bridal stores toronto

Toronto bridal stores are still trying to help brides get ready for their wedding

Planning a wedding at any time can be a stressful undertaking, but even more so during a pandemic. This is why some bridal studios in the city have committed to helping brides prepare for the big day, whenever that may be, right now.

Bridal studio Papilio Boutique has launched an initiative to provide support for brides who might be feeling overwhelmed in the midst of this pandemic. Papilio’s regional manager Kristina Apel says the studio has seen a flood of anxious emails over the past few weeks.

“We receive like 10 to 15 emails a day,” Apel said. “People are worried, [asking questions] like, ‘how am I going to dress shop? I have a wedding in October, I have the wedding in November, when are you guys going to reopen? What are the delivery times?”

The studio’s support for brides is an attempt to assuage some of these anxieties.

The studio itself has been dramatically affected by the outbreak. It, along with all bridal stores across the city, have had to shut down their physical showrooms because of the provincial mandate that all non-essential businesses cease operation.

According to Apel, many boutiques that didn't offer an online store before the outbreak are having a difficult time.

But Papilio and another Toronto boutique, Sash & Bustle, are making forays into the virtual realm with digital consultations and online shopping options, all in an attempt to provide brides with the service they want.

Bridal boutique Sash & Bustle, for example, has launched visual appointments for a fee. According to their site, customers will be able to book a 45-minute appointment that will allow them to have a stylist show them a selection of dresses and accessories, and ask any question they desire.

The studio then allows brides the option, for a fee, to try the dresses they’ve selected on at home through a curb-side pick up option or a delivery option.

Papilio’s initiative is a bit different from Sash & Bustle’s. They are offering free online consultations in addition to various online discounts.

“Anyone who wants to have an online consultation, they don't need to buy anything,” Apel said. Instead, the consultation is to prepare brides for when the studio opens back up and they can have their appointments in person.

Papilio’s stylists will try the dresses on mannequins during the virtual consultations so that the brides can have a sense of how each item will sit on the body, Apel said.

When the studio reopens, which Apel hopes will be soon, Papilio will expedite production and delivery times for all orders, in addition to providing clients with store credit and a complimentary second appointment.

Papilio’s initiative also provides a significant discount for healthcare providers who are working the frontlines. This discount is running for the whole year and according to Apel it gives frontline workers 15 per cent off their order, and this 15 per cent is piled on top of any other discount that the garment has.

“We were looking to find a way to give back,” Apel said.

Apel says the studio is very aware of the difficulties the pandemic is putting many prospective brides through, and not just when it comes to a dress either. Goals and dreams, she says, are being shattered.

Before the pandemic Apel says “everybody was trying to get their dream to come true. Now, they have to forget about their wedding for another year. And some of them worry financially because they lost [their jobs],” she said.

If before the pandemic someone’s budget for a wedding was $2,000, it’s not that anymore, she says. “So that was a big impact.”

But for the moment, Papilio is working to sustain hope for clients and itself through its support initiative.

“People want to come [to the store],” Apel said. “That's why it gives us a hope that it's going to be okay for us when we reopen.”

Lead photo by

Herman Wong


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