Choosing the perfect wedding dress is almost certainly the element of the wedding that all brides spend the most time and effort on. It’s a dress for one day and one day only, and every bride wants it to be perfect in every way. Luckily, Boutique Oui, je le voeux can help.
Boutique Oui, je le vœux on Plaza St-Hubert in Montreal is not like your average wedding dress store. Being more conscious of the environmental and ecological system, they have adapted to the virtues of recycling. Several years ago, Isabelle Leduc opened an adorable, romantic boutique specialising in the sale and rental of recycled wedding gowns.
We caught up with Stéphanie Khalil from Boutique Oui, je le vœux to find out more about this forward-thinking approach to wedding dresses…
When did Boutique Oui je le voeux first begin?
The Boutique Oui je le voeux first opened 25 years ago at 6600 St-Hubert street in Montreal. It is now located in a bigger store at 6924 St-Hubert Street.
What were the aspirations of the company when it began?
The concept of Boutique Oui je le voeux was actually created while Isabelle Leduc, the founder of the store, was finishing her studies at College Lasalle, where she developed the idea of owning a boutique of wedding gowns. She was always very conscious of our environmental and ecological system, so she decided to apply the principles of recycling to wedding gowns. With hard work, dedication, and an amazing team of friends and family, Isabelle opened her romantic boutique called Oui je le voeux… specialising in the sale and rental of recycled wedding gowns and other accessories such as veils, tiaras, bustier and jeweller; in short, everything you need to dress a bride from head to toe. Of course, throughout the years the concept has evolved, and there is now the option of buying new dresses from designers like Maggie Sottero and Essence of Australia (Stella York). Chantal Parizeau, Isabelle’s’ head seamstress and best friend since before the opening of the store, is now in charge of the boutique to carry on the values and the reputation of great service.
How would you sum up your style?
Besides the option of renting versus buying, there is not much that we do not have. We have styles for every bride’s tastes, going from mermaid, to princess to A-line, with lace, satin, bling or no bling. Since we have different designers, we strive to have a collection of different styles, that way, when a bride comes in for her very first fitting, she can try a style of each and be able to identify her preferences without having to go to 10 other stores.
What challenges do you usually face when helping to find the right dress for your clients?
Trying on dresses for the very first time is an emotional roller coaster. Let’s just say it, it’s the most exciting part for the bride next to wedding cake tasting! The only thing that mostly comes between a bride and the wedding dress of her dreams is …. her complexes. Unfortunately, a lot of our brides are more focused on what is supposedly wrong with their body, arms, face etc., than the dress. It comes to a point where it is easier for them to point out their flaws instead of the dress’s fitting. Our job is to remind them of how beautiful they are and, of course, as professionals, bring them dresses that will not only fit their bodies but their personalities as well.
What were the most popular styles for 2018?
Lace is still very present in 2018 which we are glad about because we love it! Compared to 2017, where very fitted styles were more popular, princess gowns are making a comeback! Only this time, long sleeves are added. That’s right, 2018 is about the combination of satin ball gowns with long lace sleeves. Now we are not saying that all the other styles are not trendy anymore. Mermaids are still an amazing choice to show our curves and sweetheart necklines are still appreciated. It is important to understand that a trend is not something that every bride should absolutely want to follow. A lot of brides come to me asking me if it is okay to not like lace even if everyone is crazy about it, and my answer to that is: a trend is what’s hip and popular at a certain point in time, you either like it or you don’t and that is totally fine, as long as you love yourself in your dress, that is what matters the most.
Tell us about your recycling options for wedding dresses?
It is actually a very easy concept.
A recycled dress can be :
A) A dress that a bride wants to sell to make another bride happy
B) One of our new collections that is available to rent
C) A dress in-store that is no longer available to order but is available to rent or buy off-the-rack.
A rentable dress’s price ranges between $450 to $750 (with insurance and taxes not being included) depending on the style. That price includes the cleaning of the dress after the wedding, a veil, a tiara and a crinoline to give a nice volume to the dress. Alterations are not included but the bride will be aware of what will need to be altered and the price will she be looking to pay.
I usually get asked which is more popular: Renting? or Buying?
Actually, it is half-half. It really depends on what the future bride is looking for, her budget, her emotional attachment to her dress. It is really a personal choice and a different one for each bride, but it is fun to have both options to consider.
Got any funny stories from weddings you’ve been involved with?
It was not necessarily funny, it was actually one of the most romantic requests that we have ever had. A woman called us at the store, asking information on our VIP service, which includes a personal room with seats for all of her guests, a hostess, a bottle of (non-alcoholic) sparkling wine, gifts for everyone and pictures taken with the group at the end of the appointment. It is very much like what you can see on the Say yes to the Dress show. We gave her all the information and she told us she was ready to book it. While asking for her information, we came down to the wedding date. That is when she actually told us that she was not getting married, it was actually her dream since she was a little girl, but she was so certain her boyfriend did not want to get married that she lost hope. So she just wanted to have the wedding dress shopping experience just so she could see herself trying on wedding future like every futur bride’s dream. Little did she know, her boyfriend called the day after, telling us that he wanted to take that opportunity to ….PROPOSE! We were all so excited that, of course, we helped him plan the whole scenario. Once the day arrived, the future bride-to-be had no clue of what was going to happen, we sent her and her friends into the VIP room and before she went to go see the dresses she was surprised by her boyfriend arriving in a tuxedo, with roses and a photographer, going down on one knee and asking for her hand. You should have seen all the bridal dress consultants with tears of joy down their cheeks. It was one of the most romantic moments we had ever been a part of.
How early do brides need to think about purchasing their dress?
To be sure and safe from any deadline, a year before the wedding is the best recommendation when it comes to wedding dress shopping. New dresses have to be ordered and take up to 4 to 6 months to arrive in store. That applies to rentals as well, the first bride-to-be has first pick on the date that she wants. In that case, do not take any risks and keep your options open. So if you are getting married this summer and have not yet found a wedding dress, now would be the time to start booking your appointments with your mother and bridesmaids.
Where can we find you online?
We have a very complete website, ouijelevoeux.com, with pictures of most of the collection (2000+ dresses) that we have in store, plus you can book an appointment directly online. Our Facebook page Oui, je le voeux… keeps you informed of all our contests, new collections and the wedding stories of our beautiful brides. An Instagram page is in a work in progress and we will keep our followers informed when it will be ready.
What do you do for fun when not working in the boutique?
All of the employees are very close. We are not colleagues, we are friends and the whole team is actually a big family. Obviously, the best part of being a bridal dress consultant is: A) Seeing our new collections arriving and B) getting to try on the dresses! What is a better way to identify a dress aspects than to try it on yourself? Of course, that perk is always followed by a photo shoot for our personal memories. Our manager Denyse tells us all the time: “Girls, I think you found your dresses before you’ve even found the fiancé!” So you might have guessed it too since we get to wear wedding gowns all day at the Let’s get married Grand Salon from Marions-nous in January and September, it is our favorite event!
Huge thanks to Stéphanie for sharing her thoughts with us here at MTL Wedding Blog.