At Victoria Bridal Boutique, it isn’t just about helping a bride find her special dress. For owner, Sherrie Galey-Creasser, and her Bridal Consultants, it’s about listening to each bride’s love story, wedding details, and style, and then using that knowledge to make sure they find their dream wedding gown that fits the personality of both the bride and her wedding day. So, for brides who wants to add creative and personal flare to their wedding dresses, this is one location that should be added to the must-see list.
The team at Victoria Bridal Boutique, makes it their mission to help each bride relax and enjoy their gown shopping experience, which is why they don’t make demands… During each 1.5 hour appointment there is no set amount of gowns you can try on. And you can see, in the way the consultants get as excited about the ideal gown as the bride would herself, that they really care about the shop, delivering more than brides are used to, especially when it comes to service, options and prices. According to Sherrie, in-store gowns range in price so they can cater to any bride or bridesmaid, no matter her budget.
We had a long chat with Sherrie about design, budget and brides, all in an effort to find out why so many brides fall in love with Victoria Bridal Boutique......
The shop that grew....
Sherrie, in her life before bridal gowns, was ECE certified and worked as a teacher. Now, she says, “I love teaching women about fashion and weddings!”
Sherrie’s personal experience with shopping for wedding gowns with a family member is what ultimately led her to open Victoria Bridal Boutique. She says that when she was looking, it felt like the stores they visited were not listening to the bride, and there seemed to be a lack of affordable dresses that could still be that dream gown. “And the service was not what I was expecting” says Sherrie. This is the main reason that she opened, first in her home with an off-the-rack inventory, then with manufacturers, then to a shop and, finally, in the location she is currently at. “We take pride in allowing the customer to look around, try on and admire the beautiful dresses we have in our studio.”
In their current home at #2 3948 Quadra Street in Victoria, Sherrie and her staff love their inspiring space that allows them to welcome brides into a comfortable setting. There is ample room for the on-site seamstress who takes care of alterations. High quality service and great wedding gown selection is what they attribute to their success in helping brides and their entourages find their dresses.
Even after dealing with so many brides, Sherrie, Jaycine and Lily have not lost their passion and caring, telling us that brides continue to inspire them. “We love working with brides… Each one’s needs, personality and fashion ideas is so different! It’s always a challenge to match the girl to the dress. It’s just fun and it grants us a real sense of achievement when the moment happens that a girl finds the dress of her dreams.”
Brides appreciate the effort and the relaxed attitude in the wake of what, sometimes, can be a highly stressful experience. Kim, who found her dream dress at Victoria Bridal Boutique, loved the atmosphere. “The best part was Sherrie – interacting with her and her staff. She seemed like the kind of person I would hang out with! She reminded me, 100 percent, of an old friend.”
Taking your time at the boutique....
Sherrie wants each bride to relax and enjoy her gown shopping experience. And while they have a huge selection of wedding gowns, we were told that the “best part is getting to know the bride”. All appointments are one on one and they work hard to be informative without any pressure. Sherrie says that each bride is taken care of from the moment she enters the store to find her dream gown, right up until the final fittings (and even after, during follow-up conversations).
She assures us that every bride is welcome, no matter the budget. “No bride is wasting my time, no matter how little or how much a bride can spend.” They are very open to the challenged bride, who perhaps has a certain vision in mind. “We like to solve problems and love watching a bride’s frustration turn to happiness!”
Victoria Bridal Boutique offers bridal gowns that range from $200 to $2000 as well as working hard to ensure that there are gowns from casual to extreme princess. As well, there are bridesmaids gowns by Sophia Tolli and Colours by Kenneth Watson, flower girl dresses, mother of the bride gowns, veils, headpieces, and jewellery. They also carry a wonderful prom dress section.
Sherrie and her staff pride themselves on being great listeners and focused on each bride’s requests so they can better understand her individuality. “If you really listen, you will know what a bride is looking for,” we were told. In fact, they would like to know all wedding details, from your love story right down to the theme of the day, so that they can best match you to your special gown, complementing you and your wedding.
