Breanne shares her and Mike’s big day–an island wedding full of romantic elegance.
Breanne shares her and Mike’s big day–an island wedding full of romantic elegance.
We’re at Bridal Fashion Week! And we’re chatting with just some of our favorite designers as they unveil their gorgeous spring 2017 collections. From new trends to tips on finding the perfect wedding dress, we’ll give you the latest from a handful of the world’s most talented and sought-after bridal designers.
Here, our talk with Monique Lhuillier:
Monique Lhuillier’s spring 2017 bridal collection
Katie shares the story of her and Michael’s elegantly rustic big day. And pulling at our heartstrings even more: they met while at work! Where? Right here at Nordstrom!
For the second season in a row, we’re counting down the crucial pre-Christmas shopping days with a series called Gifted Givers, in which friends old and new share their thoughts on stylishly spirited giving and receiving.
We adore the signature glamor of Monique Lhuillier designs, and that she appreciates luxury doesn’t mean a total lack of playful whimsy. As evidenced by the picture she sent us of her home with those stockings hung by the chimney with care overlooked by a large white peacock. As a mom and philanthropist, Monique has a lot of experience giving to her children, charities and more, which is why we can’t think of a more worthy individual to call a gifted giver.
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.
The Wedding Suite: Tell us three things we would be surprised to know about you.
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.
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.
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
Alison recounts her and Doug’s classic, elegant wedding (with a dash of shabby chic) in southern Illinois wine country.
Doug and I both live in Chicago and met through a mutual friend in 2008. It was a Friday night and once we started talking, we were inseparable. We’ve been together ever since. We go to Lincoln Park Zoo for Zoo Lights every year, and in December 2012, Doug proposed in a quiet area of the zoo under the Christmas lights and made me the happiest woman.
We fell in love with the southern Illinois wine country while driving home after visiting family in Missouri in 2009. We stayed at a couple B&Bs and enjoyed many of the wineries. We always said we’d be back and even then knew it would be a great place to get married.
The Scene: September 7, 2013. St. Joseph Church | Historic Bell Hill Bed & Breakfast, Cobden, IL.
Fast-forward four years, and southern Illinois immediately became part of our vision for our wedding. We found a beautiful B&B called Historic Bell Hill in Cobden. It is an old Victorian house on a 75-acre estate with a barn that predates the Civil War—all overlooking wine country. It was our blank canvas and it spoke to us. Doug is an artist and I am a girl with a vision. We set up a tent and tables in the gardens so guests could enjoy the glorious night. Chandeliers, lanterns, sparkling lights and candles were everywhere. There was a hint of shabby chic in the air but mostly it was classic, romantic elegance.
My Dress: ‘Coco Marie’ by Heidi Elnora
I’m petite, so I didn’t want anything overwhelming. This dress fit my body like a glove. For the ceremony I wore the ‘Addison’ Chantilly lace top by Jenny Yoo over the dress; I had fallen in love with the top even before I found the dress. It wrapped around my waist and I wore my late grandmother’s rhinestone broach on the knot. After the ceremony I removed the top and wore the rose-colored ‘Treasure Sash’ by Olia Zavozina and the ‘Melaney’ ribbon and cluster bib necklace by Nina. I had two totally different looks with the same gown, and guests even asked me if I had changed dresses.
I decided to not wear a veil. The back of the dress was so exquisite I didn’t want to take away from it. My hair was up, and I wore an ivory flower pin by Nina. My heels were Badgley Mischka and my late-night flats were Nina. My bridesmaids wore Monique Lhuillier one-shoulder taffeta dresses in navy with pink Franco Sarto wedges. My girls were beautiful and comfortable.
My Wedding Stylist: Caitlin Ritzema, Nordstrom Michigan Avenue
I went to a couple other bridal salons but came running back to Caitlin. She was amazing during the search for my dress. She found one that looked amazing on me that I never would have picked out on my own. It seemed very simple on the hanger, and I almost said no without even trying it on. But it was the only one that made me say “Wow” when she began to zip me up and add accessories. My sister referred to it as the “Audrey Hepburn dress.” Doug likes my curves, and the dress accentuated them oh so well—sexy in a classy way.
The lace Jenny Yoo bolero was so elegant and complemented the vintage, chic feel of our wedding. It was very important to me to be able to dance all night in my dress, so the change of accessories—switching into the sash for the reception—made for another beautiful look. Caitlin made my experience so comfortable, fun and pressure-free. She helped style my bridesmaids, and every time I went in for an appointment, I felt like I was going to go hang out with my friend. I am very grateful to Caitlin for helping make my special day so beautiful, stress-free and fun.
My Beauty Stylist: Iris Brostowicz, Nordstrom Topanga, Canoga Park, CA
My Beauty Stylist was Iris Brostowicz in the cosmetics department. She was wonderful. She took so much time with me on multiple occasions to make sure I had the right makeup that would look beautiful in person and in photos. She has a background in photography, so she knew exactly how to highlight my best features. I wanted to look like myself, and—after trying on many different colors and products—we found the perfect look for me.
Our friends and family are very important to us, and since they were all going to be traveling long distances to be there, we wanted to make it a beautiful, relaxing and unforgettable experience for all. We danced with our guests all night and had the time of our lives. It was more perfect than we could have imagined.
Photos by Julia Noack Photography.
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.
Tulle is one of our favorite fabrics for wedding dresses, as it’s soft, ethereal and feminine (like in these Roses by Reem Acra gowns.) So it’s no surprise that we’re loving this tulle bridesmaid dress by ML Monique Lhuillier. Exclusive to Nordstrom, this ruched sheath has a super-flattering sweetheart neckline and off-the-shoulder “wrap” sleeves. With an open back, it gives the look of a shoulder topper, but it’s all one piece!
In our styling, the cool slate color is accented by a new sparkler by kate spade new york, a brocade clutch with hints of gold and lavender patent sandals. A gorgeous bridesmaid option—and totally re-wearable for post-wedding events!