Helen Rodrigues Bridal Inaugural #HRBride Lunch

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On Tuesday 14th may Helen Rodrigues hosted an intimate lunch at Catalina Rose Bay to celebrate her #HRBride with some of Australia's most beautiful brides including Jocelyn Petroni, Founder of Woollahra's exclusive Jocelyn Petroni Beauty Salon, Paspaley's Creative Director Christine Salter, Montarna Pitt (nee MacDonald) Founder of The Audience Agency and Georgie Karloci (nee Duddy) from After The Rock Weddings.

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For the last 20 years Helen Rodrigues have been responsible for importing famed International Designers exclusively to our Australian shores including Inbal Dror, Lee Grebenau, Elie Saab, Monique Lhuillier, Livné White, Suzanne Neville, Jenny Packham and Elihav Sasson to name a few and the inaugral #HRBride event was to showcase the variety of real brides and exquisite designers Helen and her team service.

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#HRBrides each received a bespoke Natalie Rompotis Bridal illustration

#HRBrides each received a bespoke Natalie Rompotis Bridal illustration

Catalina is one of Sydney’s most exclusive wedding venues, hosting over one hundred weddings per year. This year, the venue was again voted in the top six wedding venues by Harper’s Bazaar and included in top fourteen list of most romantic restaurants in the world, by CNN global. Furthermore, Catalina has hosted the weddings of high-profile fashion designer Rachel Gilbert, radio personality Jackie O, Sophie Faulkner, Kelly Landry and Anthony Bell and Zoe Bingley Pullin and Michael Ryan, to name a few.

In late 2018 #HRBride Jocelyn Petroni wore a stunning Elie Saab gown for her wedding at Catalina.

Helen Rodrigues with #HRBrides Montarna Pitt and Georgie Karloci of After The Rock Weddings

Helen Rodrigues with #HRBrides Montarna Pitt and Georgie Karloci of After The Rock Weddings

Guests including Austraila’s top wedding planners, past and current Helen Rodrigues brides and select media dined on Catalina House Smoked Salmon, Pan Seared Abrolhos Islands Scallops and Crispy Skin Cone Bay Barramundi paired with exquisite matched wines.

Helen Rodrigues Bridal editorial in The Wedding Series Love Story Magazine

Helen Rodrigues Bridal editorial in The Wedding Series Love Story Magazine

Helen Rodrigues thanking guests for their enduring support of Helen Rodrigues Bridal

Helen Rodrigues thanking guests for their enduring support of Helen Rodrigues Bridal

Helen said of the day ‘this lunch is to thank everyone for their support of my business over the last 20 years, my brides and like minded partners and suppliers. It is a celebration of the consistent calibre of gorgeous brides that come to Helen Rodrigues Bridal to find their perfect gown.’

With Thanks

Venue – Catalina Rose Bay
Floral – Kashaya & Co
Photography – Chris Prestidge, At Dusk
Film – Soda Films
Menu – DD Letterpress
Illustration – Natalie Rompotis
Cutlery – Simply Seated


Dusanka - A Real Bride Story

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Dusanka’s Story

Bride and Groom: Dusanka and Sandro
Gown Designer: Lee Petra Grebenau
Planning & Styling: Kailey Kirk Events and Weddings
Venue: The Lagoon Seafood Restaurant
Photography: Image Haus Weddings
Floral: Pepes Garden

How would you describe your wedding vision?

We both wanted everything to be very traditional, elegant, simple and to reflect our easygoing personalities as well as our Mediterranean roots.

What was the highlight of your day?

The highlight of the day was probably the ceremony. I’ve never felt so much excitement, happiness and peace all at once. I couldn’t stop smiling the entire time and every time I looked at Sandro I felt happy tears coming on. It was also the only part of the day which didn’t fly by even though for us, it only felt like the hour long ceremony went for only 10 minutes.

The highlight of the night was our first dance. I felt like we were the only ones in the room, so I let all the happy tears out and once again time stood still.

When did you know your Lee Grebenau gown was 'the one’?

My gown was actually very similar to what I first envisioned myself wearing on my wedding day, but after trying on similar styles at other boutiques I became very disheartened and worried that strapless would not suit me... so I started looking for dresses with straps.

