Get the Look: Classic Bride

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Modern, edgy or casual looks can be gorgeous, fun options for wedding styles, but nothing really beats a classic bride.

A timeless, princess shaped gown like this stunning dress from Elie Saab, is the perfect centerpiece for this luxurious look. Add a sheer veil to emphasize the traditional feel and then accessorise with other classic items for a cohesive ensemble.

An elegant drop gold and pearl earring is simply stunning, and nothing is more classic than iconic Chanel No. 5 fragrance to help capture the essence of the look.

When it comes to bridal heels, Manolo Blahnik is one of the go-to brands. This elegant pump with a covered toe is a fitting choice and the crystal blue-encrusted embellishment is a nice subtle nod to another wedding tradition.

Adding to the ‘something blue’ touches, you could opt for a soft blue bridesmaid dress like this long, silk taffeta Monique Lhuillier gown which features an asymmetrical twist on a classic style. A garter, an old tradition in itself, is a sweet addition that can also feature this hue.

When it comes to other wedding features it’s best to keep the classic theme going too. For florals you don’t want anything overly bright - think English roses, blush nudes and ranunculus. A minimalist white tiered tower cake is very traditional and eye-catching, and a special wedding guest book with smart type font is a lovely keepsake to help capture the overall theme for the day.

Leah Simmons on How to Feel Fit and Fabulous for Your Wedding

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Getting in the best shape of your life is a very common goal for most brides. But there’s a lot more to it than just hitting the gym twice a day, because all bodies are different.

This is the second article in our new three part ‘Wedding Wellbeing’ feature for the Helen on Weddings (HOW) blog series (following on from our nutrition guide with Jess Sepel), and to get the best advice for all you brides-to-be we spoke to fitness guru, and former Helen Rodrigues real bride, Leah Simmons from Body by Leah Simmons.

Set a goal and start early
According to Leah, it’s important to allow enough time to reach whatever goal you’ve set yourself.

“Planning a wedding is a lengthy and involved process, and it’s easy to neglect certain things like your own health and wellbeing,” she says. “You definitely don’t want to leave your fitness regime to the last minute – especially if you have fairly specific body goals.”

Leah recommends at least 12 weeks (3 months) of consistent training and good nutrition to see real results. She also suggests enlisting the help of a qualified trainer/nutritionist to help assist you in reaching your goal as they can not only design a program around your requirements, but will also help you stay focused and on track.

Tailor your workout to you
All brides have different goals, and women come in all kinds of amazing shapes and sizes; which is why Leah believes that it’s up to the individual to determine what areas of their body they’re going to focus on and what fitness regime they’re going to follow.

“In my experience, I think that strength training (when guided correctly) yields the best results – you’ll build lean muscle tissue as well as get that all important cardio workout to strip fat. Throw in some mobility training (yoga/pilates) for good measure and you’ll be on your way!” says Leah, who is also a big yoga fan and a pilates instructor. 

She advises that it’s best to focus on a combination of exercises that work for you. And whether you’re going for a general tune up or a total body transformation, just be sure to leave enough time to reach your goals safely.

“At the end of the day you should also choose something that you enjoy. You’ll have more luck sticking with something you love than slogging through something you loathe. Be flexible and be creative!” adds Leah.

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Work with what you have
If you can’t easily get to a gym or dedicate a lot of time to workouts, don’t worry because according to Leah it’s all about working with what you have.

“Any amount of exercise is better than none,” she says. “The time-poor bride can still focus on nutrition which means you’re already off to a flying start, and there are loads of great ‘at-home’ workouts you can try on the net.”

If you’re really struggling for time, Leah recommends brides try this simple morning circuit that will take no more than ten minutes.

20 x bodyweight squats
20 x leg raises
20 x alternating forward lunges (10 each side)
30 x sec plank
3 x rounds

Things to be mindful of
In a bid to achieve a complete body transformation, some brides might be tempted to go too hard and fast. Leah recommends not attempting something you’ve never done before without professional guidance.

