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LA's own Monique Lhuillier is more than just a designer to the stars—she is the designer to the stars on the biggest day of their lives. As seen on brides like Alicia Silverstone, Reese Witherspoon and Carrie Underwood—who wore not one, but two ML designs on her wedding day—the designer's gowns have been making appearances in the dreams of brides-to-be since she launched her line back in 1996.
Lhuillier, who was inspired to design wedding gowns after the lack of options in the search for her own, specializes in a feminine silhouette and the ability to make women feel like the bride they've aspired to be since childhood, indirectly killing cold feet syndrome.
We asked the most sought-after designer in bridal couture for a few tips to remember and pitfalls to avoid when narrowing down gown options. Turns out, it's not as easy as they make it look.
What are the three most important things a bride should consider when choosing her wedding dress?
1. "Conscious Design: Choose a silhouette that is flattering. It's important to play up a bride's assets and camouflage any challenging areas. Plus, a gown should never overpower the wearer."
2. "Luxurious Construction: Even with more simplistic styles, I always want the bride to know she is wearing something that was beautifully constructed with her in mind. We use only the best fabrication and pay meticulous attention to every detail."
3. "Consider Your Setting: While every bride should feel free to choose the wedding style of her dreams, her attire should also reflect the time and place of her special day."
So, the venue is an important factor?
"Very. The dress is definitely venue-dependent. The gown will vary greatly depending on if you are getting married in a cathedral versus on a beach or in city hall. I highly recommend solidifying the venue before a bride-to-be starts dress shopping."
What would you say is the number one mistake you see women make when deciding on the dress?
"The number one mistake women make is choosing a dress that fulfills someone else's vision. I always tell brides-to-be to follow their instincts and they won't be disappointed!"
And what about those colored gowns?
"I like subtle colored wedding dresses in blush and pale platinum. I don't like anything too strong because a bride should feel ethereal, soft and elegant on her special day."
What advice do you give your celebrity clients when they are making the big decision?
"When I dress a celebrity for an event or a bride for their wedding day, it's a similar experience, because a wedding is a 'red carpet moment' in a lot of ways. For my celebrity brides, I want their personalities to shine through. There's a certain persona that comes with fame, but I really want the true woman to be the star! Dressing a celebrity is a collaborative process so it's more of a continuous conversation. They typically have an idea of what they are looking for and I'm there to give them guidance and support."
Do you see any specific style of dresses that work well for a particular body type?
"There are a few general guidelines that I typically abide by, but there are, of course, exceptions to every rule. For an hourglass figure I like a look that's nipped in at the waist, like a mermaid gown or a gown with a corseted bodice. For a woman who is thin and wants the illusion of more shape, fit and flare is a great option or a look with applique, can add just the right amount of volume to the figure."
What are some key tips to finding the right bridesmaids dresses?
"For bridesmaids, I tend to follow the 'less is more' rule of thumb. Too much detail, embellishment or volume can be distracting and the more elements you add to a dress, the more difficult it becomes to flatter a variety of figures. Bridesmaid dresses are meant to complement the bride's look. There are really no hard rules when it comes to length or color, but if it's a formal or casual wedding the bridesmaids' dresses do need to reflect the appropriate ambiance."
Do you expect to see any bridal trends this summer?
"When women are in love they want to feel feminine, beautiful and timeless, so trends in bridal tend to vary less than Ready-to-Wear. Looks that are romantic, ethereal and light are always in style. In the coming season lace, which is one of my signatures, continues to be an important trend."
What were you looking for in a dress on your big day?
"When I was getting married, I really wanted a dress that was special and that captured my sense of style: classic with a twist. The experience of searching for the right gown was not easy, which is what inspired me to start my own bridal collection. The rest is history!"
True or False: When you find the right dress you just?know?
"I think for most women that's true. I love being in the store when a bride finds 'the one'-they just light up!"
· Monique Lhuillier [Official Site]
· All Weddings Week 2013 Coverage [Racked]