This piece has been abridged and adapted from one that appears in HELLO! Canada Issue 707/708. To read the full interview, pick up the issue, which is on newsstands across Canada right now! It's also available on Apple News and tablet. Photo above © CTV/Todd Fraser
Jessica Mulroney has never been one to get teary-eyed at weddings.
"I was always very joyful ... they never necessarily made me very emotional," she tells HELLO! Canada, admitting she didn't even shed a tear when she said "I do" to her husband – etalk host Ben Mulroney – nearly 12 years ago.
That all changed, though, when the Canadian stylist and bridal guru started shooting the new reality series I Do, Redo, in which she gives 10 deserving couples a second chance at their dream wedding after their first didn’t go as planned.
"It was just the cherry on top of the sundae," Jessica says as she describes what it felt like helping these couples, who had suffered through everything from natural disasters to illnesses to family problems on their wedding days. "Their stories are all very different, but they were all so strong and so inspirational," she adds, "and that made me very emotional."
Originally from Montreal, Jessica lives in Toronto with Ben and their three children – Ivy, 6, and nine-year-old twins Brian and John – who famously starred as flower girl and pageboys at the 2018 wedding of Jessica's best friend, then Meghan Markle, to Prince Harry.
HELLO! Canada spoke with Jessica in March, just after I Do, Redo premiered. She also took us behind the scenes of her new show, shares some candid moments from her own wedding day. Here are some highlights from our conversation.
HELLO! Canada: You double as host and executive producer on I Do, Redo. Where did you come up with the notion for the show?
Jessica Mulroney: I had the idea for it about six years ago when we opened Kleinfeld Canada [in 2014]. We had done a segment for The Marilyn Denis Show about weddings that had gone wrong. I met a couple that had really tragic things happen to them – not only on their wedding day but also on their honeymoon. They’re still married – for 20 years. She came in with so much positivity, and we were so excited to give her a new dress for her to redo the wedding. The minute I put her in her dress, it was like this 20 years of emotional pain and weight just came pouring out of her.
What’s the biggest lesson you learned while helping these couples?
I think the biggest lesson I learned was just how lucky I am. I discovered so many stories of couples that went through so many tragic situations. I was so lucky that they were vulnerable with me and that they let me into something that was a very difficult time in their lives. It just gives you a sense of reality of what’s going on in the world. These people have seriously struggled. I think that it is something that's pushed me to want to do more for couples who have endured difficulty.
You've said you don't usually cry at weddings, but that you cried with every one of these couples. What made it so emotional for you?
[Laughs] I definitely was never a wedding crier, but what made me very emotional was that I connected with these couples. I felt a lot of pressure in order to make sure that their weddings were done the right way. I was quite vulnerable throughout the show – there's a lot of ugly crying on my end!
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Meet Mark and Mia. Mark was sentenced to life in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. They lost many appeals. But 27 years later, they were finally reunited. They are not angry. They spread so much love. These stories deserve to be shared. Take 30 minutes to watch something that will inspire you as much as they inspired me. #idoredo @ctv
Did you cry at your own wedding to Ben?
No, I did not! I wasn't very much into the wedding planning situation when it came to my wedding. It wasn't really something I was extremely passionate about back then. I was never the girl that was collecting pictures and putting them in memory books or dreaming about my wedding. It was just not who I was. But I have certainly found a passion in doing it for other people. I don't think I'll ever put on a wedding dress again – ever! [Laughs] But I certainly enjoy the process of doing it with other brides ... it's quite rewarding.
Speaking of your own wedding, was there one special moment from that day that you wanted these couples to be able to experience themselves during their redo?
The only thing that I remember was really just being so happy during that time and feeling like I found the one I was going to be with. When you find the one that you're supposed to be with, that really is the most important part. A party is a great thing. But at the end of the day, it's just about the fact that you've been able to connect with one person in your life and that you want to spend the rest of your life with them. [Smiles] That really is the biggest thing to hang on to.