How about this for a very cool and beautiful wedding at the rustic Bean Town Receptions located close to Ottawa!
Photographer Steve Gerrard was chosen by the couple to photograph their day at the venue in late summer 2022, which was a compliment as both the bride and groom are enthusiastic photographers themselves.
Montreal is a mecca for wedding dress shopping, with something for every bride, at every budget. Here’s where to find the best stores in and around the Montreal area
Finding the perfect wedding dress is a tricky task – but the sheer number of fantastic wedding dress stores in Montreal means you’re guaranteed to find the dress of your dreams.
From flagship designer stores to independent boutiques, from timeless classics to contemporary couture, and whatever your budget, there’s something for every bride.
If you’re after a beaded Jenny Packham gown that would make Kate Middleton envious or a vintage-inspired dress, we can help you find exactly what you’re looking for.
And not all wedding dresses are white! We’ve seen dresses in almost every colour. And what about this floral wedding dress that Briony wore for her day?! Beautiful, right?
Or this gorgeous dress that Dominique chose for her marriage to Matt?
This black wedding dress that Janis wore for her elopement with Ethan is also absolutely amazing and so unique. Doesn’t she look fantastic?
We also loved this stunning dress that Maud-Laure wore for her wedding at a private chalet in Bolton, Quebec.
We know that saying yes to a wedding dress can be both exciting and slightly terrifying. It’s going to be part of your big day, after all. And while most brides may have anidea of what they want their wedding dress to look like, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by all the options.
So, we asked brides which wedding dress stores they’d be happy to recommend to their friends. We then asked wedding vendors for the dress shops they thought were the best in the Montreal area, and we compiled a list of what we believe are the best wedding dress stores in Montreal.
We asked each store to tell us more about their services and, of course, to share their designs.
Wedding Dress Stores Montreal
Dream It Yourself
“Dream It Yourself is the first Quebecer concept store fully dedicated to unconventional, modern and creative weddings.
In our cozy space situated in the Old Port of Montreal, we will have the pleasure to welcome you and your family to present our fantastic collections of wedding gowns and accessories. Our unique gowns are ELEGANT, FEMININE & CONTEMPORARY.
We work with exclusive independent Canadian and French designers distributed for the first time in Quebec. Modern and Sophisticated, all the creations in our showroom aim to celebrate your personal style. We carefully selected our dresses to ensure that every bride finds something expressively her own.”
“Atelier NüStyle strives to offer the perfect VIP experience. Our concept Bridal Boutique was established with the sole purpose of providing future brides with a setting to feel beautiful and comfortable while choosing their dream dress.
One-on-one service in a contemporary setting featuring high industrial ceilings, wine/coffee bar, and extra-large private dressing room. Our boutique allows the bride to bring numerous guests and family members to live this once-in-a-lifetime experience. Prior to each private appointment, dresses are carefully curated according to the bride’s preferred style and budget. With its exclusive collection from celebrity designer Yaniv Persy and many more, Atelier NüStyle is steering away from the traditional bridal boutique by offering a wide variety of styles, sizes, and prices in a very comfortable and relaxed space.”
“All of our gowns are handpicked with love to reflect the Galleria della Sposa bride. Looking for something unique? We also create our own Galleria della Sposa Privé Collection and offer made-to-measure haute couture wedding gown services, both of which are made in Canada.
We believe that shopping for your wedding gown should be an intimate and memorable experience, one that is everything you’ve ever dreamed of. Dressing brides is our passion, and there is no greater joy for us than creating the perfect look for each bride. With that in mind, our boutique hours are always by appointment so that our talented bridal consultants can provide clients with a personalized experience. At Galleria della Sposa, our goal is to help the bride discover her personal style.
You are likely to meet Josie at your bridal consultation. Her warm smile and knowledge of bridal trends will guide you along your journey. And you will have the pleasure of working alongside Emanuele during your fittings. He will charm you not only with his Italian accent but also with his passion and attention to detail.
It’s about personal experience. It’s about attention to detail. It’s about exceeding expectations. It’s about luxury.“
“La Jolie Robe is a new boutique that was launched in April 2019 by owner Anne Marie Tabao.
The concept started out solely as a dress rental service for formal evening wear in a small atelier in Vaudreuil. In February 2020, La Jolie Robe expanded into a storefront on 100 Harwood Blvd in Vaudreuil-Dorion and expanded sales and rentals.
