To celebrate the arrival of the spring 2015 collection for BLISS Monique Lhuillier wedding dresses, we caught up with the designer behind the brand. We just couldn’t miss an opportunity to chat about her gorgeous bridal gowns (and bridesmaid dresses!), the risk she recommends brides take and her favorite thing about being in the bridal business.

Monique-Lhuillier

The Wedding Suite: Tell us three things we would be surprised to know about you.
Monique Lhuillier:
1. I started my bridal business after looking for my own wedding dress almost 20 years ago, because I felt there was a void in the marketplace for fashion-infused dresses.
2. I love the outdoors. I am from California, and I love hiking and spending time with my family in the sun.
3. I’m half French and half Filipino.

What’s the most important thing about designing a wedding dress?
For me, my bridal gowns must emanate romance and fantasy. I offer all different types of dresses that will make a bride feel glamorous and alluring on her wedding day. When designing, I focus on the gowns feeling very feminine, marked by exquisite workmanship and luxurious fabrications.

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BLISS Monique Lhuillier Wedding Dresses

What’s distinctive about your new BLISS collection; what sets it apart?
I subtly infused color into this collection. I wanted a beautiful pastel color palette including tones of pale blush and latte all mixed with soft silk layers, white tulle and lace. You’ll find exquisite design details: beautiful combinations of Chantilly lace with overlays of draped tulle and delicate embroidered lace appliqués in addition to cascading hemlines edged with horsehair trim.

How does BLISS differ from your namesake collection?
BLISS Monique Lhuillier is inspired by a feminine, elegant and youthful bride. This collection provides a curated collection of romantic dresses that are punctuated with fresh styles that embody my signature design aesthetic. I provide distinct silhouettes—from stunning trumpet-shaped gowns and ethereal sheaths to whimsical ballgowns—all at an accessible price point.

What is one bridal fashion risk you would recommend to brides?
Experiment with color on your wedding day. I love pale pink or blush for a touch of the unexpected; it can be quite enchanting for brides who are looking for something nontraditional.

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ML Monique Lhuillier Bridesmaid Dresses

What’s different about designing a bridesmaid dress versus a wedding dress?
The process is quite different, and I actually look to my ready-to-wear line for inspiration. Bridesmaids want to feel beautiful, comfortable and even a bit fashion appropriate when they are walking down the aisle. I try to provide dresses they could wear again for a special occasion and offer colors that will complement them.

What advice do you have for brides as they choose their bridal parties’ wardrobe?
The process of choosing your bridesmaids is hard, but finding a dress they will all agree on is sometimes even harder. As the bride, I think it is necessary to set the direction for what you want your bridesmaids to look like on your big day. The more guidance they have, the less likely they are to go astray. This means giving them hair and makeup direction, accessory parameters and, most of all, very specific information on what you want in their dresses. It’s important to select a bridesmaid dress that fits into your color scheme, but it’s most important for your bridesmaids to feel beautiful and at ease. Selecting one color is the easiest way to have a cohesive look; then allow the bridesmaids to select the style they are most comfortable with.

What’s your favorite thing about being in the bridal business?
The bridal business is rewarding because it all revolves around such a special day. To have the opportunity to make a bride feel beautiful, confident and glamorous on this momentous occasion is such an honor.

SHOP: Monique Lhuillier

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Back in December, we gave you the scoop on why co-founders Lauren Conrad and Maura McManus created their gorgeous line of bridesmaid dresses, Paper Crown. And now, seven styles in a number of muted pastels and neutrals are ready to ship and outfit your equally gorgeous maids.

Paper Crown by Lauren Conrad Bridesmaid Dresses

Paper Crown by Lauren Conrad Bridesmaid Dresses

Paper Crown by Lauren Conrad Bridesmaid Dresses

Paper Crown by Lauren Conrad Bridesmaid Dresses

Paper Crown by Lauren Conrad Bridesmaid Dresses

Paper Crown by Lauren Conrad Bridesmaid Dresses

Paper Crown by Lauren Conrad Bridesmaid DressesPaper Crown by Lauren Conrad Bridesmaid DressesPaper Crown by Lauren Conrad Bridesmaid DressesPaper Crown by Lauren Conrad Bridesmaid DressesPaper Crown by Lauren Conrad Bridesmaid Dresses

Beautiful!

SHOP: Paper Crown Bridesmaid Dresses

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Bridal designer, New York City dweller and self-described ‘procraftinator,’ Hayley Paige is engaged(!) and giving us the scoop on designing her own wedding gown, what celebs she’d love to dress and a sneak peek into her wedding plans.

