Gown gurus: Mother-daughter duo helps brides dress for the big day

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Mother and daughter team Young and Anne-Marie Colling, owners of Marie Gabriel Couture, aim to help brides choose a perfect wedding dress. (Photo by Lisa Price)

Zionsville residents Young and Anne-Marie Colling want to help make fairy tale wedding dreams come true. The mother-daughter partners work to make that happen at their boutique, Marie Gabriel Couture in Indianapolis.

Young, who was born and raised in South Korea, has worked in the bridal industry for more than 15 years.

“I was involved in the manufacturing world in Hong Kong until 1997,” she said. “Then I moved to the U.S. and we moved to Indiana. That is where I got involved with Macy’s and Brides by Demetrio’s Bridal. Simply put, I had the opportunity to get involved in the bridal industry when I moved here and I had a fascination.”

Young opened her store in 2011 after sensing a need for a different kind of bridal store.

“There aren’t really any other stores that can boast as many collections and designers as we do all housed under one bridal boutique,” Anne-Marie said. “We’re very lucky to have that, and it’s because of my mom’s reputation in the industry. It’s amazing what we have in the store that wasn’t previously available unless you went to New York or Chicago.”

The Collings travel the U.S. and abroad to find the best designers for a unique selection of dresses.

“Because of my background and connections globally, I have brought a lot of designers here to Zionsville,” Young said. “I travel and buy from some designers who aren’t sold anywhere else in the country. We have different, unique styles that everyone else isn’t wearing. We want to go above beyond normal expectations for a bridal store.”

Michelle Sweeney, a Zionsville Community High School graduate who got married in the fall of 2017, said using Mariel Gabriel Couture to find her wedding dress was the “easiest decision of the entire process.”

“The team at Mariel Gabriel Couture put a lot of thought into the experience of their brides and it shows. They made my family feel like part of the process, including my dad, and found the perfect dress in the price range we wanted to spend,” Sweeney said. “Their attention to detail throughout the process made me very comfortable. Young even helped me adjust my veil so I could keep it on the entire day. Putting that dress on was such a special part of my wedding day.”

Customers won’t find bridesmaid dresses at the store. It focuses only on the bride.

“The stylists that brides work with are true, genuine bridal stylists,” Anne-Marie said. “They talk with the bride to find that best dress for your body, for your venue, for your setting, for your personality, everything. That’s what the stylist does, knowing you’re making this big decision and choosing this dress that is a big part of that big day. You’re in good hands. There is a level of trust and understanding that you’ll be taken care of by the person who is there in the store.”

The store sells everything needed for a bride to complete her wedding day look.

“We have accessories, jewelry, headpieces and, of course, veils to complete the look. We love veils and think every bride should wear one,” Anne-Marie said.

It’s important to both women that their stylists are well trained for their role in a bride’s wedding gown choice.

“First of all, we like to work with people who love what they do passionately,” Young said. “Integrity is really important to us. All of our staff is trained for three to six months before ever meeting with a bride. They’re very well-trained. We take it very seriously.”

The store celebrated its fifth year anniversary in January.

“Wedding dresses are a really big deal. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing,” Anne-Marie said. “We’re so lucky to have so many brides from Zionsville buy from us. We know you’re making this big decision and choosing this dress that is a big part of that big day. You’re in good hands.”

For more, visit mariegabrielcouture.com.

Anne-Marie and Young Colling look through a book at Marie Gabriel Couture. (Photo by Lisa Price)

Learn more about Marie Gabriel Couture

  • Number of sylists: Six
  • Number of collections: 30-plus
  • Number of unique wedding dresses: 500-plus
  • Dress price range: $1,100-$9,000
  • Anne-Marie’s favorite designers: Monique Lhuillier & Amsale
  • Favorite accessory: Veil. The finishing touch
  • Young’s favorite designer: Impossible to choose. Love them all for different brides
  • Favorite accessory: Same as Anne-Marie, a veil. Can’t imagine a dress without one.
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