Dressing decisions
Finding the perfect bridal wear without flying South

Cindy MacDougall
Northern News Services

Finding the perfect wedding dress can be an adventure for Yellowknife brides.

With no bridal shop in town, some women think they have to send for their silk and satin down South.

However, having a wedding gown hand-made in Yellowknife may save money and can provide a unique bridal look.

Janet Stevens, of The Sewing Room, said a beautiful wedding dress, as well as bridesmaids' gowns, can be made quickly and inexpensively.

"I'll take about 20 hours to finish a wedding dress," she said. "I've made dresses for as little as $600, and half of that is the cost of material."

The most expensive dress she ever made was a graduation gown, which sold for $1,200.

"And that was massive lace appliques," she said.

Stevens said today's brides are choosing less ornate dresses, with simpler lines and designs.

"Girls no longer want crinolines," she said, "but still want appliques and beads."

Berna Beaulieu makes fancier dresses, but with a Northern touch. Her company, Creations by Berna, designs and makes Dene formal wear, including popular white hide dresses with embroidery and bead work.

"I have six bookings now just for weddings. I need another me!" Beaulieu said, laughing.

All of Beaulieu's works are originals which incorporate the bride's wishes with Dene arts. She said she doesn't know why people have turned back to their roots for wedding wear.

"I think it was a gradual deterioration as the older people died," she said. "Nowadays, there's all sorts of distractions. People want (traditional gowns) but don't have the time to make it themselves."

Beaulieu's gowns sell between $1,600 to $2,100.

Stevens said having a dress made in Yellowknife ensures it can be adjusted throughout the process.

"If the bride's dress is what the bride wants and fits beautifully, everything else falls into place," she said.

As for the groom and his attendants, tuxedo rental is available in town.

Vicki Tompkins of For Men Only said a tux can be rented for as little as $99.

She said many grooms are looking for classic yet comfortable looks.

"Comfort is a big thing, especially if they're not used to wearing a suit," Tompkins said.

Some grooms choose to forgo the tux, she said.

"Some men are choosing to buy a regular suit, or a pair of dress pants and a nice shirt," said Tompkins. "It all depends on how formal the wedding."