“I would suggest seeking the advice of a trainer as soon as you know when your big day is to discuss your goals and what is actually achievable in the time you have,” she says. “It’s also not uncommon for a bride to lose weight in the lead up to their wedding day just from the sheer stress of it all – so make sure you have several dress fittings as close to the day as possible.” 

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Wedding day tips
On the actual day there’s usually an early start, heaps of preparations, a few jitters, lots of things happening and a fair amount of standing; so it’s important to be fighting fit.

As hard as it may be with nerves, Leah believes the best thing you can do is remember to eat on your wedding day. Good carbs are ideal to see you through – think oats with some protein powder mixed in or a serve of brown rice, veggies and some protein (meat, fish, tofu), for a sustained energy release.

Her other tips include:

  • Not drinking too much alcohol (easier said than done!)
  • Making sure to drink plenty of water
  • Doing some deep breathing and have a moment on your own for a little meditation to re-centre yourself 
  • Packing a spare pair of flats so you can really kick up your heels and enjoy yourself!

Leah’s big day
Leah was married in Mykonos, Greece in September 2016 and wore a gorgeous Inbal Dror gown and an Oscar de la Renta veil.

Although already fabulously fit, in the lead up to the wedding she admits she did step up her normal fitness regime by a few notches – the core reason being that she was going to be overseas for a month and didn’t want to train much whilst away.

“I really worked on getting my body to a place where I could pretty much do what I wanted for a month and it wouldn’t really change that much,” she says, although offers a word of caution for other brides who might be thinking of doing the same. 

“I had been strength training for a couple of years prior to my wedding so my body was used to that type of volume. I did a combination of strength and circuit training mixed with pilates and some sprint training. It was pretty intense!”

Have fun with friends
Leah’s final fitness advice to brides is to remember to enjoy yourself and consider teaming up with others for extra motivation.

“Exercise is meant to be fun so make sure you don’t lose sight of that!” she says. “Maybe even get your bridesmaids together and start a little fitness club with them. Training with friends is always easier because you motivate each other to keep going.”

And don’t be surprised if you find yourself post-wedding still doing a version of your bridal workout (even if it is slightly reduced to accommodate your busy life)! Because from Leah’s experience brides are usually so thrilled with their results that they want to keep up their fitness regimes for life.

For more information on Leah Simmons, please visit her website bbls.com.au or follow her on or Instagram or Facebook. Any brides wanting to speak with Leah directly regarding their fitness goals for the big day can also email her directly on leah@bbls.com.au.   
 
Helen on Weddings: After 17 years in the bridal business fitting thousands of brides personally, Helen Rodrigues certainly knows a thing or two about weddings. Follow our Helen on Weddings (HOW) blog series as Helen and her team share their knowledge and stories to help make your big day as beautiful and memorable as possible.
 

Essential Nutritional Tips for Brides-to-Be from Jessica Sepel

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All brides want to look and feel their absolute best on their wedding day, but what many don’t realise is that it starts with what you’re putting into your body. Good nutrition can improve everything from your skin and hair to your mood and energy; so a healthy mind and body is what all brides should be aiming for.

As the first article in our new three part ‘Wedding Wellbeing’ feature for our Helen on Weddings (HOW) blog series, we’ve gathered the top tips and tricks for you from one of the best in the business: expert nutritionist, blogger and author, Jessica Sepel. Jess herself was also a Helen Rodrigues real bride not long ago and so we’ve even included some of her own personal nutritional tips for the big day to help you out as well. 

Begin with a healthy food relationship
According to Jessica, the assumption is that all brides are trying to lose weight, with many guides and programs all geared towards dropping weight fast in time for the wedding.

“I get it. As a bride-to-be you can feel enormous pressure to look and feel perfect for the special day...but I also know that the complicated relationship with food that results from this doesn’t make you or your body good,” she says.

