Jocelyn – A Real Bride Story

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Jocelyn’s Story

Bride & Groom: Jocelyn and John
Planning & Styling: Kashaya & Co
Gown: Elie Saab
Venue: Catalina, Rose Bay
Photography: Erin and Tara
Floral: Kashaya & Co
Rings: Matthew Ely
Hair: Julia Homard and Melanie Burke
Make Up: Amelia Axton

‘Helen Rodriques is the Australian authority when it comes to high end wedding gowns. I explicitly trusted her and her team personally in sourcing my perfect gown and I am so grateful for their assistance throughout the process. A wedding is such a big and important day for most women, and having Helen’s advice and expertise on that journey is reassuring, it instils confidence knowing she is an absolute expert in her field.’ Jocelyn #HRBride

How did you and your husband meet?

We were introduced by our dear friends Edwina McCann and her husband David Basha. The four of us went out to lunch and I was incredibly nervous and quiet. Johnny was his usual talkative and hilarious self and I instantly fell in love with his smiling eyes.

How did he propose?

Johnny proposed at Whale beach. It was the day I arrived back from Coachella from a girlfriend’s hens - We drove straight up to Whale Beach as we were staying there for the weekend. As soon as we arrived, we grabbed champagne and glasses and walked straight down the road to check out the surf. It was a windy day and Johnny’s glass smashed on the footpath. I thought he was picking up the pieces when he dropped to his knee so I knelt down to help him when he said “look at me!” I was completely taken by surprise and I love how casual our proposal was – true to Johnny’s personality and a reflection of our relationship.

What was your vision for your wedding day?

Johnny is Catholic and I am Buddhist brought up Catholic, so we wed in Johnny’s local Catholic church, Mary Immaculate in Waverly. I wanted the wedding to be classic, traditional, simple and elegant. We plan to travel to Bhutan for a belated honeymoon to receive blessings from the Tibetan Lamas, which will be my spiritual wedding.

I also worked with trusted suppliers that I knew and loved so I handed over the vision to them. It was a really simple brief – clean, white, minimal, romantic, nothing over the top. I put my trust in Kashaya & Co and Catalina to create the perfect day so there wasn’t a lot of pressure – I really enjoyed the whole experience.

Where did you look for your wedding inspiration?

I didn’t! Even my wedding gown a girlfriend of mine found for me and I didn’t know the flowers in my bouquet until the day of my wedding – I really put my trust in the suppliers in that way. It all felt very easy and natural. I really handed it over to the experts, I tried to step back from the planning so I didn’t get too caught up. I wanted this day to be about Johnny and I without focusing too heavily on the minor details. I’ve never really been a ‘wedding person’… until I met Johnny then I found myself really wanting to get married. The day was incredibly special and I think this had a lot to do with handing over the responsibility to the experts.

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

My very stylish friend, Nat was helping on reception in the salon and I asked her to browse around online for some wedding gown inspiration. She said her “heart fluttered” when she came across this Elie Saab gown and her adoration was infectious, I instantly fell in love with it! I couldn’t get the dress in Sydney, London or Dubai, luckily Helen Rodrigues stepped in and helped me find it. I bought the dress before even trying it on!

What was your wedding planning journey like for you? How far out did you start planning?

Not very long at all! I only ordered the dress two months prior, I remember when the dress arrived just two weeks prior to the wedding, I’d only had three fittings with Helen Rodrigues – the beauty of working with someone you really trust.

We did most of the organising a month before the wedding and Johnny actually did most of the planning - he chose the church and our reception venue, Catalina. He booked the venues early on and we left the rest of the planning until a couple of months prior.

However, the one thing I did get on top of early was my skin – I started working on my wedding skin very early. I put myself on an intensive skin program for glowing, dewy and radiant results, it was important to me that my skin more luminous that it has ever been.

I booked in my salon as a client for a facial every 6 weeks.

I alternated the skin brightening peel with the skin perfecting Azyme peel every two weeks and at 6-week intervals I had the Heart Chakra Prescribed Facial. I added an omnilux booster to every peel or facial as well.

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What was the biggest decision you had to make?

The only time I felt I had to make a big decision was when other people were involved eg. Where they were sitting, who they were sitting with, what the bridesmaids had to wear etc.

What was the highlight of your wedding day for you?

My little sister’s speech and her incredibly powerful words was an absolute highlight!

