{review} Shades of White Bridal Fashions Ltd.

Long-time Victoria bridal boutique, Shades of White, is always happy to help brides find their dream dress

Shades of White Bridal Fashions has been living and breathing weddings for nearly twenty-seven years. Owners, Amanda, Dustin & Monica, locally run and operate this business along with their twelve staff members (‘the girls’!). Together, the team is made up of a combination of talented women who have a variety of passions and backgrounds, all brought together by a desire to play a part in one of the most important times in a couple’s life. And as the Shades of White staff grew into a family of their own, the store itself has grown to become a large part of the Victoria wedding community. They have managed to snag all the local top honors for their service oriented attitude.

The owners of Shades of White have made it their mission to know what their brides are looking for, even before they walk through their doors. They carry a breath-taking collection of couture and high-end gowns from quality designers with whom they’ve a lengthy relationship. But that doesn’t mean that brides on a budget should go elsewhere. Amanda and Monica say they also carry many gowns at lower price points.

In 2015 alone, Shades of White worked on about 1800 different weddings in total. And they did so while maintaining a welcoming, no-pressure shopping experience! And that’s probably because they love what they do. Amanda told The Ring, “Every day we get to experience someone finding ‘her dress’! We are very lucky to experience that once-in-a-lifetime moment over and over again.”

So in light of all this, here’s just some of the reasons we love Shades of White for all things bridal…

Shades of a partnership: Business, fashion design and an amazing selection

The owners of Shades of White say they have the perfect ‘marriage’ of talents. Monica has training and experience working in fashion design and alterations for well over thirty years. She loves quality gowns and helping people bring their visions together in their shop. She especially loves a new find – something unique or exciting in fashion that they can put on their shelves in the shop.

Amanda has training and experience in business and finance (in which she worked for over ten years). She continually uses her entrepreneurial spirit to collaborate the creative forces of her team and bring the best possible business practices, styles, resources, pricing & selection together for their clients. Together, Amanda and Monica create a perfect storm of creativity and selection for their bridal clients!

The team at Shades of White will tell you it’s all about style, price point and the desire to be innovative. While choosing styles that are currently trendy, they are also sure to include something for everyone. Their goal is to be able to accommodate just about any budget without compromising quality. Amanda and Monica are always looking to find something intriguing or inspiring to add to their collection, acknowledging, “We think our brides love that, too!”

Shades of White by Rivkah Photo

Most of all, for the team at Shades of White, it has become an incredibly rewarding experience to work with brides and their wedding parties. They admit to often seeing their clients again when they purchase bridesmaids gowns for their friends’ weddings or special occasion dresses. “We love when we see our clients and have established really meaningful relationships with them!” says Amanda. “We know we have succeeded by the amount of clients’ weddings we are invited to!”

Amanda told us that, ideally, they will be able to help anyone looking for a special gown to wear when they commit a lifetime of love to that special someone, someone who is in love and looking for experienced people to help her put together her vision of beauty for her dream day… “The variety of people, cultures, ceremonies, and circumstances that have walked through our doors is nothing short of phenomenal. I can’t think of any other place I have worked or could work that brings me this involved in people’s lives with such a dynamic group of people”

The Shades of White experience….

Shades of White sprawls across over 3000 square feet of space at their Saanich Road address in Victoria BC. But they have no trouble filling every inch.

Shades of White offer a large selection of the gown and item styles within each of the designers they carry. And that includes sample sizes as well.

Amanda says, “We have something for everyone and we purchase well above our minimums to offer a bigger selection of styles.” In store, you’ll find well over 20 designer collections and 100 different bridesmaid styles in a variety of colors and sample sizes.  The layout also allows a personalized, intimate experience.

Bride, Amy, who was married on Aug. 25th, describes her experience looking for her ‘perfect’ gown. “I tried on what seemed like a thousand different dresses over three different visits to the store as, like most brides I’m sure, I wanted to make sure I had seen every option. I got to try on more styles and colours then I even knew existed. I knew…when I finally selected the dress of my dreams… there was no doubt in my mind this was “the” dress.”

Amy loved how she was able to make shopping part of the wedding experience for the women in her life. “My favourite memory was being able to come into the store with all my bridesmaids and my mother and spending hours trying on dress after dress. This made everyone feel like they were really a part of the most important day in my life. I will never forget having that special time with all the special women in my life.”

When you enter the spacious showroom, one of the Shades of White girls will greet you and talk to you about the vision you have for the wedding day; colors, feeling, theme and more. She says that brides are encouraged to come in with ideas and pictures but that they also love to work with the bride who is a blank slate and in need of total guidance. “We really like to create a relationship and get a feel of what she is looking for and then cater the experience to her.”

