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Friends Friday: Ferré Sposa bridal boutique

Friends FridaysStirling MylesComment
Ferré Sposa Bridal Boutique
Wedding Dress at Ferré Sposa

The dress a bride chooses to wear as she walks down the wedding aisle says a lot about her as a unique individual. So many styles, so many gowns, so many ways for brides to express themselves! That’s why it’s always best visiting stores where shopkeepers really value the decision-making process, not just the process.

Our friend Jennifer Dang is that kind of shopkeeper. Both Toronto bridal boutiques, Ferré Sposa and Elizabeth & Beau, are stores she's involved in that promote a culture of positivity, with dress consultants that provide pressure-free support; because buying a dress doesn’t have to be stressful.

We caught up with Jennifer to talk about some different ways brides can put their own unique twist on their wedding outfits so that their personality shines through on their big day, no matter what they’re wearing.

Jennifer Dang at Ferré Sposa

STYLE /  The traditional white wedding dress is by far the most popular choice for brides, but it’s not the only choice. As a buyer, you see a lot of different designs on bridal runways and in magazines. What are your thoughts on the spectrum of more creative or alternative choices for bridal wear?

JH: I like to label myself as a modern/traditional bride consultant. I do a combination of traditional looks, because ultimately when people are getting married, it’s their first time. Unlike someone who might be in the industry, they might not be as daring. However, because they’re into fashion and style, they might want to do something a little different. A little tradition with a touch of modern. I look for something modern and useful when I work with brides.

PROCESS /  When a bride comes into on of your shops, where do they start? How do you and your team help them start the process of looking for their wedding dress? Every bride is so unique, from her tastes to her personality. In what ways can you help a bride choose a wedding dress that best reflects her?

JH: A lot of people come in asking “what do you think works for me based off my body type?” I’m actually trained not to go off body type. Ultimately if you’re able to rock a look, that’s all that matters. So whatever the bride is comfortable with based off her personality is the most important thing. I figure out more who the bride is to give them more of an opportunity to look like themselves. Although they may not know what to choose, I start to pick up what they’re selecting and start making mental notes. If they’re picking something more simple, or extravagant, I start to go with the process of talking them through what they like and don’t like. I formulate a look that suits their personality. It has very little to do with their body type.

Ultimately, I showcase what brides are comfortable with. I find what they feel good in and hone in from there. Once I start to narrow down, it makes it a lot easier to pick the right wedding dress.

Wedding dresses at Ferré Sposa

TIPS & TRICKS / Being wedding filmmakers in Toronto, we see many original looks and know that anything is possible, but a lot of brides don’t always realize that there are other choices beyond the dress that can really make a difference in their bridal look. From shoes to jewellery, headpieces to clutches, there’s a ton of ways to express their individuality. Do you have any tips and tricks for brides in terms of accessorizing, whether it be through purchasing, renting, or even DYI-ing?

JH: When I shop for wedding gowns, I always tell brides “don’t take at face value.” That means that whatever brides see on the rack, they can still modify. So let’s say they’re looking for a long sleeve dress, or they’re looking for something with straps, they’ll tend to look at dresses that already have straps or long sleeves. This is very limiting because what’s been working for years is strapless gowns. So using a broader canvas, and finding something based on the silhouette and adding in accessories will allow them a variety of selection. They don't have to look at the five dresses that have spaghetti straps or long sleeves. They can look at the other 20 gowns that are in the selection of the silhouette, and if the budget allows, adding those accessories. That’s the first thing brides can think of.

The next thing is that once they’ve purchased their gown and want to add more personality to it, they can get really creative in how they shop. One great tip is that you can look at hair pieces to be added as a belt for a very unique look, it might be more of a dainty hairpiece. So that’s a really creative way to save money. Hair pieces tend to be cheaper than belts.

I also find that a lot of brides take an opportunity in their shoes to bring them personality. Your shoes don’t actually show that much when you’re walking, but it’s in your detailed shots that gives some personality. I actually have a bride that had taken pieces of her moms wedding dress and asked us to incorporate it. It’s all about creativity. It might be as simple as taking the lace of your moms wedding gown and incorporating it into your own lace. Or taking and adding buttons to your gown. There’s lot of ways to have that homage to your mom. I think that’s a really cool, fun detail. I think it’s in thinking about what’s important to you. I always tell people that whether it’s your wedding gown or your wedding day in general, it’s bringing a piece of who you are in your wedding day style that’s a really nice touch for everyone to see.

Wedding dresses at Ferré Sposa

WILD CARD / You do a lot of traveling! Have you picked up any cool wedding traditions, customs or unique looks that you loved along the way? Anything out of the box that might inspire our Toronto brides?

JH: Bring your personality. I get so many couples that are mixed from different cultures. I love when they take the opportunity to allow their guests to experience the combination of the two cultures. It’s super unique to Toronto. It’s a beautiful thing. What a lot of these brides like to do is incorporate their culture so they have their roots in their wedding. It doesn’t have to be a huge part of the ceremony, but partaking in small traditions are a fun and meaningful way to have something that is a part of who they are so the guests can experience that.

Last year a southeast Asian bride I worked with wanted to wear a wedding gown. Typically, she would have worn a sari that is mid-drift and can be a ballgown, or a slim dress with a scarf over top. I found a gown that looked similar to that: it was a t-shirt lace-top that was cropped... and it was a ballgown. I think she had incorporated a scarf afterwards. It was such a beautiful mix of the western and southeastern cultures. As a consultant, I love being a part of that mixing process.