Is there anything you would do differently?

I didn’t have a change of shoes with me and I wanted to dance more throughout the night but my feet were hurting from my heels. Always bring a change of shoes!

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

Listen to Helen and her recommendation, trust in her expertise and her team. We made a fair amount of alterations to my dress and I went with whatever she recommended. I had complete trust in Helen Rodrigues and it turned out perfectly!

Also, focus on your skin early! Work with a great salon who can put you on a personalised skin plan in the lead up with regular facials every 6 weeks.

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Montarna – A Real Bride Story

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Montarna’s Story

Bride & Groom: Montarna & Nick
Planning & Styling: After The Rock Weddings
Gown: Inbal Dror
Venue: Redleaf, Wollombi
Photography: Erin and Tara
Floral: Grandiflora

How did you and your husband meet?

Nick and I met via mutual friends in 2013.

How did he propose?

In October 2017 Nick tricked me in to thinking I was heading to Sean’s Panorama at Bondi for his belated birthday celebration. Actually I arrived to the private room filled with flowers, candles, Celine Dion playing and he was down on one knee! Both of our parents were waiting excitedly in the next room so once I’d said yes they joined us to celebrate our engagement. It was so well-planned and it caught me completely off guard – no easy feat!

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What was your vision for your wedding day?

We just wanted our wedding day to scream ‘us’. Aesthetically we went for an eclectic vibe reflecting our home. I loved that Redleaf has a European feel and wanted to teleport our guests to the vibe of a private villa in the Italian countryside.

 Where did you look for your wedding inspiration?

We drew inspiration from everywhere but mostly from interiors, and our personal style when we renovated our home and my office. Our wedding planner Georgie was amazing – once she got my vibe she was great in sourcing further references and really pulling everything together.

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

I chose a wedding dress from Israeli designer Inbal Dror – it was everything I thought I wouldn’t wear! My style usually has a masculine edge but this was all-out girly, it even had a huge bow on the front and an incredible princess silhouette. I like to be bold with my fashion choices so a simple white dress wasn’t going to cut it on my wedding day!

What was your wedding planning journey like for you? How far out did you start planning?

We started planning shortly after getting engaged. Nick and I both have busy careers and we needed enough time to create our perfect day alongside everything else life throws at us. I work in PR and events so the actual organisation and logistics didn’t phase me, but our wedding planner Georgie was a godsend in keeping us on track and taking the time-intensive tasks off our hands.

What was the biggest decision you had to make?

Definitely the venue. We didn’t make life easy for ourselves with the choice of location. Redleaf is stunning but it’s very remote so it took a lot of checklists, dotting i’s and crossing t’s to ensure we remembered everything ahead of the day. And with Redleaf being a private property rather than a dedicated wedding venue we had to bring in all styling and catering elements ourselves - although personally I loved this aspect, taking a beautiful blank canvas and making it completely our own.

What was the highlight of your wedding day for you?

I surprised everyone by walking down the the aisle to bagpipes playing Flower of Scotland. We had three pipers with one leading my dad and I to the top of the aisle. When he started marching in front of us to get into beat we both got very emotional and everything became very real all of a sudden. We then came around the bend and I saw Nick for the first time - I’ll never forget that moment!

 Is there anything you would do differently?

Not a thing – it was perfect!

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

I love these wise words from Helen Rodrigues at my final wedding dress fitting - “don’t worry if some things don’t go to plan, as nobody knows the plan!

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Working with Helen was a dream in the lead up to my wedding. She suggested the dress to me, and I’m so happy I listened to her as otherwise I would never have found my perfect bridal gown. From selecting the dress and being on hand for fittings around my schedule, to picking my dress up the day before the wedding and giving me so much trusted advice on all elements of my big day, Helen became a close confidante during my bridal journey and she’s an amazing support to women planning their wedding. MONTARNA #HRRealBride

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Julia - A Real Bride Story

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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

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Morana - A Real Bride Story

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Morana’s Story

Bride & Groom: Morana & Nicholas
Planning & Styling: I Heart Flowers (Zoe Webb)
Gown: Monique Lhuillier
Venue: Stones of Yarra Valley, Victoria
Photography: Chloe May
Floral: I Heart Flowers
Letter pressed invitations and stationery: I Heart Flowers
Video: Apertura
Music: TobiTobi
Rings: Cerrone

‘After arriving at Helen’s with preconceived ideas, Helen’s guidance resulted in an elegant combination of a Monique Lhuillier dress and Oscar de La Renta veil. Helen Rodrigues and her team were a breath of fresh air in what can be a whirlwind process. I found the team grounded, considered and patient, and am grateful for the memory I will cherish for a very long time’. Morana #HRBride

How did he propose? 