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The Wedding Suite: Living in New York must be a constant source of creative fuel for designing your gorgeous dresses. Now that you’re engaged and making a dress for yourself, what will a Hayley Paige design look like for Hayley Paige herself?
Hayley Paige: As a bridal designer, it’s important to keep an open mind and find inspiration externally; you want to avoid just producing things you would want to wear. I like surrounding myself with a ton of visuals to help improve my aesthetic vocabulary. More is more for me! Living in New York is also ideal because the women here are so eclectic and magnetic. I love channeling their playful characteristics and assuming a “day in their shoes” to really understand what makes something beautiful.

However, being newly engaged puts a charming spin on all that I do. I’ve had a fun-yet-challenging time shifting that external fascination to a more personal dialogue. I’ve been relating my whole situation to what happens when the tooth fairy loses a tooth! For my own wedding, I want to do a little of everything that makes the Hayley Paige aesthetic so unique and versatile…but also push the envelope stylistically and individually. This will most likely result in multiple looks; I certainly don’t want a circus, but I could definitely give Cher a run for her money with the wardrobe changes I am dreaming up!

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A business to run. A wedding to plan. No doubt you’re a busy woman! What keeps you grounded?
My family has been the leading support system in my life…and they have met a fierce game-set-match with my fiancé in the past year! I’m very blessed to have people that keep me inspired and also grounded. When you have genuine people around you, you certainly don’t want to let them down! I am also grateful to have a CEO that took a chance on me at a young age. He has given me some great tools and fabulous coworkers to grow as a designer and businessperson.

Not that you probably have a lot of it, but what are some favorite things you do with your downtime?
I like tiny adventures and a good margarita! I am also a sucker for Pinterest and finding fun things to create/build/DIY around the house. I just learned the term “procraftinate” the other day—where you procrastinate by doing super-crafty organization projects. I could not think of a better word for me and what the wedding planning process is like! I find myself wanting to put a “unique chic twist” on just about everything. Hobbies aside, my absolute favorite thing is to have an engaging dinner conversation with my fiancé. He is a smart cookie and makes me laugh.

It’s been so exciting to see your dresses on the Red Carpet lately! Is there a particular celebrity that you dream of dressing?
I love any good trailblazer, fashion “it girl,” and/or athlete-turned-entrepreneur. I think Sophia Amoruso, Jamie Chung and Misty Copeland would be at the top of my list.

Lastly, we have to ask: can you tell us a little about your upcoming wedding? Sneak-peek time!
It’s going to have a “wild at heart” vibe to it. My goal is to mesh my over-the-top girliness with Danny’s humor and masculine charm. There will be sparkle, there will be some fancy dance moves, and there will be some memorable surprises.

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Real Weddings: Cai & Alex

Cai shares how her Vera Wang dress dream came true and the importance of bringing family together—even when separated by two languages and an ocean.

The Ceremony: St. Joseph Catholic Church, Strongsville, Ohio
I’m originally from China and my parents still live there, so they couldn’t help much with the wedding planning. Instead, my amazing mother-in-law, Kathi, stepped in to support me along the way. I felt so blessed by the love of my husband’s family throughout the process.

My parents flew in for the big day, and even though they couldn’t understand what was said at the ceremony, they did participate by walking me down the aisle. It was so special to have them there and to have the wedding of my and my parents’ dreams, since they were only able to have a simple ceremony 30 years ago at their own wedding.

The Dress: Louisa by Vera Wang
I’ve always known I wanted a Vera Wang gown to get married in—they make a bride look like a princess. When shopping at Nordstrom at Beachwood Place, I met my Wedding Stylist, Dana, and she really helped make the whole process easier for me. She’s the one who found my dress, and I instantly fell in love. It’s a strapless ball gown with 16 layers of draped tulle and crystal embroidery accents at the hip—a dream come true.

Dana was so helpful by accommodating my busy schedule, finding a perfect seamstress to help with fittings, and really going out of her way to help me with everything.

My Favorite Moments:
At the reception, my friend Yan gave a beautiful toast in both English and Mandarin. Like me, she came to the United States alone from China. She perfectly articulated how much strength it gives me to have the love and support of another family here in America.

I also felt so beautiful during my first dance with my husband in my Vera Wang dress; it was a wonderful evening that will stay with me forever.


