When Bridal Dreams Are In Your GenesVendor Spotlight: The Bridal Boutique

Posted by Blush Magazine Posted on February 22, 2016


Photography: ubackdrop

For Lillian Bowdring, helping brides sparkle truly runs in the family. The owner of The Bridal Boutique runs three busy bridal salons with the help of her daughters, Lyia, Dorothy and Kara. Lillian has been in the bridal business for over 20 years; she started as a buyer for a major bridal store and eventually decided to set up her own shop. “It was important to create a boutique that provided wonderful customer service and a memorable bridal experience,” says Kara.

The three girls grew up wanting to be princesses, so it was no surprise they wanted to help their mom treat brides like royalty. Lyia runs The Bridal Boutique in Calgary, Dorothy has just opened White & Ivory in WEM, and Kara does marketing for all three boutiques.

“Our boutiques are a true reflection of each of our individual personalities,” says Kara. The flagship store in Edmonton carries a variety of designers from Eddy K and Essense of Australia to Pronovias and Martina Liana.

In 2015, Lyia opened a store in Calgary to easily accommodate the large number of brides driving up to Edmonton. The Calgary location carries Hayley Paige, Lazaro, Rue De Seine and Katie May to cater to the fashion-forward bride. Dorothy recently launched White & Ivory in West Edmonton Mall to carry gowns that are affordable yet glamorous.

Blush recently caught up with the ladies for a Q&A session:

What is your favourite bridal look at the moment?

Kara: Daringly low backs are everything! [That’s] probably why I chose one for my own wedding.

Lyia:  Sleek and sexy looks that are red carpet worthy!

Dorothy: The high neck and long sleeve combination of lace and sparkle.

Lillian: Separates with skirts that are tulle, tulle and more tulle.

Which celebrity’s style do you admire?

Kara:  Olivia Palermo- simple, classic and chic.

Lyia:  Kim Kardashian- clean lines, and everything Lanvin.

Dorothy: Kylie Jenner- Always a trendsetter.

Lillian: Kris Jenner- “Momager” and always fabulous.

What is it like working so closely with family?

Kara: We couldn’t ask for anything more than working with each other. We are truly blessed.

What is your advice to brides to help them find their dream dress?

Kara: Our advice to brides when looking for ‘the one’ is to firstly do your homework and research by determining a budget and sticking to it! Try not to be afraid to step outside of the box, and–most importantly–remind yourself to enjoy the whole experience.


Blush’s Day at Bliss YogaSpaVendor Spotlight: Bliss YogaSpa

Posted by Blush Magazine Posted on March 11, 2015

You want to get in shape for the big day, but the phrase “bridal bootcamp” makes you want to hide inside a tub of Häagen-Dazs. Ditto for the eighteenth revision of your seating chart because your cousin keeps changing her mind on her plus-one. You’re stressed. You look and feel just “blah”. You need to find Bliss. Literally.

Bliss is a full-service yoga studio and spa designed to rejuvenate body and soul. I could feel my tension slip away as soon as I was greeted by the friendly reception staff. After a quick tour of the building–which can feel like a maze but is really a large circle–and a crash course on how to use the digital lockers, I was ready to get my “glow” on.

Bliss offers several classes a day in both their heated and room temperature studios to accommodate every client’s schedule and level of yoga. I opted for the morning Blissful Glow Flow, “glow” being a prettier way of saying “you will drip sweat from between your toes.” The room was warm but not humid, full but not crowded. The instructor, Brandon, led the class through sequences of intermediate poses but left room for students to practice at their own pace; there were many opportunities to either take a break in child’s pose or push through another vinyasa.

From the Moodspace panel that bathes the clay walls in changing colours to the icy lemongrass-scented towels offered during the final savasana, yoga at Bliss is truly a sensory experience. After an invigorating sixty minutes students can hit the showers or unwind in the yoga lounge, which offers complimentary tea or healthy snacks and refreshments available for purchase. I, however, was off to the spa.

