I’m not sure if there’s anything more breathtaking than a wedding dress that’s been created from scratch using the world’s finest fabrics and is exactly what the bride envisioned wearing on her special day. We love that the talented team at d’Italia kickstarts this process for brides, and without the designer fee. This is also perfect for the majority of us who don’t fit perfectly into off-the-rack styles or for those who want something a little different. d’Italia has a huge range of designer laces and silks in their Melbourne store, plus dedicated couturiers who can turn your dream dress into a reality. Today we’re chatting to Shuchi Tabeck, one of d’Italia’s incredible bridal consultants. She runs us through the process from selecting fabrics to final fittings, and how they provide an expert service along the way.

Tell us about d’Italia…
The multi award winning d’Italia is Australia’s most beautiful bridal fabric store, that specialises in a range of services. Our main speciality is making one-off bridal couture, mother of the bride/groom couture and haute couture for any type of women’s wear our client desire.

For customers that are talented dressmakers themselves or have their own seamstress can just come in and select from our exquisite designer fabrics from Italy and top-quality bridal silks and French laces. Each season we carry all the new season French laces and fabrics that are in trend, so our brides and customers do not miss out when it comes to designing their dream wedding dress.

Where do you source your fabrics?
We source our fabrics from Florence, Italy and lace mills from France and India.

How do you stay up to date on trends?
We stay up to date through researching new trends, following the latest blogs and our favourite fashion designers.

Image: Corey Wright Photographer

What styles of wedding dresses are your fabrics turned into most often?
We design and make virtually all types of wedding dresses, from the most intricate corseted lace applique gown to the simplest tailored gown or suit. We can provide the right fabrics and dressmaker for any design our clients are after.

Tell us about a few of your favourites and why you love them…
When you are working so many beautiful fabrics and laces, it’s hard to tell which design I love most? However, having said that, I do know I have done my job properly when I assist customers with matching the right design and fabrics to suit their body type and personality, and it makes my job worthwhile to see how happy they are with the end results.

What’s a typical day at work look like for you?
Typical day at work starts with booking in design consultations for potential clients to come and meet our lovely team of bridal consultants. Consulting brides, mother of bride/groom and so forth with their designs and referring each client to one of our amazing couturiers. We work by appointments, so appointments can be lengthy process can take 1 to 2 hours or more, depending on the design. Then there are all the not so exciting admin duties we must be on top of!

Images: Alma Photography

What’s your showroom like?
Our beautiful store in Malvern is a piece of heaven for any bride or designer. If it is your first time coming in you will be in awe…

Here at our store we have on display all our stunning designer fabrics and French laces. We have a very organised system so our clients can be free to touch and feel the fabrics and laces during their consultations with us.

We also have examples of our couturier’s work in our store and on all our social media sites.

You offer one-on-one consultations. What usually happens in those sessions?
During our one on one design consultations we go through in detail the client’s ideas, inspirations, then we sketch and put all their ideas together and fine tune the design. Once we know the basic shape then the fun begins with selecting the most suitable fabrics, colours and laces for the particular design our client is after.

Does a bride need to know exactly what she wants in terms of style or are your dressmakers able to make suggestions?
Absolutely not! The bride does not need to know exactly what she wants. We do need the client to have done some research and bring in their inspirations and ideas as a starting point. However, the designing process is something we can guide people with according to their body shape and personality. The team of our couturiers are top notch designers and we hold our client’s hand all during the fittings.

Image: Ephemeral Creative

How long before her big day should a bride source from d’Italia?
We do final finishing up close to the wedding but the process usually starts 12 to 18 months in advance. As everything is hand made and designed in Melbourne, fabrics, especially laces can take up three to four months when it needs to be made and hand beaded from scratch from Europe.

After selecting the fabric, what’s the process with your couturiers? How many fittings will a bride have etc?
With our couturiers our clients have unlimited number of fittings. It will be up to the individual person and what design they are going for to determine the number of fittings required.  We don’t charge extra for fittings or alterations, it’s all included in the price given.

