Wedding Planning

Say Yes to the Dress Canada: Joseph’s No. 1 Tip

Find out why bridal stylist Joseph Spencer wants you to shop alone—and which magic silhouette suits every size


Joseph Spencer, your wedding gown guru on Say Yes to the Dress Canada

Say Yes to the Dress began as a little show about wedding gown shopping at the tony bridal salon Kleinfeld New York, but the reality series’ addictive drama (and dress porn) soon made it the anchor to TLC’s Friday Bride Day lineup. Now, Canuck brides-to-be will be the ones hemming and hawing, arguing, judging and, ultimately, weeping with joy at the sight of themselves in the perfect gown: Say Yes to the Dress Canada (W Network, Wednesdays, 10 p.m.), set in Amanda-Lina’s Sposa Boutique in Woodbridge, Ontario, begins tonight. Canada’s answer to Kleinfeld New York’s beloved fashion director and SYTTD host Randy Fenoli? Bridal stylist Joseph Spencer, who retired from Holt Renfrew last year after 12 years as their designer evening gown specialist (he’s also worked for Chanel, and dressed Aretha Franklin, Bette Midler and Patti Labelle). His No. 1 tip on finding your dream dress might surprise you.

If you have no idea what you want to wear on your wedding day, how do you begin shopping? The most important thing to do before you actually make an appointment is to go and try on gowns by yourself. Get a feeling for the dresses and the silhouette that’s right for you. Speak to the specialist and try a few things on.

Really? I’m surprised to hear you suggest shopping alone! Finding a wedding dress is all about you and your body—the silhouette, the fit. There are so many things women don’t realize until they put on a gown. If you go on your own first, you’ll know what doesn’t work for you before you bring in your sister, mother, grandmotherbecause everyone has an opinion.

Is there one magic silhouette that will flatter everyone? Yes. The fit-and-flare. I don’t think there’s a woman who won’t fit into that gown—I’m talking everyone from size 0 to 24. It’s beautifully fitted in to the upper body, and then it’s an A-line shape from the hip to the floor. I always say, “If you’re feeling uncomfortable with your body, try that gown on.” It’s one of my favourites.

What do you do in that moment when a women has that look on her face, she’s in love, but you know the dress doesn’t suit her? I just have to say what I feel. For example, if a bride is wearing a sweetheart neckline and showing too much of her upper body, I would tell her. I would still suggest a sweetheart, but a slightly higher cut. But of course, if she’s saying, “I wanna go to Vegas and be a sexy girl!” then that’s just what she has to do. And that’s OK! Listening to your bride is the most important thing.

What’s one piece of advice you always share with brides? The back of the gown is just as important as the front. Make sure you love your dress from every angle.

See 30 dream dresses in our 2015 bridal trends gallery