Worn by a multitude of celebrity brides, the name Monique Lhuillier is synonymous with bridal luxury. She’s risen from relative anonymity in the fashion world to become not only a bridal power house, but a frequent designer seen on actresses appearing on the the red carpet at events like the Emmys and Oscars, and on political figures such as the FLOTUS, Michelle Obama.
Monique, who stated in her high school year book she wanted to be a designer, began her career in fashion while studying at the Fashion Institute for Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles. Later, while searching for a wedding gown for herself, the Filipina designer realized how difficult it could be to find a finely fashioned, couture bridal gown.
In 1996 the Monique Lhuillier label was formed with her husband, fusing her interest in special occasion and bridal wear with her natural attraction to high fashion couture gowns. She often states that she wished to be a pampered bride, but is now quite content to pamper them herself!
Her signature wedding designs feature flattering shapes with a healthy dose of red carpet glamour and style yet remain well suited for the wedding aisle. For many, a Monique Lhuillier is a fantasy gown replete with all the feminine touches like delicate lace and intricate embroidery – both details which show up often collection after collection.
The dresses are undeniably feminine, and draw inspiration from experiences in her life and in those around her, like her children, nature and her travels. The Fall/Winter 2013 collection was inspired by “secret gardens” and appropriately included natural florals, vines and other botanicals that you might find in a garden. Intricate lace leaves scatter across the neckline of one gown, while another featured a skirt and train seemingly built completely of flowers.
Lhuillier popularized two piece wedding dresses, combining separate bodices with full, dramatic skirts – a look very fit for a princess! More recent collections, both ready to wear and couture, feature classic strapless styles, some with light overlay of sleeves or bodice. Lhuillier’s gowns do not usually have long trains, instead featuring trumpet or A-line silhouettes which are flattering to almost any body type.
All production and design for her dresses are done in Los Angeles, and the designer prides herself on the fine workmanship and care taken when producing a gown. Luxury is found in typical bridal fabrics like organza, tulle and silk, but uniqueness is woven in by the occasional use of furs, Venetian lace and jacquard knits. Subtle yet detailed beading, complex pleating and origami-style folds add interest, and demonstrate the thoughtful handiwork of the seamstresses and designer herself.
The bride who wears timeless gown by Monique Lhuillier is most likely a sophisticated, if slightly romantic, woman who prefers understated opulence and modern luxury. The gowns would be equally at home at weddings in glamorous estate and mansion venues as well as classic church, country club and even garden settings.
Andi + Ralf’s nuptials in Schilersee, Germany was a woodsy Bavarian fairy-tale come true…complete with flower girls and officiant in customary Bavarian dress, a traditional Bavarian log cutting ceremony where the bride and groom work together to cut through a log (pretty cute!) or my favourite: I Do’s on a jetty overlooking the Alps. Don’t miss this special and absolutely exquisite Melissa Sweet gown aptly named Fern, made from pleated English netting, five layers of hand sewn lace panels including crinoline and silk/satin petticoats. Andi points out that this gown is no longer in production, so what an opportunity it would be for another bride to scoop up this perfect fairy-tale, vintage inspired beauty!
Andi + Ralf | September 14, 2013 | Schliersee, Germany | Dress Listing: Melissa Sweet, Fern
The ceremony was held on a jetty outside the Seehotel Schlierseer Hof, only 30 minutes from where Ralf grew up. The setting made the whole event feel like a fairytale amidst the picturesque Lake Schliersee, framed by the Alps. We had a traditional Bavarian band play while I walked down the aisle and the flower girls and officiant wore dirndls, the customary Bavarian dress. Immediately following our vows, we were presented with a two-person crosscut saw for the ‘Baumstamm sägen’, a Bavarian tradition where the bride and groom must work together to cut through a log, symbolizing their ability to overcome challenges together in their marriage.
The reception took place in the Seehotel Schlierseer Hof’s Panorama Restaurant, which overlooks the lake. We chose the venue because of its Alpine charm, complete with wooden ornamentation and a beautiful hand-painted ceiling. I wanted the wedding to reflect the German countryside – woodsy, rustic and earthy – and this was realized in the decor and color scheme, which consisted of various shades of green and brown. The groomsmen wore dark navy suits with forest green shirts and moss green striped bow ties. The bridesmaids both wore deep green dresses, and carried flowers picked that morning from a nearby field. The candle holders were custom made by Ralf’s brother from tree branches in his garden and rosemary bouquets hung from the ceiling, bringing the forest indoors. Because Ralf is German and I am Californian, but are both currently living in London, we incorporated elements of our international life into the event. I designed the stationary and table cards myself, which were named after cities in which we’ve lived. My bouquet was made of succulents, to represent California, and as favors, the guests were given custom German gingerbread hearts called Lebkuchenherz, which are traditionally offered in Bavaria at Oktoberfest and Christmastime. Guests were treated to a six-course Bavarian meal, followed by a three-tiered ‘Prinzregententorte’, or chocolate butter cream layer-cake with marzipan frosting. Perhaps the most popular element of our reception however was ‘The Queen’, a cardboard cutout of Queen Elizabeth II, which represented our life in the United Kingdom. She frequently joined us on the dance floor and I believe at one point I even saw her going for a slice of cake. The whole event felt like some sort of magical fable come to life. Here’s to happily ever after!
