Tag Archives: Karen Willis Holmes

The Bridal Series Sydney: JENNIFER REGAN

This week’s designer for The Bridal Series Sydney is Newtown’s Jennifer Regan.

 

And was shot by Natasha Foster and Angela Rose Photography.

Newtown local Jennifer Regan is known for a very particular style of gown. If you like simple design, clean lines and a feminine silhouette- Jennifer Regan is the designer for you.

With over three decades in the fashion and bridal industry, Jennifer’s celebrity clientele and beautiful brides are testament to the designer’s unique approach to design and creation.

As I sat in her peaceful and intimate Newtown boutique, I literally could not stop admiring her gowns and my appreciation only grew as I learned all about her intricate design process.

Get to know Jennifer Regan…

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Photography by Angela Rose and makeup by me for wedding gown designer Jennifer Regan.

Where do you get inspiration for your new collections?

I love the woman’s silhouette and so I am always thinking about how to make a woman look beautiful and feminine. My head is always full of ideas which may come from fabrics, nature, a mood… anywhere really!

What is your favourite part of your job?

Working with clients and designing for new collections.

Describe the ambience in your boutique.

Calm, relaxing and personalised. We’re very caring and nurturing, providing support and reassurance to brides while they’re planning their weddings. Lots of clients will often say to me, ‘Jen it feels like I’m the only bride you work with’ and to me that’s really beautiful.

Who is your favourite style icon and why?

The women of the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s because they were very elegant in that time. Come the late 1920s, women got rid of all the corsetry for the very last time and embraced their natural shape. That’s what I really love from that era onwards because they’re what I’m about- making a woman look and feel like a woman.

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How long does a Jennifer Regan gown take to make and what does the design process involve?

The process definitely starts with the idea. Then I decide which fabric it will be in, I create the patterns (even though I am the designer, I draw all my own patterns!), toile is made, patterns will be adjusted and so on.

This process to get the very first design ready is often six times repeated because I like to get everything perfect.

I work with a real model when working with the toiles and that is a real point of difference. Two hours every Friday I spend working with a model who is picked to have feminine dimensions.

I take photos during the fittings with the model so that I can go back and look at it. When you’re in the moment, it’s hard to be judgemental of all design elements but when I look at a photo, I can see the overall picture and what needs to be adjusted.

 It’s approximately 80hours minimum for each gown.

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Unable to contain my excitement to shoot the gowns with our model Milena and photographer Natasha Foster…

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Love LOVE this gown!

This is what we created…

Some highlights:

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Milena wears the “Uma” gown from the “Dusk till Dawn” collection.

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Milena wears the “Brigitte” gown from the “Dusk till Dawn” collection and Hollywood Navette earrings (available from the boutique).

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Milena wears the “Jacyln” gown from the ready-to-wear collection.

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Milena wears the “Jerry” gown from the “Dusk till Dawn” collection with the “Madonna” French lace veil and Nicole Winkler earrings (available from the boutique).

For a description of how I styled the hair and makeup as well as an insider’s look at which Indeed Labs, Make Up Forever, Ardell and Label M products I used, click here.

And now for two minutes of fun with Jennifer Regan…

Where did you catch your first airplane to?

It was a joy flight with my parents when I was young.  Something weird like Bankstown airport to Mascot! 

What’s your current desktop picture background?

It is an image from the Cerrone jewellery campaign where they borrowed one of my gowns.  It’s a really beautiful shot and I love it.

What is your favourite thing about living in Newtown?

There’s never a dull moment!

You can follow Jennifer Regan on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest as well as visit her website for more information.  The boutique is located on 412 King Street, Newtown NSW 2042.

Thank you Jennifer for sharing your space and beautiful designs with me and for taking part in The Bridal Series Sydney.  You’ve given me one more thing to love about Newtown!

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I hope you enjoyed this post and be sure to keep an eye out for the rest of the designers profiled in this Bridal Series!  So far we have featured:

The Bridal Series Sydney: MOIRA HUGHES

The Bridal Series Sydney: RHONDA HEMMINGWAY

The Bridal Series Sydney: KAREN WILLIS HOLMES

And showcased behind-the-scenes of the hair and makeup products and techniques used:

Moira Hughes: THE HAIR AND MAKEUP by Sonia Allen

Rhonda Hemmingway: THE HAIR AND MAKEUP by Sonia Allen

Karen Willis Holmes: THE HAIR AND MAKEUP by Sonia Allen

Be sure to keep an eye out for the rest of the designers profiled in The Bridal Series Sydney on Instagram, Facebook and of course, the blog. Four down, two to go!  And as always, feel free to leave any comments or questions below.