In September of this year, La Jolie Robe became the newest retailer of sought-out wedding dress brands such as Essense of Australia, Stella York, Eddy K Italia and Christina Wu. The expansion goes further into catering to all women of different shapes and sizes, and now the boutique has over 3000 dresses, from wedding dresses, cocktail dresses, evening gowns, jumpsuits and children’s formalwear. Theboutiquee offers an amazing one-on-one experience with their clients and promotes a stress-free and fun experience for all.”
“Ma Cherie Bleue is an intimate boutique designed to offer the best private, personalized wedding dress shopping experience. Established in 2015, the boutique is based in Rosemere, just a short drive north of Montreal. Founder and owner Nathale is an expert at discovering what each bride wants and needs to feel beautiful on her special day.
Every designer (Canadian and international ) is hand-picked by Nathale for availability at the boutique. Due to this, Ma Cherie Bleue strives to showcase unique and feminine gowns at an affordable price for brides of all budgets.
Come experience a fun shopping experience at Ma Cherie Bleue. Certainly, our beautiful bridal collections will sweep you off your feet! In addition, we carry bridesmaids’ dresses, flower girl dresses, mother-of-the-bride and groom dresses, wedding shoes, jewelry and accessories! So much pretty awaits you!”
“Di Carlo Couture is an Haute Couture Bridal Shop located in Montreal’s Little Italy, capturing the essence of elegance and femininity that women seek.
At Di Carlo Couture the experience begins with a one-on-one consultation with the designer herself, Antoinette Di Carlo. With her keen taste for perfection and a sharp eye for detail, she and her team hand-craft every design with exquisite fabrics and precious resources, giving everything that is created her own special touch. Her natural ability to evoke glamour and sophistication continues to capture the eyes of many.
Di Carlo Couture is a favourite among Canadian celebrities and notables, including Jessica Mulroney, Cheryl Hickey, Vanessa Grimaldi, Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau and Country singer Meghan Patrick; a go-to for red carpet fashion during awards season. Antoinette’s work made the international stage on May 19, 2018, for the wedding of Prince Harry & Meghan Markle when Jessica Mulroney, Meghan’s best friend, wore a custom dress by Di Carlo.
Having been featured in publications such as Huffington Post, Vogue Italia, Wedding Bells, Dress to Kill, Canadian Press and Town & Country, Antoinette’s designs always leave clients confident and proud to be wearing the Di Carlo Couture label.”
“Since 1970, Bridalane has been providing brides and bridal parties an unparalleled choice of gowns to suit their individual styles. From modern bohemian to classic elegance, we believe in the details – sparkling beadwork, floral appliqués, hand embroidery, dramatic backs and textured laces.
Every woman deserves to be at her most beautiful on her wedding day; that’s why Bridalane’s wedding gowns are available in sizes 00 to 36 and a choice of colours, from classic white and ivory to a whisper of blush, champagne, or soft pastels the choice is yours. Accessorize your gown with a selection of veils in fingertip or cathedral length.
Bridalane’s bridal party collections capture the most current trends while keeping with the tradition of timeless design. Gowns for bridesmaids, mothers and flower girls are available in more than 115 gorgeous colours and sizes 00 to 30. This spectacular selection ensures every bride can find styles that complement the unique vision she has for her wedding.”
How do you judge which are the best wedding venues in Montreal?
Each person’s taste will differ. Each couple’s requirements can be far different from the next.
So, we decided to ask the people most familiar with wedding venues – wedding vendors. In fact, we mostly asked wedding photographers who have seen a wide variety of weddings throughout our city and beyond.
The votes came in, and the Top 20 venues are listed below. Thanks to all the vendors who voted and helped us compile this list…
For the majority of couples a wedding is a once in a lifetime occasion. Many will cite it as the happiest day of their lives. Planning a wedding can be a daunting experience however. You’ve never done this before yet you want it to be absolutely perfect.
For wedding photographers a wedding is something they are witness to multiple times a year. They get to see what makes a great wedding but they also know all too well that events don’t always go to plan. So we thought who better to offer tips and advice on how to truly make your day as perfect as possible.
Here we ask some of our favourite photographers in Montreal to share their thoughts on how to make your wedding day as amazing as it should be…
Be in the moment!