This is something Jessica knows firsthand. Her previous unhealthy relationship with food and subsequent recovery journey is what actually prompted her to start her JSHealth blog. Letting go of this controlling and restrictive strive for thin perfection also ended up being the key to making her wedding amazing.

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“It’s my secret to being a stress-free bride. I know that if I was still caught up in that mentality I would never have gotten to where I am now,” she says. “Because when we’re trying to control our food and diets, we’re inevitably trying to control other parts of our lives too.”

Jessica believes that our relationship with food has a huge impact on our emotional and physical health – and the relationship with everyone around us too.

“Healthy eating is the key to healthy and happy living. If you know you are taking care of your body and giving it what it needs, it is so good to you in return,” she says. “Don’t try to look or eat perfect – eat in tune with your body and I promise you will see results. And most importantly, you will feel the best you ever had.”

Pre-wedding preparation
Jessica believes it’s important for brides preparing for their wedding day to realise that real and everlasting beauty is from the inside out.

“That, after all, is what your future spouse truly fell in love with!” she adds. “To be a healthy bride, we have to care of what we’re putting into our bodies.”

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Here are Jessica’s top nutrition tips for the lead up to the wedding:

  • Load up on veggies – add more greens and other vegetable to your plate as the nutrients will feed your skin and hair cells.
  • Include protein at every meal – to help with energy levels and other functions.
  • Eat lots of good fats – so many women are afraid of healthy fats and avoid them, but this is great for your skin and hair, so embrace and enjoy things like avocado, salmon, nuts and seeds.
  • Take care of your digestion – more detail can be found in her book, The Healthy Life.
  • Drink plenty of water – stay hydrated by drinking two litres of filtered water a day to achieve healthy skin and hair, flush toxins, aid digestion and generally feel better.
  • Cut out processed sugar – also consider cutting back on fruit (two pieces a day is great)
  • Add supplements – such as zinc, fish oil and vitamin C.
  • Make time for sleep – Jessica herself has a non-negotiable commitment to eight hours of rest every single day for a healthy mind and body, and believes sleep is even more vital for brides.

 “I really think it’s so important for brides-to-be to take care of themselves in this way. Tuck yourself into bed early so you can recharge,” she says. “Wedding planning can zap your energy and be totally exhausting. You don’t want to look and feel tired when you’re planning, and you certainly don’t want this on the big day either!”

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Tips for the actual wedding
According to Jessica, most brides do their best to move and eat well in the weeks and months leading up to the big day, but it shouldn’t stop there.

“The way you fuel your body on your wedding day is just as important as the preparation you’ve put in during the planning process. And it can be challenging – you’ll be excited, nervous and BUSY,” she says.

“It’s easy to reach for sugary sweets brought in by your granny, champagne with your girls, or for some brides, nothing at all due to nerves. But in order to feel and look your absolute best when you walk down the aisle, it’s essential to eat.”

On the big day ideally Jessica recommends brides eat clean, real whole foods – mainly fruits, lean protein and veggies – but in small amounts to avoid bloat and dehydration, and boost that bridal glow.

Jessica’s ideal meal plan for a bride on her wedding day looks like this:

Pre breakfast: Upon waking, sip warm water with the juice of one lemon squeezed into it along with some ginger. Both lemon and ginger are detoxifying on the liver and prepare the digestive system for the food to come. As tempting as a mimosa might be, it can cause a blood sugar spike on an empty stomach.

Breakfast: For a bride who loves her java, one cup of black coffee – no milk or sugar added – is good. Too much more could cause extra jitters and there’s no time for that on your big day! Follow this with fresh papaya (which contains an amazing enzyme that soothes the digestive system) or grapefruit with a drizzle of lime juice.

Lunch: A piece of grilled fresh white fish with lots of herbs and spices and small green salad, or some steamed greens drizzled with lemon juice – no salt added – are great options for a light lunch. Avoid salt to prevent fluid retention and opt for herbs and spices instead which are anti-inflammatory and natural detoxifiers.