Photography by Mydi

Did you find your wedding gown at Nordstrom? We love a good wedding story! E-mail Nordstrom Wedding Stories for details on getting your wedding featured on our blog. And for more inspiration, make a complimentary appointment with a Wedding Stylist or browse our Wedding Suite.

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Real Weddings: Maureen & Ben

Maureen tells us how a timeless location, a bicoastal wedding party and some personalized touches made her and Ben’s September wedding a perfect one for them.

Our vision:
To create an elegant, classic feeling that stayed true to certain traditions while making our big day feel like “us.” Most importantly, we wanted it to feel like a celebration for all and a night to remember forever.

The location: University Club of Chicago
We saw this historic building, and it was love at first sight. Cathedral Hall, our ceremony/reception room, was like a castle with high ceilings and stained glass windows looking out over Lake Michigan. For cocktails, we transitioned into the charming library and then back to Cathedral Hall as the sun set for a gorgeous, candlelit reception.

The dress: Spring from Lela Rose
This gown was simply perfect: classic and timeless with the lace detailing, the soft and simple silhouette, and a higher neckline. My favorite part was the unexpected detailing in the low back.

I completed my look with new Jimmy Choo silver sparkly shoes that I can’t wait to wear again and a Nina veil and jewelry. My bridesmaid dresses were also Lela Rose in a beautiful color. I loved the pop of magenta (my favorite color) in the sea of black and white.

Ben looked so handsome in his tux from Hart Schaffner Marx! Our groomsmen wore suits and ties from Hugo Boss.

My stylists:
I found my gown at the Downtown Seattle Wedding Suite and my bridesmaid dresses at the Michigan Avenue Wedding Suite in Chicago, since most of my bridesmaids live there.

Heather was my amazing Seattle stylist—both attentive and honest. The entire team was so helpful, warm and caring whenever I stopped in to visit the dress and add another piece to my look. Heather partnered with Toma, my extremely talented fitter, to ensure my dress was exactly what I envisioned.

Taylor and Allison were my stylists in Chicago who took care of everything with my bridesmaid dresses. They communicated directly with my bridesmaids, which made a stress-free experience for me.

Favorite moment: Sitting at our king’s table, surrounded by so many friends and family who had traveled from both coasts to support us on our big day. My parents, Ben and I planned a lot of this wedding virtually. It was a celebratory moment when we realized we accomplished exactly what we wanted, and it was amazing!

We placed wedding photos of our parents and grandparents in the library for cocktail hour. It was a special way to thank our parents and honor our grandparents who are no longer with us.

Last and certainly not least, we loved the dance party! Our DJ was amazing and the dance floor was packed all night!

Photography by Laura Witherow.

Did you find your wedding gown at Nordstrom? We love a good wedding story! E-mail Nordstrom Wedding Stories for details on getting your wedding featured on our blog. And for more inspiration, make a complimentary appointment with a Wedding Stylist or browse our Wedding Suite.

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Our November Holiday catalog featured papercraft and garlands from master crafter Laurie Cinotto. We shared a step-by-step tutorial on The Thread on creating these crafts with a holiday theme, but any number of colors or mix of patterns will work for this project, which makes it perfect for weddings with a little DIY flair. Drape the garlands anywhere or strew the paper balls on your various tables for endless possibilities that add a personalized touch. 

DIY garland and paper crafts for wedding décor.

DIY garland and paper crafts for wedding décor.

DIY garland and paper crafts for wedding décor.

Our thanks again to Laurie for sharing this project and her crafterly magic! See even more inspiration and ideas, and get info about commissions and ordering her DIY Beautiful Paper Flowers book, over at Laurie Cinotto Art + Craft.

Jeff Powell

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When planning their own weddings, real-life besties and Paper Crown co-founders Lauren Conrad and Maura McManus were having a hard time finding the perfect bridesmaid dresses. Their solution? Design a bunch they love themselves! So was born Paper Crown Bridesmaids. We love them too, and these dresses full of flowy romance are now available for pre-order.

Paper Crown by Lauren Conrad Bridesmaid Dresses

On her motivation and philosophy, Conrad tells us, “Designing the Paper Crown bridesmaids collection was a dream! My goal was to design dresses that flatter a variety of body types. This way, a bridal party can look cohesive but not necessarily have to be wearing the exact same style. Everyone should feel great, just not better than the bride, of course!” A bride’s supporting cast should definitely look and feel great—we think you could say that about these ladies and their gorgeous dresses in action.