I saw a dress on Lee’s Instagram that I thought could work for me and tracked it down only to find out Helen had it in store for her upcoming Lee Grebenau Trunk Show.

As soon as I stepped into the boutique and had a little look around my eyes were instantly drawn to a stunning leaf embroidered gown. It stood out amongst the rest, but it wasn’t the one I came in for. And it was strapless. I quickly overlooked it, thinking that would never look good on me. Helen persuaded me to try it on alongside one other Lee gown with arm cuffs.

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They were both stunning and very similar in shape but the embroidery of my chosen dress was just mesmerising.

I actually wasn’t very happy with the way I looked on the day of my appointment... I was a little bit heavier than normal and I felt very bloated, yet despite everything I still felt amazing in the Lee Grebenau gown. I remember thinking “if I feel this good, in this dress, when I feel like I’m at my worst, I can’t wait to see how I’ll feel on the best day of my life”.

Helen was absolutely amazing during the entire process and helped so much in keeping me sane ( especially because I lost a little bit of weight for a gown made to my old measurements).

The fittings were always such a great experience and Helen was always very accommodating, even though I was almost always running late to appointments.

I loved the arm cuffs so I had some custom made and we also added a few extra details which made my dress completely unique to me and complete with all the features that I originally wanted but thought I couldn’t have. It was better than what I hoped for. I constantly had happy tears. Even though the dress was well over my budget, I felt such a huge relief after locking it in. And as soon as I found my dress everything just fell into place.

The dress actually ended up inspiring the design of all our stationery as well as the venue decor. Our stylist used a lot of olive beaches and eucalyptus leaves to match the pattern of the dress as well as pay homage to our Mediterranean and Australian ties.

Your photography is stunning. How did you go about selecting your wedding suppliers?

The photographer I originally wanted to book in was already booked, so I was completely lost and I couldn’t find someone that compared because I really wanted something with an editorial yet candid feel. I went to expos, bought countless magazines, googled, searched Instagram, but I didn’t have much luck.

Henryk (our photographer) actually found me. He messaged me via Instagram and as soon as I saw his work I fell in love. After we met with him in person (and hung out for a few hours) we knew we didn’t need to look any further.

All the ‘big’ suppliers were easy to find because we knew what kind of wedding we were going to have. A local Traditional Orthodox wedding with live ex-Yugoslavian rock music.

I really struggled finding vendors within our budget because I’m a sucker for good marketing so I ended up hiring Kailey Kirk to help out and coordinate... three months before the wedding. She literally saved the day, a few times over.

What advise would you give future brides to be?

Forget the budget when it comes to the dress. Once you find a dress and you’re confident in it, everything else will fall into place. Remain optimistic, try your best to be easygoing and trust your designer, but also be very clear about what you want and what is most important to you.

When it came to finding your wedding gown where did you start?

I was about 17 when I first came across Helen’s boutique. I became obsessed with Israeli designers thanks to Pinterest and Helen’s was the only store that stocked them. I contacted Helen as soon as I got engaged but the Inbal Dror dress I was interested wasn’t in store. I then went to one other trunk show which was really disappointing and decided I might be better off getting my dress made. I even made an appointment to see a designer, and in the meanwhile I accidentally discovered that Helen had Lee Grebenau dresses in for a trunk show. I actually came in with no intention of buying a dress because I was so disappointed the last time. I was just hoping to find a neckline and silhouette that worked for me.

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Simona - A Real Bride Story

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Simona’s Story

Bride & Groom: Simona & Ben
Gown Designer: Lee Petra Grebenau
Veil: Peter Langner
Venue: Bennelong Point
Photography: Image Haus
Film: C2 Films
Floral: Kashaya & Co
Wedding Plannign & Styling: Kashaya & Co
Neons: Sketch & Etch Creative

Simona, you were such a stunning bride and your wedding was utterly beautiful. What was your vision for your wedding day?

Thank you! Our vision for the wedding and across all my mood boards was modern elegance with crisp white tones throughout with hints of gold. A space that felt like it represented us and where our close family and friends could get together and celebrate our love.

What were the most important wedding reception styling elements to you?