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© 2016 Sonia Allen Make Up.  Do not copy, reprint or republish content and/or photos without author’s written permission.
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The Bridal Series Sydney: MOIRA HUGHES

This week’s designer for The Bridal Series Sydney is Paddington’s Moira Hughes.

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And was shot by Angela Rose Photography and Natasha Foster.

One would say that having incredible talent, passion and drive alongside being warm, energetic and fun is a winning combination… Profiling Moira Hughes, I discovered she is just that combination!

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The British-born designer has always known she wanted to design wedding gowns and spent years working with some of London, Dublin and Sydney’s best designers before creating her own label and opening her Paddington Boutique.

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Starting every day with a cup of tea (she has never had a cup of coffee!), Moira says that designing is something that has always come naturally.

“I have little sketches of wedding gowns everywhere- even without realising it I suddenly have little brides spinning around a notepad.”

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Moira’s boutique, nestled in the heart of Paddington, is a merging of New York loft meets Parisian chic. A converted barn with exposed brick, high ceilings and raw finishes, her space cleverly combines the finest components of classicism with an elegant and refined twist. The boutique is light, airy and modern, yet very intimate.

“The beautiful space has the convenience of being near the city combined with the romance to reflect the craftmanship of our gowns. Each bride has the whole boutique to herself, it adds to the experience.”

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With such an enthusiasm and genuine love for her craft, Moira says the best part of her job is meeting with brides.

“The excitement in designing a gown she will remember forever and feel the best she has ever felt is infectious! I find myself thinking of brides and their dresses on the weekend, particularly on their wedding day. It is a whole journey I am so grateful to be part of.”

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When asked about her inspiration, it all comes down to brides and fabrics!

“Meeting someone who is newly engaged, hearing about their wedding and learning about their personality. A picture starts to form and excitement between us builds on the perfect wedding gown.

Seeing all the new laces come through from Paris is incredible and sparks so many new ideas. Sometimes a unique lace will stay in my mind just waiting for the right dress and when it all comes together this is really inspiring.”

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A Moira Hughes bride is…

“…a bride who wants everything! They want the timeless gown to love in 50years time but also a dress that is young, modern and unique. She wants to look incredible but also be really comfortable to drink, eat and dance her night away! She is not afraid to stand out but also wants that romantic elegant and demure silhouette.”

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I ask Moira how long her gowns take to make and what the design process involves and am thrilled to learn that all dresses are made in Sydney (pretty rare in 2016!).

“A couture gown is usually started about a year in advance. The first step is securing the fabrics and laces from Paris, ensuring the time for the gown to be created has been booked out and everything is ready for the bride. Closer to the wedding the fittings start, the last taking place just two weeks before the big day to make sure the fit is really perfect.

The fact that everything is made in Sydney means we have complete control over each design and can create dresses really close to a bride’s wedding date, allowing her as much time as possible to get her ideal wedding day body!”

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With the bridal industry being no stranger to trends, Moira gives me her predictions of what we can expect to see in bridal couture.

“Its all about the back! Low, low backs, higher necklines and more detailing. Other tones are starting to creep in too – bridal blush and dove greys are emerging for the more fashion-conscious bride.”

And finally, Moira’s advice for a woman deciding on her dress…

“Stay true to your personality, perhaps pick out a couple of words to describe yourself on the day. If it is classic, modern, pretty or glamorous- use that as a guide. You will regret wearing a dress you were talked into, hair you never usually like, shoes that are too high or make up much heavier than usual. Stay true to yourself and you can’t go wrong!”

Together with Kirsty our model, Angela Rose and Natasha Foster behind the camera, Moira’s styling and myself on hair and makeup, this is what we created.

Some highlights…

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For a description of how I styled the hair and makeup as well as an insider’s look at which Indeed Labs, Make Up Forever, Ardell and Label M products I used, click here.