Paper Crown by Lauren Conrad Bridesmaid Dresses
Paper Crown by Lauren Conrad Bridesmaid Dresses
Paper Crown by Lauren Conrad Bridesmaid DressesPaper Crown by Lauren Conrad Bridesmaid Dresses
Paper Crown by Lauren Conrad Bridesmaid Dresses

We have Paper Crown by Lauren Conrad in six silhouettes and a number of pretty pastels and muted tones. Dresses will be available to ship the first week of February.

Paper Crown by Lauren Conrad Bridesmaid DressesPaper Crown by Lauren Conrad Bridesmaid DressesPaper Crown by Lauren Conrad Bridesmaid DressesPaper Crown by Lauren Conrad Bridesmaid DressesPaper Crown by Lauren Conrad Bridesmaid DressesPaper Crown by Lauren Conrad Bridesmaid Dresses

“We are extremely excited to partner with Nordstrom! Here’s to happily ever after!” — Lauren Conrad & Maura McManus

Pre-order: Paper Crown Bridesmaids

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McKenna shares her and Joseph’s special day at an Italian-inspired location in Scottsdale, AZ.

The vision: It was beautiful! We wanted something classic yet contemporary, so we decided our wedding colors would be black and white with hints of pink. Silverleaf reminded us of a Tuscan villa; it was as if we had stepped into another country! Gorgeous!



Favorite moment: I will always remember walking down the aisle with my dad and then joining Joseph at the altar. It was such an amazing moment knowing we would be husband and wife. Finally! The entire wedding was perfect—we were so happy with everything.


The dress: I chose the Ethel from the Vera Wang Collection. My bridesmaids went with a black Monique Lhuillier floor-length gown.


The Wedding Suite: Kathy was amazing. She guided me through the entire fitting and helped me with everything else gift and gown wise! She has become a dear friend. She is an amazing person inside and out and made the whole experience perfect! I couldn’t have asked for a better stylist!


Photography by Renee Clancy.

Did you find your wedding gown at Nordstrom? We love a good wedding story! E-mail Nordstrom Wedding Stories for details on getting your wedding featured on our blog. And for more inspiration, make a complimentary appointment with a Wedding Stylist or browse our Wedding Suite.

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Real Weddings: Vanessa & Jon

Vanessa recounts her and Jon’s May wedding at the Renaissance D.C. Downtown Hotel in the nation’s capital.

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My Vision: The reception venue was modern and sleek but still warm and inviting. This modern look lent itself well to the D.C. vibe we were trying to achieve, as well as a less formal feel to the reception. For example, we did not have a traditional sit-down dinner; rather, we incorporated live-action stations in our reception ballroom, which included a mashed potato bar, a crêpe station, and a crab cake station. Finally, we had a photo booth that was a hit with our guests—such a fun experience, and it also doubled as our wedding favor. Overall, we wanted our guests to enjoy a great party with delicious food and drinks and have FUN!

The Scene: When we were planning for our wedding, an issue was that my family was scattered across the Northeast, while Jon’s family was situated in Seattle, WA. Our closest friends live in the D.C. metro area. Ultimately, we decided to have the wedding in Washington, D.C., as it is a location that both families could travel to and one that our friends could easily get to. Moreover, we hoped that our out-of-town guests would take advantage of their D.C. visit to check out the monuments and other historic sites!

St. Dominic’s is a breathtaking church that provided a serene setting for us to exchange our vows. We visited many potential reception sites to follow up the ceremony with before deciding on the Renaissance D.C. Hotel. However, after our first meeting with an event coordinator at the Renaissance, we felt excitement: something we hadn’t felt with the other venues we’d visited. As the event coordinator showed us around the hotel, Jon and I could see our wedding playing out, details and all.

We loved the modern yet inviting feel of the hotel as well as its central location in D.C., for both out-of-town and local guests. The coordinator was also inviting—her warmth was evident, as was her love of planning weddings. Jon and I knew we wanted to work with a coordinator who saw our wedding as unique and would put as much care into it as we were.

Special Moments: Our favorite moment took place right before the ceremony began. Jon was in the back with our priest, Father Schommer, talking through the ceremony logistics and running down the list of items to check off, as they were waiting for the clock to hit 2pm. They heard Jon’s sister singing and the organ playing, and then Fr. Schommer asked about our cantor (the chief singer employed by the church). He asked if Jon had seen him around. They discovered that neither of them had actually called the cantor. When they did, they found out that he was sitting on his couch at home! The chief singer who we had worked with for 8 months had forgotten about our wedding. Fr. Schommer made a quick announcement to the congregation that there was a 5-minute delay, and that we were “waiting for one of the musicians.” He asked the organist to please continue to play music. This was at 2:01pm.