It was important for us to really incorporate small elements of who we are throughout the wedding. My favourite style elements were the flower arch with our neon sign for the guests to take photos under, the seating chart which instead of table numbers we used names of travel destinations we love (we are big travellers and also live abroad) and the way the seafood bar was styled outdoors.

How did you select your wedding suppliers?

I had been saving wedding inspiration since before we even got engaged so when the time came I knew who my favourite suppliers were in the industry and it was a mixture of that and word of mouth.

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What drew you to Helen Rodrigues Bridal and at what moment did you know your Lee Grebenau gown was ‘the one’?

My best friend had found her dream gown at Helen’s store so naturally it was my first booking. Helen asked me to pick a bunch of gowns to try on and funnily enough they all ended up being Lee Petra Grebenau gowns so I knew then that one of Lee’s gowns would be the one for me. I went back the following week to try on some of Lee’s new designs and as soon as I slipped in to my dress, my hands found the hidden pockets and I knew it was mine!

How did you decide to accessorise your gown?

I found this part of the process really fun. The type of accessories I had initially thought I would use didn’t actually match my gown so it was a matter of standing in front of Helen’s mirror in my dress and trying on different styles of earrings/hair pieces/veils to see what went well together. As the gown itself was heavily beaded I decided to go with a plain veil that was subtly beaded at the edge to tie in with the dress and a pair of drop earrings as my dress was strapless and my chest was bare.

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What was your experience like as a #HRRealBride?

I would say Helen was definitely one of the easiest of my suppliers to work with. It was always so refreshing walking in to her store and knowing that this part of the process was always on track.

What was the highlight of your wedding day?

There are so many stand out moments for me but nothing can compare to the overwhelming feeling of walking down the aisle with my husband and walking in to the reception and feeling the love from your closest family and friends.

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What was your greatest learning through your wedding planning journey?

That it takes a village!! I have a tendency to be controlling and wanting to be very hands on but I learnt to lean on my family a lot as I live overseas and needed my mum and sister to basically be the brides during the whole process. I have never been so grateful for my support network.

What advice would you give other brides when it comes to selecting their own wedding gown?

Try and let go of the idea of what you think is your dream wedding gown and just try on anything in the store that catches your eye and just let your emotions take control. Trust the process!!

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Samantha - A Real Bride Story

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Samantha’s Story

Bride & Groom: Samantha & Tim
Gown: Lee Petra Grebenau “Giselle” Gown
Venue: Private Estate “Attunga Grove” - Southern Highlands NSW
Photography: Image Haus
Film: Image Haus
Floral: Venue - Florals She Design | Bouquets & Buttonholes - @stemsbysammy
Event Coordination: Emma Pace Events
Styling: She Design

How did you feel when you first walked into the Helen Rodrigues boutique?

We were made to feel very welcome, offered delicious beverages, engaged in delightful conversation about my vision for our wedding, then invited to explore the selection of gowns and accessories available.  Helen and her team made us feel very welcome and worked with us to refine preferences for styling and design as I made my selections.

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Samantha, your wedding was unlike anything we have been before. So unique across all details. What was your vision for your wedding day?

Thank you so much. Our vision for the day was to give our guests a truly unique and unforgettable Wedding experience. We wanted to make our guests feel as if they had been magically transported to a garden in Italy for the day and so every choice we made in terms of Venue, drinks, food & styling were all made to keep with this Italian Garden vibe. I am completely obsessed with flowers, so it was no surprise that this was a huge part of the vision for me, as was infatuation for gold, baroque details & blue-white porcelain prints. (This is literally the styling of our house too).

Overall, we just wanted the day to ooze with vibrancy & personality and to ultimately be a true reflection of Tim & a homage to the things in life that we love.

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What drew you to Helen Rodrigues Bridal and at what moment did you know your Lee Petra Grebenau gown was ‘the one’?

Like most brides, immediately following my proposal, I began following a multitude of bridal-related pages on Instagram. One of these pages was Helen Rodrigues and I quickly learned that the Boutique exclusively stocked many of the International Designers I had been lusting over.

I had taken a particular interest in the designs of Israeli designer, Lee Petra Grebenau, so when I found out that Helen Rodrigues was hosting a trunk show of her full collection, I immediately booked myself in.