It’s easy to get caught up in the details of the day and want everything to be perfect. The secret that no one tells you is that something probably won’t go exactly as planned and that’s ok. The key is to assign someone to take care of the day-of details. If you have a wedding planner, done! If not, you can task a member of the bridal party to be the point person for the vendors. The most important fact of the day is that you are marrying the person you love. Focus on that and soak up every moment together that marks the beginning of the next chapter of your lives. The day goes by quickly, so BE IN THE MOMENT and experience everything! Connect with them and to those closest to you that you have chosen to surround yourself with. Your photos will reflect that authenticity that shines through when you are really taking it all in and not distracted by all the details. You’ll treasure both the memories and the incredible photos that will be created by BEING IN THE MOMENT!
Pinterest has been a huge help when creating mood boards for weddings.
Many of my clients ask if they can send a board to show me how they visualize their shoot or wedding photos. The board includes many things from pose ideas, editing, to general mood. While this is accepted, I would love it if clients limited Pinterest Boards and lists to favourite poses/specialty moments, or avoid it altogether.
As a photographer, I like to think that clients hire me because they relate to the gallery on my website, not other photographers’. There are many factors involved in each shot that we don’t always have control over; lighting, location, attire, props, subjects, so a lot of the time it’s not possible to recreate a Pinterest board in it’s entirety. It can also be time consuming. Time isn’t always something we have plenty of. Photographers need to adapt to a setting and think quickly. That time is best used for us to see what’s possible with what we have, get creative, and shoot. Referring to list of photos that someone else took to recreate can definitely get in the way of that flow.
The best thing you can do is research the photographer you hire, make sure they have experience, quality and a style that speaks to you. This should let you feel confident that they are doing their best and you can enjoy your day!
As much as we love creative bridal party photos we can’t forget about the family formal portraits. These are the photos that your family will have in a frame in the house. It can be easily overlooked, but a little preparation can prevent an easy headache.
Prepare a list. A very specific list with the names of each person in each group photo. This will allow your photographer to provide a good estimate as to how long the session will take. Now here is the key part. Have a friend in charge of the list. Not the photographer, they don’t know everyone’s name. Definitely don’t put yourself in charge of the list. Nothing can be more stressful than yelling across the room for Uncle Bob to get in the photo. Get your loudest, most bossy friend or family member to do it. Yes, use that name that just popped into your mind. That’s the person for the job! When group #1 on the list is getting their photo taken that person will be collecting group #2 to jump right in.
LOVE your photographer. Ok, not in the mushy romantic way… But what I mean is this. Really get to know them. If, after the meeting, you could totally see yourselves hanging out again, over an extended period of time. Say…12 hours…say… on your wedding day!!! Then it’s a pretty sure bet you’ve just chosen your photographer.
Every single client I meet ( or shall I say ‘potential’ client ) I always explain this as it’s a huge and very important part of the choosing process. While most brides and grooms assume that booking your photographer boils down to the style of work as well as price point. I feel that the connection with your photographer is equally as important as the above mentioned. That way you’ll be so comfortable with your photographer, and feel like you’re hanging out with a long lost friend. That’s a surefire way of making sure you get not only killer photos, but a memorable experience.
My tip for brides is this: Grab your mother and take a quick picture with her at some point during the reception. This is the ONLY PICTURE REQUEST I EVER GET the day after the wedding. The reception goes by with the blink of an eye, and the mother + father of the couple are often caught up hosting the guests all night, so this photo is so incredibly cherished. I’ve had many sad Mommas calling me the next day so avoid it by getting the pic at the start of the night!
Wedding photographers all shoot differently so doing couple’s portraits will probably differ a lot for each photographer. I’ve done weddings where I have over an hour for portraits, and weddings where I only have 10 minutes or less to shoot because timings almost always run late.
I recommend two time slots for couple portraits: some time before the meal is served for maybe 20 minutes, and then around sunset for another 20 minutes. This means we get tons of great photos in different light but without taking you away from your guests for too long.
My favourite time to shoot portraits is at sunset because it’s when we get the best light. By this time you’ll also feel more relaxed after the speeches are done and you’ve had a little more champagne!
Sometimes the best images happen in the unexpected and in the unplanned. Surprising, genuine moments simply cannot be manufactured or staged. It is your job to immerse yourself in your day, go with the flow and live out the events that are happening. Be present and enjoy. As your photographer, it is my job to always be looking for great light, anticipating those authentic expressions, and to compose them in images that retell the story that is unfolding. Trust that your photographer is constantly hunting for the best capture. All you have to do is be yourself, and forget that I am there.
It’s easy to get caught up in the wedding industry when planning your own love celebration. I see too often couples that celebrate their wedding in a manner that doesn’t represent them. We know family politics can sometimes be a burden but it’s your wedding, it’s your way. The biggest tip that I give to all the newlyweds is to make the wedding a personal affair. What I mean by such words is that if you are foodies and like sharing food experiences with others than splurge on the food and make it something that reflects you and your values.
