Tovè Ryan sells like-new consignment wedding dresses at White Bridal Boutique in Lantzville. Photo by Tamara Cunningham

North Island wedding fair coming to Courtenay on Sunday

Head to the Florence Filberg Centre for the first annual Hitched Wedding and Events Affair brought to you by Black Press

Planning a wedding or event on the North Island? Or maybe just looking for something fun to do on a Sunday afternoon?

Head to the Florence Filberg Centre in Courtenay for the first annual Hitched Wedding and Events Affair brought to you by Black Press and the ladies of the Comox Valley Real Estate Group, Carla Arnold, Andrena Koch-Schulte and Nicole Minions.

You will be greeted at the main entrance with beverages from 40 Knots Winery and Wayward Distillery and treats by Tria Catering.

Though the event is free, you will be asked to register to enter for the grand prize — a return trip for two from Pacific Coastal Airlines!

Carla Arnold, Andrena Koch-Schulte and Nicole Minions of the Comox Valley Real Estate Group are the title sponsors for Sundays Hitched Wedding and Events Affair. (Photo by Ali Roddam)

A fashion show will run twice during the day, featuring local businesses and the latest styles, and the floor will feature booths from the best of the best in the region, like White Bridal Boutique in Lantzville.

Entrepreneur Tovè Ryan is bringing her love of consignment shopping to White Bridal Boutique, a wedding dress shop that’s all about re-use and re-love. Ryan bought White Bridal Boutique, in the seaside community of Lantzville, last August. It’s her first foray into the bridal industry, but she’s no stranger to consignment. “It’s my favourite pastime, like to get together with a girlfriend or by myself and go consignment shopping,” said Ryan, who also started consigning everything years ago, including her two wedding dresses.

When Ryan was given the chance to buy the business, she took it, and has been putting her own stamp on the boutique, considered the only consignment bridal shop in the north and central Island. Brides-to-be can peruse new and gently used gowns, which go from $250 to $1,300, and buy off the rack. “A lot of people are impressed with that because you can get a Vera Wang dress in here, worth $4,000, for $1,200,” she said. “Some of my dresses are very simple and worth what they’re worth.”

Thirty per cent of the stock each month is new, says Ryan, who’s making an effort to also bring in local treasures like custom dresses for girls from Lantzville’s Lulu b Creations and bridal accessories by Nanaimo’s Blossom Beach.

Dave and Chantal decided a big wedding was too much stress, so they eloped and got married on a cliff overlooking Comox Lake. (Photo by McKinnon Photography)

People bring their wedding dresses into White Bridal Boutique for all kinds of reasons, Ryan said. It could be that the wedding was called off and there’s an unaltered dress with the tags still on, or a wedding gets planned a year in advance and the woman becomes pregnant, or sometimes a dress is bought because of a pressure sale and no longer wanted. There are also brides who feel their dress brought them luck and they want someone else to love it like they did. The concept of recycle, re-use and re-love is one of the things Ryan enjoys.

Dresses have to be in good to perfect condition and professionally dry-cleaned when they come into the store. They’re photographed and inventoried and then Ryan spreads the word about the dresses on her website and social media. Once sold, the bride gets 40 per cent. “You have to think of it as instead of sitting in your closet, it’s sitting in my closet, trying to sell it for you,” she said. Brides-to-be can make two hour appointments to try on dresses with their friends and family in a private affair. If they bring champagne, Ryan will supply the glasses. She said most brides will buy something they didn’t think they’ll buy, and when they do find that perfect dress, Ryan said she usually gives them a big hug and congratulations. “I remember the day I bought my dress too,” she said. “It’s like a magical experience, I think, for most people.”

Hitched runs from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. this Sunday at the Florence Filberg Centre, 411 Aderton Ave. Courtenay. Find more information on the Hitched Facebook page and pick up a copy of Hitched Magazine for a taste of what the North Island has to offer when it comes to events.

*with files by Tamara Cunningham


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With the help of inclusive vendors on the North Island Zack and Dex had the wedding of their dreams at the Filberg Park and Lodge. Photo by McKinnon Photography

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