Dresses, flowers, decorations, and food are just some of the many things a bride has to think (and stress) about months before the big day.
Justin Merluza thinks about them every day.
Merluza, 24, has been helping to plan weddings for brides for five years and just opened his store, Just in Couture (Unit 5, 703 Corydon Ave.), on Nov. 1.
"I’m trying to build up my company to become a one-stop-shop boutique that takes care of bridal," Merluza said. "So we’ll take care of your hair and makeup, we’ll make your custom dress, we’ll do your event decor, we’ll do fresh flowers or artificial flowers, whatever you want. That’s what we want to be."
A fashion design graduate from The University of the Fraser Valley, fashion and couture has always been Merluza’s passion.
"It was sort of pen-in-hand," Merluza said. "I’d taken fashion, then went into the event decor, and now we’re trying to be the one-stop-shop."
His mother, a pageant contestant in the Philippines, was always getting dressed up and Merluza loved to help.
"So then I became her personal stylist when I was young and then all of a sudden, once I graduated, all I wanted to do was go to fashion school," Merluza said.
The young entrepreneur’s Just in Couture will be just that — couture.
"Couture is a lifestyle of the high-end society, and that’s what my products are," Merluza said. "So we try to bring in only the high-end fabric, we bring in the decor, high-end chandeliers, everything is that very couture essence."
Merluza’s 10-person team consists of decorating staff, hair stylists, makeup artists, and Merluza, who does it all. With his team he works with every sort of bride to make them happy.
"Dealing with brides, I love doing it. Closer to their actual wedding they get a lot more… ‘bridezilla-like’ just because it is their day. They want everything perfect," Merluza said. "But that is what I care about. I care about details, I care that everything is perfect for these brides."
When you want perfection, Merluza admits he turns into a little bit of a bridezilla too.
"I get nervous," Merluza said. "When brides have the jitters of being a little bit nervous, I get the same way. I take it very personally because this is my job, this is my career, this is what I love doing."
Just in Couture works by appointment only. For more information, visit