Snack: A light snack before the festivities begin is a great way to keep your blood sugar in balance – but what you nibble on is key to avoid a sugar crash. Munch on fresh celery and cucumber sticks which are natural anti-diuretics (which means they help rid the body of excess fluids). And add a small handful of raw almonds or walnuts – the healthy fats give skin an amazing glow!

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Dinner: For most brides this will be at the wedding. It depends on your menu of course, but lean protein with veggies will give you major energy to dance the night away with your groom. And when it comes to the wedding cake? Go for it! Bloating will no longer be an issue and you deserve to celebrate.

Drinks:  While loads of water is encouraged in the lead up to the wedding, it’s best to stick to small sips on the big day. This will prevent bloating and extra fluid retention, and mean fewer trips to the bathroom (great for all those brides in a more elaborate dress!). Bubbly is likely to be flowing all day, but try to only have one or two glasses after the ceremony and stay well-hydrated out on the dance floor so you can thoroughly enjoy your wedding night with your groom.

Jessica’s magical wedding
The renowned nutritionist married her love Dean back in December 2015 in Thailand on a beautiful sandy beach with 170 of their closest family and friends watching on. Jessica wore a stunning Anna Maier dress from Helen Rodrigues and their ‘healthy wedding’ retreat-like celebrations lasted four magical days.

Activities and aspects of their inspiring nuptials included: healthy gift bags for guests, fresh healthy wholefood buffets and snacks, vitamin juice shots, sunrise yoga, organic wine and day spa massage and beauty treatments for the girls. Jessica also even managed a refreshing personal meditation for herself just before the ceremony – something she highly recommends for all brides on their big day.

For more information on Jessica Sepel, her wedding, her JSHealth program or books, please visit her website jessicasepel.com or follow her on Facebook or Instagram.  

Helen on Weddings: After 17 years in the bridal business fitting thousands of brides personally, Helen Rodrigues certainly knows a thing or two about weddings. Follow our Helen on Weddings (HOW) blog series as Helen and her team share their knowledge and stories to help make your big day as beautiful and memorable as possible.

Focus Feature: Angelina Le from Style Me Wedding

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Recently, Angelina Le from Style Me Wedding came into the boutique and created a stunning window display to complement the gowns on display in our windows. We sat down with Angelina to find out more on where she gets her inspiration and advice for brides when it comes to styling.

Tell us how you began making your gorgeous flower arrangements for weddings and events?
I have always loved styling and transforming an empty space into something beautiful and magical. I love working with flowers may it be fresh or silk, I just find them so uplifting and can bring a smile on people’s face. 

The first time I styled up an event was for a friend’s photo shoot. I remember that day to be crazy and pretty busy however I enjoyed every minute of it. Just seeing my work on display at my client’s wedding and the appreciation on their faces makes it all worth the work involved. 

How long have you been styling weddings?
I have been in the wedding styling industry for about three years now. 

Where do you get your inspiration for your installations?
This might sound a little peculiar considering I am the stylist, but I get my inspiration form talking to my brides. Through our conversations where my brides would tell me the things she likes, the location of her ceremony, the venue and even the grown she has picked for the day, I would use all these things to inspire me to come up with a design that is personal to them. 

What advice do you have for brides regarding styling their weddings?
My advice to brides regarding styling for their wedding is to have a budget. By having one, your stylist can help you achieve your dream wedding without comprising your budget. This keeps the brides happy and a stylist’s job just that little bit easier. This will in turn minimise or even eliminate the stress that is associated with styling for your wedding.

My other advice is to consider the location of where their wedding ceremony and reception will be held. Consider the kind of atmosphere they would like to be surrounded by on their wedding day. Once the brides take all this into consideration, it will help them take the first step in styling their wedding. 

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What are your favourite styling trends of 2017 so far & any predictions for 2018? 
My favourite style trends of 2017 would be all the gorgeous floral ceiling installation and I love how they are couple with stunning chandeliers. 