The more your personalities are reflected in your wedding, the more the imagery will be timeless and unique to you. So make it personal!
Originally from the UK where he was voted Best UK Wedding Photographer, he met a Canadian girl, got married and decided to relocate to Montreal with their 3 young kids in 2014.
Check out the video clip below, created by the fantastic Love Lux Films, showing Steve in action shooting a couple shoot in a very cool location in Montreal.
Steve recently chatted to Junebug Weddings about his approach to wedding photography. You can read the full interview below.
An Interview with Montreal-based Destination Wedding Photographer Steve Gerrard
With an incredible array of music photography experience in his pocket, Montreal wedding photographer Steve Gerrard has tailored his talents and channelled his passions into the distinctive style of wedding photography he uses today. From touching and intimate to comical and whimsical, he has mastered the art of documenting the full range of emotions present at a wedding. It was such a pleasure to take a glimpse into the mind of Steve, learning of how he found photography and what he strives to achieve in the future. You can’t help but get swept away by the charm of this skilled family man, nor can you avoid getting lost in his vivid, creatively composed imagery. And in case of any future correspondence with him, just know to keep the Game of Thrones spoilers to a minimum.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m Steve. I’m originally from Chester in the UK but moved to Montreal in 2014 and have already survived one Canadian winter so I’m doing well. I live here with my wife Evelyne and three small humans that we made together. We call them Elliott, Isaac and Jonas and they make us smile every day. I’m a huge music fan. I also love scuba diving, direct flights, Jack Daniel’s, countryside pubs, funky hotels, dark chocolate and sushi. I photograph weddings, portraits and bands.
What gets you up in the morning, literally and/or figuratively.
My wife’s annoying phone alarm! It’s my least favourite sound of the entire day. Once I’m awake though, I’m keen to make the most of the time I’m awake. I try hard not to waste time too much. I’m a very focused and driven person most of the time, but I also love just forgetting about work and spending time with the kids.
What really gets to you at weddings? Makes you emotional? Makes you laugh?
Since I’ve had kids I seem to have become stupidly emotional. I get choked up at The Simpsons sometimes! So if I’m shooting a wedding and see the emotions between family members or the couple I have to try to keep it together and hope nobody sees my eyes welling up. I can hide behind my camera at least! Speeches are usually the time that happens most. A really heartfelt and maybe unexpected line in a speech can really hit home. I’ve seen rooms where everyone is welling up, even the tough guys. But that’s what it’s all about right? People, relationships and love. That’s what counts.
What three photographers do you admire or who has inspired you, either in the past or right now?
Have you always wanted to be a photographer? If not, when do you remember knowing?
Not at all. Originally I wanted to be a rock star, but not being able to sing or play any instruments made that tricky, so I fell into DJing in clubs and that took me around the world for a few years. I’ve played to crowds of 50 people and to 93,000 people at Wembley Stadium, warming up for Oasis. So I kinda got close to being a rock star after all!
While I was doing all that travelling I wanted to really experience the places I was getting to visit. Places like China, Russia, Argentina and Indonesia that I may never get to go back to. I’ve always loved other people’s photography so I decided that if I bought a decent camera and taught myself how to use it properly I could explore the cities I was visiting and make photos as I went. Turns out, I was actually pretty good at that, and my love of music lead me towards photographing bands and concerts. From there, I started to see wedding photography develop into something truly creative and exciting, and I haven’t looked back.
Do you have any advice for beginning photographers, wedding or otherwise?
Trust your own eye. It’s ok to be inspired by other photographers, especially those outside of weddings, but then you need to almost forget all that and trust yourself. The only thing that makes you unique among a zillion other photographers is your own eye, your own brain and your own personality. If you don’t like shooting a certain way, don’t do it. Make images that excite you, even if you’re not quite sure why. There will be other people out there who feel the same way and those are your clients. Don’t be the cover band, be the original!
Favorite trick to capture images of reluctant subjects? (kids, grandparents, nervous-in-front-of-the-camera-types)
I tell kids (up to a certain age) that I have a goldfish that lives in my camera and keeps trying to get out. They look, wide-eyed into the lens as I click away and often tell me they saw the goldfish. With older kids, I tell them I think my camera’s broken and ask if they can check that the shutter opens when I press the shutter. I get my shot of them looking right into the lens, they say “yeah it’s what is working,” and I thank them and move on.
