Do your research and narrow it down before involving more people.

You must have witnessed your share of bridezilla vs. bridesmaid drama.
Oh, sure. The main thing that causes friction is how much everyone wants to spend. Avoid it by discussing a price range in advance, and if the bride wants to go over the top, she should be prepared to pay.

Any advice for brides on a budget?
You don’t have to spend a lot to get a polished look. We have sample sales with 50 per cent markdowns, and a lot
of great designer dresses—Jenny Yoo, Lela Rose, Nicole Miller—start around $500. Monique Lhuillier just launched a more affordable line called Bliss, with prices around $3,000 or $4,000. Her Platinum Collection gowns can run up to $20,000.

Is it true that a bride will just know when she’s found The Dress?
The whole idea that the sky’s going to part and you’re going to have this out-of-body experience is a myth. But we can tell when somebody puts on a dress and it’s definitely The Dress. The moment depends on the girl—some people jump up and down.

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