Tag Archives: ugly wedding dresses

Best Toronto area bridal shops for wedding dress shopping

16 Jan

That’s me the day I picked up my wedding dress! I am twirling and smiling! My dress was Maggie Sottero’s Virginia

So I went to a ton of bridal shops in my seemingly neverending search for a wedding dress. Seriously, I looked for a long time to find a V neck, only to be told it was out of style and I would never find it. Listen when they tell you what you want is out of style. I was crazy to not believe them, but I don’t believe things until I see them myself.  I kept searching and searching anyway until 1 day before it would’ve been too late to order a dress in time. I ended up going with the third dress I ever tried on :S.

I went to nearly every store in Toronto, no joke. Almost a year later, my dad is still talking about it. He was a saint, patiently driving me around so that I could get a dress I loved. I have seen the good, bad and ugly of wedding shops and here’s the lowdown. This post reviews 16 stores. It’s a long, comprehensive list, but yes, I actually went to all these places over 5 months. It was exhausting. Note, these are all “affordable” places, except for one (of course, everyone’s idea of affordable is different, but I’m assuming $500 to $1,500 and mainstream dresses from the magazines). If you’re looking to spend $20Gs on a dress, I can’t help you.

I would love to read your personal experiences with these stores. Please leave stories in the comments section.

Mona Richie: I really wish I could have bought my dress from Mona, but she didn’t carry dresses from the designer that I ended up going with. Mona is patient and kind, and you can tell that she really cares about her “girls.” I nearly fainted in her store, and she ran to the fridge to get me something to drink and sat with me, even after store closing, until I was ok. That is amazing.  I’d say her store and Amanda-Lina’s are the biggest in the GTA and have the best selections, and Mona carries all the top of the line designers like Pronovias. Go to Mona! It will be one of the nicest shopping experiences you’ll ever have. She is in what I’ve dubbed the “wedding mall” of 4040 Steeles Ave. West in Woodbridge, where there’s about 10 other wedding dress, cake, favours, jewellery, and decor stores in the same strip mall.

Amanda-Lina’s: This store is huge, and has a beautiful selection of what I thought were the most fashionable wedding dresses, mother of the bride dresses, and bridesmaid dresses. They get a lot of the trunk shows early. The fitting rooms are huge and it is definitely magical to go outside into their section full of mirrors and see yourself in a wedding dress for the first time with their soft spotlights on you. You cannot be shy here as the consultants tell you to strip down so they can get you into the dress (I guess they don’t want people to damage the samples, which is fair). This store cuts out the designer labels from the dresses so you can’t come in with a style number — you actually have to bring them a photo of the dress you want to try on. This is where I found the dress I ended up buying but when I came back, they had sold the sample off at their January annual blowout sale so I couldn’t trace the dress but was lucky enough to find it elsewhere again. It worked out because it cost $400 less at the other store!

Superior Bridal: This is a smaller bridal shop in Markham, but the ladies here are a true gem. Vy and Elena (two sisters who are consultants) put up with my request for dress after dress, and never complained and were never, ever rude to me. At one point I got so frustrated that the type of dress I wanted was not in style and unavailable, that I started to cry. Elena took me aside and comforted me. That’s customer service + 1000. They didn’t carry the sample of the dress I wanted to buy, but because they carried the designer, they could still order it for me. I wanted to be sure that these guys got my money because of their amazing service. They charge a flat fee of $400 for alterations which I found rather expensive for mine, considering the size was fine, and all they’d have to do was cut off a bit of the bottom to hem it. They also get the trunk shows earlier than other shops.

Bridal and Beyond: This has two locations (one in Leaside, one in Mississauga). I’ve been to both. I found that the one in Mississauga had experienced bridal consultants and the one in Leaside had teenagers. Pick depending on the experience you want. If you need help figuring out what you want, go to Mississauga. If you want to be left alone to try on a bunch, go to Leaside. I found the prices here in line with the other places, and they were one of two stores in the city that had the sample of my dress (a large one, size 14). They also had the Disney by Alfred Angelo wedding gowns in stock to try on while others didn’t. The nice thing about this store too is that it has stuff like invitations, favours and other accessories, making it a one stop shop. I think they give you a membership card for discounts on other merchandise if you buy your dress here. Ask for Josie at the Mississauga one. They also have a great website that will tell you which location has which dress samples.

