Friday 22 November 2013

Handmade Bride: A Handmade Fanatic's Dream Boutique


Last week saw the opening of a new, and very special, bridal boutique called The Handmade BrideIn a rather uncharacteristic move (as those who know my low tolerance for traditional romance will attest), I attended the opening night soiree. I’ve got a funny obsession with this little shop: I’d been following the Facebook page for well over a year before the opening, because I’m such a handmade-aholic, and getting a glimpse of all the cool things that would be in the shop was like a sort of bittersweet torture: when I’d been getting married first time ‘round, there’d been nowhere like the Handmade Bride to visit. Watching on Facebook all the pretty things being ordered made me a bit crazy, as I no longer had a wedding to plan, yet finally there was a boutique that would have met my needs.

When we stepped in the doors of the little shop, located down in New Edinburgh in an ancient little space, I was immediately impressed. Owner Meaghan Brunetti has managed to transform the shop with a delicate touch, keeping the vintage feel by maintaining the tin panelled walls, and taking full advantage of the large shopfront windows to display her gowns. Best of all may be the long padded bench along the back wall, where wedding parties can sit in comfort while they wait for a bride to get changed. My own dress shopping experience had involved my Maid of Honor and mother perched awkwardly on various stairs and display stands; it’s these little details that lend credence to Meaghan’s assurances that she is just a ‘real person’ like the rest of us.

So much of what the Handmade Bride offers is unique and quirky in a wonderful, tasteful way. The ties, available for kids and grown-ups (and also offering bowties) are some of the most playful patterns I’ve ever seen, while still being stylish and trendy. Modestly-hued feather fascinators hang along one wall, waiting to add a whisper of whim to a bride’s pretty hair. Invites and save-the-dates are displayed, with fabulous images of octopi and steampunky hot air balloons. There was much more to see, but obviously, the dresses stole the show.

What’s fabulous about Meaghan’s selection of dresses is that they’re from small-production couturiers. Sounds expensive, right? But they’re not. Meaghan shared that the dresses typically range from about $1000 to $3000 (though my favourite, the short polka-dotted 1950s circle dress, was only about 750.00); and if you like, say, a full-on Alencon lace gown but couldn’t afford it, she can offer you selections of different lace, fabric, and detailing so that you can get the dress you love at the price you can handle. Aside from being custom-made and reasonably priced, she also has the widest variety of unique, modern, and quirky dresses I’ve seen in one single bridal shop. Ever. I’m serious, and I’m telling you: I visited easily sixty stores in my personal search. I generally have very little interest in wedding dresses, but I had to stop myself from begging Meaghan to let me try on about five of hers.

The Handmade Bride is a godsend to the Ottawa wedding industry. To finally have a shop that boasts such a range of independent artisans, at a price range to rival any of the box-store wedding barns, while offering Meaghan’s stellar ‘real human’ service approach…it’s enough to make a girl wish she had another wedding to plan, just to enjoy the experience of shopping at this adorable boutique.

Follow The Handmade Bride on Facebook and drool with me.

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