I had come with in with my heart already set on a particular dress (the Sansa gown), but was encouraged by my sisters & Helen to try on several. Luckily I listened, because a completely different and unexpected dress suddenly crept into the picture. I left the Boutique in utter delight, knowing that I had found not one, but two phenomenal dresses, but in the back of my mind I knew I had one hell of a decision on my hands.

The next time I went back I still had not made up my mind and it was ultimately the reactions of my sisters & mum that cemented my decision to choose the beautiful Giselle gown I wore.

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How did you decide to accessorise your gown?

The Gown itself had so much beautiful & intricate detail, that I felt that jewellery could be kept to a minimum.

I opted to wear my hair up and out of my face & decided that a statement pair of earrings would be the only jewellery I would wear (aside from rings of course). I had ordered earrings online, which did not arrived on time. As if it were truly fate, just days before the wedding at my final fitting with Helen I suddenly spotted the most devine pair of Keren Wolfe earrings on display. They ended up being a match made in heaven for the dress.

The other accessory I did not hold back on was my veil. It was a hand-beaded, 3D floral masterpiece that was designed by my sister/Maid-of-honor for me. No one had ever seen anything like it before & it was truly something very special.

What was your beauty routine in the lead up to your wedding day?

About a year out from the Wedding I decided to up the anti with my skincare and began using the Rationale essential six product range for my daily routine. I also had regular facials in the lead up at Rationale.

Aside from that I just tried to exercise daily, eat a balanced diet & to make sure I was getting enough sleep.

 What was your experience like as a #HRRealBride?

 With so many other tasks to worry about, it was so nice and relaxing to know that I was in the best hands. Helen & her team are so warm & genuine that I honestly felt so at home and relaxed every time I was in the Boutique. They offered the perfect amount of guidance and advice when it was needed, but ultimately gave me the time & space I needed to arrive at each decision on my own.

When my dress arrived, the measurements that Helen had taken were so precise that it literally fit like a glove on first fitting.

I could not recommend Helen & her team more highly to future brides.

What was the highlight of your wedding day?

The whole day was such a dream. There are so many highlights, but I will say that I cannot get over the pure joy I felt during our newlywed moment, walking back down the aisle hand-in-hand as husband and wife for the first time. We were smitten & you could not wipe the smiles off our faces.

 What was your greatest learning through your wedding planning journey?

I already knew this, but the whole Wedding process also served as a huge reminder of just how incredible my Husband is. Whilst I planned all the details of the day, if it were not for him there seriously would not have been a Wedding on the day. He literally project-managed the entire Wedding seamlessly & coordinated all of our Vendors during the week of the build & the pack-down like a pro. I am a very lucky girl.

What advice would you give other brides when it comes to selecting their own wedding gown?

Don’t play into the trends too much. Go for something with timeless elegance, so that you will not find yourself cringing at your own Wedding photos in years to come.

Also put priority on comfort, you need to be able to walk, hug, dance & enjoy yourself.

Finally, be true to yourself & choose a dress that is representative of you & your style.

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Alexandra - A Real Bride Story

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Alexandra’s Story

Bride & Groom: Alexandra & Matthew
Gown: Elihav Sasson from Helen Rodrigues Bridal
Venue: Spicers Clovelly Estate, Sunshine Coast, Queensland
Photography: Calli B Photography

How did you feel when you first walked into the Helen Rodrigues boutique?

We were made to feel very welcome, offered delicious beverages, engaged in delightful conversation about my vision for our wedding, then invited to explore the selection of gowns and accessories available. Helen and her team made us feel very welcome and worked with us to refine preferences for styling and design as I made my selections.

Describe how you felt when you found your gown?

I was drawn to the design of the gown, having seen it online earlier and was eager to try it on. Once I put the gown on, I felt wonderful as it confirmed my initial instinct that this style and design would work for me. It was a moment, and the reactions of those with me confirmed my own thoughts about this gown.

Which designer did you select and why?

I came across an image of the dress online very early on in the wedding planning process and it immediately struck a chord with me. After further research I discovered it was created by an Israeli designer, Elihav Sasson, and stocked by the fabulous Helen Rodrigues. A fun mother/daughter/bride’s maid shopping long weekend excursion to Sydney was planned, where I tried on several other gowns, just to confirm styles suited to my body type and vision for my wedding. As soon as I tried this gown, it was clear that this was the perfect gown for me. Elihav’s designs are gossamer light, classically elegant, and beautifully detailed. These unique designs are truly exquisite, helping a bride feel truly beautiful. Elihav Sasson is truly a master at his craft.