With adults, I just talk about any old crap to distract them, make them laugh, whatever. If I show people I’m not bothered about looking like an idiot, then hopefully they’ll realise they don’t need to take it too seriously and will relax and have fun. Most of my couple portraits are more about the couple being together and interacting rather than posing for the camera.
Describe an average day for you.
Most days I’m up by 6:30 getting the kids ready for school. Once I’ve been Dad for an hour I open the computer and check my to-do list, usually starting with some editing. I’m terrible for being distracted by social media so often I’ll use an app called SelfControl that forces me to focus without being distracted. I’ll choose some great music (I have a few Spotify playlists designed to soundtrack my day), turn up my Sonos speakers and aim to check as many items off my to-do list as I can before the boys come home. I save emails, etc. for later in the day because that can become a never-ending circle that stops me from getting to the jobs that matter most. I prefer to be creative early in the day anyway.
I’ll have two half-hour breaks to eat, read, make tea (I am English, don’t forget!), and do some chores. I’m hoping to learn French this year too.
My wife works at a school so I usually make dinner for everyone which is something that would have made her laugh two years ago when I struggled to make anything beyond a poor spag bol.
Evenings are for chilling with my wife, Evelyne, and a good movie or Netflix series. We’re almost caught up on Game Of Thrones. I also try to get out to see bands regularly. Montreal has a great music scene.
Any advice for couples who are looking for their perfect wedding photographer?
Realise that photographers can vary greatly. Keep looking until you find the photographer that gets you excited about having them document your wedding in their own way. And once you’ve found that photographer, trust them to do what they do. If you feel confident in the photographer you choose, you won’t feel the need to send them your Pinterest board or a shot list. And you can relax and enjoy the wedding, safe in the knowledge you’re going to have wedding photographs you’ll love for the rest of your life.
What are your favorite destinations locations?
To be honest, my favourite destinations are anywhere I haven’t shot before. I love travelling, exploring, seeing new places and cultures. I know my photography is at its best when I’m somewhere new and inspiring. In the past year, I’ve shot weddings in Croatia, Italy, South Africa, Iceland, the US, Mexico, the UK and Canada. Iceland was obviously incredible. Whichever direction you look there’s something to take your breath away. The second night I was there I saw the Northern Lights which was something I’d always wanted to see. I managed to get a shot of the couple with the lights in the sky behind them. Pretty amazing.
Where do you want to shoot next?
I’d love to shoot in Bali. Or India. Or California. Or the Rockies. Anywhere, really, though. Except maybe North Korea!
What changes/improvements have you observed within your photography over the years?
I think the best thing I’ve done is learned to shoot more and more for myself rather than always thinking about what the client expects. Of course there will be times during a wedding day that you’re taking photos purely for the client, but my philosophy is now that most of the images I take on the day are just myself trying to make the best images from the events happening in front of me, or in the way I’ve learned to anticipate images or to be creative with compositions. That keeps it interesting for me and encourages me to push myself to be creative throughout the day. And I know that if I continue to produce photographs that I’m excited about I’ll find the clients that are drawn to those types of images. I don’t need to appeal to every bride and groom looking for a photographer. I only want to shoot around 30 weddings each year, so I just need to find 30 couples who love what I do and are excited to have me capture their wedding for them.
Any direction you would like to take your photography?
I’d love to do more editorial portraiture. Maybe for magazines. I love the work of people like Anton Corbijn, Joey L, Annie Liebovitz, Rodney Smith, Danny Clinch, and Mark Seliger. I’d love to develop my own personal style a little more with those type of portraits. It’s something I’m hoping to push forward this year.
How do you know you’ve done a great job for your wedding clients?
I want my clients to be surprised when they see their wedding through my eyes. They will remember the day in a certain way already but then they’ll have a whole new perspective of it when they see my photos. As the years go by, their own memories will fade but their wedding photos remain and they slowly become more and more important. I also want them to remember how they felt, not just how things looked when they go through the images.
A huge thank you to Steve for his time, insight, advice and of course, those awesome Spotify playlists. To see more of Steve’s work or to learn even more about this whiskey and Coke enthusiast, head over to his portfolio.
With wedding shows all temporarily on hold thanks to a certain global pandemic you may have heard of, the good people at Le Coeur Bohème have come to the rescue with a one-of-a-kind festival not to be missed!
