STYLE

'Say Yes to the Dress Canada' on W Network brings tears and taffeta north

01/05/2015 12:16 EST | Updated 03/07/2015 05:59 EST
TORONTO - Whether south of the border or here in Canada, there's one thing fans can count on in "Say Yes to the Dress": nearly every bride cries when she puts on her veil.

For bridal stylist Joseph Spencer, that weepy final moment is what makes all his efforts worthwhile.

"It's very emotional," he said in a recent interview. "Of course, when they're crying, we're crying joy tears. That's really what it is. It's nothing sad. That emotion comes out when they finally see themselves."

Helping brides find their dream gown is Spencer's goal in "Say Yes to the Dress Canada," which premieres Wednesday with back-to-back episodes on W Network. Packed with tears and taffeta, the Canadian version of the hit reality series features dress-seekers from Newfoundland to British Columbia.

The series is shot in Amanda-Lina's Sposa Boutique in Woodbridge, Ont. Owner Rachelle Pollari brings her eye for design to the series, carefully tailoring and adjusting until every detail is perfect for each woman's big day.

As in the U.S. series, the act of choosing a wedding dress draws out a lot of drama. Brides must contend with a barrage of opinions from friends and family — especially mothers who want to see their daughters follow in their footsteps, said Spencer.

"Maybe they didn't wear a gown. Maybe they wore a cocktail dress. Maybe they wore hand-me-downs," he said. "You see the mothers there and they're dreaming about themselves. So yes, sometimes you get that conflict because the daughter has her own ideas."

But Spencer said he likes to remind women that it's their day, their decision.

"This is your day. You have seven people wanting this, this and this," he said. "Think of it as yours. If you can't make a decision that's fine, you can come back. But the final decision is yours.

"We always listen to the bride. Because it is her day, we want to make sure she's getting everything she wants."

Both Spencer and Pollari have long careers in women's fashion. Spencer has worked for Chanel and Holt Renfrew and dressed Bette Midler and Aretha Franklin. Pollari has been running Amanda-Lina's Sposa Boutique with her husband since 1995.

Pollari said she has seen more women recently asking for a wider variety of colours for their wedding dresses.

"Especially blush and champagnes and golds, because a lot of people are having rustic weddings and barn weddings. It's such a trend now," she said.

During their joint interview, both Pollari and Spencer became emotional when reflecting on their time filming the first season of the series. Spencer described the experience as "magical."

Pollari said she's just thrilled that Canadian brides now have their own version of "Say Yes to the Dress."

"Anyone can apply and be on. It's really a nice opportunity. It's not just the budget or anything like that," she said. "They choose you because you are Canadian and you're just as special as anyone else."

— Follow @ellekane on Twitter.

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