Impression Bridal: A warehouse type store in Mississauga that is the home of labels like Impression Bridal and Simone Carvalli wedding gowns.The lighting is super harsh, but the consultant, a fashion student at Ryerson, was very good. She said she had actually done fashion internships in Italy. I actually found what looked like a knock off of the dress I ended up getting. Only difference was the fabric and an extra flower on the belt. And $400. It was cheaper here. Didn’t go with this place because the fabric didn’t feel as nice and it was only available in a harsh bleach white which looked really bad on my pasty skin, but I have no complaints and recommend this place.

Windsor Bridal: This is on Orfus Road. Yes THE Orfus Road with all the outlet stores for cheap clothing . The dresses aren’t cruddy brands though, they have quality labels (I tried on Madison Collection, Mori Lee and Private Label by G) and they had received the new shipments before any of the other stores in the city. Large selection. Lighting is harsh and there can be a long wait for a consultant and fitting room, and customers are not allowed to touch the dresses which are closed up in clear garment bags…a little annoying because how are you supposed to find something if you can’t sort through their hundreds of dresses in racks? A consultant will help you in and out of the dress and you have a maximum of 8 and one hour. Bring a stopwatch. Wanna go back in time? Check out the outlet store next door with dresses out of an episode of Friends from 1994.

Beckers Bridal. This is the oldest store in the city. Consultants were helpful, but the store has a smaller selection than the places in Woodbridge, (which makes sense with Danforth real estate being slim). But it’s across the street from Chester station so probably the easiest of all boutiques to get to. They carry dresses by a particular designer (Barbara something) whose dresses are only sold in 3 stores (in Toronto, New York and Vancouver). They are made of  gorgeous silk and look great, but cost $3,500.  They did have the usual suspects like Pronovias though. And please do me and everyone a favour. The shop is small, so don’t bring your posse with you. One person is enough. I had to try on a dress with a girl’s entire family, bridal party and fiance spilling over into the area and staring at me. Very uncomfortable, especially because I was alone.

The Dress Room: Closed every single time we tried to call them or go there so no clue about this place. My friend got her Demetrios dress here on sale here for 50% off because it was a floor sample and she looked great. This is owned by the same people as Beckers Bridal.

Vogue Sposa: Down the street from Beckers Bridal on Danforth, with an even smaller selection. But had some unique Anjolique brand wedding dresses that I could not find in other stores. Staff was fine. They advertise their in-house designer on their website but those were more asymmetrical dresses that aren’t my thing.

Lowon Pope: These apparently are all designed at the store, which is amazing and exciting and great to support a locally operated business. So I went but turned right around once I looked in the window. This store has vintage style dresses for Olive Oyl (of Popeye fame) skinny things. Don’t bother heading out to Liberty Village if you ever ate a cheeseburger.

White Toronto: This is in Yorkville so make a stop at the bank first to plump up your wallet! Some dresses here go for $10 grand or more. I didn’t have too many dealings with them to judge their customer service. They were very polite on the phone when I called them for an appointment to their sample sale, their consultants were friendly and everyone was pretty civil at their blessed event. But just keep in mind that if you go here, the dresses are more haute couture than classic styles. You will actually find the lopsided, high fashion dresses that look like potato sacks on the models in Martha Stewart Weddings. That’s fine if that’s what you want, but just not my thing.

Chez Jordan: In the same plaza as Mona Richie and Veronica Di Santo (keep walking if you don’t wanna drop $5 Gs on a dress at Di Santo). Chez Jordan had nice sales clerks and an ok selection of dresses, including some really unique looking ones that I hadn’t seen in any other store. From their website it looks like they have an in house designer which would explain this. The sales lady said they also get stuff from European labels. Had a nice selection of mom dresses too.

Royalton gifts and Jewellery: This looks like a wedding favour and decor store but they snuck in some wedding dresses and mom dresses in the back. Ask for Teresa, she was really nice and patient. Has a bigger selection of bridesmaid dresses and had a few “out there” wedding gowns with see through bodices. Watch out in the wedding favour section, the ladies will be all over you so don’t show any sign of weakness. Go with an idea of what you want. My neighbours bought their favours here and they were super nice. This store has no website or I’d link, but its at 4040 Steeles along with Mona Richie.