Friends Friday: TYTAN Ties, bespoke menswear accessories

Friends FridaysChristian Peterson1 Comment

This week we kick off our Friends Friday series, which is meant to be a source of inspiration for couples getting married, as well as a window into the work of some of the wedding industry’s best professionals: why they do what they do, what drives their work, how couples can best work with them to achieve unique results, and much more. This series will feature photographers with unconventional styles, convention-shattering milliners, bridal shops that cater to the individual not the masses, planners with resolutely contemporary tastes, and much more.

But first, to kick off Friends Fridays, we sit down with Justin from TYTAN ties to talk about custom-made menswear accessories.

OHF: First things first: so how did you get into making accessories for men? Why ties, bow ties and pocket squares specifically?

justin-02 (by Andrew Ho).jpg

Justin: I started off working in the wedding industry as a hairstylist for brides.  During our consultations, many of them would ask me if I knew where they could find a nice tie for their groom-to-be and most of the time I would direct them to one of the big department stores or a few other popular menswear stores like Mexx (R.I.P) because that’s where I would get mine.  Keep in mind, back then, matching solid ties were ‘in’ so it’s not like many were looking for something that particular; maybe stripes at most. The thought of anything else was pretty foreign. And then a few years ago, there was a shift in menswear and accessories: suits and ties were beginning to get slimmer, bow ties were making a comeback, and grooms were starting to get more involved in wedding planning. With so many options available for brides and bridesmaids, I started TYTAN because I could see that guys were starting to go the custom route and wanted something unique for themselves as well. We wanted to break away from this idea that a groom is just an accessory to the bride on the big day.

OHF: What are your thoughts on the relatively recent rise in attention given to menswear and menswear accessories? I mean, it seems to me we've never given as much thought to how men dress, especially grooms on wedding days…

J: To put it simply, guys do care about what they look like. Especially for such a big event in front of all their family and friends, Groom’s want to look and feel good. Wearing the right suit and [bow] tie makes you stand a little taller and walk with a little more swag. I hear it all the time, “I feel like James Bond today!”

What makes a wedding unique are the details, and that goes for choosing the right attire as well. As I said before, grooms want to be more involved (for the most part), and selecting what they wear is one of the few decisions that is fully theirs. They are beginning to see and becoming more aware of their options. With pretty much everyone on social media these days, finding ideas and options is easy, and even though it is overwhelming at times, it can be a great starting point to see what you like and don’t like. Whether you decide to go bespoke or buy off-the-rack, there are many affordable suit and tux options that come with a variety of styles, fabrics and colors to fit every body type. In some cases, grooms are opting out of a full suit altogether. Some current trends I have noticed this past year include wider and different colored lapels, suspenders, colorful and funky socks and of course, bow ties! I also like that Groom’s are wearing a different color suit from the Groomsmen and choosing bolder colors like electric/cobalt blue, as well as exploring dinner jackets with black tux pants. If you’re afraid of stepping outside the box too much, don’t worry, you can always try a navy or midnight blue suit instead of the traditional black. Many of our own clients have expressed their frustration of seeing the same things over and over again at every store, so they like the idea of being able to design a [bow] tie that reflects their taste more specifically. You’d be surprised at some of the fabrics our grooms have chosen! I believe most guys are visual learners, so when you are able to help them visualize the entire look, they are able to make better - and often surprising! - decisions.    

OHF: Tell me about customization, and the idea of men wearing one-of-a kind, tailored pieces on their wedding day.

J: No two clients are exactly the same, so we treat each design the same way. We have what we call The ABC’s of Style. Most grooms we work with fall into a style type:  A-adventurous, B-Bond, or C-classic. We use that as a starting point to select textiles that we feel fit their personal style. For someone who is adventurous, we may choose more vibrant colors and prints, whereas a Bond [James Bond] might want something more plush and luxurious feeling. The great thing about our designs is that they can be made reversible, which means that you can choose a style type that speaks to who you are, but also another one of who you may want to be for the day. It adds adds an element of fun and surprise, giving you the option to switch it up from day to night, GQ gentleman to party animal! Although to some a tie or bow tie is a minor detail to the overall scheme of things, it’s those details that count. When you’re standing front and centre saying your vows, so is your [bow] tie. So make it count!

OHF: So, for any grooms to be out there that are indeed looking for custom pieces, can you explain  the process of creating the pieces? How do you go from a groom reaching out with an idea, all the way to having the pieces delivered in time for the big day?

J: We want to make the process as simple as possible. After an initial consultation where we have established their style type and color palette, we head out to find textiles that fit within their vision. We then put together an inspiration board that we send via email with swatches for them to choose from. They select the ones they like most and we meet up once more for them to see it in person. Once they have decided, it goes into production! Fabric selection is what typically takes the longest, which we allot about 3-4 weeks for, as there are a number of stores we visit; it also gives our groom some time to actually think about what he wants. The production itself can happen as quickly as 2 weeks (depending on the number of [bow] ties being made and if there are any special requests like embroidery). April to September are high season months, so we highly encourage grooms to book at least 3 months in advance to ensure not only timely delivery, but also confidence in their choice. Each [bow] tie is boxed with a personalized card with their name and message just to add that extra special touch.

OHF: And to finish: tie or bow tie?

J: That’s like asking me to choose between rice or pasta! They’re both good for different reasons. BUT, if I had to choose one, I am going to have to go with bow tie. I’ve been a tie guy for pretty much all my life, but there’s something about a bow tie that’s so classic. Plus, you can get away with more crazy prints because it’s on such a smaller scale!  

Editorial photography: Gable Mak
J's profile picture: Janet Kwan