What was the inspiration for your wedding day?

My vision for my special day was informed by the style of the venue which I had always felt drawn to. It is a beautiful French inspired resort setting in the Sunshine Coast hinterland with glorious gardens and an abundance of beautiful blooms and classic European styling. My gown needed to work well in that setting and the Elihav Sasson gown I selected was perfect in every way.

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What was the highlight of your day?

Our wedding day was a fabulous blend of dreamy, relaxed and beautiful with a delicious sense of anticipation added to the mix, providing just a hint of excitement. A number of elements made this so; from the fabulous venue, Spicers Clovelly Estate with is magnificent gardens and blooming jacaranda tree setting, the incredibly welcoming and efficient team of wedding coordinators who took such care with every detail, the exquisite floral displays by Mondo Floral, the styling of Love Bird who brought in more French inspired furnishings to dress the gardens for the comfort of our guests, and the presence of our families who celebrated this special occasion with us at each step. We couldn’t have asked for a more special start to our journey together. It was certainly a day to remember.

What advice would you give other brides?

I would encourage each bride to trust her instincts. There is a reason you are drawn to a particular gown. By all means, try on other dresses to confirm your best style and look, but try not to lose sight of your initial vision as often our first instincts prove to be correct. I feel it certainly did for me.

Georgie - A Real Bride Story

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Georgie’s Story

Bride & Groom: Georgie & Marc
Planning & Styling: Georgie (Bride) After The Rock Weddings
Gown: Inbal Dror from Helen Rodrigues Bridal
Venue: Stones of the Yalla Valley, Victoria
Photography: Erin & Tara
Floral: Cecilia Fox

Georgie Karloci (nee Duddy) is one of Australia’s best wedding and event planner and stylists having been at the helm of magazine worthy occasions including the wedding of Montara Pitt, Anna Heinrich and Tim Robards and Kate Waterhouse’s 30th.

We can only begin to imagine the pressure Georgie felt to ensure her very own wedding was all she could image and as you will see in the below images captured by renown wedding photographers Erin & Tara it certainly didn’t disappoint.

Georgie, your wedding is so incredibly beautiful. What was your vision for your special day?
Thank you! Overall I wanted the day to feel effortless, beautiful, romantic and fun. It really evolved throughout the year. I started with the venue - working with it however always making sure the styling had my own spin on it. I knew I wanted the ceremony to really WOW - it was the place of most importance to us as that's where we made the relationship official. I wanted depth with lightness and really enjoyed watching my brief evolve throughout the year. I wanted it to feel classic however still have a modern twist to it and I wanted there to be 'moments' everywhere for guests to stop, stare and enjoy.

Has planning your own wedding changed your viewpoint and the way you work as a wedding planner?
I believe it's changed how I plan a great deal. One big distinction for me is my ability to help guide my clients more with decision making as I understand when they have decision fatigue and they need some help to be pushed to make a decision versus when it’s actually a really important element that they want some space to consider their options further. Before I got married myself, I'd also not really understand why the couple wouldn't just go for it with the add-ons - thinking it's a once in a lifetime event so why not?! Now I understand that you get to a point where enough is enough! It doesn't matter how large your budget, it's all about making considered decisions.

What was the highlight of your wedding day?
I would have to say surprising my guests with a flash mob gospel choir at the completion of the ceremony! Marc, myself and my parents were the only ones that knew it was happening! It was a year of planning, months of sourcing the right people to bring together with the help of Rutherford Entertainment and rehearsal after rehearsal to get it just right! The choir were disguised as guests sitting in the ceremony with the remainder of the choir upstairs in the chapel and it really was an amazing performance. It certainly is something everyone can't stop talking about and seems to have set a trend!

Is there anything you would do differently?
As cliched as it sounds, no I wouldn't. It really was the most perfect day. I wish I could relive it again and again!

When you went looking for your wedding gown did you have anything specific in mind?
After all the years of experiencing this with my brides and seeing my friends get married, I knew to just trust the process and not rule anything out! I knew I would just feel it when it was my dress.

