Alicia and Sam
Photography by Aimee Kelley
"As a bridal stylist, I work with my brides to ascertain their style according to their personality, like what colours suit them the most. Everything looks good on mannequins and in magazines, but what dress is most flattering on your body shape? I'm passionate about ensuring you look your absolute best on your wedding day. I've had many brides say they often wish that they had known bridal stylists existed. Thankfully, Alicia was introduced to my services through her cousin, my friend. When Alicia contacted me, she wanted me both as their celebrant and her stylist, which I was just thrilled about. As I got to know her, I learned more about her and Sam and how they met while working in the Australian mines. Their cute couple story began with their friendship, which started as work husband and wife: Sam preparing Alicia's Coco Pops and packed lunches, while Alicia got to do Sam's dirty washing. I loved how down-to-earth their love was and how domestic bliss led to a lifelong commitment. I have an easy and affordable five-step process for styling brides. The first is a casual introduction, typically held at a café. It's helpful if the bride does put together a mood board of what she likes, so I can get to know their style, and, of course, their budget. Our second meetup is somewhere more private, like the bride's home. That way, they can feel comfortable and confident in their own space. I remember the first time I met Alicia and Sam, along with one of her sisters, who was to be a bridesmaid. We started off chatting about the ceremony – but when it was time to discuss the wedding dress Sam was herded out of the room, haha. Alicia had several ideas of what she thought might like to wear, including a more modern version of her mother's wedding dress. For me, it is essential to listen and understand what ideas and inspiration the bride has to date, aware of how the bride wants to feel in her dress. As a stylist, it is equally important to put my own taste and preferences aside. I wanted to make Alicia's dream become her reality, to look and feel like the most beautiful version of herself on her wedding day. Which leads me to the third step. This is about me researching and putting together the bride's profile. It's a real timesaver for every bride, as I remove all the stress by narrowing down the most suitable boutiques and salons, liaising with them and make all necessary appointments. Then comes the final and fun stages: shopping. Alicia brought along her family as we visited two salons that I hand-picked based on her dress goals. The first was NZ designer Liah Roebuck, followed by Etcetera Fashion & Bridal. We had a fun time, chatting as the bubbles flowed and Alicia tried on dresses. Through my knowledge, I identify and explain to the bride why dresses are or aren't working for her. The advantage of having a stylist is that I work for the bride and not the store (obviously, with assistance from the salon staff, who know their product lines best). The final decision on the dress is always the brides. I do suggest that the bride doesn't rush into making this decision and instead sleeps on it. Once the bride has made her choice, my process typically stops there, unless I'm asked to be involved in the fitting process. In Alicia's case, I wasn't involved in any consultation or fittings. However, I heard from Alicia that she bawled over how perfect it felt was during her final fitting – what a beautiful feeling! For me, the golden moment is when a bride lights up after trying on the perfect dress. It is endlessly rewarding and knowing how Alicia felt made watching her confidently walk down the aisle all the more special."