Emma - A Real Bride Story

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Emma’s Story

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Kate - A Real Bride Story

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Kate’s Story

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




Anita - A Real Bride Story

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Anita’s Story

Bride & Groom: Anita & Robert
Gown: Elie Saab Bridal
Veil: Helen Rodrigues
Earrings: Keren Wolf from Helen Rodrigues Bridal
Venue: Ottimo House, Denham Court

The first time Anita stepped into the Helen Rodrigues boutique was to help her sister (another Helen Rodrigues bride) choose her gown, a whole year before she was to come back to find her own dream gown. Having ‘very fond’ memories of coming to Helen Rodrigues Bridal with her sister, she knew this should be her first stop.

Although Anita had originally envisioned herself on her special day in ‘a plain, silk number’, when she saw the intricate lace Elie Saab gown on the Helen Rodrigues Bridal website, she knew she had to try it on.

Anita had gone into her first appointment with Helen thinking she’d be going to lots of other boutiques to find her dream gown. This was until she put on her guipure lace winged sleeved gown and she just ‘knew it was the one’. It was hard for Anita to even consider any other gown for her wedding day.

Anita’s relaxed attitude in the lead up to the wedding really shone through on the big day itself, with both bride and groom enjoying every minute of the laid back and fun day.

It was a beautiful mid-June winter’s day and Anita felt so blessed to be surrounded by her friends and family to celebrate the newlyweds love for each other. She ‘loved absolutely everything’ about the wedding.

Anita admits, it didn’t hurt that on the morning of the wedding that she got to put on a stunningly designed gown by Elie Saab to spend the whole day in, something she never imagined possible.

Being open minded is the biggest piece of advice Anita could give other brides going into planning their special days. So many aspects of the day ended up being ‘the exact opposite’ of what she had originally thought – her gown, bridesmaid dresses and the flow girl outfits too. Keeping an open mind definitely means that you do not close yourself off to anything and perhaps missing ‘the one’.

In her own words Anita advises to ‘have fun and remember your wedding is the start of a lifelong commitment and journey’.

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Mia - A Real Bride Story

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Mia’s Story

Who: Mia & Phillip
Gown: Monique Lhuillier ‘Portia’
Veil: Peter Langner ‘Rossini’ from Helen Rodrigues
Shoes: Christian Louboutin
Venue: Sergents Mess, Chowder Bay
Flowers: Kindred Floral

Staying true to their personal style and staying away from the current wedding trends, while incorporating some beautiful and fun modern details, made for a truly gorgeous, elegant and classic wedding for Mia and Phillip.

Mia came to Helen Rodrigues with a clear vision of what she wanted for her dream gown. She had loved the look of Monqiue Lhuillier’s classic yet modern ‘Portia’ gown since she began the search for ‘the one’.

Upon arriving at the boutique for her first appointment, Mia felt so special and loved the personal one-on-one session without having to share the space with any other brides. Mia felt a mix of excitement to try on the gorgeous Portia gown, as well as some nerves in case she didn’t love the gown as much as she thought.

However it “was obvious it was perfect” and she “did not need to look anymore”. Portia was everything she “had ever dreamed of” for her wedding gown – “elegant, classic and timeless with a touch of modern”. Teamed with a stunning Italian trimmed double veil by Peter Langner, Mia’s look was complete!

Monique was the clear designer for Mia and she loved the way Monique manages to portray, in such an elegant way, the feminine form and her timeless designs, especially for a petite bride like Mia. Monique Lhuillier really does design with the petite bride in mind – ensuring they feel gorgeous and womanly on their special day, without being overwhelmed by fabric.

On the special day itself, Mia and Phillip both exuded calm and this fed through to the day running very smoothly and both bride and groom enjoying themselves. They were both “surrounded by love and happiness” all day.

Mia was blown away by the stunning diamond drop earring her parents gifted her on the morning of the wedding and she was so excited to wear them and what a stunning addition to her already flawless wedding day attire.

As Mia walked down the isle at her family’s church, Saint Gerasimos, towards Phillip she was, once again, “blown away” by how stylish and handsome Phillip looked. She adored his Christian Louboutin loafers he chose after finding out Mia had a pair of her own red soles for the day. Phillip wanted them to be “sole mates”.

As the newlyweds entered the reception at Sergents Mess, Mia’s breath was taken away at how “stunning” the flowers were, styled by Kindred Floral.

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As the formalities began to wind down, the dance floor started to heat up with all the guests joining in the traditional Greek dancing, enjoyed by all.