David’s Bridal: This chain’s first Canadian stores opened AFTER I already bought my dress, so I can’t talk about my wedding dress personal experience there, but I know they do sell dresses for as low as $200 if that’s what you’re looking for, and they do have Vera Wang line that is more affordable. The Scarborough store was big, but the few times we went it was really crowded. My bridesmaids bought their dresses there. Great part was that they had lots of bridesmaids dresses in stock so the girls bought them off the rack.

Ritche: This is arguably the most famous bridal shop in the city, with ads on tv all the time and a wide selection. But they’ve got some pretty rude staff. Takes forever and a day to get an appointment, then you are either told to wait or told to leave. Read about my awful experience with these guys in my previous post. If you do go here, ask for Megan. She was the only nice one and seemed to know what she was doing.

Felichia bridal: Walked past here about a week after I got engaged so I was really excited and walked in to look at stuff on the rack. God forbid. One sales lady was helping someone with an appointment.  But the dude who was sipping a pop and reading a magazine at the front desk told me that no one could help me without an appointment and he looked a little annoyed that I had just waltzed in, even though I didn’t ask to try anything on.  I took that to mean “don’t bother even looking.” So I didn’t bother making the trek back to Yonge and Eglinton for this store. Don’t know how they treat you when you do have an appointment.


How to prevent wedding expo disasters. Part 2 of 2: survival guide

7 Jan

One of the fun parts of the bridal expo: The fashion show with all these gorgeous wedding dresses

After the overwhelming response from part 1 (how to use wedding shows to save money), here’s part 2 on how to physically survive an exhausting bridal show full of lots of standing, talking, lugging around brochures, and sugar overdosing. Bridal shows are great because you can talk to wedding vendors in person and avoid hours and hours and hours of Google search and phonecall time, all in one place. We tasted cakes at the wedding show and one was so good that we decided then and there that it would be our bakery. Took one thing off our list right away! When we went to buy was a pleasant experience.

  •  The most important tip: Go with your fiance!!! I can’t stress this enough. Number one, it’s his/her wedding too so they should have input. Number two, at Canada’s Bridal Show they called up the grooms on stage to do silly dances and the winner got a $5,000 diamond ring! A second set of eyes is great, and your fiance will be able to help you cut down on which vendors are a definite no so you can cut down on the number of heavy brochures you’ll have to lug around the rest of the day. You two are marrying to become a team, start practicing teamwork now!
  • Wedding expos are usually held at ginormous convention centers. This means don’t wear stilettos and don’t wear thick jackets. You will do lots of walking. You will get hot and bothered (literally, not figuratively). Today is time to put away the Louboutins and stick to the Nikes.
  •  The first items you will see when you walk in are the wedding magazines. Make these the LAST items you pick up.  Some of these are as thick as these ancient devices of the 80s called catalogues and phonebooks. I know you’re trying to get in shape for the wedding but you will get tired, fast if you pick them up first.
  • Figure out your nourishment strategy. You will need lots of energy to carry around all those brochures. Remember, convention centers often equal quality food like hot dogs or greasy pizza for $7 per slice. I personally went on a half-full stomach because I knew there would be cake samples. You don’t want to feel sick by stuffing your stomach full o’cake on top of a regular meal. I am also happy to say I did have a few lunches that consisted solely of cake :). Take this knowledge my child and do what is best for you.
  • In the last post we discussed how to get discounts at the wedding shows, but don’t assume everything is a bargain! Make SURE you shop around.  I’ve bitched and moaned about wedding price gouging on this blog over and over and over again. Just remember that you can get a lot of stuff you need from vendors that are not in the wedding show circuit, and don’t charge you your first born child as payment. The florist down the street from my parents’ house offered a MUCH better deal than the “wedding specialist florists.” They were still gorgeous, cheaper, and our florist knew the local church so there were no issues with deliveries. You can find much cheaper prices online even, on stuff like wedding invitations.

Sure this looks great, but talented florists can be found away from the wedding show circuit too.