The Coeur Bohème Festival promises two days, two distinct conferences, two completely different schedules filled with activities, discussions, tips and a host of other interactions that focus on helping you plan your dream wedding. You’ll have the chance to meet and discuss with a wide list of local suppliers, passionate about their trades and who will help you stand out from the traditional weddings.
The Coeur Bohème Festival sounds like it’s going to be a great event helping couples to answer their biggest questions regarding the organization of their wedding, and all from the comfort of their home!
That’s not all, what is a wedding festival without a little excitement? Le Coeur Bohème tell us they also have a few surprises waiting for you!
Follow Le Coeur Bohème on Instagram for complete festival details including what you could expect as a virtual participant, as well as a chance to be amongst the first couples to qualify for our pre-sale!
With large events being a rarity in 2020, many couples have been rethinking their wedding plans and looking at how to have a more intimate celebration without sacrificing the chance to create an elegant setting for their closest friends and family.
Our friends at Stori Events are experts in styling events both big and small and we were particularly impressed with what they managed to achieve on a limited budget at a private boathouse in a prime location on Lake Magog, in Quebec’s Eastern Townships.
The modern private boathouse was renovated and landscaped into a dream setting, where one could host an unforgettable elopement, engagement and/or intimate celebration.
With the natural light flooding into the space & the still waters, guests have the opportunity to enjoy uninterrupted views and complete serenity.
Thinking beyond the ubiquitous dining, we instead incorporated seating that is both comfortable and unique. Used various florals; pampas grass, fried florals, and pops of white roses feeling cohesively tonal with the mood and decor.
Also, taking cues from our location, we were able to create a tablescape display that featured various finds from our own personal homes. The entity of the setting at a minimal cost.”
Thanks to Jessy and Laurence at Stori Events for sharing their unique vision with us. If you’re planning an intimate event of your own sometime soon, make sure you get in touch with them to see if they can make it extra special.
Cameron May is a wedding photographer from Calgary who recently relocated to Montreal. He kindly agreed to share some images from a shoot he did in Old Montreal ahead of Maria & Joseph’s wedding.
Maria says of the proposal, “I just returned from a 3ish week-long trip from the Philippines and anytime I go on an extensive trip Joseph always had a surprise for me waiting in our bedroom. One time it was rose petals and candles everywhere. Another time it was a bunch of balloons, streamers and a banner.
He said he wanted to show me something in our room so we went to go look and he didn’t decorate or anything so I thought he was teasing me and I was like “oh ok….” and left the room. I didn’t notice the ring box on our bed because it was the same colour as our duvet. So he picked it up and showed it to me and asked me if I wanted to marry him. To my disbelief and shock as to what was happening, I’m pretty sure I asked him like 10 times if he was actually proposing right then and there haha.”
It was also great to see the couple brought their dog along to the engagement shoot. The couple are from Edmonton so Maria explained why they chose Montreal for their photos.
“We wanted to take our photos in Montreal because we really enjoy the old architecture and cobble roads in the Old Montreal area. Being from Edmonton which is quite boring scenery wise, it was a trip we looked forward to.”
Thanks to Cameron for sharing these great photos with MTL Wedding Blog. And congrats to Maria & Joseph.
Ma Cherie Bleue is an intimate boutique located in the heart of Rosemère, Quebec. Priding themselves on personalized customer service, they say they are experts at figuring out what our client needs, and giving it to them. We caught up with founder Nathale to find out more about this appointment only boutique.
Tell us a little about how Ma Cherie Bleue first started.
Six and a half years ago, I married my best friend, Maxime, who has not only loved me unconditionally, he has also encouraged me to fulfill my dreams.
Inspired by a shopping experience I had during our honeymoon in Paris the idea of Ma Chérie Bleue came into being. Paired with my 24+ years of combined expertise in retail business and creative fashion I was determined to create the superior shopping experience Montréal brides have been looking for in an intimate, charming setting.
What were your goals for the company?
My goals for the company were to make it a “one appointment only” shopping experience. I didn’t want to just sell a dress and then ship the bride off, this is something you only plan to do once so I want to make sure we get it right for them the first time
How do you select which designers to stock?
Each designer is hand-selected by myself to join the Ma Cherie Bleue family. I look for designers that have a unique signature to their designs, a dress that is feminine and original as our brides who wear them. what is most important to me is that they be affordable and meet most budgets. Our wedding dresses start at $1390 with a few exceptions over $3800.
What are your personal favourite designers?