Andi’s Dress Search
I originally pictured myself in something sleek, modern and bias cut, whereas Ralf was hoping for a ‘cupcake’ style ball gown, so I decided to be as open as possible when shopping for dresses. I’d tried on nearly every style possible in almost every bridal boutique in London and San Francisco before spotting Melissa Sweet’s ‘Fern’ online. I immediately knew it was the dress. Delicate, graceful and incredibly romantic, this vintage-inspired gown perfectly captured a classic fairy-tale look that suited the venue and would stand the test of time in photos.
How Andi Felt in Her Wedding Dress
Radiant, Magical, Timeless
Why Andi Decided To Sell Her Wedding Dress
Melissa Sweet’s ‘Fern’ is no longer being produced and can only be purchased second-hand. I have never felt more beautiful in any other article of clothing and I’d like to give another bride the opportunity to feel the same way.
See all of our wedding dresses by Melissa Sweet…
Garden weddings are such a breath of fresh air! Vibrant greenery, lush florals and the timeless elegance of a garden party are what Meg and Michael were seeking for their New York wedding. After a traditional church ceremony, the reception began with a Chinese tea ceremony and cocktail hour before things really got started with a totally fun reception that included a special guest. Meg looked beautiful in a Christos gown, accented with just a little bit of spring green – perfect for the Brooklyn Botanic Garden venue!
Meg + Michael | August 10, 2013 | New York City, New York | Dress Listing: Christos, Charlotte
Our wedding was Saturday, August 10th, 2013 in New York. The ceremony was at St. Joseph Church in Garden City. It was the parish that Mike and his family attended during his childhood. It was a beautiful day with perfect weather so we were really able to take advantage of the beautiful gardens.
The Brooklyn Botanic Gardens is a beautiful green spot in the heart of Brooklyn, New York. It really combined the convenience and urban neighborhood of being in Brooklyn with the natural beauty of a botanical garden. Mike and I moved just a few miles away from the gardens in Brooklyn in 2011 so the location is very important and memorable for us. We didn’t quite have an overall theme but I wanted to incorporate our family’s culture.
We had bagpipers at the ceremony, a tea ceremony and at each seat, guests were given a bamboo dim sum steamer that was filled with Irish wild flower and bells of Ireland seeds, and some Asian candies to incorporate our Chinese and Irish families and the overall garden theme through the seeds. We wanted the reception to be relaxed and natural, to reflect our (or at least Mike’s) easygoing personality and wanted to just keep things light and fun.
Mike is half Chinese and the tea ceremony is something that is traditional in Chinese weddings. Different families execute the tea ceremony in different ways, (sometimes it takes place before the wedding at a family’s home) but the main idea is that the now married couple “serves tea” to all his/her elders, as a sign of thanks and respect. In exchange for the tea, the elders (defined as any relatives older than the couple and married) will give the couple “lucky money” in red envelopes (similar to those used during Chinese New Year) as well as their well wishes and “advice” — mostly they wish for lots of babies and happiness which is not too different than the types of wishes and congratulations I receive from my relatives too!
We included my parents and aunts/uncles who were not too familiar with the tradition but were happy to participate. It actually turned out to be such a nice way to thank all those relatives who are so important to mike and me because we had some time with each relative to speak with them and thank them for being there. Much of the evening flew by so quickly and I felt like i had no time to talk to everyone, so I was so happy we had that moment to share with those who are most important.
The tea ceremony took about 20 minutes and was held simultaneously with the rest of the cocktail hour, for those guests who did not take part. They could grab a drink and food, and if they wanted, observe the ceremony, or just enjoy the lovely weather and gardens outside and wait for the reception to begin!
Mike is a huge Mets fan, has always been since he was born and so when a co-worker mentioned to me that Mr Met can do special events, I had to look into it. Mr Met was so much fun and I kept it as a total surprise. Only a few of my close bridesmaids and mother knew of the “special guest” so most people were completely shocked! He spent about an hour at our reception dancing and taking pictures with friends. It was an amazing moment because, I think, once Mr Met arrived, most of the eyes were finally off me and Mike so we could finally relax and enjoy the party!!