  • Take the organizers.  These are agenda books with checklists and schedule on what order you should do your wedding-related tasks. These are full of ads, but very, very good in helping you plan the long list of things you’ll have to do and will point out things you may never have even thought of.
  • DON’T buy a clearance wedding dress at a bridal show! This will probably be your first exposure to wedding gowns and you will be so starry eyed about your new engagement, you will find every dress gorgeous. Don’t fall into the trap! You should look at photos of gowns in those magazines, and then go to a place where you can try on those dresses with good lighting and proper mirrors. That way you won’t be stuck with a clearance dress from two years ago that may be damaged (the lighting sucks! It might be damaged and not even the vendor knows it). Because you know as soon as you drop the cash you’ll see one in a magazine that you like better. You want to go to a place where you will have recourse in case there’s issues with your dress. I mean if you’re spending, $1,000 do you really want to get it at what is basically sidewalk sale? Seriously, it may be tough, but I promise you will have a better experience if you wait it out and go to a store. I will be posting about Toronto’s best bridal shops soon.
  •   Watch out for contests. There will be hundreds of vendors offering hundreds of contests. Some of these we’ve found weren’t actually “contests.” The vendors will call you back 2 weeks later saying you’ve “won” something, but in fact, everyone who entered “won.” And it often involves stuff like “winning $500 worth of stuff if you spend $2,000” or buy only their most expensive package.  Just be aware of which contests you’re actually interested in and how reputable the vendor is. . And added incentive to be careful. Blogger Rogue Bride found out her information was sold to scammers! If you do end up entering contests, some people suggest printing out stickers or business cards with your contact info in advance, so you don’t have to fill out endless forms all day. We didn’t do that, so it helped us cut down on the number entered.
  •  Focus on the owners to avoid “wedding vendor factories.” We found some photographers, for example, that have a pool of 20 photographers and you get some random one at your wedding. That means the one you get could have a completely different style from the one whose album you’re looking at. Focus on the places where the owners are the only photographers available and you know you’ll be getting what you paid for.

So hopefully you’ll have planned this out so the wedding show will be a fun experience. They can be overwhelming, but are worth it alone for the fashion shows. They bring out some fun DJs, and you can drool over wedding dresses in action on the catwalk. I hope you have fun at your shows and come out ahead and congrats on your engagement!

A bridesmaid dress on sale at the bridal show for just $30! I wouldn’t make the bridesmaids buy on the spot with no colour selection, but you can wear this at your rehearsal dinner, or bachelorette. Look great, and it’s cheap.

Some wedding shows in the Toronto area: Canada’s Bridal Show. The Total Wedding Show. The Wedding Co. Show. The Wedluxe Wedding show, the National Bridal Show.

Real Housewife Kim Zolciek’s wedding dress: Dismal damask

18 Nov

So up in Canada, the “Real Housewives” shows are on channels that cost extra, so I’ve never seen an episode and never seen the need to download any of the 6,000 permutations of the show. So no clue who this Kim Zolciek woman is.

However, I saw this photo in a celeb mag and couldn’t resist sharing this trainwreck dress with you all.

I assume she was going for a Marie Antoinette look, but all I can think of is that a monster ate up sheets, curtains and upholstery and then threw up this gem.  What is that god awful crumply thing in the hips?!?!?! Ewwww. Ewwww. Ewwww.

I like how her dress is indistinguishable from the curtains in this photo!

Maybe she was going for Scarlett O’Hara’s famous “curtain dress” look. For you youngins, here’s an explanation of what I’m talking about from the old movie “Gone With the Wind.”

I’m sure that whoever designed the first Damask pattern had seat cushions in mind, rather than Zolciek’s $58,000 dress. Damask inventor is rolling over in their grave.

This dress takes the whole concept of “color, texture, pattern, shine”  to a whole ‘nother level.

And an aside: is it just me or does this thing make her look waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay older than the 33-years-old that they claim she is?

Unhappy bride is back with a new focus!

15 Nov

I gave up on this blog right after the wedding in July of 2011, (I had tons of stuff to do, we went on an amazing Mediterranean cruise honeymoon, and husband thought that venting on here was just making me more upset about some stuff than I needed to be).

But I just logged in and saw a ton of hits on this blog, even though it has been inactive since August. This has me thinking that since there’s 100s of people a day coming here and looking for help with their wedding, who am I to stop helping?

I’m still going to throw in my two cents about celebrity weddings, (it feels good to snark it up sometimes), but I’m also going to try and help you guys cut down on wedding costs, and handle some sticky situations like pushy parents or judgmental bridesmaids.   I will also talk about some of the challenges we are facing as newlyweds (major! Husband likes eating chicken nuggets. Nothing else. I come from an Italian family! I feed the soul!)