All the designers I carry are my favourites, each designer I carry has something special in their collection that makes them unique. We have something for everyone! We carry dresses for all types and shapes. Lis Simon is a Canadian designer that has built her line around today’s bride and affordability, Theia designed Meghan Markle’s gown, he caters to the non-traditional bride, Blush by Hayley Paige has a more whimsical, elegant feel, she uses tulle, lace, and delicate tones to fit a modern bride.
Allison Webb is the embodiment of elevated elegance. Alyssa Kristin is sleek and chic, Lillian Wild has beautiful separates that can be customized to your style, Ti Adora is beautiful, authentic and wanderlust, Sally Eagle is romantic and classic, Lena Meodyeff are handmade from all natural silk or one hundred percent cotton, coloured by natural vegetable and mineral dyes, and stitched by talented seamstresses, Anais Anette another Canadian, her dresses exude feminity, Astrid and Mercedes have a look of something old and something new. .. There are so many exquisite gowns and accessories by such talented designers it is impossible to choose only one.
Describe a Ma Cherie Bleue bride
A Ma Cherie Bleue bride wants to celebrate her authentic self. She is stylish, playful, and daring. She encompasses the Bohemian, the classic, the romantic, with an element of sexy that is refined. A maverick who is not afraid to redefining her own wedding traditions.
How early do you suggest brides begin looking for a dress?
When it comes to finding “the one,” timing is essential. There are definitely wedding dress deadlines you don’t want to miss. Our designer’s lead time is 4 months, with the exception of a few that might take 5-6 months. I suggest brides shop for their dress 6 to 8 months prior to their wedding date, this will allow the bride to have time for fittings and accessorizing. However, there are always some exceptions and rush options for wedding gowns under 3 months.
How do you work with brides to make sure they find the perfect dress?
When we work with our brides our intention for the first appointment is to discuss the details; location, theme, and vision for the wedding, gown budget and colour and fabric preferences. We then introduce them to our dresses. They then get to select a cross-section of dresses that they can try on (with the opportunity to revisit any of their favourites at the end of the appointment)
In all of our appointments we are driven by our 3 FIRST: Our clients, our personalized service, and our exceptional quality — Always!
What would you say are the common mistakes that brides make when choosing what to wear for their wedding?
They want to please everyone else, mother, father, groom, bridal party etc…obviously the bride wants everyone to love her dress but she is the one wearing it for ”her” big day. It is important that the gown is a perfect fit in terms of her personality and style.
What changes have you observed with wedding styles over the years?
Some of my favourite changes for 2019 we have been observing are;
Ultra feminine details like bows and pearls are the new modern contemporary interpretation of old classic make new again. They are found on dresses, shoes, accessories like capes and veils.
High low and mini is another trend that’s making its way in the bridal dress industry for the alternative bride who wants to stay away from more traditional shapes such as full skirts and long trains. They offer an informal and playful approach.
Separates are still holding strong. It’s a great way for brides to be creative if wearing a traditional dress is not your thing. This would be a combination of tops, skirts and yes ladies trousers.
Lace, in general, has always been a wedding staple, but 3-D applique lace or character laces make a stronger statement because it has an impact. Especially when it’s a part of a blush coloured dress that enhances the beauty of the details.
How do you know you’ve done a great job for your clients?
My brides are so important to me and we always check in with them and ask for pictures of their wedding! When we receive their pictures and their praise I know my job is done! When our brides come back with their friends or family members, when they send us referrals it lets me know I have achieved my goal and makes me love my job even more. Each bride becomes part of our MCB family.
Any funny stories from your time in the business?
On January 15th, 2018 I launched a campaign giving brides the opportunity to share their personal love story in hopes of earning themselves a free wedding dress from designers such as Hayley Paige, Anais Anette, Anya Dionne, Astrid & Mercedes, and Lea-Ann Belter. One of the contest winners, Amanda Harvey was pregnant at the time of the dress selection and couldn’t try on her dress but came to the store just the same and we just hit it off! We chatted like we have known each other for years. We have now become great friends, she is now a part of the MCB family as my social media manager and brand ambassador. Elegant Wedding played a part in the success of the giveaway and wrote a beautiful spotlight on the giveaway https://www.elegantwedding.ca/ma-cherie-bleue-bridal-giveaway/
Where can people find you online?
You can find us online at macheriebleue.com where you can book an appointment to shop all of our beautiful collections and soon you will be able to shop for your dress on our website as well…stay tuned
Big thanks to Amanda and Nathale at Ma Cherie Bleue for their time.
