Bronte Bride is a local west-canadian wedding publication and resource dedicated to inspiration, education, & collaboration.

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Are you starting the search for your own beautiful wedding gown and not sure where to begin? We’ve got Blush & Raven Bridal Boutique here on the blog today, sharing everything you need to know about wedding dress shopping, and how to have the best wedding dress shopping experience possible!

We interviewed the lovely women of Blush & Raven, to get answers on everything you’ve been wondering about: whether it’s about trying on dresses, making an appointment, timing and alterations, and so much more!

Blush and Raven Bridal Boutique: Wedding Dress Shopping Q and A

Our B&R Team is here to take you through a once in a lifetime experience while finding the dress of your dreams! We are a small & locally owned boutique that works with small teams who hand make the gowns all over the world! Our service is the most important thing & our goal is to have you feeling like the best version of yourself in THE dress. Thank you for the support and trust with this very important process. Here are some Frequently Asked Questions we get about what it’s like to shop for your gown at Blush & Raven!

Photo by Kristyn Harder Photography // Floral Design by Flowers by Janie // Makeup by Trena Laine

Is there anything I should do before my appointment?
We are here to guide you through the entire experience! The first thing we do when you come in for an appointment is sit down and get to know you, and the entire vision you have for your wedding day as well as what you are comfortable spending for this occasion.

If you would like to prepare a little before your time with us that’s great too! Allow yourself to dream a little! What do you want to feel like when you walk down the aisle? What do you want to feel like when you get to hold your spouse’s hand for the first time? Once you have started dreaming, look at dresses on Pinterest & Instagram. Follow designers & boutiques that you plan to visit so you can get to know their styles and spend your shopping experiences in boutiques that fit your vision!

What does my stylist need to know before my appointment? Should I bring inspiration pictures or a Pinterest board?
When you come into the boutique for your appointment, we will ask you questions about what kind of looks you are drawn to and about your shopping experience thus far. We love to see pictures, because we know it’s not always easy to put a dress into words! Pictures always help us get a base for what you are interested in and then we can use your appointment to play around and narrow down your vision from there! 
Who should come with me to my appointment? What size of group do you recommend coming with?
The company you bring to your bridal appointment is very important! We really value authentic and intimate experiences and believe that bridal gown shopping should be included in that so we recommend keeping your group as small as possible. Shopping can be an overwhelming experience for a lot of brides while you try to narrow down how you want to look and feel and what makes you feel like your absolute best self. Sometimes the extra voices in the room can contribute to that confusion and overwhelm which we really want to reduce. It’s about which gown makes YOU feel absolutely radiant! 
What undergarments should I bring with me to try on gowns?
Nude & seamless! We typically recommend trying on gowns without a bra as it will give you the best idea of fit (plus who wants to wear a bra anyways!). Typically, support is built into the gown, depending on how much support you desire in the way of cups and/or boning. If you think you feel more comfortable with some sort of shapewear, we recommend bringing those to your consultation so you will get the best idea of how you will feel in the gowns! 

Photos by Rocky Mountain Photo Co.

What's a sample sale?
Essentially, a sample sale is when we sell the sample gowns that we have in our showroom at a discount! We love and care for each of the gowns in our boutique, and although there may be some normal wear from try-ons, it can be a great opportunity to get a gorgeous designer gown for a great deal. Another plus of shopping a sample sale is if you are working with a short timeline. If you say YES to the sample sale dress during your fitting, you can take it home with you that day!
What is a trunk show?
A trunk show is when a designer sends every piece from a collection (usually their newest collection) to the boutique for an exclusive showing! Shows typically only run for one weekend and can be excellent for brides who have their eye on a specific designer so that they can try on more gowns from the collection than we typically carry at the boutique! 
What sizes of samples do you carry? Do you carry samples for all sizes?
It is very important to us at B&R to be size inclusive. We invest in every gorgeous gown in the boutique and are working very hard to ensure we have a range of sizes in our sample gowns. Currently, we have sample sizes that range from a bridal 8-22. We also curate designers that can make a gown in any size for our brides. Our stylists are also well equipped with lots of tips and tricks to give you the best idea of how the gowns will fit once they’re in your size!

Photos by Rocky Mountain Photo Co.

When should I order my dress?
This is such a good question and a really important one, because it can take some time to make your gown! We typically recommend ordering 8-10 months out from your wedding day, which allows for a couple months for the alteration process once your gown has come in! With this in mind, if you are working with a short timeline we do have many designers that can accommodate rush orders!
Can you dress shop too early?
Absolutely not! It depends on your planning process. While we do find that most brides have booked a venue and are partway through planning prior to gown shopping, this is not an absolute. Some brides prefer to plan their wedding around how they want to look and feel on the day, and the dress is part of that! We have had brides order their gown with their wedding date over 2 years away! 
How will payment work? Is there a deposit on the gown or do I pay in full after I've found the perfect dress?
At B&R, we take full payment on the day of ordering your gown! This is because we do not carry inventory in our store, all gowns are made to order and we work with many boutique designers around the globe that require payment up front in order to start production of your gown. We love to honour this because in the end we find there is better customer service, communication and delivery for you. 
What additional costs can I expect in addition to the purchase price of the gown?
Following the purchase of your gown, there are a couple steps before your entire bridal look is complete! The first is shopping for accessories! Depending on whether you wish to wear a veil, special jewelry or shoes, this can be the next big cost. The second factor to budget for is alterations. Even in the case where we offer made to measure sizing with our designers, our bodies can fluctuate since the time you ordered the gown and alterations will still be required. We always say to budget between $250-$1000 in alterations, depending on both your alteration specialist and the level of alterations required!
How long does it take for a dress to arrive once it's ordered?
This can depend on the designer and your wedding date! Standard lead time for a gown is between 6-8 months. That being said, we do provide your wedding date to our designers when we order your gown so that if there is a recommendation for a rush to be added, we can advise you of such! Keep in mind, most designers require a rush fee if your date is within 4-6 months!
How long should I expect alterations to take? How many appointments?
We recommend starting the alterations process 6-8 weeks out from your wedding date. Because our bodies can change in the months leading up to the wedding, leaving alterations until this point will give you the best possible fit! Typically you will require two to three appointments in that time period – your initial consultation is where they will talk to you about necessary alterations and they will pin in the spots it needs to be tweaked. If you have your shoes and you are ready to proceed with your hem & bustle at that point, it might only take that initial consultation and the final fitting when you pick your dress up! 
Do you work with an in-house seamstress? If not, do you make recommendations?
Although we don’t have an in-house alteration specialist, we do work with a very talented team in the city who has worked with us and our gowns for years. We trust their expertise and will provide you with our recommendation at your pick-up! 

About Blush & Raven

Blush & Raven Bridal Boutique is about creating an individualized and refined alternative to wedding dress shopping for your big day. Our thoughtfully curated collection of gowns and jewelry will bring your bridal vision to life while staying true to yourself and style. Representing fashion houses from all over the world, designing exclusively with premium fabrics known for their versatility and runway couture, our gowns embrace the unconventional edge of high fashion glamour while balancing the softness and delicacy of the bridal world.

Photo by Rocky Mountain Photo Co.

Learn more about
Blush & Raven Bridal Boutique

Boutique Located in Calgary, Alberta


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