Julia - A Real Bride Story


Julia’s Story

Bride & Groom: Julia & Luke
Planning: Bride & Groom
Styling: Megan Morton
Gown: Monique Lhuillier
Venue: Public Dining Room, Balmoral, Sydney
Photography: Danelle Bohane
Florals: Saskia Havekes, Grandiflora

What was your vision for your wedding day?

When Luke and I talked about our future wedding we always knew we would get married on the anniversary of the day we met, so we were destined to have a winter wedding. We had spent 11 years celebrating that day rugged up in knitted blankets by open fires, champagne in hand, dining over long lunches or degustation dinners, surrounded by candles, tea-stained florals and moody palettes. Our vision was an extension of these ‘Wooly’ moments – we wanted to host a warm, intimate, relaxing, long Sunday lunch surrounded by our very nearest and dearest.

For your wedding day what drew you to your gown from Helen Rodrigues Bridal?

My only grandmother Betty owned a bridal boutique and made wedding gowns and bridesmaids dresses with lots of hand-beading and lace appliqué. As a little girl I was obsessed with the hundreds of teardrop pearls, beads and jars of silk-covered buttons in her store. She made my mother’s wedding gown, my high school formal dress and all of my childhood pyjamas with beautiful hand-smocking details – all from hand-cut patterns she pinned on me with such care. Sadly, severe rheumatoid arthritis robbed her of her craft and passion far too young and sadder still, we lost her 5 years before our wedding. Needless to say, my dress was always going to be a special tribute to her and I was very touched when my father gifted this to me – such a treasured gesture of understanding and love.

My everyday style is feminine but with a touch of edginess, so I was after a timeless, classic look with a modern twist. In keeping with our intimate Sunday lunch reception, I wanted a dress that wasn’t too structured or formal, but still made me feel like a bride. My husband Luke has always loved my legs so when I laid eyes on Monique Lhuillier’s ‘Hartley’ Lace Dress and removable ‘Lana’ Ball Skirt complete with pockets and a split just for him, I instantly knew that was the one! It was romantic and pretty yet playful and simple. As luck would have it, Helen Rodrigues is Australia’s official stockist of ML and with Helen’s boutique in my neighbourhood I had walked past her stunning window displays many times during my relationship knowing that one day it would be my turn to step over that threshold!

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What was the highlight of your wedding day for you?

The absolute highlight was the indescribable feeling of love!

From the minute I opened my eyes and hotel room door that morning to be greeted by the warmest of hugs from my mama, to holding on to my dad’s arm for support as he walked with me down the jetty in my rose gold Sophia Webster ‘Chiara’ heels (another subtle tribute to my grandmother as she was obsessed with butterflies). From the look in Luke’s eyes when he saw me in my dress for the first time, to gazing into every single one of our guests’ souls during our ceremony. From speaking our rawest truth during our vows without fear or judgement, to hearing our talented friend play live the songs my now-husband had composed for me during our early years together. From dancing the night away on our floating dance floor with all of our favourite humans to all of our favourite songs, the love was all-enveloping, palpable, uplifting and existential. As our stylist Megan Morton said of the day, ‘Some Sundays are better than others’ and we couldn’t agree more.

Also, I couldn’t possibly not mention Mother Nature, who blessed us with the most perfect winter day. There has not been a blue sky I have lived under since where I am not reminded of and grateful for that memory!

Is there any advice you would give other #HRBride’s?

Be clear on what is most important to you and your partner and stay as true to that and yourselves as possible.  

Without prejudice, don’t be afraid to be selfish as this is your wedding day and your declaration of love as you wish to show and share it.

Make decisions together and share the journey – every high and every low – your day and memories of it will be richer for it.

Embrace your vulnerabilities. It’s empowering to be and show your true self.

And last but not least, finish writing your speech before the night before! I was still finding the ‘right’ words after midnight and with less than five hours sleep was not an ideal way to begin the biggest day of my life . ..

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‘With my mama based in Brisbane and breaking with tradition by not having a bridal party, Helen became my stand-in mum, bonus bridesmaid and fairy gownmother all in one!

Helen is so welcoming, warm, charming and generous and calmly took on the challenge with perfect ease and grace. I felt completely at ease, never alone and supported at every fitting. It was one of the least stressful parts of the whole wedding, it seemed too easy to be true, but it was!’ Julia #HRBride