Canada Says Yes to the Dress

Turns out Canadian ladies love ruching, drop waists, sweetheart and bling on their wedding dresses too. So I learned watching (while checking the spelling of “ruching”) the first two episodes of Say Yes to the Dress Canada, debuting Wednesday on W Network.

And while I may have been surprised by the excitement, tears and drama generated during wedding dress fittings–complete with eye rolls and judgyness from the bride-to-be’s entourage–it wasn’t new to bridal stylist Joseph Spencer.

“The bride is the most important thing,” Spencer explains. “We listen to the bride and get her feeling. We know when she turns in the mirror what she’s feeling in the gown, even though her mother, sister, friend or brother isn’t interested in it or are negative. When a dress is right and they come out, it’s magical. They’re wearing the gown, the gown is not wearing them, they glow and the crying starts.”

Spencer, in the business for over 40 years, and Rachelle Pollari, co-owner of Amanda-Lina’s Sposa Boutique in Woodbridge, Ont., serve as the backbone of Say Yes to the Dress Canada, the series’ advisors and supporters through the girls’ journey to find the perfect frock for their wedding day. W Network’s iteration of the series doesn’t deviate from the U.S. franchise in its structure–future brides seek out the perfect dress and take a twirl in front of family and friends–but Pollari notes one big difference: money.

“There are a lot more girls who have a budget in mind rather than in the U.S.,” Pollari explains. “Price in the U.S. is almost no object. In the U.S. I’ve seen prices from $5,000 to $10,000 to $15,000. We carry that range, but we find the Canadian girl is more conservative and wants to have a dress that looks like $10,000 but cost $1,500.” That can be a challenge for Pollari and her staff, but they try their best to facilitate a bride’s requests, including combining two dresses into one.

“Show me a picture and I’ll make it!” she laughs. The ladies who travel from across the country in Season 1 include Canadian Olympic bobsledder Emily Baadsvik; Sharon, whose 88-year-old matron of honour and grandmother weigh in on her choices; two best friends who shop for dresses together; and a bride who has gone through 50 dresses prior to visiting the Pollari’s boutique.

Wednesday’s first two back-to-back episodes, “Men on Deck” and “Preconceived Notions,” are entertaining fare, the former featuring male friends and family members who weigh in on the brides’ choices while the latter boasts brides who entered the shop thinking they wanted one thing only to waver when it comes to the big decision. The gals all leave after saying “yes” to the dress, ensuring their wedding dreams will come true.

Say Yes to the Dress Canada airs Wednesdays at 10 and 10:30 p.m. ET on W Network.