Meg’s Dress Search
I didn’t really have any style in mind, since I was told that I should keep an open mind. I have never tried on anything as special or grand as a wedding dress on before so I was open to most styles. That said, I was looking for something light and comfortable, fitting in with our garden venue.
I found my dress on my second visit to a dress store, after trying on about 25 dresses or so. I was totally surprised at how many of the dresses and style looked better on me than I would have expected and was happy that I tried on a number of different styles that I normally wouldn’t have picked out for myself. I went with this dress because it just felt like it fit in with the total feel of my wedding. It was light and fun.
It was really important to me to feel comfortable and i was worried about it being hot (my wedding was in August) — this dress was so comfortable (allowing for a lot of food intake!) and much lighter than it looks because of the tulle. As a unexpected benefit, it also stayed surpsiringly clean because the tulle did not absorb dirt on the floor or ground the way a different type of fabric would. I also appreciated the fairly plain stlye because it allowed me to add some pizzazz thru the belt (which I had made to match my bridesmaids dresses.)
How Meg Felt in Her Wedding Dress
Why Meg Decided to Sell Her Wedding Dress
I realized that for the most part, my dress would sit unopened and unused for many many years if I simply cleaned and stored it. I felt like while I would absolutely love to think of my future daughters wearing the dress, I understand that styles change, sizes are different, it probably wouldn’t happen. Even friends of mine who wanted to wear their mother’s dress ended up hitting obstacles that prevented it. Plus, throughout the entire wedding planning process, I realized just how expensive wedding can be: for the bride, groom and parents.
My dress was in such awesome shape after the wedding that I thought if I can help another bride experience the beauty and awesomeness of my dress while saving quite a bit of money, then maybe that bride could add more guests, choose a bigger bouquet or afford some other expense that is bound to arise!
Wedding Dress: Christos, Charlotte | Photography: Max Flatow | Ceremony Venue: St. Joseph Catholic Church, Garden City, NY | Reception Venue: Palm House, Brooklyn Botanic Gardens | Floral Design: Rebecca Shepherd Floral Design | Cake: Ana Parzych Cakes
See all of our new, sample and used Christos wedding dress listings.
A little bit of vintage and a whole lot of love…Andrea + David’s nuptials in Vancouver were so pretty. Andrea is such a beautiful bride channeling a delightfully vintage-royal look, in her Cymbeline gown called Antibes; complete with polka-dot capped sleeves and satin dress with layered polka-dot lace overlay. I love Andrea’s side-swept long locks and her Juliet cap veil. And the best part, the next lucky gal to fall in love with this vintage inspired gown will also receive Andrea’s pretty veil included in the purchase. Yes please!!
Andrea + David | August 3, 2013 | Vancouver, British Columbia | Dress Listing: Cymbeline, Antibes
We had a large traditional wedding at a local church with around 350 of our closest friends and family. We wanted our ceremony to be intimate, simple, elegant…and us. It was a labor of love with the help of our family and friends who we must give most of the credit to. The theme of our wedding was an English garden wedding with an Asian twist for our multicultural background – lots of roses, lace & vintage crystal vases; it was so much fun choosing the flowers & decor for our ceremony and seeing it altogether on the day was magical.
Continuing with our theme, our mountaintop reception (at the university where we met – Simon Fraser University) was decorated with watercolor Chinese lanterns, doilies, dahlias & vintage vases/frames. My favorite moments of the dinner were the speeches by our closest friends, family and a surprise performance of a song that my husband wrote for me.
Andrea’s Dress Search
I knew I liked lace, vintage styles and really loved the illusion neckline look but couldn’t find anything in bridal stores with that style so I started searching online. When I found the Cymbeline, Antibes dress on their website, I knew I had found my dress. It had everything I was looking for.
How Andrea Felt in Her Wedding Dress
Gorgeous, Elegant and Swanky
Why Andrea Decided to Sell Her Wedding Dress
I felt the most beautiful I have ever felt in my dress and veil saying my vows to my husband. It’s difficult to part with it but I want to share the gorgeousness of this Cymbeline dress.
Wedding Dress: Cymbeline, Antibes | Photography: Andrea Ball Photography | Ceremony Venue: Tenth Church | Reception Venue: Diamond Alumni Centre at SFU | Event Planning: Personal Friend | Floral Design: Celsia Florist | Makeup Artist: Radiant Beauties – Krista Rand
See all of our Cymbeline wedding dresses for sale…