And now for two minutes of fun with Moira Hughes…

What is your party trick?

I can make the best Whisky Sours!  Always popular at parties.

Describe the colour white to somebody who is blind?

White is the colour of peace, innocence and a blank canvas.  It is the colour you see if you stare at the sun and also of a bride walking down the aisle!

What is your favourite 90s jam?

November Rain- who doesn’t love Guns n Roses?!

If you were 80 years old, what would  you tell your grandchildren?

Do it! Make things happen and if you make a mistake it is better to learn from it than to always wonder would have happened.

Moira you were an absolute pleasure to profile and I can see why your brides adore you so much!  Thank you for taking part in this blog series and allowing us into your beautiful boutique.  I wish you every continued success.

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You can follow Moira Hughes on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest as well as visit the website for more information.  The boutique is located at 2c Heeley St, Paddington NSW 2021 (just off Five Ways roundabout).

I hope you enjoyed this post and be sure to keep an eye out for the rest of the designers profiled in this Bridal Series!  So far we have featured:

The Bridal Series Sydney: RHONDA HEMMINGWAY

The Bridal Series Sydney: KAREN WILLIS HOLMES

And showcased behind-the-scenes of the hair and makeup products and techniques used:

Rhonda Hemmingway: THE HAIR AND MAKEUP by Sonia Allen

Karen Willis Holmes: THE HAIR AND MAKEUP by Sonia Allen

Be sure to keep an eye out for the rest of the designers profiled in The Bridal Series Sydney on Instagram, Facebook and of course, the blog. Three down, three to go!  And as always, feel free to leave any comments or questions below.

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© 2016 Sonia Allen Make Up.  Do not copy, reprint or republish content and/or photos without author’s written permission.
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The Bridal Series Sydney: KAREN WILLIS HOLMES

In every profession, there are always people you look to for inspiration.  Leaders in their field and great at what they do. For me, this was meeting Australian designer Karen Willis Holmes.

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Accomplished, driven and fun; stepping into Karen Willis Holmes’ beautiful Paddington boutique was a re-affirmation of just how much this designer has to offer and is captured beautifully by the photography of Angela Rose.

Get to know Karen Willis Holmes, in her words as told to me…

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Always interested in fashion, Karen studied fashion design and manufacture at Bentley TAFE in Perth. She worked for herself and another company before moving to London. It was her years in London working for companies specialising in evening and special occasion day wear that she really honed her skills.

“One particular person I met while I worked for Arabella Pollen in London taught me some of the best lessons. We would make the sample patterns in the studio and after the shows I took the patterns to this older gentleman (there was no other word for him) and he would tweak them and turn them into production patterns which were masterpieces, he had such love & passion for his work and showed me so much.”

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Karen- “I have always been interested in, and focused on a high level of workmanship and focused on job opportunities that involved this craftsmanship.”

Upon her return to Australia, Karen started a store designing eveningwear. During this time people started asking her to make wedding gowns for them. When the lease finished on her store, Karen’s husband Geoff suggested she change direction and specialise in fashionable wedding couture. And that’s just what she has been doing ever since, both in Australia and New York.

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“I love my job and all of the different levels of what it entails to run and grow a business. It is my full time commitment and love affair. Luckily my husband works in the business and supports me fully in this.”

A hard-working woman, Karen is driven to create a bigger and better business.  She can be found either in the workroom designing and sampling the new collections, or in the office planning trade shows, overseeing the boutiques and working on the new designs and paperwork.

Having an overseas presence means travel is also part of Karen’s work.

“I travel not only between the four Australian boutiques (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth) but I now also travel overseas a few times a year to visit the boutique in New York and to show at bridal market in New York and London. I consider all my trips working holidays so I like to try and block out a few days to go and explore – especially in the US!”

And together with my photographer Angela Rose and our model Renata, Karen styling and myself on hair and makeup, this is what we created…

For a description of how I styled the hair and makeup as well as an insider’s look at which Indeed Labs, Make Up Forever, Ardell and Label M products I used, click HERE for a dedicated behind-the-scenes post.

Some of the highlights:

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Asking any artist what inspires them can be one of the most challenging questions to answer. However Karen’s passion really shines through when she shares with me her design process and from where she draws inspiration.