After trading my sweat-drenched yoga clothes for a robe and flip-flops, I settled into a comfortable chaise in the spa lounge with a cup of organic tea and an iPad provided by the spa. It wasn’t long before Calli whisked me away to work her magic.

Calli treated me to the Sacred Nature Ritual, which includes a full body exfoliating scrub, massage and facial treatment with natural products. What I’m sure took only an hour felt like a full day of pampering as she relaxed me into that lovely space between wakefulness and dreamland. By the time she was through, my body felt like a puddle of melted butter.

Realizing that I needed a few moments to solidify myself back in reality, Calli handed me a cool glass of lemon water and said I could choose to unwind in the spa lounge again or visit the caldarium. The what?

The caldarium is a gently heated room centered around a bubbling water feature. The glass tiles that line the walls and floor reflect the twinkling lights shining down from the ceiling like a starry night sky. It’s a perfectly peaceful stepping stone on the path back to the real world. I took my sweet time back in the changing room, relishing the steam shower and salon quality hair products before I left.

Bliss also offers group rates and couples packages if you need a pre-wedding pampering session with the girls or a relaxing daytime escape for two. I recommend leaving everyone behind to enjoy a personal day; solo is the way to go for a complete overhaul of body and soul. From arrival to departure I felt welcomed at Bliss, never rushed or uncomfortable. Every facet of my yoga and spa experience was just that: pure bliss.


The Oasis Centre’s Multi-Tiered ExperienceVendor Spotlight: The Oasis Centre

Posted by Blush Magazine Posted on July 11, 2014

In our Fall Winter 2014 issue look for the full details on The Oasis Centre, Blush’s Venue of the Year. Enjoy this web-exclusive advice session with Anne McLennan, Wedding Director for The Oasis Centre, and see how you can best make your event dreams a bridal reality.

Maximize the Garden

“Whenever we can, we love to treat our guests to our spectacular garden. We have created wedding event plans that allow for taking advantage of this wonderful option. Because the weather here in Alberta can be unpredictable, we always have a back-up plan such as the marble foyer in case the weather isn’t favourable. Our favorite is to open the two back double-doors immediately following the ceremony and invite and delight guests to a champagne celebration in the garden. Everyone can then enjoy a glass of champagne while the newly married couple takes photos with family and friends. After 30 minutes or so, people can make their way back into the marble foyer when the full bar opens for the reception.

The Oasis Centre Garden

Another option is to invite your guests out into the garden for a surprise after dinner to watch fireworks, or for fun, to enjoy some innovative cuisine from one of Edmonton’s trendy food trucks like The Lemon Grass Grill for a delicious and unexpected late lunch snack…”

The Oasis Centre Fireworks

Capture the Cuisine Element

“The caterers we partner with have been selected because they have proven themselves to be reliable and professional while providing delicious and quality cuisine to our valued clients. We have selected a wholesome variety of catering options that can suit our client’s preferences whether it is for a classic and elegant buffet or something creative or innovative such as family style or passed appetizers. Nowadays, we also get lots of requests for gluten-free or specific cultural types of cuisine that we love to be able to accommodate and offer our clients whenever possible. Presentation is always important with not only the food, but the catering staff and customer service as well. It all reflects on our business and shapes the experience for our clients.”

The Oasis Centre Stir Catering

Lighting is Everything

“We’ve had some amazing lighting arrangements working with our high ceilings, especially over the past year. One that stands out was where floor to ceiling draping was added around the whole room and up lit in a soft incandescent amber. Another event layered striking royal blues and a moving night sky on the ceiling that gave an otherworldly romantic outdoor garden feel. Some of the concerts we’ve had here have brought in some amazing lighting designers that we have of course learned from to add to our repertoire. We discovered a way to project a film of a running 20ft tall waterfall on the wall behind the stage, with soft pink up-lit drapes framing it on either side. It was breathtaking, and provided a stunning and unique backdrop for the bride and groom to sit in front of during speeches.”

