For many brides and those in the local wedding industry, it came as a shock this past February to hear that West Vancouver’s Blush Bridal & Special Occasions was closing its doors, for good. After operating the successful bridal salon for eight years, owner Lorna Paterson had decided to retire.

The first thought on many minds (including ours) was, ‘Oh no, where will we now find Vera Wang in Vancouver?’ Luckily, the store closure didn’t mean the end of Blush Bridal, after all.

Monti Samuel, who had worked with Paterson for many years, soon teamed up with business partner Iva Pownall to purchase Blush Bridal and take over its operations. The new co-owners have now moved the salon to a fashionable new address on Hamilton Street in Yaletown, which Vancouver brides will no doubt find even more convenient.

While the boutique had its soft opening in May, we were recently treated to a lavish grand opening party in the gleaming new 1,800-square-foot space, where we had a chance to check out all of Blush’s lovely gowns for ourselves.

Yes, Vera Wang is back — and as before, the luxury designer’s dramatic gowns are gorgeously displayed in their own special room. Also back are the always elegant designs of Reem Acra, Nicole Miller and Hayley Paige. And new to the Blush collection since the store's re-opening are Spanish designer Rosa Clara, Miami-based Liancarlo, and up-and-comer Kelly Faetanini, who recently worked with Priscilla of Boston and Hayley Paige.

While the previous incarnation of Blush had also offered bridesmaid dresses, the new salon focuses on wedding gowns, veils, undergarments, jewellery and accessories. The “Special Occasions” part of the Blush name is still appropriate, though, as the store continues to offer cocktail dresses in a range of colours, lengths and styles — many of which make lovely, non-traditional bridesmaid picks as well. (We had our eye on a pretty lace number for under $300.)

According to Monti Samuel, Blush Bridal provides the same gracious service as before, with private 1.5-hour consultations and three available viewing areas, allowing the staff to accommodate two to three brides simultaneously and privately.

Need a little help beyond finding a gown? New to Blush are complimentary 30-minute wedding planning consultations, which the store is able to provide to all brides in conjunction with the professionals at Coco Events & Weddings.

Find Blush Bridal & Special Occasions at 1189 Hamilton Street. To book an appointment, call 604-336-6696.