Too bad I can’t change the username to reflect that I am happily married, had a lovely wedding, but was just annoyed at all the wedding drama.

I hope I can be some help to you, please leave some feedback!


Guest Post! Kate Middleton stole my wedding dress!

3 Jun

I was miffed when I saw Kate Middleton’s wedding dress looked kind of like my own. Take away the lace on the top, and it’s my wedding dress, down to the pleats, which are pretty rare nowadays. The saving grace on mine is a flower belt.

Kate Middleton's wedding dress

But my whining’s got nothing on poor Bonfire Night Bride, who basically had every element of her dress totally stolen by the new Duchess of Cambridge.

Ever seen the E! News segment “bitch stole my look?”

Here is Bonfire Night Bride’s lovely guest post about what it was like learning that her gorgeous dress had been snatched, and how she came to terms with sharing the dress with Middleton. Visit her blog and show your support!


I may be British but that doesn’t automatically mean I’m a royalist. I have never had a reason to love or loathe the Royal Family; I can take them or leave them. I’m sure I’d feel differently if I knew them personally but as I don’t I found it difficult to get overenthusiastic about the Royal Wedding. Some may call me miserable and lacking in national high spirits, I say it’s because my interest in and excitement about my own wedding that’s taking place in November this year has taken total precedent over anything else this past couple of years.

From the moment I started dress hunting not long after our engagement in August 2009 I knew exactly what I wanted – something beautiful, vintage inspired, demure and timeless. Something that is not easy to find in the stores these days. Strapless dresses have never appealed to me but other styles of wedding dress are few and far between. It is for this reason that I decided to design my own and take it to a dress maker.

In January this year I entered a competition on the UK wedding blog Love My Dress (http://www.lovemydress.net) to win my dream wedding dress designed by myself and made by bridal dressmaking company House of Mooshki (http://www.houseofmooshki.com). I submitted my design and unfortunately didn’t win but I was a runner up, the girls at House of Mooski stating they were extremely excited about my design – a beautiful ivory long sleeved appliqué lace and tulle full skirted dress with fitted bodice, a buttoned down back and long train.

Fast forward to Royal Wedding day. I had worked a night shift the previous night so had a valid excuse to not have to sit and watch the whole ceremony, choosing to catch snippets on the news later in the instead. If the truth be told the only thing that I had been remotely interested in is seeing what Middleton had chosen to wear. Imagine my horror when catching my first glimpse of the blushing bride.

 Ivory appliqué lace on tulle – check.

Long sleeves – check.

Fitted bodice – check.

Full skirt – check.

Long train – check.

Button down back – check.

 Hmm… great. My heart literally sank into my metaphorical boots. I’m in no way stating that this design is exclusive to me. It is a classic Grace Kelly style that I’d always dreamed of wearing on my wedding day, not only in fitting with my body shape and wedding theme but as a huge deviation from the strapless norm of recent times. The long sleeves are also to compliment the time of year – a November wedding calls for something that will keep me warm! But Middleton… sleeves in April, really? To our wedding guests that aren’t aware of my design submission to my dressmaker well in advance of the Royal Wedding, my dress is now going to look like a cheap copy; like I actually WANT to imitate the Royal Wedding dress. This is not at all the case!! Not only that, I did not want to look like the imminent thousands of future worldwide Middleton clones who copy off Sarah Burton’s design stitch for stitch as they have no ideas or originality of their own.

At first, I seriously considered changing my dress design to something that will be totally different but after lots of begging and pleading from my mother I am going to leave it as it is. “Just think Laura,” said my mum as I called her in despair after seeing Middleton’s dress for the first time, “you have designed a dress, on your own, without the help of a top fashion designer and it’s almost identical to the dress of the future Queen of England. What does that say about you? Does that not show how much taste and class you have?”

Of course you’re gonna say that mum.

“Your dress will be stunning and you will look stunning. Why on earth would you change it to something you don’t like and spend the day being miserable because of the Royal Wedding.” She was right. Why would I let someone I do not know or particularly care for ruin the most important dress I will ever wear on the most significant day of my life? I have decided to leave my dress as it is. I will never forget how I felt on April 29th catching that first glimpse of THE dress and the brief feeling that my day had been ruined but I soon got over it. At the end of the day, the people who matter to me the most know that I designed my dress way before the Royal Wedding date was announced, never mind the wedding itself. And this, along with enjoying wearing my dress, are all that matter to me. 