What about veils? Why is custom made the way to go?
Our d’Italia bridal couturiers do make absolutely beautiful custom-made bridal headpieces and veils. Many girls tend to use the elements from their lace fabrics to design a matching headpiece. Custom made veils are a better option as the tulle fabrics we carry are really good quality bridal tulles. Not like the cheap plastic tulles you may find with ready made veils. Also, we find some bride’s struggle to find a ready-made veil to match the colour or lace of their wedding dress. Having it custom made gives people the option to design their own.

Images: Sarah Jane VR

You also assist with mother of the bride dresses. What’s your main advice for the mother of the bride when it comes to choosing the best type of attire for the occasion?
I absolutely love helping mothers with their outfit. Mothers are a lot of fun and they also want to feel and look special on the big day. The best advice I always give is to always feel comfortable, confident in what you choose to wear. You can still look fabulous if you stay true to yourself and your body type. Just because you are certain body shape or age, does not mean you cannot look stylish.

What trends have you noticed for mothers of the bride in 2019?
The trends I have noticed for mothers this year are a lot of vibrant colours for summers, and for winter weddings mothers are drawn toward the textured patterned brocades and jacquards.

Can you share any lovely stories or testimonials from brides you’ve helped?
We receive so many lovely testimonials from our d’Italia brides everyday. Just visit our Instagram and Facebook page. Many lovely brides send us their photos showing off the end result of them in their custom made and designed wedding dress on their very special day!

Most memorable was a delightful lady from New Zealand, who designed her very own red haute couture wedding dress. She got married in Italy and her photos were absolutely beautiful. She selected the most stunning French red corded lace. Every visit she made to Melbourne, she made it a point to include me in every decision that needed to be made, as she said I was a big part with the design process and she could not have made it without my guidance. It was lovely to see her fittings and her dress coming to life. Her photos are again on our Instagram page.

Image: Gab Connole Photography

What’s the most important thing you’ve learnt after working with brides for so long?
The most important thing I have learnt after working with brides for so long is ALWAYS important to listen to what the bride is after and really take the time and go that extra mile to put their dream wedding dress together.

Even though we deal with brides on a daily basis and certain designs do get repetitive, we still must not forget that the experience is still new and exciting and that they are doing this for the first time. It shouldn’t be stressful, or difficult, as a bridal consultant we are there to make the process pleasant right from the beginning until the dress is completed.

What do you love most about your job?
What I love most about my job is the fact that each day is different. My job is never boring. It’s always exciting to help a new client with a brand-new design. Even if someone walks in with the same ideas, when they walk out the door, the design is always very unique! And that I love most, because why should people compromise and wear a design someone else has worn before, especially on their wedding day!

Thank you Shuchi for sharing d’Italia’s story and services with us today! Your job as a bridal consultant sounds extremely rewarding (and also a lot of fun). Looking to get your wedding dress custom made? Or something for your bridesmaid, mum or future mother-in-law? Check out the beautiful range of fabrics and find out more about d’Italia over on their website.

Headshot courtesy of d’Italia

These two don’t follow the rules, after all it was chance that made Kirsten and Ryan cross paths at Meadowbank station in Sydney. So, when it came to planning their wedding, the ordinary was out of the question.

Married in an intimate ceremony filled with kind words and laughter over lost bets, the pair celebrated amongst their closest friends at Collaroy Rockpools by the sea. Young, wild and free – they spent the day sipping champagne, tiptoeing on the rocks and chasing each other in the sand. Just love and pure bliss! These two did it their way, and their way was perfect.

Lovereel’s videography team was there to capture this couple’s special day, and the memory they get to share with their friends and family at their official engagement party. Surprise!

Ms Tweed Loves: How 100% relaxed and comfortable Kristen and Ryan are! There isn’t a smidge of nerves between them. Kirsten and Ryan are a beautiful reminder of what a wedding is really all about – celebrating your love, your way! And having a great time in the process. Oh and I love that he kisses her hand after offering her the ring. All the feels!

