Newly Engaged? Where do You Start!

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The Australian Summer is often when a large number of engagements take place during the Christmas and New Year period.

Helen shares her knowledge to help make your wedding planning journey as stress free and enjoyable as possible!

Where would you suggest a newly engaged bride start her wedding planning journey?

I believe it is always important to start with the key big ticket items to help the planning journey begin.

This would be to set a date, book your venue, set a budget and then of course the most exciting of all, to start looking for your gown! We are here to guide you through and style your entire wedding look.

What tools does one need?

Things have certainly changed since I got married nearly 20 years ago when you would buy a few bridal magazines and create a physical scrapbook of torn out pages that we have loved!

The major tool that brides use today is Instagram for inspiration. Create a mood board using Pinterest, screen grab some of your favourite weddings, gowns and beauty looks as this will help guide suppliers and also assists our team when you visit the boutique so we have an idea of your style and what you are trying to achieve. That said, it is always important to have an open mind as well!

HR Real Bride Tiarne’s cliff top wedding in Positano in her Inbal Dror gown

HR Real Bride Tiarne’s cliff top wedding in Positano in her Inbal Dror gown

Where is the best place for brides to seek wedding inspiration for photographers, venues etc

Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest. Social media is king!

HR Real Bride Tiarne, planned her entire Positano wedding herself drawing inspiration from Instagram and Pinterest

HR Real Bride Tiarne, planned her entire Positano wedding herself drawing inspiration from Instagram and Pinterest

Do brides usually have their wedding venue booked when they visit the boutique for the first time?

In the most part yes, but sometimes brides do not have their wedding venue. They are so excited and for them the gown is the most important part of their day. After all, it does not really matter where your venue is, it is all about how your gown makes you feel. If you are having a formal wedding with hundreds of guests or a small intimate wedding as long as you love your gown it will work everywhere!

How long does it usually take between first visit to Helen Rodrigues Bridal and final gown collection?

It really depends on how far in advance brides book their gowns from their wedding. We usually require 8-10 months production time for our designers and like to receive gowns at least 8 weeks prior to the wedding date so we can schedule appointments to look at accessories if need be to complete their wedding look and then also to book all fittings and alterations appointments.

HR Real Bride Louise, at The Grounds of Alexandria in her Monique Lhuillier gown

HR Real Bride Louise, at The Grounds of Alexandria in her Monique Lhuillier gown

Do most of your brides have skincare and fitness regimes in place in the lead up to the wedding?

Yes, I am sure they do have skincare regimes in place. They certainly seem to have health and personal training regimes in place. They often are eating really healthy and working out to be and feel their best on their day. They want to feel physically and mentally strong, which is important in life not just their wedding day.

From your experience, what area of the wedding planning journey do brides usually find the most stressful?

Seating arrangements seems to always create a heightened level of stress! Who should sit next to who, or more often who should not sit next to each other. Sticking to the budget also creates a little stress. Usually just before the wedding is stressful for brides, as so many suppliers are wanting final decisions from them. They are also having to work extra to ensure everything is wrapped up for when they take time off for their wedding and honeymoon. Nowadays, with Instagram brides want perfection. But as far as I believe, perfection does not exist. To strive for it will wear you out, it is just important to enjoy and live in the moment!

The best piece of advice I usually tell my brides is “if things don’t go to plan, no one else knew what the plan was anyway!” to relax and enjoy every moment. That family and friends are there to support you and enjoy your special day and share your love!

HR Real Bride Montarna Pitt at Redleaf, Wollombi in her Inbal Dror gown

HR Real Bride Montarna Pitt at Redleaf, Wollombi in her Inbal Dror gown

“I love these wise words from Helen Rodrigues at my final wedding dress fitting,” shares the bride. “Don’t worry if some things don’t go to plan, as nobody knows the plan!” Montarna Pitt, #HRRealBride

Iconic Sydney: Behind the Scenes with Helen Rodrigues


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.


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!


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 Presents Iconic Sydney


Helen Rodrigues Bridal together with The Wedding Series bring you ‘Iconic Sydney’ - an editorial inspired by the exceptional beauty of Australia’s famed Sydney Harbour, home to Helen Rodrigues Bridal Boutique since 2001.