I always draw reference from the fashion period of the 1940’s. In particular, Christian Dior’s revolutionary ‘New Look’ in 1947, following the Second World War. The construction, fit and hourglass silhouette – cinching in and defining the waist, of the collection is always a source of inspiration.

Designing is not just for the outer aesthetics of a gown, you also have to consider how the design is going to work internally – on a structural level. I also take inspiration from the history and the art of making corsets, how they manipulate the body and how they work within a wedding gown.”

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And now take a quick five with Karen Willis Holmes…

What special touches are signature of a Karen Willis Holmes gown?

Gowns from the BESPOKE Collection and the WILD HEARTS Collection are made in Australia. This is something I am extremely proud of, as it is becoming rare to have beautiful product made here. We also sew a blue bow into our gowns – it is our ‘something blue’ for our brides!

What trends can we expect to see in bridal couture?

I don’t believe lace will completely vanish and everyone is loving the bohemian trend at the moment, but I do believe that lace is slowly making way for luxurious simpler fabrics incorporated in to beautiful structured and flattering dramatic silhouettes. Think clean, tailored lines in fitted dramatic shapes or full ball gowns.

Who was your favourite celebrity wedding gown and why?

Kate Middleton (Duchess of Cambridge) – I do love a Royal and I love the work Sarah Burton does with Alexander McQueen. This was a win for me, fashionable, it had to be so classical but then not boring. It was a perfect gown for a Royal Wedding.

What would you name your autobiography?

“Live the life you dream of and try and make it happen!”

Thank you Karen for collaborating on this project and for sharing your journey so far with us.  We can’t wait to see what’s next for Karen Willis Holmes!

You can follow Karen Willis Holmes on Instagram and Facebook as well as visit her website for more information.  The boutique is located on 13 Glenmore Road, Paddington NSW 2021.

If you are looking for a wonderful wedding photographer, get following Angela Rose on Instagram and Facebook or check out her website.

Many thanks also to The Print Room for allowing us to shoot in your space and for being so accommodating. I definitely recommend a visit to this restaurant/bar if you’re on the lookout for a unique drinking/dining experience. And if you find yourself there, be sure to let me know if you find this beautiful inscription…

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I hope you enjoyed this post and be sure to keep an eye out for the rest of the designers profiled in this Bridal Series as well as the behind-the-scenes hair & makeup post to learn more about which products I used for our model.  As always, feel free to leave comments and questions below.

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© 2016 Sonia Allen Make Up.  Do not copy, reprint or republish content and/or photos without author’s written permission.
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Karen Willis Holmes: THE HAIR AND MAKEUP by Sonia Allen

In this post I will talk through how I created the hair and makeup for Renata, our model when I profiled wedding gown designer Karen Willis Holmes for The Bridal Series Sydney.

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Hair and makeup by Sonia Allen using Make Up Forever, Indeed Labs and Label M.

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My inspiration for the hair I designed for Renata came from 1940s siren Veronica Lake. I wanted to create loose yet polished waves that looked effortless, feminine and great in every shot.

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1940s Hollywood star and style icon Veronica Lake.

First I prepped the hair with Protein Spray, completely saturating to smooth the hair and protect against heat. I then worked in the Volume Foam and Blow Out Spray before blowdrying with volume.

Renata’s hair was then tonged with a curling wand, pin-curling each section using pin curl clips. Once the hair cooled I used a wide tooth comb to separate curls and to relax into loose fluid waves.

I brushed the hair smooth, backcombed the crown and sprayed with Texturising Volume Spray (benefits of a dry shampoo with the hold of a hairspray!) for the ultimate root lift.

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Tools of the trade with Label M hairstyling products.

To finish I used the Hold & Gloss Spray (sparingly) for all over hold and shine as well as the Frizz Control Serum (on the ends only) for a polished finish.

Et voila…

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Renata’s skin was cleansed with the Indeed Labs Facial Powdered Exfoliator, to remove any dead skin while delivering moisture at the same time.

We followed with my all time favourite serum, the Hydraluron Moisture Booster for it’s hydrating properties and for the fact it increases the skin’s ability to retain moisture over time (so important when you need the makeup to keep looking fresh).

For the eyes we used a rice grain amount of Eysilix around the orbital bone to create a smoother and more rejuvenated looking eye area.