Fr. Schommer was a quick thinker, and he went through the ceremony songs and figured out which of them he could sing and which he couldn’t. In a minute or so, we had it figured out, and were ready to go. At about 2:05pm, Fr. Schommer walked out of the sacristy (the area behind the altar), onto the altar and quickly came right back. He said to Jon, “Vanessa is coming down the aisle!” The wedding party and I didn’t hear Fr. Schommer’s announcement of the delay, as his microphone speakers didn’t reach the vestibule (the area that the wedding party and I were lined up ready to process in). On top of that, the filler music being played by the organist was the processional music I was meant to walk down the aisle to. With all that confusion, the wedding party started to process in… without Fr. Schommer or Jon at the end of the aisle.

Fr. Schommer asked Jon to wait for a minute so that I could get down to the end of the aisle, and then waved Jon out. There was a roar of laughter, and made this moment truly memorable and unique to our wedding.

My Dress: I found my wedding gown at the Tysons Corner Wedding Suite in McLean, VA. There couldn’t have been a more perfect gown to suit my style and my wedding day in the nation’s capital. My wedding stylist, Maria, called me for my first consultation in June 2013. Knowing I was petite with curves, she suggested designs by Matthew Christopher. His ‘Moet’ gown was the second gown that I tried on when I had my first appointment with Maria, and I immediately fell in love. I tried on a few more gowns just to be sure, but each one couldn’t compare to ‘Moet’—it sealed the deal for me. I purchased my Nina wedges, Nadri earrings, Nina veil and Nina clutch from the suite as well. I also found the bridesmaid dresses and flower girl dress at the suite!

The Wedding Suite: Maria and the Wedding Suite team made my shopping and alterations experience incredible, from the day I purchased my gown to my last fitting. Not only were they organized and detail-oriented; they were also warm and caring, making my wedding experience that much more memorable. I didn’t feel like just one more bride walking through the suite. Rather, I felt my experience was unique to Maria and the team.

Photos by Rachel Naft

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Erin-Fetherston-Dresses

This just in! New styles from one of our most obsessed-over bridal designers are now in stock at the Wedding Suite. This latest collection from Erin Fetherston is full of forward-thinking fashion that’s awash in the signature fairy-tale romance found in all of her designs.


ERIN erin fetherston ‘Phoebe’ Ostrich Feather Hem Chiffon Shift Dress

This season, Erin offers some seriously stunning reception dresses that will offer the bride a second chance to dazzle without risking injury to her extra-special gown. “It’s giving girls the freedom to balance fashion and tradition on their wedding day,” Fetherston tells Nordstrom. “Brides opting for a timeless wedding gown can look to a ‘cut the cake’ dress that will allow them to incorporate a trend or element of their own personal style into their wedding day look. It’s one aspect of the wedding where she can really get creative and bend the rules.”


ERIN erin fetherston ‘Lucielle’ 3D Floral Organza Dress

Blush pinks and prints (!) abound in the bridesmaid department, making for a thrillingly unexpected statement. “With blush being a personal favorite color of mine,” Fetherston explains, “this trend is near and dear to my heart and truly embodies the ERIN erin fetherston collection, both for bridal and my main line. The bridal assortment really lends itself to the ability to add subtle print or texture into your bridesmaid grouping.”


ERIN erin fetherston ‘Isabelle’ Print Chiffon Gown

For those seeking a more hands-on Erin Fetherston experience, look no further: this week, the woman behind the designs will be making in-store appearances at a few of our locations sprinkled across the country. Brides are invited to bring their bridesmaids along to try on this new collection (as well as a few Nordstrom exclusives thrown in for good measure), all while Erin offers her expert style advice, personalized for each bride.


ERIN erin fetherston ‘Sandrine’ Embellished Chiffon Gown

The one-on-one sessions will last 90 minutes apiece, and while you’re waiting your turn, you’re invited to enjoy a glass of bubbly, nibble some light bites and take advantage of a beauty service provided on site (manicures, hairstyling or makeup touch-ups, depending on which event you attend). And we won’t let you leave empty-handed—every guest will get to take home a trio of Nordstrom Makers chocolates as a parting gift to say thanks for attending.


ERIN erin fetherston ‘Chloe’ Foiled Chiffon Gown

See more from Erin Fetherston in our Wedding Suites, and for even more inspiration, see Erin Fetherston’s very own wedding photos from last spring on our blog.

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