Set aboard luxury Super Yacht OSCAR II and captured by wedding photographer Keegan Cronin, the editorial features stunning beauty Olena Khamula wearing an edit of exceptional bridal gowns featuring International Designers exclusively stocked at Helen Rodrigues Bridal.


Creative Direction/Styling – Kate O’Shea, The Wedding Series Agency
Photography – Keegan Cronin
Film – Motion Reel Films
Hair/Make up – Sonia Allen Make Up
Super Yacht – OSCAR II

Tiarne - A Real Bride Story


Tiarne’s Story

Who: Tiarne & Daniel
When: 13 May, 2018
Where: Villa San Giacomo in Positano, Italy.
Dress: Inbal Dror from Helen Rodrigues Bridal
Accessories: Keren Wolf from Helen Rodrigues Bridal
Photography: Kreativ Weddings

Some weddings absolutely take your breath away and our beautiful HR Bride Tiarne’s wedding in Positano, Italy certainly did that. Tiarne wore a beautiful, custom fitted Inbal Dror gown from Helen Rodrigues.


Tiarne explains on The Lane, ‘Traditional, with a touch of glamour were my key points finding my look. I think everyone expected me to wear a fitted gown with an open back, so again I wanted to do something different. I also ended up changing into a fun second outfit which was a feather skirt & embellished top both by Aje. I left my accessories on and ballet flats as they worked well with the white outfit, then danced the night away!’

When it came to Tiarne’s choice of accessories, the beautiful bride selected earrings and a custom-made head band both by Keren Wolf, who Inbal Dror used for her accessories on the runway and are available here.


Read the full feature on The Lane here.

Helen Rodrigues Candle


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


Sincerely: Dream Designer Wedding Gowns at Dream Prices

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At Sincerely, you can find stunning ex-floor stock sample gowns available to purchase straight away off the rack at discounted prices! Perfect for the bride who is short on time to find her dream designer wedding gown.

What is Sincerely?

Sincerely is Helen Rodrigues Bridal sample gown boutique. The gowns in Sincerely have been used in the Helen Rodrigues Bridal boutique as the floor stock samples for brides to try on and may have been used in photo shoots and/or runway shows. 

There are gowns from current season and in perfect condition, past seasons and discontinued gowns/designers. The gowns are priced to reflect their condition so some may have 15% off the order-in-new price and others are up to 60% off to reflect the season and/or condition of the gown (these may require some 'love and attention' and/or dry cleaning). 

We have sample gowns available to sell off the rack from all of our designers including Inbal Dror, Alon Livne, Monique Lhuillier and Jenny Packham.

What is a Sample Gown?

A sample gown is a gown that has  been used in the Helen Rodrigues Bridal boutique as the floor stock samples for brides to try on and may have been used in photo shoots and/or runway shows.

As there is only ONE of each gown available to purchase, it is very important that brides fit the sample gowns relatively well as over-altering the gown can impact the gown's original design and integrity. For the brides convenience, all sizes and measurements are provided on the Sincerely website for each gown. 

If you are a size AU6-8 the gowns will be too big and you may end up paying quite a lot to have it tailored to fit and if you are a size AU14+, the gowns unfortunately will not fit. 

Gowns cannot be placed on hold and they are first come best dressed. 

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Why a Sample Gown from Sincerely?

If you have less than 6 months to go before the big day, a sample gown is a perfect idea for you as you can take the gown away with you!

There are times when brides are having a short engagement, would like a second gown, have not found the perfect gown or maybe have even had a mishap with the original gown...if this is the case, Sincerely can certainly help! If you fall in love with a gown at your appointment with us, you take the gown away with you that day and we can of course recommend a wonderful local tailor who can assist with altering your gown (as well as recommended dry cleaner, if required). 

Sincerely is also perfect for finding the perfect gown at the perfect price. As they are sample gowns, we can discount them 15% - 60% off the order-in-new prices! Prices are always reflective of the season and condition of the gown so if you are after a 2017 Inbal Dror sample gown, this may be discounted 10-15% off and if it's a discontinued Jenny Packham gown from 2005, you could be looking at anything up to 40% off for a sample. 