My predictions for styling trends in 2018 is more ceiling installation of different styles. I believe that the style trend for 2018 is to the imagination of the stylist and their bride. 

You created a wonderful installation for our windows which we adore – what was your inspiration for this?
Thank you for your lovely comment. All the beautiful gowns you have in your store was my inspiration for your window display. I wanted to create a river floral effect running from one window to the next to complement the stunning gowns you have on display. 
 

Sami - A Real Bride Story

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Sami’s story

Who: Sami & Stephen
When: 3 March, 2017
Where: Centennial Vineyards, Bowral
Dress: Inbal Dror from Helen Rodrigues Bridal

Many brides have the idea of getting their wedding dress designed especially for them in a desire to have something unique, personal and very special. But like our real bride Sami found when she walked into Helen Rodrigues, the reality is that the incredible gown of your dreams is probably already out there and just waiting for you to try it on.

“Initially I wanted to get something made, so I met with a designer and the first piece of advice she gave me was, go try some dresses on and come back to me!” says Sami. “So I made an appointment at Helen Rodrigues, which was the first and last bridal shop I went to! I instantly fell in love with all of their gowns and knew I would find my dream dress in there.”

She ended up selecting a divine gown from Israeli designer, Inbal Dror, after discovering her at Helen Rodrigues and becoming besotted with all her designs.

“There is something just a little bit different about her gowns, they aren’t your conventional ‘wedding dresses’ which is what I loved,” says the newlywed.

The style of gown Sami chose however was not something she would have picked herself had it not been for one of her friends.

“Like most brides, I thought I knew exactly what I wanted to suit my shape, but surprisingly one of my bridesmaids actually picked the gown off the rack,” she says. “I was sure it wasn’t me, but as soon as I tried it on... I knew it was the one. I felt excited, emotional and a little relieved.”

After finding her dream gown, Sami then also found the process of having fittings and other dress preparations extremely enjoyable.

“The experience at Helen Rodrigues was seamless from start to finish and the team have a way of making you feel super special,” she says. “Nothing was too hard for them. I must say I do miss popping into the shop to see them.”

When the big day arrived Sami’s magical vineyard wedding was everything her and husband Stephen had dreamed of, with not even a little bit of rain dampening their spirits. Her favourite memories from the day include getting ready with the girls and her mum, putting her dress on, walking down the aisle, seeing Stephen for the first time and dancing the night away.

And when it comes to sharing tips for other brides-to-be looking to make their day perfect, Sami has two pieces of wisdom: 

“The first piece of advice is to make sure you try dresses on even if you think they might not necessarily suit you. The last is to make sure you have spent some time walking in your wedding shoes!”

All photography by Lara Hotz Photography

Designer Focus Feature: Alon Livne

I always try to keep my gowns timeless and fashion forward - Alon Livne

I always try to keep my gowns timeless and fashion forward - Alon Livne

Helen Rodrigues is renowned for its carefully selected, exclusive collection of exquisite luxury bridal gowns from the most innovative and sought-after international designers around the globe. One brand which has become a highly desired favourite among Australian brides for the past year is Alon Livne White, and so we decided to speak with the designer himself for some exclusive details about the inspiration behind his designs and what we can expect next. 

He’s Israel’s most prestigious fashion designer and is favoured by celebrities and fashionistas worldwide; but according to Alon Livne, it was just something that has always been a part of him.

“My mom says that ever since I was a little boy I would draw models in gowns and that absolutely nothing has changed,” he says. His inspiration however, appears to have come from a few different sources.

“On the one hand, I absolutely adored old Hollywood starlets and icons like Grace Kelly, Rita Hayworth and Katharine Hepburn. On the other hand, I was always fascinated by the women of punk-rock like Siouxsie Sioux and Grace Jones. I think this strange, contrasted, mix of inspirations made me the designer I am today.”

At the age of 17, Alon Livne began working in premiere luxury European fashion houses such as Alexander McQueen in London and Roberto Cavalli in Florence, before winning first place in the Israeli version of Project Runway. In high demand following this, he then went out on his own and since 2013 has regularly shown collections at Mercedes-Benz New York Fashion Week which attract much attention far and wide.