Make a Dramatic Entrance

“The Grand Hall and the main foyer lend themselves to dramatic entrances, the best way to take advantage would be to have fun with it and be willing to try something untraditional. Some of the more dramatic, or creative grand entrances came from inspiration from our clients, for instance, coming into the Grand Hall through the double mahogany doors on a Harley Davidson motorcycle. That was a real show stopper. We enjoy helping clients come up with new ways to enter through those doors, such as a wedding ceremony recently where perfectly choreographed bridesmaids burst through the doors all in a row with impeccable timing to Diana Ross singing “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”. It took the crowd by pleasant surprise and added a hip and refreshing contrast to the more traditional elements of the wedding.”


Dana Smyl Event FloristVendor Spotlight: Dana Smyl Event Florist

Posted by Blush Magazine Posted on May 2, 2014

We are always raving about the wedding vendors that Albertans are so fortunate to have access to. There is a level of creativity and passion that surpasses anything we have seen before. So when vendor and wedding submissions show up on our desk we are always in awe with the originality and love put into their work. Today we are showcasing the work of Dana Smyl. You can catch some of her beautiful creations below, but before that, let’s learn a bit more about her.

When and how did your love for floral design begin? 

I’ve always had a love for weddings, I was planning weddings in my head since I was a little girl. My love of floral kind of fell on my lap about 9 years ago. After I went to Art school I moved out to Victoria and started working at a decor company as a visual merchandiser. I would set up room displays that required floral and I gradually found myself more interested in the floral design than the decor. When I returned to Alberta I was approached by a florist to work in her shop. I started designing weddings with her and I fell in love with it. I continued to work in flower shops for several years and then decided to focus completely on weddings and events.

What could a couple expect at a floral consultation with Dana Smyl?

An Open Mind. I love to hear their love story, their ideas, and their vision. I don’t focus on any certain style, I love to create a personal feel for everyone. If a couple has a clear vision I do my very best to work with it. If they don’t quite know what they want, I help them come up with something that is perfect for their style and price point. I like to gather all the information I can; from the cake to the attire, the wedding is like one giant canvas and it is my job to compliment it with floral. 

How many weddings do you dedicate to each year?

As many as I know I can handle, no more. I don’t like the thought of over loading myself with too much. I feel that its not fair to me or the couple if I cant focus 100% of myself to their wedding. I do it because I love it and I pride myself in quality work.

If you can pick one flower you’d love to work with, which would it be?

Every flower has it’s own personality. The sophisticated and romantic peony, the vibrant and playful pincushion, the wild flowers, herbs and weeds all say something very different from one another. So depending on what I’m trying to say in my work, I haven’t any favourites.


Dress My Day PreviewVendor Spotlight: Dress My Day Linen & Chair Cover Rentals

Posted by Blush Magazine Posted on December 6, 2013

Although Dress My Day has been operating for two years, it is likely that you will be hearing much more about this rental company in 2014. Located in Edmonton, Dress My Day, led by Priya Khan has advertised at Edmonton Bridal Expo and in Blush Magazine, but there is no mistaking that in 2014, Khan and her team will become a leading option for Edmonton’s brides. Currently a home-based business, Dress My Day is looking forward to one day opening a showroom.

Dress My Day is based on a “yes” philosophy where a bride’s vision is achieved. Khan says she does not “want brides to [think] their vision is [un]attainable” which is why she offers custom options. Providing personalized service, Khan is with her clients from the initial consultation to the event. Khan personally ensures that a client’s vision comes to fruition; therefore, she has opted to take a maximum of two events a weekend, with no more than fifty events a year.

Dress My Day invited us to have a sneak peek at their 2014 catalogue. Some of our personal favourites: full sequin linens available in a variety of colours, as well as the assortment of prints — particularly the art deco styles!


  • All linens/chair covers available for rentals
  • Unrestricted hours of consultation from beginning to end
  • Theme and style development
  • Decor design and planning
  • Budget preparation, allocation and management
  • Vendor referrals, recommendations, negotiations and bookings to accommodate your wedding style and budget
  • Attend and coordinate ceremony rehearsal
  • Full on-site management of ceremony and reception, including decor set up