Atop a mountain in Queenstown, while heliskiing. It was just picturesque. I said yes!

 What was your vision for your wedding day?

The vision for the day was an intimate celebration with family and friends. Zoe Webb did a spectacular job at creating a lavish, yet natural and effortless, vibe. And there was something so warm and familial about dining at a single long table with our 35 guests. 

We had very few formalities (no MC, no first dance and only 2 speeches, which were given by Nicholas and I). Instead we kicked the night off with a champagne tower, enjoyed a delicious four-course dinner followed by four-courses of dessert, and danced the night away to Tobi Tobi and the very lively Opa! Serbian brass brand.

We also chose to marry interstate to allow for a getaway wedding that wasn’t a destination too far from home; and on a Thursday too, which gave us a long weekend with family and friends. Stones of the Yarra Valley, surrounded by vineyards and oak trees, provided a charming chapel, restaurant, and accommodation on the one property, all with a Tuscan-feel. It was the perfect destination.

Where did you look for your wedding inspiration?

Mostly Instagram.

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

I went to Helen to see a completely different dress, which wound up not feeling right when I tried it on. We tried on a few gowns before I noticed the one. My advice is to be open-minded and buy the dress that you feel fabulous in.

When did you know that your Monique Lhuillier gown was ‘the one’?

As soon as I put it on. As cliché as it sounds, it just felt right. I felt comfortable and beautiful. I loved every stitch on that dress.

What was your wedding planning journey like for you? How far out did you start planning?

We had a short – 3 month - engagement, which meant we had be very productive (and there was no time to stress). Zoe Webb (quite seriously, the wedding fairy of all wedding fairies!) was just amazing at making it all happen and quickly too – letter pressed invitations, stationery, styling and hiring, and flowers!

What was the biggest decision you had to make?

Containing a guest list to 35 people!

What was the highlight of your wedding day for you?

The ceremony, which was held in the charming chapel on the property. The moment I saw Nicholas and our closest family and friends, while Tobi Tobi played Can’t Help Falling in Love with you, was definitely my highlight.

Is there anything you would do differently?

Definitely not. It was in every way the most perfect day.

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

Relax and enjoy your engagement. Planning the best day of your life should not be stressful.

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Helena - A Real Bride Story

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Helena’s Story

Bride & Groom: Helena & Justin
Planning & Styling: Kashaya & Co 
Gown: Monique Lhuillier 
Venue: Café Sydney  
Photography: Bayleigh Vedelago 
Floral: Kashaya & Co 
Videography: Soda Films 
Make up: Chloe Langford
Hair: JaydeTurner Ledwige

How did you and your husband meet? 

We got introduced by a mutual friend when Justin came to Sydney for work. I didn’t realise it at the time but our friend was trying to set us up from the beginning. It took a few times before we actually met as we kept missing each other but when we finally met it was a perfect match as we got along so well. We ended up spending a lot of time together when Justin was in Sydney and soon after that we started a long distance relationship between Sydney and Melbourne. We did this for over a year until two years ago I decided to move to Melbourne. It was the best decision as now I get to call Justin my husband.

How did he propose? 

Before he proposed Justin flew to Brisbane to see my dad to ask for his permission to marry me. My dad and Justin had become close, and he asked my dad what he thought would be the best day to do it on our upcoming trip and dad suggested my birthday. Justin and I were in Positano and it was my birthday. We had a beautiful lunch at La Sirenuse and then Justin had organised a boat just for the two of us along the Amalfi coast. We were cruising along and looking at the beautiful coastline when he came out from the back of the boat with a ring box, got on his knee and asked me to marry him. I was so surprised and had no idea!! We had champagne, called our friends and family and then went for dinner and cocktails followed by a night of dancing in Positano. I couldn’t of imagined a better night, it was so special and even more so that I will always have that memory on my birthday.

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What was your vision for your wedding day? 