However… my indifference towards the Royal Family has now turned into a full aversion and my blood actually boils whenever I see any bridal designer promoting their “Kate Middleton Dress.”

Wedding diet ain’t happening. I’m a nervous eater

24 Apr

So I am a nervous eater. Always have been. Always will be.

Last year fiance moved to the U.S. from Canada for work and it was at the height of the recession. I couldn’t get a job there. I stayed in Canada. There was a lot of nervous eating. I gained weight. I am not “fat” by any means at the size 8 or 10 I am now. I just feel uncomfortable in my skin with extra weight I am not used to.

I lost a lot of weight when I had the flu earlier this year. I’ve gained it all back again through nervous eating. Every time one of the wedding vendors tries to gouge us, someone tries to make me justify a wedding choice, or any time I think about all this work I have to do, I stuff some yogourt or granola bars in my mouth. If I’m not at home, the only option that’s easy to get a hold of is junk food. I eat very healthy otherwise.

Ceremony musicians just quoted me $450 for 1.5 hours of work. I had two bowls of cereal. 

I don’t want to be Kate Middleton skinny. I would like to feel comfortable and “normal” in my own skin (i.e. back to the size I am used to), but its not going to happen at this rate. I work very irregular hours that change at the last minute (so irregular that I sometimes have to call friends or fiance and cancel dinner plans because I have to deal with a crisis). So going to any sort of fitness class tends to be impossible. And cardio classes are really the only thing that motivates me. Yoga, and using gym machines bores me to death. But the problem is if I do end up finishing work in time to attend a class, I’m too tired from work to get off my butt.  

I’ve never believed in diets because I think they’re unhealthy, and coming from an Italian family, its never going to happen anyway.

Anyway I’m worried that now I won’t even fit into my dress, which will come two weeks before the wedding, giving me zero time to fix it if there’s a problem. I didn’t do anything silly like order it too small, but who knows what can happen.

Then there’s dealing with every guest scrutinizing the bride on her wedding day. More stress. I’ll brb, just going to get some cookies…

Toning down the crazy at the wedding dress store

24 Apr

Too many bridesmaids. Finding the bride is like playing Where's Waldo. No one needs this many people with them at the wedding dress store. (Photo Credit: Bridalwave.TV)

Dear Bridezillas,

You are enough for bridal industry people to handle on your own. Do you really need to bring an entourage of eight bridesmaidzillas to the wedding dress/bridesmaid dress store to give everyone the death stare?

Especially when you’re not even looking at dresses for bridesmaids?!?!?!?!?!

Bridal fashion stores seriously need to restrict the number of people bridezillas can haul in with them. Especially when you’re in a small store on a crowded Easter long weekend.

At David’s Bridal yesterday, I had to tackle my way through the bridezillas and their entourages: Bridesmaids/moms/second cousins twice removed/best friend’s roommate’s sister-in-law who were holding court in the store. THREE bridezillas brought in so many people there was no space to breathe, let alone a place for my mom to try on her mother of the bride dress, and God forbid I try on a veil or shoes.

These bridesmaidzillas need to learn to move when you say “excuse me” instead staring people down for having the nerve to exist. There’s other people in the store too. Why are you giving me the death stare because they didn’t close down the whole place for you?  The nerve I have, being a paying customer too and thinking I could use some space to try the merchandise and that you would stay within your area. My money obviously isn’t as good enough as the cash they’re using for that $200 polyester wedding dress.

I would’ve taken a picture of this zoo to show you, but I feared for my safety.

Brides: You can tone down the crazy by not bringing in so many enablers to lay it on extremely thick when you show off every single dress you’re trying on. I needed a mop to sop up all the slobbery drool from these bridesmaids salivating as the brides tried on dress after dress.

You know who I brought with me when I was buying my dress? My mom. That’s it. We sure got a lot more time in the store and respect, took up less space, and didn’t have to deal with 10092834824 different opinions. Buying a wedding dress is confusing enough. You don’t need other people confusing you with their different tastes.

And if you want to show your friends your dress, of course that’s fine, but narrow it down to a few final choices and then take them. For heavens sake don’t take them to your first appointment! And don’t take every acquaintance you’ve ever met.