OTTAWA -- The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a huge toll on the wedding industry but it has not stopped the search for the perfect dress.

With Love Bridal Boutique in Kanata reopened last week with a number of new health measures in place to ensure brides-to-be can still find their dress and do it safely.

“It’s definitely different than what I imagined but at least it’s as normal as it can be,” said Kelsey Larocque, who is getting married next June.

“I’d have so many people I’d love to come with me and share this experience but I’m happy I can at least have two out of the many that I wanted,” she said.

With new health measures in place there is a limit on how many guests a bride can have, consultants often pull dresses ahead of time and everyone is wearing masks.

“Wearing a mask all day at work is obviously not the ideal situation for helping brides find their dress but you know it’s the new normal, you make do with what you have to,” said bridal stylist Sydney Steele.

For now, the boutique is seeing about half the number of brides it did pre-pandemic. The slow return is a long time coming.

“People coming in are really happy, no one really seems nervous,” said owner Dana Alexander-Salares. “Everyone’s ready to just move forward, lets buy our dresses, lets plan our weddings, lets enjoy the fact we’re now able to do what we’ve been waiting to do for so long.”

There is a one-hour gap between appointments for cleaning. All dresses that have been pulled are then steamed and put away for 24 hours before anyone else can try them on.

Even with all the new measures, many say the experience is just as special.

“People are connecting in different ways but I really feel like the bride and their consultants are still able to build that relationship and brides are still feeling that they are getting that experience that they were afraid maybe they wouldn’t get now that things are different,” said Alexander-Salares.