 My vision for the day was an elegant venue and lots of flowers. We had so many friends and family coming from interstate and overseas we just wanted to give everyone an experience. Having it a Café Sydney was just that as the views and the food spoke volumes. I also said to Kashaya, I wanted bold colours and an abundance of flowers everywhere. We wanted the venue to be a feature but we also wanted the florals to be a feature also. We also had this beautiful dessert table, with cake, fruit, mini desserts, cheese and a 1m croquembouche tower which was surrounded with masses of flowers in all sizes and in brightly coloured reds, pinks and purples –it was just stunning and a total focal point.

Where did you look for your wedding inspiration? 

I started by getting my ideas on Instagram and following a few different bridal pages, photographers, florists, etc and this gave me a good base. I really wanted a chic and elegant feel with bright florals so once I picked what I wanted I just let Kashaya work her magic from there.

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

I have always loved Monique Lhuillier’s elegant and classic designs. My wedding dress was part of the new Monique Lhuillier 2019 collection which I had seen online and immediately fell in love with. Helen Rodrigues was the only stockist in Australia to be receiving it but unfortunately it wasn’t coming until only a couple months before my wedding. I tried on a couple of other ML dresses with Helen but I couldn’t stop thinking of my dream dress. I decided to take a chance and wait until it arrived a few months before my wedding before trying it on. I’m so glad I waited for it because I couldn’t imagine wearing anything else.

When did you know your Monique Lhuillier gown was ‘the one’? 

I always knew I wanted my wedding dress to be simple and elegant. I didn’t want any beading or too much lace and being a smaller frame I didn’t want to be consumed by too much fabric. When I first tried it on, it was so classic and it ticked all of my boxes. It felt so feminine but it was still sexy with a low back and low front. The dress felt like it was made for me and I just loved wearing it.

What was your wedding planning journey like for you? How far out did you start planning? 

I started planning 8 months out. I knew we had to lock in the venue, photographer, church and wedding planner pretty quickly so we didn’t miss getting the ones we wanted. Once we booked in those everything was a lot easier to coordinate.

What was the biggest decision you had to make? 

The location. We met in Sydney but we live in Melbourne so there was a bit of back and forth but we chose Sydney and I’m so glad we did.

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What was the highlight of your wedding day for you? 

Everything. Every moment was so special. From walking down the isle and seeing Justin to being surrounded by everyone we love in one place, it was just perfect.

 Is there anything you would do differently? 

Nothing, we couldn’t of asked for a better day.

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

Don’t let the little things stress you out and have fun!!! It’s your day and everyone is there for you so enjoy every moment as it will be over before you know it.

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Emerald - A Real Bride Story

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Emerald’s Story

Bride & Groom: Emerald & Frank
Planning & Styling: Susie, from Knot & Pop, London and Coralie from Loli Events, Paris
Gown: Alon Livné Bridal
Venue: The Mona Bismarck American Centre, Paris
Photography: Ryan Murphy (Varga Murphy)
Hair and Makeup: Harold James, Paris
Floral: Florésie
Ring: Olivia Bond Diamonds

How did you and Frank meet?

We had known each other for a while through mutual friends and had an annual flirtation at the pub at Christmas when I came home, but I was living in Paris and he was living in Perth so it never went anywhere. I flew home at the end of 2016 to care for my mum who was ill and ran into him while I was there, we got chatting and had an instant spark. When I flew back to Paris we began speaking lots, and a few weeks later he came to visit me (under the guise of going to see friends in London!). We had a whirlwind 4-day romance, and a few weeks later I came back to Perth to be with my mum again. We started dating and 5 weeks later I fell pregnant (whoops!). I found out a week after my beautiful mum passed away which was heartbreaking, but also lifesaving in a way. She met Frank once before she died and told me she felt happy leaving knowing that I had met my match.

How did Frank propose?

It was a few months after our daughter Queenie was born. My whole family was home for my little brother’s wedding and I hopped out of the shower to find a beautiful ring under my daughter’s arm as she slept, and Frank on one knee. My family was listening outside the door with champagne.

Emerald, your wedding celebrations were curated over a three day period. What did that entail?

