Helen Rodrigues

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


Iconic Sydney: Behind the Scenes with Helen Rodrigues

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Location: Pier One Sydney Harbour Hotel
Photography: Keegan Cronin

What was your vision when you first started Helen Rodrigues Bridal in 2001?

I wanted to offer the opportunity for brides to be able to try on beautiful designer gowns in a personalised, small boutique. I wanted to offer these gowns so brides could try on a gown and know exactly they were getting.

I had visited beautiful stores in the UK when I got married in 1999 - I was able to go in, try gowns on and decide and know exactly what I was getting. When I did my initial research in Australia, there were lovely designers that you could go and see and they would sketch something for you. This is fine, if you are good at visualising things ... but like me not everyone can! There was no store that offered any international designers in Australia, let alone more than one designers under one roof. This is how Helen Rodrigues Bridal was created nearly 2 decades ago! The vision was to open up the first exclusive boutique, offering luxury international bridal designers.

What draws you to a particular Bridal Designer?

The designer needs to be offering something unique that is not available anywhere else. Their gowns also need to complement the rest of our gowns, so they sit well in the boutique. They need to use beautiful fabrics and be well made. In addition, they need to be boutique and international as this is our point of difference. We have always offered international designers.   

What does it mean to you to bring these incredible International Designers to Australia?

My designers become part of my extended family and is wonderful to work with them on collections and see your input come to fruition. It is wonderful that we can bring all these masterpieces under one roof, which enables brides to be able to come in and try gowns on in the home country instead of having to fly to USA, Israel, Lebanon, UK to name but a few. It is so rewarding to share these gowns with Australian brides. 

Often brides will say they saw a beautiful gown in a magazine or Instagram and thought they would never be able to see it in real life let alone wear it on their day - then they did some research and realised we actually stocked it!  That makes me really happy that we are constantly being able to fulfil girls dreams.

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From your extensive experience with bridal gowns what advice would you give a new bride to be embarking on the journey of finding her perfect bridal gown?

I think it is always best that brides have their wedding date and venue booked. This helps them know what season/ weather they can expect and also the theme the wedding will be. That said, we often see brides who do not have either of these booked and they find their gown. At the end of the day - when brides love a gown, they will love wearing their gown anywhere and in any weather!  

Its also good for brides to have an idea of a budget they would like to keep their gown to and check with boutiques they intend to visit prior to see they can work with them. We often recommend brides have had a look at our website and Instagram so they are aware of what we offer. I believe the main point is to come to the appointment with an open mind.

I had a bride who came in the other day and wanted a high neck, long sleeve lace and no strapless gown. I can confirm this is not what she ended up with. Since 2001 we have helped thousands of brides - so brides should be open to trust us to try on something a little different.

I would say don't look to much - it can be very overwhelming. Maybe select a couple of your top boutiques and then see how you go. Also don't bring too many people to your appointments as it can be very overwhelming again and too opinions can be tough!

Be relaxed, have fun and trust your gut. Buying a wedding gown is not about doing a spreadsheet on the pros and cons but about how you feel. How would you feel waking up on the morning of your wedding and seeing your wedding dress waiting for you. Would it make you excited and smile!

I would recommend start looking 12 months before your wedding but we often help brides who have a longer lead time and also who are getting married in a few months!

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What does the 2019 Iconic Sydney editorial shoot represent for you?

We have access to beautiful imagery from all our designers who do amazing shoots throughout the world. I wanted to take our gowns and shoot them in Sydney so they were more relevant for our Australian bride. We have such iconic landmarks in Sydney that I very much wanted to have them as a backdrop to our gowns.

Helen Rodrigues Candle

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Helen Rodrigues has created an exclusive fragrance for a very special occasion - be it when your are getting dressed for your wedding, while you are on your honeymoon, spending a romantic moment with someone special or just wanting to relax and enjoy time with family and friends.

The English Pear & Freesia fragrance enhances your emotions, sets the mood and indulges the moment. Available in two sizes, the candle is made from soy wax with a wood wick.

This is a prefect treat to yourself or a gift for your bridesmaids, bridal party or for someone special.

Make an appointment to buy a candle from the boutique or call 02 9904 5700 or email to order your candle.