Bride, Kim Neuhaus, loved her experience with Victoria Bridal Boutique. “It was really relaxed and comfortable. Some boutiques gave no help but Sherrie was easygoing and friendly. I ended up chatting with the girls while standing in my dress and, by the time we finished, I felt incredibly comfortable with my choice and who would be helping me through the experience!”
At Victoria Bridal Boutique they work very hard at finding designers who make quality dresses at good prices. They carry the Sophia Tolli and other designer gowns, but they also are attracted to the designer who creates light, flowy dresses that are less formal. Sherrie feels that her goal of “offering the boutique experience without the boutique prices” has been achieved. And, as we sit in her spacious shop and look around at the wonderful gown choices, we would have to agree!
Walking you through the experience
Most dresses take about four to six months to order through Victoria Bridal Boutique (unless you’re buying off the rack), so you should definitely visit the shop within that timeframe. Though Sherrie recommends sooner, if possible, just to make sure you leave yourself enough time to order the dress of your dreams.
‘Walk-in’s are always welcomed at Victoria Bridal Boutique; but, to make sure that you receive the one-on-one attention you deserve (and for your convenience), they recommend booking an appointment in advance. Luckily for working brides, Sherrie encourages evening bookings.
When you do visit to try on gowns, they won’t make any demands of you – each 1.5 hour appointment is tailored toward the bride and her needs which means there’s no time limit to the amount of gowns you can try on or amount of styles. You can even take a photo of yourself in the dress to help you make your decision (some gown shops frown upon this). They will want to hear about any fashion likes/dislikes and body issues you may feel you have! In fact, they can book an appointment with you outside of regular hours if that works better.
Once you find the perfect gown (with the help of the VBB girls, of course), you’re fitted to your measurements and the dress is ordered to your specific requests. A 50% deposit is required to order your gown. Then, the remaining 50% is due when the gown arrives.
Victoria Bridal Boutique’s contact with brides doesn’t stop when the gown is purchased, though. A bride now has alterations done with the in-house seamstress, Lily, who is a dress designer in her own right. Marion Groot, owner of Ma-luxe(www.maluxe.com), loves this about the Boutique. “A bride does not have to cart her dress back and forth between a seamstress and the shop to do fittings. Everything is done in-house. Lily can also custom design and sew a dress especially for you from scratch!”
Sherrie has noticed that a bride’s size between buying her dress and her wedding day often changes which means they have to be ready to make changes on the dress. “Most brides tell us they are going to lose weight. We have even worked with trainers to track the size of our bride!”
Once everything is accessorized and the alterations are finished to everyone’s satisfaction, the gown is steamed and packed to go. Brides are encouraged to return after their big day and have their dress cleaned through Victoria Bridal Boutique.
Sherrie says that her average bride spends $1000.00 in her shop. Kim, explained, “My dress happened to be the most expensive in the store but it was still reasonable and well priced compared to others.”
A few of our favourite things…
• The fun atmosphere at the shop! Every time we have visited there is a buzz of friendly chat between guests and staff. It just shows that people love shopping there and that the staff love their work.
• The easy-going and relaxed shopping experience. The Ring recently attended a fitting for one of Shaw TV’s Wedding Belles at Victoria Bridal Boutique, and we watched Sherrie as she easily changed styles for her client - without missing a beat!
• Sherrie’s reputation as being supportive of local wedding professionals and photo shoots is well known. In fact, that is how we at The Wedding Ring staff first met Sherrie!
• Victoria Bridal Boutique supports local charities. Every year they have a large wedding dress sale in support of cancer research.
• Sherrie’s inventory is for everyone. Everything from the luxurious princess gown to the gown that a punk bride might wear can be found in the shop! As Kim said about finding her dress, “The dress I was looking for was only at their bridal boutique and I had been all over Victoria and Nanaimo. I had an idea and there it was!”
Getting to Victoria Bridal Boutique.....