Wednesday 25th - We had a civil ceremony at the town hall in the Marais, right near where I lived for 5 years. My friend, who is the current deputy mayor, married us in front of 20 of our closest friends and family in the most hysterical ceremony I have ever attended. We had champagne at the local bar afterwards, followed by an intimate family dinner in a private room at Le Meurice. It was breathtakingly beautiful, and such an incredible memory. I wore an Alexander Rich dress to my civil ceremony, and a white two piece suit designed by my friend Vanessa Cocchiaro of Les Heroines for the dinner, as well as a very special ruby necklace that was my mothers.

Thursday 26th – We held a cocktail party for all of our guests at rooftop bar Le Perchoir. Paris was having an uncharacteristic heatwave and we were all literally sweltering, but it was a really fun night – we were all dancing into the early hours of the morning with the most magical view over the Parisian rooftops. I wore a custom sequinned two piece by local Perth designer Alvin Fernandez.

Saturday 28th – Our wedding day! The girls got ready at the Shangri-La, next door to the venue, and the boys were at our apartment in the Marais. I walked down the aisle at 4.30pm with my brothers and sister as my bridesmaids, my daughter, nephews and nieces as our flower girls and boy, and my Dad on my arm. We chose ‘Dreams’ by the Cranberries as our entry song as it’s the opening song for You’ve Got Mail, that 90s RomCom with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, as we both felt a bit like them during our (very short!) long distance romance. This was followed by cocktails and speeches and then a two course sit-down dinner. For dessert we had a croquembouche tower, éclair tower and choux pastry tower set up outside that everyone could pick off.

For our first dance Frank and I did a tango which was hilarious, and then Love is in the Air came on (I’m a bit of a Strictly Ballroom fan) and all of our guests joined in. We were still dancing at 2am on the shoulders of our friends. We finished with ‘Les Champs-Élysées’ by Joe Dassin and stumbled back to the Shangri-La, shoes in hand.

What was your vision for your wedding day?

I didn’t really have a vision, I hadn’t ever thought about my wedding until Frank proposed. I just knew I wanted it to be in Paris in a beautiful old French building filled with all our closest friends and family, with epic music, food and wine.

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Where did you look for your wedding inspiration?

Mainly Instagram. I knew what I wanted in terms of flowers as I love anthuriums, but to be honest I left the rest up to Knot & Pop. Susie has the most incredible eye for design, and she even hand-made much of the table setting including the beautiful little salt and pepper pinch pots.

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

I saw a picture of the gown on Instagram through White Dossier which is a curated bridal page, and I just had to have it. I’m not particularly classical, I wanted something fun (and with sleeves!) and that was the perfect dress for me. I flew to Sydney to try it on, and ordered it then and there!

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What was your wedding planning journey like for you? How far out did you start planning?

Frank proposed in December and we got married in July, so we didn’t have a great deal of time to plan an overseas wedding. My whole family was already going to be in Europe for a family holiday at that time, so it made sense to combine the two. Once I got Knot & Pop on board it was all smooth sailing, I had a newborn and not a whole heap of time to dedicate to wedding planning so I was thrilled Susie, and Coralie from Loli Events took over and arranged everything!

What was the biggest decision you had to make?

The venue was the hardest choice. It was fairly late in the game to be planning a wedding in Paris in peak wedding season so the choice was limited. Of course I wanted the venue to be beautiful but I also wanted to make sure we had more control over our suppliers (alcohol, DJ etc) and I wanted to be able to stay and party late into the night.

What was the highlight of your three day wedding festival?

To be honest it was just the most magical week. Every part of it was truly perfect. I got to marry the man I love, in the city I love, surrounded by all the people we love. I just want to relive it again and again.

Is there anything you would do differently?

Yes I wouldn’t have gone on a family holiday to Tuscany the week before I got married! I was the least stressed bride ever, and didn’t think about holding back on the pasta, tiramisu and wine. Three days before my wedding I tried on my dress with my sister and we literally could not do it up!! Needless to say I didn’t eat much in the 48 hours prior to the wedding!

Did you go on a honeymoon and if so where?

We were already in Europe and we had our 10 month old with us, so we just had a few weeks around the English countryside. It was very chilled, but beautiful – travelling changes a lot once kids are involved!

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

Don’t sweat the small stuff. The wedding day goes so quickly it is such a waste of time being stressed. All the guests are desperate to celebrate with you and have fun, and no one even notices if little things go wrong.

How has married life being so far?

Not much has changed since our wedding, we already had a baby together so we were pretty settled. We’ve just added to the brood with a rescue pup and a second bub on the way.

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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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