Contrary to what TLC’s Say Yes to the Dress may have you believe, bridal wear is no longer dominated by sweetheart necklines, comically sized bows and over-the-top ballgown situations that look better suited for an ill-fated My Super Sweet 16 reboot. In fact, brides looking to skirt wedding-dress convention now have more choice then ever, thanks to an emergence of brands in recent years that are crafting iconoclastic jumpsuits, blazer dresses and boho-inspired frocks that are anything but basic. Here are some of our favourites—all of them available in Vancouver.
French designer Rime Arodaky challenges the idea of the wedding dress altogether with tulle-trimmed blazers, flared one-pieces and cigarette-pant jumpsuits complete with hand-embroidered trains. For those committed to saying “I do” in a gown, there are long-sleeved pieces with polka-dot tulle, crop-top-and-mermaid-skirt combos and a variety of impossibly chic above-the-knee frocks that will banish any fears of tripping on your train on the big day. From $4,500 to $7,500 at Union Bridal (207 W Hastings St.).
Elika in Love
West Coast ease meets French elegance in Vancouver-based Elika in Love’s bridal wear, which features plunging necklines, scalloped-lace edges and all-over Mother Nature-inspired motifs that capture the beauty of falling leaves and crashing waves. The brand makes comfy dresses in shorter lengths and off-white hues that offer plenty of room for movement (i.e. dancing and nabbing another slice of cake), too. From $400 to $3,500 at elikainlove.com.
Drawing inspo from photography and architecture, Aussie-based Temple makes big-day gowns for the artsy, old-soul crowd. The brand uses raw silk and emphasizes hand-beaded techniques in all its pieces, which include long-sleeved blouse-and-skirt sets, elegant slip dresses with dramatic tulle capes and flowing off-the-shoulder gowns that exude a breezy, boho-chic vibe. Price by request at Rituals of Love (#216–309 W Cordova St.).
The darling of Vancouver’s bridal scene, Truvelle effortlessly marries traditional silhouettes with unconventional details. Two-toned gowns are cinched with satin ties, Art Deco-inspired frocks feature subtle ombre effects and open-back dresses boast handy hidden pockets. The brand makes its gowns in plus sizes, and its sister label, Laudae, also follows a fresh, not-your-mama’s-wedding-dress aesthetic. From $2,125 to $2,865 at Lovenote Bride (235 Cambie St.).
Rue de Seine
Rue de Seine may have been born on the streets of Paris, but its roots are firmly planted in the bohemian movement. Think indigo-tinged gowns adorned with dip-dyed tassels, lace frocks with knotted fringe and crop-top-and-skirt sets complete with tie fronts and billowing off-the-shoulder sleeves. Coachella, but make it wedding apropos. From $3,500 to $4,800 at Union Bridal.
Park and Fifth
If walking down the aisle in an affordable gown you can wear after the wedding is your goal, make Park and Fifth a stop on your dress-hunting tour. The Vancouver-based brand makes sleek, sophisticated dresses (with the option to mix and match your favourite bodice and skirt) in Japanese crepe, lace and chiffon that would work equally well for beachside nuptials, garden parties and Diddy-style all-white soirees. From $600 to $1,300 at Park and Fifth (#240–430 Railway St.).