When did you know your Inbal Gown was 'the one'?
After recommending my brides to Helen for years I knew I wanted to go there first when looking for my gown - and I didn’t go any further! I had a feeling I would wear Inbal after all of my research - and narrowed it down to 2 gowns. I was so torn, however Helen and my bridesmaids knew the gown I chose was the standout and were very vocal about it!

How was your experience with Helen Rodrigues Bridal?
It was effortless, fun and a truly beautiful and unforgettable experience. For the first visit I took a couple of my bridesmaids, my mother and my mother in law. It was such a fun appointment and my bridesmaids fell in love with my dress immediately! Then I took my mum and my bridesmaid who lived overseas to my fittings. It was so nice to go on that journey with them all.

How did you select your wedding venue and suppliers?
I knew we wanted to get married somewhere other than Sydney. After working in events and weddings in Sydney for the past 14 years I wanted my wedding to feel like the opposite of work! We both love Melbourne so started to look in Victoria. Marc and I narrowed it down to 2 venues, one in the Yarra Valley and another in the Mornington Peninsula. In the end, I asked my parents to choose which one they preferred as I couldn't decide! They both loved Stones of the Yarra Valley - as it was a nod to my country roots and Marc's Italian heritage. It felt more 'us'.

For our suppliers, they came from everywhere! I did have a rule and wanted to work with suppliers I mostly hadn't worked with before! My invitation suite was created by the talented Tara Spencer in Canada, Hair and make up was from Sydney (as I knew I had to have Sarah Laidlaw with her combination of incredible talent and beautiful personality), our minister came from Sydney also (Garry Lee-Lindsay was the perfect choice - we knew he would do a beautiful service and he surely did!) and my favourite lighting and sound guru Rob King came down to Melbourne from Sydney also as I'm a self professed lighting snob! Our florist Cecelia Fox was incredible, I'd wanted to work with her for ever and it was a dream to see what she created - and also Erin and Tara (photo) and Moon and Back (video) were Melbourne based and we have worked together so much since as I loved what they produced and so enjoyed working with them. My friend Georgie and her colleague Claire from Georgeous Occasions helped with planning on the day and also recommended their favourite suppliers in Melbourne like Rutherford Entertainment for our Choir and DJ / Singer / Sax combo, Electric Confetti to create my custom Ti Amo sign, my incredible cake maker and multiple wonderful decor suppliers.

This week you celebrated your 1st wedding anniversary, how has the 1st year of married life been for you and do you think being married changes your relationship?
The first year of marriage has completely flown by! I still get a huge kick out of introducing Marc as my husband. I definitely feel marriage has changed our relationship - everything just feels more 'together' in every sense of the word. He's my world.

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Emma - A Real Bride Story

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Emma’s Story

Bride & Groom: Emma & Anthony
Gown: Inbal Dror from Helen Rodrigues Bridal
Venue: Fraser Gallop Estate, Margaret River, Western Australia

How did you feel when you first walked into the Helen Rodrigues Boutique?
Being surrounded my beautiful dresses I knew I would find the one that day! I tried on around 3 dresses until spotting my dress in the room! The experience was amazing we had so much fun whilst enjoying a glass of bubbles!

Describe how you felt when you found your gown?
I had been searching for my dream dress for a few months and was having no luck. The moment I put the dress on I knew it was the one! It fit me like a glove and I felt amazing in it! My bridesmaid Ash had been to a few appointments with me and said she hadn’t seen me smile like this yet! We knew it was the one!

Which designer did you select and why?
Inbal Dror - Her dresses are just amazing! My dress was delicate and had the perfect amount of sparkle on it!

What was the inspiration for your wedding day?
Our wedding was in Margaret River in Western Australia at Fraser Gallop Estate. We fell in love with the venue the moment we saw it & with my wedding planner Lara from White events we wanted the vibe for the day to complement this incredible venue. The inspiration was classic elegance of the French country side.

What was the highlight of your day?
The reveal - the moment I saw Anthony for the first time my heart exploded. It was the most emotional and amazing feeling I really can’t describe it.