We also offer a select few gowns between $500 - $1,000 from older season gowns. Please note, these gowns would mostly require some 'love and attention' before wearing. 

Please note that all prices exclude all extras such as dry cleaning and tailoring and all gowns must be paid in full. 


Before Arranging your Sincerely Appointment

We highly recommend that brides have started the trying on process prior to coming into Sincerely so that they have a good idea of what they are after, as well as making themselves familiar with the gowns we have available to purchase off the rack. We keep the Sincerely website very up to date for our brides to be able to pre-shop before coming in. 

At Sincerely, as the gowns are sold off the rack on a first come best dressed basis, we would see brides no earlier than 6 - 7 months out from their wedding date, ideally when the wedding date and venue has been booked in as this plays a big part in selecting the correct gown for your special day.  

Have your budget decided on as, in our experience, everyone has a limit as to how much they would like to spend on their gown. We can best help you keep within this figure when you are clear on your budget. Our goal is to help you find your dream gown and work within your specifications so you can leave with perfect gown for your special day. 

Come in with an open mind as if you close yourself off to certain aspects, you may miss your dream gown on the rack! Your stylist will b ring you through the gowns based on the phone conversation prior to you coming in and will suggest gowns based on your requirements (style, budget, venue, time of year etc.). 

We recommend that you bring along no more than two guests whose opinions you truly respect and don't forget, your stylist is there too to weigh in should you decide to come solo. 

The appointment fee for your time at Sincerely provides you with a one hour one on one styling session with one of our brilliant stylists as well as exclusive use of our boutique. This fee is fully reimbursed into the gown should you go ahead.

Monday - Friday appointments $75
Saturday appointments $100
Cancellation fees apply - please see Sincerely's T&C's 

Sincerely is strictly by appointment only and is opened for each bride specifically as we operate with the same small staff as Helen Rodrigues. We do kindly ask you give ample request time for an appointment and we will endeavor to work as much as we can around your requirements and schedule.


What about Tailoring & Dry Cleaning?

We of course can recommend a wonderful local tailor for all of our Sincerely brides who is very familiar with working on our gowns. We cannot quote you on the day as to how much your tailoring will be and we can provide an estimate based on how well the gown fits, the gown's fabrics and condition. 

We also have a trusted local dry cleaner we can also recommend should you gown need to be freshened up before the wedding and/or for afterwards.

If the gown has any imperfections/damage we would be confident that these can be mended by a tailor.

How does Payment Work?

Should you find your dream gown at Sincerely we take payment in full at the end of your appointment and you leave with your gown and any accessories (we do offer a wide range of head pieces, earrings, veils and even shoes!) all bagged up with our preferred tailor and dry cleaner's details. 

We accept all cards (2% surcharge on AMEX) and cash payments. We do not accept cheques. If you would like to do a bank transfer, we can provide you the details and the transfer must be done at your appointment and once this has cleared into our account, you can collect your gown from us. 

There are no refunds, returns or exchanges for any reason whatsoever once your sales contract has been signed and payment has been made. All sales are final and we cannot be held responsible for anything that may occur to your gown once it leaves our boutique. 

Your appointment fee is of course fully credited into your gown (only - not towards accessories) should you go ahead. 

Arranging Your Sincerely Appointment

Should you feel an appointment at Sincerely is right for you, please request an appointment via the Contact Us page on the Sincerely website and one of  our team members will be in touch, during business hours Mon - Fri (excluding public holidays), to discuss and arrange.

You will have the boutique to yourself with one of our trained stylists for one hour helping you with everything from the gown to veils and accessories. 

We look forward to hearing from you soon and helping you find your dream gown at Sincerely!

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Helen on Weddings: After 16 years in the bridal business fitting thousands of brides personally, Helen Rodrigues certainly knows a thing or two about weddings. Follow our Helen on Weddings (HOW) blog series as Helen and her team share their knowledge and stories to help make your big day as beautiful and memorable as possible.