Photos: Studio 55 Yanick Lesperance Narsete Photography Emile Olson Photography Martine L Judith Gautier Photography Catherine Deslauriers Bachmann Photography Alexandre Couture R Cassette Photo
Le Wedding Mill is a wedding planning company in Montreal and is aptly named after its founder Michelle Mill. We chatted with Michelle about her business and how she works with couples to create a flawless wedding.
When did le wedding mill first begin? le wedding mill launched in 2017, but its roots dig a few years deeper than that. I have always been drawn to planning events, from bridal showers to retreats to galas. Over the years, I had had the privilege of being a bridesmaid several times and loved every minute of the experience. I was particularly excited about helping with the little design details. I also loved being able to take their stress away by quietly handling any logistical issue that arose.
Eventually, I dove into the corporate event world, learning the ins and outs of hospitality, client relations and logistics. At the same time, my bridesmaids duties escalated to planner duties at some of my friends’ weddings, then eventually I was helping friends of friends and so on. In 2017, my wedding season was shaping up to be a busy one and thus, I faced an exciting but frightening dilemma: Should I keep the security of my corporate job or whole heartedly pursue my dream of becoming a wedding planner? Needless to say, I took the leap and haven’t looked back for a minute. We are now a small but very mighty team of two, with a group of lovely helpers that lend a hand on event days.
How would you sum up your approach? As our tagline aptly states, we offer a fresh and fun approach to wedding planning. It’s no secret that planning a wedding is stressful. There are so many moving parts to think about, not to mention the emotions involved. At le wedding mill, we are very aware that our clients are busy, which is why our planning process is streamlined and efficient. We take the stress out of the equation so that our couples can actually enjoy their engagement and focus on the fun parts of wedding planning.
What challenges do you usually face during a wedding day? As there are so many moving parts in a wedding, the biggest challenge that we face is keeping everyone and everything moving at the same pace! For example, if hair and makeup take longer than expected, we need to make that time up elsewhere to ensure that the ceremony isn’t delayed too much, leaving guests in their seats for an extended period. Fortunately, we tackle this challenge by padding our timelines with extra time at specific key moments.
Another classic challenge that we face, one that we have not yet figured out how to control, is weather. Many of our couples have an outdoor component to their wedding, be it the ceremony, cocktail or the entire event. We monitor weather closely and always have a solid plan for inclement weather.
What are the differences between a wedding planner, a coordinator, a designer, and a venue coordinator? This is a very important topic as there is a lot of confusion about these roles. To summarize, a wedding planner is your guide throughout the entire planning process. He/she will typically be responsible for keeping the planning process running in a timely manner, recommending and contacting vendors that suit your style and budget, designing the event, and managing the logistics on-site. Essentially, the planner does all the legwork – you make the final decisions. At le wedding mill, we offer full planning as well as partial planning services to accommodate couples who want to some of the legwork, but not all.
A coordinator will step in later on in the process and tie all loose ends. He/she will confirm all the responsibilities with the vendors you have booked and will usually create your timeline for you. On your wedding day, a coordinator will be there to set up and manage the logistics. In this case, you do all the legwork and he/she will make sure it all goes according to plan.
A designer focuses strictly on the aesthetic and visual aspects of the day. He/she will relay with the vendors who impact the design, such as the florist or the rental company, and will set up the event so that it reflects what had been previously agreed upon. A designer will not; however, handle any logistics of the day and will usually sneak out well before the wedding starts!
A venue coordinator, though instrumental to the success of your wedding, is not the same as a planner, coordinator or designer. While every venue is different, a venue coordinator is usually responsible for ensuring that all-venue related tasks are being fulfilled. This can be anything from setting the tables to supervising the in-house caterer’s service times. In some cases, he/she will supervise the teardown of the event. However, there is a misconception that a venue coordinator will take on the responsibilities of one of the above-mentioned roles, which can lead to disappointment and frustration at the last minute. The best way to know for sure is to speak with your venue coordinator to find out exactly what they will and will not do on your big day.
What can brides do to help you to plan their wedding day in the best possible way? Communication is key! We encourage couples to overshare so that we are aware of every detail, nuance and pet peeve. On the wedding day, we are the couples’ eyes and ears on the ground and want to make sure that their wedding dreams come true. Whatever information we have will help us run the day smoothly and manage expectations.
How early do brides need to think about booking their planner? The sooner, the better! While all planners do their best to accommodate last minute requests, it’s not always possible on busier weekends. Our couples typically book us anywhere between 8 to 24 months in advance.