Peta - A Real Bride Story

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Peta's Story

Who: Peta & Charlie
When: 7 April, 2018
Where: Anambah House, Anambah (Doltone House, Anambah)
Dress: Livne White from Helen Rodrigues Bridal
Accessories: Keren Wolf from Helen Rodrigues Bridal

Feeling like a movie star, a Pinterest vision come to life and a gown fit for a princess by a dream designer. 

From the moment Peta and her maid of honour walked into the Helen Rodrigues showroom, she knew her gown was waiting for her. She knew ‘the one’ was in here.

It was a dream come true for Peta to have her wedding gown designed by the extremely talented Alon Livne. It was love at first sight when she put on ‘the one’, stepping out of the fitting room feeling like a princess.

“It was very surreal. Excited and nervous at the same time! I remember it like it was yesterday, I walked out of the dressing room and Bec (my Maid of Honour) started tearing up. We knew I’d found the one!”

Peta’s wedding was everything she could have dreamed and more in April at her parent’s property in a purpose built, incredibly glam barn at Anambah House, Hunter Valley. All of her dream gown wishes had come true with her fully beaded Alon Livne ‘Kate’ gown and now her Pinterest vision had come to life on the wedding day.
 
The wedding was certainly not your average barn wedding with shimmering chandeliers, flowers artfully placed as far as the eye could see, beautifully draped fabric across the ceiling beams and the orchid-adored four tier wedding cake.

On the day itself, Peta was surprised by her fiancé, Charlie, with a gorgeous love note and pair of diamond earrings which was the most wonderful way to start her magical day.  
Peta took in every moment of the day from getting ready with the girls, sharing a very special moment with her Father tying is bow tie to seeing Charlie’s face as she walked down the isle and, of course, their first kiss as husband and wife!

Peta was so excited to walk into the reception in front of their families and friends as husband and wife and dancing the night away on the lawn under the glistening lights. 
Peta’s advice to brides who are starting out to find their dream gown is to not be afraid to try on shapes and styles you may not have thought of as “you will be surprised what looks amazing on you!”.

In Peta’s own words about her Helen Rodrigues experience; 
“Helen and her team were absolutely fantastic in the year leading up to my wedding. It always felt like they were part of my wedding team. Always happy to help - from my shoes to my undergarments, no question was too much. Helen went above and beyond and treated me as I were her only customer throughout the entire experience. The team are lovely, and the seamstress is a magician!! Not to mention, the best selection of high end gowns in Australia! A HUGE thank you - Could not have done it without you. Every bride must visit!!!”  

Photography by Mint Photography, Flowers by Susan Avery and Nicholas Haywood Jewellery

 

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.  

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.

Louise - A Real Bride Story

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Louise’s story

Who: Louise & Zach
When: 6 October, 2016
Where: The Grounds of Alexandria, Sydney
Dress: Monique Lhuillier from Helen Rodrigues Bridal

The search for the perfect wedding gown can be long and tricky, but sometimes you can also get lucky – just like our gorgeous real bride Louise who ended up selecting the first gown she tried on at Helen Rodrigues.

“When I first stepped into the boutique I was excited! All the ladies were lovely and made me feel very comfortable,” says Louise, who then began her appointment by trying on a stunning Monique Lhuillier gown.

“I felt amazing...even though I had no idea what style of dress I wanted I knew straight away that it was perfect. Feminine, romantic and so elegant; and the lace detail, open back and silhouette was what I fell in love with,” she adds.

Louise then also found the experience of fittings with Helen Rodrigues a breeze in the lead up to the actual wedding.

“Any questions I had were answered. Appointments were made in advance which made the whole process seamless and stress free,” she says. “Staff were helpful and honest, and also helped with jewellery and veil ideas as I wasn’t sure what I wanted.”

And when preparations for a wedding come off without a hitch, it really does help to make the big day go smoothly as well.

“My favourite memory is the first time Zach and I saw each other,” says Louise. “The overall atmosphere of the day was magical.”

And even though Louise found her bridal gown straight away, her advice to other brides who are not sure what they want is to try on a few different styles, because you may be surprised once you have it on.

We’re so happy we could help Louise find her dream dress and hope her and Zach have a wonderful life together. 

All photography by: Lara Hotz Photography