What topped off the already incredibly special day for Mia was that her Grandfather was able to attend and stayed all night. This was a “miracle” and a memory both Mia and Phillip will cherish for the rest of their lives.

On planning their special day, Mia and Phillip were determined to stay true to their personal styles and incorporated their classic tastes through the day. This was a huge consideration for Mia when choosing her dream gown and felt that it encapsulated the vision for the day. One thing Mia was very sure on is that she wanted her husband-to-be to recognise her when she walked down the isle towards him, as well as being comfortable on the day so she could enjoy all the dancing at the reception!

In Mia’s own words about her Helen Rodrigues experience

“Helen and her team were kind, patient, and very honest with their advice during my dress selection and fitting process. My family and I appreciate this immensely. I never felt rushed or pressured to make a decisions and nothing was too much of an effort for them. It was the most outstanding experience I could have ever asked for.”

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2019 Bridal Trends

British Bridal Designer Suzanne Neville’s sleep and modern designs will be available in Helen Rodrigues Bridal from January 2019

British Bridal Designer Suzanne Neville’s sleep and modern designs will be available in Helen Rodrigues Bridal from January 2019

Following Helen’s recent International trips to NYC Bridal Week and Paris she provides her insight into trends we can expect to see in 2019.

Are there any definitive bridal trends you are seeing for 2019?

After visiting NY in Oct and Paris in Dec there is a definite trend to the more classic gowns. The Clean lines and silhouettes and more simple fabrics give the modern, chic and elegant feel. However, the most important trend for a bride is to wear a gown that they love and makes them feel the “best of themselves” on their special day.

When it comes to accessories what can we expect in 2019?

As we see bridal gowns becomes more streamlined it allows for more dramatic accessories to be worn to complete the wedding look. A dramatic pair of earrings can always complete the look. A statement headpiece can also be added! Again, these pieces can become heirloom pieces and be passed down, or can be worn on another special occasion.

We are also seeing many of our gowns being teamed with different belts. This is always a signature of Mr Saab’s ready to wear bridal collection. Lee Petra Grebenau has also launched some stunning leather belts to take your look to the next level and also highlight your waist!

Keren Wolf’s statement Pearl Crowns on the Inbal Dror runway

Keren Wolf’s statement Pearl Crowns on the Inbal Dror runway

Keren Wolf’s exquisite pearl and flower crown available in store

Keren Wolf’s exquisite pearl and flower crown available in store

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Do you find celebrity weddings influence this industry? Did Meghan Markle’s wedding gown noticeably influence or inspire bridal gown requests?

I think to some degree celebrities do influence the industry. However, my brides are woman who know their own minds and know what makes them feel good. So they are more influenced by that and quality rather than celebrities. I certainly believe that the simplicity of Meghan’s gown has inspired many designers. There was already a nod to have more simple gowns, but Meghan’s made brides feel it was chic to wear simple – “less is more”.

Which bridal designers are the ones to watch in 2019?

To be honest all of my designers are currently producing amazing collections! I loved Inbal Dror’s latest collection that she just launched – it is perfect for the Australian bride as it is very light and airy. Lee Petra Grebenau always produces unique gowns for the discerning bride. These often inspire other bridal designers but can never be re-created to the same detail and quality!

Exceptional details of the Lee Petra Grebenau ‘Karlie’ Gown

Exceptional details of the Lee Petra Grebenau ‘Karlie’ Gown

What can we expect from Helen Rodrigues Bridal in 2019?

As we enter into our 18th year of trading we plan to do continue sharing brides wedding journeys with them and delivering them their dream gown.

We are excited to extend our stable of designers to include British Designer Suzanne Neville. Suzanne is renowned for the exquisite fabrics she uses. Her gowns are simple, clean lines with amazing corsetry.

We are also excited to extend our accessory collection to include a collection of Daphne Newman’s handmade silk robes and slips. These are all made to order and will become a family heirloom.

We have extended our collection of Keren Wolf jewellery including more earrings and headpieces to create your entire bridal look

We have an extensive range of veils from Peter Langner in addition to our beautiful Helen Rodrigues Signature veils.

Welcoming Daphne Newman’s handmade silk robes and slips to the hand selected accessories available at Helen Rodrigues Bridal

Welcoming Daphne Newman’s handmade silk robes and slips to the hand selected accessories available at Helen Rodrigues Bridal

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

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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 Presents Iconic Sydney

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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.

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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