Amy certainly felt she had this experience. “I felt like Amanda was a part of the family she was so friendly and easy going. Her input and expertise were priceless. Her eye for what would look good on me was bang on. I ended up choosing the first dress she picked out for me to try on!”

Kathleen, who was married July 6th, loved the selection and energy in the store. “There were always lots of help and sales girls on the floor. I have three friends getting married this summer and told them all about how I had no stress with the girls at Shades of White. And how upbeat and helpful there were!”

Amy agreed, also finding the girls to be an amazing help. “I felt as though there were no other brides in the store.  I had their undivided attention the whole time! “

Amanda says they love to work with a bride’s vision, but admits that often, brides end up with something quite different than what they had originally thought they would. “Keeping an open mind will really help a bride look her best on her wedding day.”

Kathleen really had to keep an open mind when, after buying her first dress at Shades of White, she discovered she was pregnant! Back to Shades of White she went, where Laurie found another dress that would make Kathleen look beautiful and work with the situation. Kathleen was amazed with all the help she received. “Laurie just made it work and she was awesome. We worked with the seamstresses and the dress turned out to be perfect.”

Amy also appreciated the seamstresses when it came to alterations on her dress. “The seamstress was absolutely amazing. I had a very intricate, all-lace dress that I did not want to put in the hands of just anyone. I knew the seamstress at Shades of White had tons of experience, not just with lace, but with my particular dress.”

Once you have found ‘the dress’, they continue through the sizing process and, together, order in the most appropriate size gown in her chosen color. Once the gown arrives, they have you in it as soon as possible (who could wait, really?!) and start the alterations process with the two onsite seamstresses.

Destination bride Nicolette loved that “the gals at the store were so wonderful, they kept me in the loop at all times as to when the dress would be arriving as I had not yet decided if I should purchase an airline ticket and come back out that way to try to dress on and bring it home or if we should just have the dress shipped here to Winnipeg and get any alterations done here. They were patient with me!”

Once the dress is perfect, and you have chosen all the right accessories, they store the gown until the day before the wedding – at which time they freshly steam the gown and send it on its way for you to marry your love!

 

A few of our favourite things…

♥ We love the Monday Musings and Wedding Wednesday blog entries, which happen every week! They’re always filled with fun and info 
♥ Shades of White supports Bid for Bliss in support of the Victoria Hospice Society, the J.L.A. (Just Love Animals) Society, the Essential Elements of Style black tie fashion gala in support of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation BC/Yukon, as well as organizing their own prom dress giveaways to girls in need.
♥ We love Amanda’s take on trends right now. “We are certainly seeing a lot more lace; vintage gowns with classic features are on the rise! Gowns with sleeves, mirage necklines and unique back features are flowing into our shop… But don’t worry, the classic strapless look is here to stay and we still hold dearly onto those as well.”
♥ Shades of White carries a great prom dress selection, with a fun shopping experience to go with it.

 

 

You can afford to shop here!

Shades of White offers a variety of gowns, shoes and accessories at affordable prices. Bridal Gowns vary in price from $229 to $3000 and bridesmaids’ gowns range from $149-$389. They have many sample sales throughout the year with gowns starting at as little as $29!

Amy was really happy with the prices at Shades of White. “Prices were within my budget for sure. I had shopped around and I found most places that carried my dress to be quite a bit pricier, with less attention to me as a customer!”

“I would absolutely recommend the store to anyone. It’s the staff that makes a store what it is, and finding the perfect dress. They are in tune and talented and figured out what the customer needs even if the customer does not know at the time, they know their stock well and found the perfect dress for me that I did not even know existed! They made everything easy!” – Nicolette

Details, details, details…

● Gowns range from $299 to $3000 for brides, and $149 to $389 for bridesmaids and the wedding party.
● The shop offers gowns, jewellery, accessories, and just about anything else you need to dress a wedding party.
● Shades of White staff are happy to welcome walk-ins, though they do strongly encourage making an appointment at a time that’s convenient for you – to avoid any wait lists; particularly on Saturdays.
● Staff recommend purchasing your wedding gown at least 7 months ahead of your wedding.

Shades of White Bridal Bouttique

Contacting Shades of White

To contact the staff at Shades of White, you can call them at 250-475-1220, email them at info@shadesofwhite.com or visit their website at www.shadesofwhite.com. Their showroom is located at 3497 Saanich Road in Victoria, across from Uptown Shopping Centre.

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