For the face we massaged Fillume Volumising Moisturiser to keep skin volumised and plump. The perfect canvas for makeup!

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If you want to know more about the Indeed Labs brand, you can read one of my earlier posts here.

 

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When designing this look, I wanted to demonstrate how a darker and well-defined eye could still work with a bold lip without feeling like “too much makeup”. This is a perfect timeless look for a winter wedding or for the bride who isn’t afraid to make a statement.

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In action with designer Karen Willis Holmes and our model Renata.

I kept the coverage on Renata’s face as light as possible using the Make Up Forever Ultra HD Foundation and only concealing in areas where needed using the HD Invisible Cover Concealer. Shading and dimension was introduced using the Sculpting Kit.

I used the Aqua Black waterproof cream eyeshadow as a liner for it’s ability to be as fluid as I needed it to be when building the “drama” on the eyes as well as the Aqua Smoky Extravagant Mascara for those gorgeous lashes.

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For the first look, lips were lined with the Aqua Lip “Vintage Coral” lip liner before working in the Rouge Artist Natural lipstick in “Orange” (a beautiful sheer orange) with a lip brush and following with a light layer of the Artist Plexi-Gloss in “Golden Pink” to the centre of the lips (to add a touch of pink). The second more dramatic look was achieved using the Aqua Lip “Orange Red” lip liner followed by the Rouge Artist Intense lipstick in “Matte Bright Red”.

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Renata also wears the Ardell Natural Lashes 120 (Demi Black). I curled the Ardell lashes along with Renata’s natural lashes and then coated again with mascara for that extra high gloss finish.

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The final result…

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I hope this post has left you inspired to try something new!  Be sure to keep an eye out for the rest of the designers profiled in this Bridal Series.  And as always, feel free to leave comments and questions below.

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© 2016 Sonia Allen Make Up.  Do not copy, reprint or republish content and/or photos without author’s written permission.
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Sonia Allen MakeUp Artist launches THE BRIDAL SERIES SYDNEY

A few posts ago I announced that I had something exciting to share and I am so thrilled to be finally be able to reveal what I have been working on.

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For the last eight months I have been working on a project for this blog. A big one! I set out to profile Sydney’s top wedding gown designers in a bid to learn more about these Australian icons and for the opportunity to create some beautiful imagery alongside them. Together with photographers Angela Rose and Natasha Foster supporting me behind the lens, the Sonia Allen Makeup Bridal Series Sydney comes to life.

Featuring the stellar line up of…

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Here’s a teaser of what to expect…

The Bridal Series will run over the next six weeks on the blog. Each week I will be featuring one designer and showcasing their boutique and couture creations. There will also be a supporting post dedicated to the hair and make-up design where I talk through how I created the look for each model in this series. I will showcase the products used, as well share my inspiration behind the hair and make-up looks.

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If you’re getting married, this Bridal Series is like your direct link to some of Australia’s finest talent. If you love make-up or want to learn more about skincare and hairstyling, read the make-up posts- they are full of my tips and advice. And if like me, you are passionate about supporting Australian designers, enjoy getting to know each one, just as I did.

I’d like to thank Angela and Natasha for your wonderful photography, I couldn’t have shot this without you (literally!).  I’d also like to thank all the beautiful models along with my sponsors Make Up Forever, Ardell, Indeed Labs & Label M for supporting this project and whose products we used throughout the shoots.  As a working makeup artist and hairstylist, these are brands that you will most definitely find in my kit and it was great to collaborate for this project.

It was a privilege to work alongside these designers and I can’t wait to share this project with you all!

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© 2016 Sonia Allen Make Up.  Do not copy, reprint or republish content and/or photos without author’s written permission.
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“Grace in the Garden” – A Bridal Editorial

We shot this beautiful bridal editorial at the Hydromajestic in the Blue Mountains and it was recently featured on one of my favourite wedding websites Wedshed.

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We wanted to create a stylised shoot that showcased everything from wedding gowns to floristry, prop styling, table decor, jewellery and of course the hair and make-up, fitting for a setting like the Blue Mountains.

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I styled soft loose waves with plenty of body for the hair using LabelM and for the make-up I concentrated on creating a flawless base, natural glow with earthy tones for the eyes and a flush of pink for the lips and cheeks.

