Recently opened on Cambie Street, Rituals of Love Bridal is like a page out of a fairytale.
As if a room in a far away castle had opened it’s doors with gentle handmaidens standing by to serve you. Soft sheepskin rugs cover old floorboards and everything is white.
There are enormous mirrors with soft cotton curtains drawn, allowing an intimate space to try on beautiful wedding gowns. Plush chaise lounges linger by to welcome dear friends and family. The gathered watch and wait as the bride to be steps out wearing the perfect dress.
An audible sound appears, as many hearts together beat all at once.
She’s stunning. This moment. That dress. A memory made forever; A Ritual of Love.
We spent a while with owner and curator, Samantha Hallaran.
What inspired the concept?
I got married in 2014 in Vancouver and I had a very difficult time finding a wedding dress. I found quite a lot of the stores to be too traditional, hard to work with and many expected me to have a $5000 + budget before I tried to make an appointment. I tried Bridal Row out in New Westminster with their factory like settings and impersonal service. That didn’t work out either. I ended up in Kleinfelds in New York and it was essentially the same thing. Eventually I settled on a dress back here in Vancouver from Bisou Bridal that ended up being something totally different. After I got married, we moved to San Francisco. One day, I was with my girlfriend helping her buy a wedding dress. We walked into this store and completely fell in love with the surroundings. It was small, intimate and had a boutique feel with very modern designed gowns. That experience had an impact on me and I felt there was a need for something similar here in Vancouver.
How did the name come about?
I always thought it would be easy to name a business. Finding the right name is actually difficult. When I was looking for a wedding dress, the process felt very transactional and not at all intimate. It was lacking the beauty of having friends and family close by, in creating and sharing such an important moment in ones life. When buying a dress you are creating a sacred ceremony. You will probably not spend that amount of money again on a gown. It is a sacred piece of clothing acquired within a sacred experience. We see it as a ritual; a ritual of love. We are about the memory and finding something unique to the wearer rather than just an over the counter transaction.
Vancouver is relatively, a young city. I am drawn to things that are storied. An old room with its hard wood floors, leaded windows and exposed brick. I also love interior design. I would have found it very difficult to create this space anywhere else in the city. Gastown is funkier and edgier than a lot of Vancouver. Clients can go out for brunch or drinks after their time here. I love Gastown and plan on living close to the boutique. The clientele that are attracted to the neighbourhood are such that appreciate a more boutique experience, the vibe found here and the type of dresses we carry. We curate everything and that is really what the Gastown experience is all about.
Exciting things coming up for Rituals Of Love?
We just opened in September and have had a fantastic response. We plan to start collaborating with local wedding vendors and young, inspiring females to do workshops here in the boutique. We have a 3-hour floral workshop coming up with Serpent Botanicals, which includes drinks and food. We will also be doing some art workshops and other fun creative stuff.