What advice would you give other brides?
My advice to brides who are starting their search for their dress is not to be afraid to try on different styles and silhouettes, you will be surprised what looks amazing on you.

Anything else you would like to add about Helen Rodrigues or your wedding?
Helen, Sophie and the entire team were wonderful throughout the entire experience. They were honest and always made me feel comfortable. My mum unfortunately couldn’t make it to my first appointment so the team helped Skype her in to show her my amazing dress and experience it with me from Perth.

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Kate - A Real Bride Story

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Kate’s Story

Bride & Groom: Kate & John
Gown: Inbal Dror from Helen Rodrigues Bridal
Veil: Oscar De La Renta from Helen Rodrigues Bridal
Venue: Halcyon House, Cabarita

“From the moment I first visited Helen and her team I was blown away by not only the amazing selection of International Designers but also the teams warm nature and ongoing personal touches throughout the entire experience. From beginning to end, Helen’s service was nothing but outstanding!”

Beautiful real bride Kate and her husband John’s wedding was featured on Harper’s Bazaar. Here we share an extract on Kate’s bridal journey and her magnificent images.

How did you meet John?
We met nearly nine years ago when I walked into a little cafe to find John (he was the barista at the time!). I was totally infatuated by him and after one date we were inseparable. We moved in with each other just three months later and nine years later we were married.

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How did he propose?
John proposed to me in Italy, 2014. We were in Positano and he hired a little white speed boat one afternoon, which I thought nothing of at the time. We spent the day cruising the Amalfi coast and anchored somewhere out at sea when he pulled out an amazing Italian picnic, dropped to one knee and asked me to marry him. I was totally oblivious to what was happening and it was literally a dream!

When did you know your Inbal Dror gown was ‘the one’?
I found my Inbal Dror dress before we even found the venue. I didn't look for long as once I tried on my dress I knew it was the one! I was totally obsessed with it and in love with the design and craftsmanship of it.

My veil was by far my favourite accessory; it was an Oscar De La Renta two tiered cathedral veil. There's something so special about a veil and it was definitely a favourite part!

What was your vision for your wedding day?
Our vision for the day was a relaxed resort style wedding with plenty of Aperol Spritzers! Surrounded by family and friends at an amazing venue with beautiful food and wine, we wanted it to be easy and fun but at the same time really beautiful. After looking for the perfect venue for what felt like forever, our amazing wedding planner Georgie Duddy from After The Rock Weddings suggested Halcyon House. We were in love with it so much, we didn't even visit the venue before we got married.

Halcyon House was absolutely perfect as we shut down the hotel for the Saturday night. The majority of our guests stayed on site; we had the ceremony, pre-ceremony cocktail party and reception all at the one venue.

How did you select your wedding venue?
We chose the venue as we both love the ocean and boutique European hotels, which Halcyon House fully embodies. In addition to the location and beautiful styling, the venue allowed for us to have all our guests of whom had travelled from across the world (Europe, Asia, the Middle East, New Zealand, The Barossa, Melbourne and Sydney, of course) to stay on site and not have to worry about travelling between venues for the ceremony and reception.

The ceremony was held under two palm trees on the grass just before the entrance to the beach at Halcyon House in Cabarita, NSW. After the ceremony we had a cocktail party by the pool there and the reception was held at Halcyon House's restaurant, Paper Daisy.

What was the highlight of your day?
The highlight of the day was definitely when the skies cleared 20 minutes before the ceremony. It went from a drizzly day to perfect sunshine literally just before I walked down the aisle! Another highlight for us was definitely our amazing vocalist, Tom Francis, who sang for the ceremony and cocktail hour and a local DJ who played live percussion on the drums for our entrance and dancing later that night. The hosts at Halcyon House and Paper Daisy were all so incredible and made everyone feel so welcome for the whole weekend, remembering people by name and joining in on the party on the wedding night. They didn't even mind when some of John's Greek family starting smashing plates!

What tips do you have for future brides:
Don't stress in the lead up to the day! Everything has a way of falling into place perfectly. My maid of honour gave me the best advice which was to take five minutes to sneak away with your husband on the night and look back at the party and take it all in. It's a very surreal experience that you will never have again.

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This feature has been adapted from Kate’s wedding feature on Harper’s Bazaar Bride. Read more here