Many thanks to our team:

Photographer: Chrissie Hall // Fashion Stylist: Love Find Co // Gowns: Moira Hughes, Karen Willis Holmes & Leah Da Gloria // Hair & Make-Up: Sonia Allen Make Up // Prop Stylist: May Rose Style // Stationery: Forever Green Design // Floristry: Merci Bouquet // Cake: Gracious Honey // Jewellery: Grew & Co // Location: Hydromajestic // Model: Alicia Maxwell

Et voila…

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Alicia wears a Karen Willis Holmes gown

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Alicia wears a Leah da Gloria gown

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Alicia wears a Leah da Gloria gown

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Alicia wears a Karen Willis Holmes gown

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Alicia wears a Karen Willis Holmes gown

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Alicia wears a Karen Willis Holmes gown

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Alicia wears a Karen Willis Holmes gown

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Alicia wears a Karen Willis Holmes gown

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Alicia wears a Karen Willis Holmes gown

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Alicia wears a Karen Willis Holmes gown

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Alicia wears a Moira Hughes gown

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Alicia wears a Moira Hughes gown

If you’re planning your wedding I hope this has given you some inspiration! You can also check out other bridal editorials that I have worked on below for more ideas:

Love in Masquerade

Rosalynn Win Haute Couture

One Fine Bridal Campaign

Please leave any questions or comments below if you’d like to know more about the suppliers for this shoot.

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© 2016 Sonia Allen Make Up.  Do not copy, reprint or republish content and/or photos without author’s written permission.
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One Fine Day Sydney recap

Happiness for me is sharing with others what I love. Last weekend I got to do just that at the One Fine Day Sydney wedding fair held at Australian Technology Park.

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Photo courtesy of Chrissie Hall Wedding Photographer. Many thanks to the talented Steph from Sant Elia for the custom made outfit. I was honoured to wear one of your designs.

My stall was designed to reflect what my bridal work is all about. Partnering with brides in the lead up to their wedding as well as being there on the day itself to get them feeling beautiful and happy… and having fun along the way!

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My stall at Sydney’s One Fine Day wedding fair.

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With my gorgeous assistant Fiona. Thank you for enjoying the weekend with me and for all your tireless work.

Flowers were supplied by my favourite florist Oak & Linden who were also at the fair.

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My signature balloons were once again created by the wonderful Shannon from Born to Party.

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My favourite bunch to date, thank you Shannon!

In addition to meeting lovely engaged couples and future brides, I also got a chance to say hello to my neighbours.

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Moira and her team from Moira Hughes Couture.

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Simon, Gabrielle & Asato from Grew & Co.

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Len from I Love Wednesdays who kept us entertained with her dance moves.

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Lovely Karina from Hello May, one of the sponsors for One Fine Day.

And got to admire the level of detail and effort that went into all the stalls.

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The fair had a wonderfully relaxed yet exciting buzz about it. Couples could enjoy treats created by ARIA catering in the VIP area, peruse the bridesmaid corner, or even enjoy a little pampering with a champagne at the nail bar.

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The V.I.P. lounge area.

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Bridesmaid’s corner

New to this fair was the Bridal Showcase where brides had the chance to meet their favourite designers and try on gowns. Featured in the showcase were Moira Hughes, Karen Willis Holmes, Leah Da Gloria, Suzanne Harward, Sarah Janks, Babushka Ballerina.  Also featured in the showcase was lingerie by Bridal Trousseau and jewellery from Samantha Wills.

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And of course there was plenty of fashion to admire on the runway.

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Leah Da Gloria and Institchu

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Moira Hughes Couture

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Karen Willis Holmes

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The Babushka Ballerina

To all the wonderful people I met on the weekend, many thanks for stopping by and allowing me to share what Sonia Allen Make Up is all about.  Thank you One Fine Day for having me and congratulations on yet another fabulous fair.

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A wonderful celebration of when creativity meets talent and warmth, that was Sydney’s One Fine Day fair, September 2015!

If you are getting married and would like more information about my services, please contact me via the website.  You can read more about One Fine Day in previous posts here or find out when the next fair is being held.

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© 2015 Sonia Allen Make Up.  Do not copy, reprint or republish content and/or photos without author’s written permission.
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