Picking a wedding dress might be one of biggest decisions a bride has to make. There are dozens of TV shows dedicated to the drama that comes with slipping in and out and in and out and… in and out of countless dresses until one hits the dreamy spot. Granted, for others their vision in white comes to them as quickly as it did the moment they met their fiancé; it was love at first sight.
Regardless, for a wedding, you need to wear something – and the style options are endless. Guelph has no shortage of charming, boutique-style, independently-run bridal shops – four within five-minutes walking distance of each other in the downtown core. That makes Guelph one of the best destinations for any bride.
Bridal shopping should be a joy. And these shop owners want to make shopping for the dress as magical as the wedding day itself. They’re dedicated to making the adventure of picking the perfect white (or crème, or off-white, or vivid white (there are just so many whites!)) a memorable addition to the wedding planning. Guelph will leave you not only with the “I’ve said yes to the dress” moment, but also with an Instagram-worthy day celebrating this hefty victory.
We suggest blaring classics like “Then He Kissed Me” by The Crystals or their appropriate and sweetly sung “Goin’ To The Chapel”, as you travel downtown. Keep that fun playlist in your head (or blare it, it’s your day!) and park the car at one of our many downtown lots because this is a walking tour of bridal shops. Starting at the Wyndham Street lot we want you and your flock to take a stroll up Eramosa Road, over the bridge to Arthur Street to the cute and quaint shop of Sixpence Bridal Studio located in the heart of redbrick residential homes from decades gone by.
One of four bridal shops in downtown, Sixpence Bridal Studio stands on its own as the only consignment boutique in Guelph. They offer once worn designer dresses, in great condition, at a discounted price. With the money saved here, you’ll have more for relishing in other elements of the wedding process.
“Each appointment is an intimate experience as the bride and her guests have the whole studio to themselves, as well as their own personal bridal consultant,” says owner, Jacqueline Riddell.
If this is the place that gives you that tearful moment, then you’re done! But if curiosity has the best of you, or you still need to look a little more, we want you to head on a short, but lovely tree-lined walk to the Red Brick Café. Here’s your chance to get a ‘hug in a mug’ to calm your nerves, excitement and exhilaration.
Just around the corner from this tucked away coffee shop is the Guelphite-fave Old Quebec Street Shoppes. A jewel box amidst the madness of downtown, you’ll find a multitude of precious stores like Plant, an ornamental horticulture retail store, carrying cacti, succulents, and lush tropical foliage – perfect options for the modern wedding. Give a twist to classic bridal showers or bachelorettes with fun and interactive workshops for the ladies in tow. At Muse Studio and Market you can all get creative with their sign-making workshops (hey, you might need these for your ceremony and reception. It’s a win-win!).
But you’re really there for the pearl in the shell, Crème Couture, a shop that can dress every lady in the bridal party: brides, mothers, bridesmaids, flower girls and maids of honour.
Michèle Gray, owner of Crème Couture doesn’t want to discount the many men who accompany their daughters, sisters and fiancés to these appointments. “We have to give a shout out to Moe’s shawarma and hot dog stand in St. George’s Square at the entrance to the shoppes, [not to mention] The Wooly Pub is a little further up the road, but still a unique place where dads can be left while brides enjoy an appointment.”
Literally, a few steps away from the Shoppes is Quebec Street itself, and amongst the street is our go-to spot for shopping and services with dozens of unique stores carrying handmade items, vintage finds, sustainably-made and fair-trade goods and clothes like Shop B and Kennedy Park. But what’s a girly day out without a stop at The Ten Spot, a beauty bar, where your posse will appreciate a little pedi from all the walking you’ve been doing?
Once you’re polished and dry, hit up Miijidaa for that much needed lunch because you’ve all worked up an appetite. It’s a local fan-fave and it will not disappoint. According to the shop owner of Tilted Veil, Heather Boutilier, your next bridal shop, “Mijiidaa’s food is one of the best. Their sandwiches are soooo good and the salads are amazing and the drinks are incredibly unique.” Tilted Veil carries extremely unique dresses; some are only found in this shop in all of Canada. Don’t forget to book your private appointment ahead of time because they serve just the bride and her party, and Heather wants you to feel as if the shop is the bride’s personal closet.
Just around the corner from your shopping retreat is Brothers Brewery Co. adorned with a bridal shop atop it like a wedding cake topper. Nestled inside the third floor of the heritage Petrie Building, which was built in 1882, The Modern Bride not only promises gorgeous gowns, but equally gorgeous views of the city and our crowning statement, the Basilica of Our Lady Immaculate. Maybe we can tick another box on the wedding to-do list. Can you say ceremony, done?
Mother-daughter team, Donna and Jess of The Modern Bride agree “if you’re looking for royal-wedding-esque vibes, be sure to check out the stunning and recently restored [church perched up on Cork Street hill].” Here you can walk out with a dress that’ll make you feel and look as statuesque as the stunning steeples. The Modern Bride specializes in an experience for the contemporary bride and you’ll be sure to be awed by dresses outside of the mainstream.
You did it. You warped and wove your way in and out of tulle, ribbons and lace. A toast to you! It’s time to celebrate, lady! Just head downstairs to that brewery we mentioned. Clink some mugs of craft beer in this cool brewery with mellow vibes, connoisseurs and special brews. After a celebratory bevie, you’re ready for your last stop, a pizza dinner at Guelph’s best Italian restaurant, Buon Gusto. Live it large. You bought the dress!
Before you leave, may we suggest you consider a few more stops that might be worth your while to continue the wedding planning.
For the wedding day, imagine getting ready with a robust, hot cup of Guelph’s own fair-trade, organic, locally roasted coffee from Planet Bean. With three locations, you can stop on your way out of town and bring home a pound or two. Of course there’s the bachelorette. Make sure to make your way into TOMME Cheese Shop. Treat yourself to a variety of sophisticated cheeses that will pair perfectly with some wine.
And we want you to come back to visit the Royal City as this is the perfect getaway for newlyweds. Get cozy on Carden Street. Start off with espresso and daily baked French pastries handmade by Eric at his namesake bakery, Eric The Baker. After some shopping at POD and Casual Gourmet, slow down at the recently opened wine bar, Two Faces, but continue on for an indulgence at 39 Carden Street Bistro for dinner, and commemorate the night with a concert at the River Run Centre just a short walk from this bustling, yet old fashioned and charming street that reminisces 1800s Guelph.
And since we’re talking weddings, let’s just say we’re biased, but we think we host the most beautiful ones. Guelph is a harmonious blend of charismatic history and energetic, modern influences. Goldie Mill Ruins, Guelph Lake, the University of Guelph Arboretum, the list goes on. We’re known for the abundance of green space, landscapes, and breathtaking backdrops for your wedding.
In Guelph, we’ll help you check off at least one, if not more, boxes from the wedding to-do list. But mostly, indulge! This is a moment not to be rushed. Soak in the experience. Go for the dress, and get inspired for the rest.