Valencienne is a family tradition


Over the years, many clients come and go… But there are always those rare relationships that move beyond a business transaction and become long-lasting friendships.  This entry is an homage to the special bond over the years between Valencienne, Sharon Moriarty and her entire family. 

The most recent Moriarty celebration took place this past August 6th, which was a very special day for Valencienne as it marks the wedding of Sharon’s youngest son and last wedding amongst her children.  Marylou and Leighton Moriarty’s wedding took place in Toronto at the Holy Rosary Church, with the grand reception held at the The Ritz-Carlton. Having been an invited guest myself, I have no other words but to describe it as an absolutely incredible day!


The relationship with Sharon Moriarty first started in 1999, when I had the pleasure of designing a gown for her daughter, Meaghan.  Sharon and I became fast friends when we realized our attention to fine details was extremely similar.  Sharon felt such a good vibe with Valencienne that we went on to make the outfits for the bridesmaids, mother of the bride, flower girls, pageboys, and grandmother of the bride – along with multiple matching accessories and a honeymoon trousseau.  Meaghan was married at Timothy Eaton on August 26, 2000. The Turkish-themed reception was held at the Royal Ontario Museum.  Looking back at these pictures below of the wedding really brings back great memories.




On August 4, 2002 the next celebration was the wedding of Sharon’s eldest son, Ryan, and his beautiful bride Katherine. The best way to describe this wedding was fun!  It was held at the Epcot Center at Walt Disney World in Florida.  As Valencienne has always been known for princess gowns, it was our time to shine; Katherine’s gown had two tones of ivory and blush pink peau du soie with silver embroidery and embellished with Swarovski crystals.  The theme here was a magical mystical garden, complete with trees and hand crafted paper-maché silk bunny rabbits.  I know it sounds ridiculous, but let me tell everyone reading this that their wedding won a prestigious decor award for ‘Wedding of the Year’ in North America because it was so unbelievable… exactly what fairy tales are made of. 

It is always a joy to design for Moriarty celebrations, as Sharon let’s me be as creative as I wanted; it is seldom that a designer gets to just go crazy for a client!  Of course, Sharon once again trusted Valencienne to provide all the garments, which included all of the fun accessories. It warms my heart to think back on this wedding.


Over the years, we have also designed and created countless couture gowns for Sharon while waiting for the last Moriarty wedding to partake.  A few years went by as everyone waited anxiously for Leighton to marry his true love Marylou, and in 2010, the big engagement finally happened.  It was mega exciting; however, it was a little bittersweet because I knew this was the end of the Moriarty children’s weddings.  Sharon and I had become quite close friends and I really felt I understood how important this wedding was going to be, because it was the last.


Marylous' fabulous custom designed engagement dress


 Last year, as soon as the ring was dropped into the bottom of the champagne glass, we had already started designing for Marylou and Leightons’ Cirque du Soleil-themed wedding. 


Marylou is Colombian and I thought that her perfect gown should incorporate a lot of the traditions in her culture, with the ruffles at the top of the gown designed to reflect her Colombian roots along with the magnificent mantilla veil. The bodice was encrusted with micro cluster beading that gave the bodice an incredibly luxurious look. The fabric was ivory silk peau du soie with an overlay of tulle where we appliquéd and jeweled the tulle separately; the gown required over 1000 hours on beading alone but it was all a labor of love.  In total, the gown used 22 metres of silk and 17 metres of French Chantilly corded lace. 


 The bridesmaids’ dresses were extravagant – made of purple French corded lace, with corseted bodices – they were short with crinolined full skirts. We made tulle shawls that tied into a grand bow at the back. The girls all had magnificent matching Swarovski crystal bracelets and clutch hand bags made by Valencienne.


The mother of the bride had a gown made that was beautiful – we followed the theme of ruffles to enhance the neckline of this golden silk taffeta ball gown. It was enhanced with appliquéd lace and Swarovski crystal.


 Sharons’ knee-length gown was reminiscent of a 1950’s vintage ball gown. The detail was hundreds of flat chiffon roses with a ruffle bottom – the colour was blush pink.



The flower girls were off the charts: colours of fuschia and orange embellished with ribbon detail and the pageboy garments had a special touch of custom made orange crocodile suspenders and belts, a first for Valencienne.


 Details, details, details……..

It is amazing for me to look back at all of these girls, and how each custom wedding gown captures their individual personality along with the style of their wedding.  I toast the Moriartys and all the other families that continue to support Valencienne and my passion for the craft that I have honed over the past 26 years.  It is with great gratitude to all my clients that I write this blog.

These photos are a teaser sneak peak of the wedding I took as an invited guest, can’t wait for the real professional photos!