“I always try to keep my gowns timeless and fashion forward, never relying on trends and what other people do,” he says, with regards to what defines him as a designer. “When you come to see my designs, you come to be unique and original.”

This is probably why celebrities such as Naomi Campbell, Lea Michele, Beyonce and Lady Gaga are all firm fans of Alon Livne and wear his luxurious gowns often. When asked if there are any other stars he would love to work with, the designer is quick to answer:

“I would absolutely love to work with Solange Knowles, I just love her style and overall attitude.”

His outstanding bridal line ‘Alon Livne White’ has also been a global sensation and something that came about quite naturally for the designer.

“I think that ever since I started designing ready-to-wear collections I had white gowns that were really focused towards bridalwear, it was just something I always felt I needed to do,” he says. “I'm now seeing the two lines coming closer in terms of aesthetic, vision and design.”

In the designer’s own words, the Alon Livne bride is “stunning, timeless, bold and original” and we couldn’t agree more.

“I love getting to design gowns that are basically dreams-come-true for women. A lot of girls come up to me and say that they imagined how their wedding gown would be ever since they were little, and that my designs make their childhood fantasy a reality.”

And so what can we expect next from the talented designer?

“With my new 2018 collection I'm really trying to focus on clean, simple designs with unique shapes and details. Kind of stepping away from the over-the-top, sexy-sheer look that has been taking over the bridal scene lately. I think you can expect something truly original and authentic.”

Well we certainly can’t wait and bet our brides can’t either. 

Alon Livne White is available exclusively in Australia at Helen Rodrigues. A special Alon Livne Trunk Show will also be taking place this November. Appointments are essential so to book your place, or for any enquiries, please phone the boutique on 02 9904 5700.

For more detail on Alon Livne and his designs visit his website here.  

Get the Look: Spring Bride

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One of the most popular times of the year to get married is spring – the weather is divine and beautiful blooms are in abundance. The exquisite soft floral details on this Alon Livne dress make it perfect for brides of this season, complimented nicely by jewellery and accessories featuring soft touches of gold and subtle crystals.

Spring generally needs a very light feeling to the overall styling, which can be achieved with nude and blush tones in accessories such as shoes and bags, and other aspects of the wedding including the table setting. A nude feel can be replicated in a ‘naked’ wedding cake option too. 

Florals of course can also be a large feature for any spring bride, even down to the smallest details such as fragrance. The table flowers in our look here incorporate both tiny buds and bigger blooms that are emulated on the wedding gown in its intricate floral details and larger silk organza flowers on the shoulder.

And don’t forget that spring is about new beginnings and therefore has a very fresh and romantic feel to it. Heels such as these nude Louboutin Toufrou pumps are the perfect finish to complete this heavenly spring look.

The Top Wedding Dress Trend Predictions for Next Year

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Amid the stunning new Spring 2018 collections from New York Bridal Fashion Week in April, there were definitely some key trends appearing which gives us a good indication of what brides will now soon be wearing.

Using her keen eye for luxury bridal and years of experience in the industry, Helen Rodrigues recently gave her top predictions for next year’s wedding looks to Doltone House – the popular Sydney wedding venue space which also featured many of her boutique’s international designer gowns in their wedding showcase event last month.

Helen’s key bridal predictions for 2018 are:
1.    Fuller skirts
2.    Clean lines
3.    Romantic
4.    Floral appliqué
5.    Capes and capelets
6.    Not white
7.    Pantsuits

To read more of Helen’s predictions for next year’s bridal styles you can view the full article from Doltone House here.

Helen on Weddings: After 16 years in the bridal business fitting thousands of brides personally, Helen Rodrigues certainly knows a thing or two about weddings. Follow our Helen on Weddings (HOW) blog series as Helen and her team share their knowledge and stories to help make your big day as beautiful and memorable as possible.