Expert Bridal Beauty Tips from Jess Berg to Look Amazing and Still be You

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Every bride wants to look stunning on their wedding day with flawless, glowy skin, incredible makeup and gorgeous hair. But how do you achieve this and also stay true to yourself? 

We’ve already covered nutrition and fitness in the ‘Wedding Wellbeing’ three part feature for our Helen on Weddings (HOW) blog series, and now it’s time to talk beauty. We spoke with hair and makeup expert, Jessica Berg, for her top tips for the big day. A former model herself, for the last ten years she has been helping other women all over Sydney look their most beautiful for not only weddings, but also photo shoots, editorials, fashion week, and more. So when it comes to looking good she certainly knows a thing or two.

Less is always more
According to Jessica, it’s really important to stay true to yourself on your wedding day and not fall into the trap of wanting to overdo it or look completely different because it’s your one day to be a princess.

“I totally get that, so it’s my job to make the fairytale become a reality by giving brides what they want, but explaining that less is always more,” she explains. “Brides want to be looking at their wedding photos ten years from their wedding thinking they looked fresh, beautiful, like a princess and exactly like themselves, but better!”

The makeup artist gets brides to bring photos or show her pin or mood boards of the ideal look they’re trying to create, and always asks a lot of questions to make sure they get exactly what they want and aren’t thrown off by an image they see.

“What that means is, often celebrities have hair extensions in and many of the images are photo shopped, to give and unrealistic expectation of a look. It's my job to explain what they are seeing in an image and what it takes to get to that point,” she says.

By going through an extended hair and makeup trial though, Jessica says her brides always get the results they’re after.

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The perfect look starts with skin
It’s every bride’s dream to have flawless skin on their wedding day and Jessica has a number of great tips to help reach this goal.

  1. Prepare early – Start looking after your skin at least three months out (if possible six months is better).
  2. Start on the inside – Up your water intake for hydration and add a good amount of Omega 3’s to your diet (tablets or oily fish) to help your skin maintain a healthy glow. Probiotics will also keep your gut healthy (healthy gut = healthy everything) and add an apple a day for fibre to aid digestion and keep everything flowing nicely. You can also look at a skin vitamin combination such as A, C, E which all help skin, hair and nails to look their best.
  3. Invest in a good skincare brand – Enlist the help of a beautician or makeup artist for advice on the best brand for your skin type. If you’re less than three months out from the wedding though, don’t change your skincare regime as your skin won’t have time to adjust.
  4. Get facials – Regular facials allow your skin to slowly resurface and regenerate, but go to a professional rather than trying to do them yourself at home. Jessica personally gets Glycolic peels from her beautician and finds her skin’s texture improves each time.
  5. Use sun protection – Make sure you protect your skin all over and not just on your face, because areas like the neck and décolletage also really feel the effects of too much sun.
  6. Don’t pick your face – If a pimple comes up don’t panic. Keep your hands clean and resist the urge to pop it, and if necessary see your beautician who has the knowledge on how to extract it carefully. You don’t want to risk scarring.
  7. Go the natural look – For the actual wedding day you don’t want cakey foundation. Skin should look natural, glowing, beautiful and flawless and your makeup artist should be able to help you achieve this. A bit of natural dimension can be added with highlighters.
  8. Keep hydrated – To maintain your glow throughout the day remember to drink water in between each alcoholic beverage. Your skin will love you for it and you’ll be radiating beauty all day!

Enhancing beauty with makeup
In Jessica’s experience, the best style of makeup that suits most brides is again a natural look with emphasis on the eyes.

“Brides want to look like themselves, but in a better version, and so do their grooms,” she says. “I find by giving brides a very natural finish on the skin and bringing out their best features (usually the eyes or lips if they have amazing lips), then I’m keeping them true to who they are and enhancing their natural beauty.”

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Consider more than one hairstyle
When it comes to hair, Jessica believes it’s best to start by looking for photos of other brides or celebrities who have the same hair colour or close to what you have.

“I often get brides coming in with jet black, straight hair and they show me images of a blonde with curly hair,” she says. “It’s my job to interpret what they want though, so we always get there in the end.”

Her other key tip is to consider a second hairstyle option in case the weather is terrible on the day. For example, plan for a ‘hair down with curls’ style if that’s what you really want, but consider an ‘updo with soft curls’ option if on the day of the wedding it’s blowing a gale with torrential rain. Because sometimes a ‘hair down’ style might be really tough to achieve, no matter how much of a  guru your hair stylist is.

Remember to enjoy yourself
Jessica’s final advice to all brides is to relax and enjoy the process, because getting hair and makeup done is so much fun and a really important part of a bride’s day.

“Make sure you feel relaxed and comfortable with the person doing your hair and makeup and remember that it’s about YOU, not them,” explains Jessica. “No matter how good someone is and how experienced they are, no one knows you better than you.”

Do your research and find someone who adds value to your day and contributes to it in the most positive way possible, because as Jessica says: “This is your one day to shine, so get the best people around you and it will be your dream wedding day.”

For more information on Jessica Berg, please visit her website imagineyourself.com.au or follow her on Facebook or Instagram.  

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.
 

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.

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.

An Appointment to Remember – Finding Your Wedding Dress

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Welcome to the first article in our new Helen On Weddings (HOW) blog series – where Helen shares her unrivalled wisdom and stories on all things bridal, starting with the all important initial appointment to find your dream wedding dress. 

An exciting event in itself, at Helen Rodrigues your first appointment is for an hour and you have the boutique to yourself to ensure you receive personal service with our utmost attention.

Here are Helen’s five top tips on how to make your first bridal gown appointment as special and successful as possible.

Have your date and venue already set – although not always possible, ideally it’s best to have your wedding date and venue locked in prior to commencing your dress search. This really helps with selecting the perfect gown for your setting.

Decide on your budget – know how much you have to spend and be sure to check the price range of dresses on offer prior to your appointment. This way you can stay within your budget. At Helen Rodrigues, most (but not all) of our dresses start from $8,000 and we always help our brides to stay within their budget.

Come as you are – don’t wear any fake tan or too much make-up to your appointment as you could be trying on a lot of dresses.

Don’t bring too many guests – it’s a good idea to have someone with you to provide feedback, however only bring a maximum of 2-3 guests whose opinions mean the most. Too many different views can be overwhelming and possibly even stressful or confusing. 

Come with an open mind – feel free to bring some pictures or screen shots of styles you like but be open to new possibilities. There might be other styles you haven’t thought of which could be recommended to you, one of which might end up being the perfect choice.

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 new Helen on Weddings (HOW) blog series as Helen shares her knowledge and stories to help make your big day as beautiful and memorable as possible.