About Lovereel: With various wedding film options to choose from and all the raw footage at your fingertips, Lovereel offer an affordable yet highly professional wedding videography experience.

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Image via The Rustic at Heart

Sending out your invitations can often be left to the last minute becoming a little rushed and unplanned. But the invitation itself is a little window or preview into the mood, vibe and excitement of your most planned and thought about event. It should reflect all the love, style and flair that you are planning for all your elements on your wedding day. It should tell a story, your love story, show your style and celebrate the quirky parts of your relationship that make your relationship unique.

Spend some time planning this part of your wedding to ensure your ideas and creative style is visualised in your stationery. Our guide to effortless stationery is below and will hopefully make planning this part of your day a breeze.

Images via Kaitlin Maree Photography

When to send:

We recommend Save the Date cards to all our couples. This allows your guests to think ahead and start planning around your date. Whether you send this to all your guests or just the close family or guests travelling long distance, it can save some tricky date juggling down the track. We recommend sending your save the dates a minimum of 6 months before your wedding day and ideally up to 10 months in advance for weddings with overseas guests.

Knowing when to send your invitation is important. Your wedding venue will advise you of the date they require your final numbers. This is the date you will work back from, not your wedding date.

Image via Bonnie Jenkins Photography

My little cheats guide is below for different wedding types:

Weddings with overseas travellers: Save the dates – 10 months out. Invitations – 12 weeks out.

Destination weddings: Save the dates – 6-8 months out. Invitations – 12 weeks out.

Local weddings: Save the dates – 6 months out. Invitations – 6-8 weeks out.

Small weddings: Invitations – 6-8 weeks out.

When to Order:

Depending on the style of printing for your invitations and whether you would like some DIY stationery elements, the best time to order will vary for stationery order times. Most print yourself invitations will be ready for download within a few days to a week and ready for you to start your own printing and preparing.

Standard printing may only take a few weeks however the more intricate printing styles of engraving, letter press or acrylic printing will be up to a month. It is best to research this in advance, to ensure you have enough time to achieve the stationery look and style you are dreaming about.

Image by Fig Tree Pictures & Calligraphy by The Pleasantry

Choosing your Style:

The best weddings we go to as guests are the ones that show a couples love and story that has lead them to that day. An invitation is the first place to start telling that story. Do this, and your guests will come to your day ready for fun, love and excitement.

Your venue will provide a little clue to your guests of the style of your wedding. Eg. Beach side venue will suggest a coastal theme. Your invitation style, texture and colours will also help to get your guests ‘vibing’ your wedding day mood. In addition to choosing a style and colour, you can also choose a printing style. There are so many options on the market for paper alternatives that if you wish to buck tradition you will be spoilt for choice.

Images by Kaitlin Maree Photography

RSVP Management:

No longer are we stuck with waiting on guests to call with their RSVPs. Today we have options like websites and online RSVP options to help us with managing our replies. Wedding websites are a fantastic way to keep guests up to date with small wedding day detail changes, travel and accommodation options and RSVP management.

Most guests will be quite happy to click a quick button and update their RSVP status online. Let’s be honest, who has time to chase up guests the fortnight before the wedding. Wedding websites can be easily added to the RSVP line on your invitation, saving you the trouble of Reply cards and return stamps.

If a more traditional RSVP is your style, or you have some older guests who would feel more comfortable with a traditional RSVP card and envelope, we would recommend sending these with return stamps and your address on the envelopes. An invitation can include envelope liners, RSVP and info cards all with matching colours and prints, or it can be simple and sleek and look just as incredible. The key is to make it a little personal, a little unique and keep it in line with your other wedding day plans.

Get Pinning on Pinterest. Create your own mood board in Powerpoint. Search wedding blogs and Instagram. Allow enough time and make them look WOW!

Image by The Rustic at Heart

Ms Zebra Says: I love the incredible designs that people are now choosing for the invites and wedding stationary. There are so many great options that will truly reflect the look and feel of your day – thank you to the Rustic at Heart for sharing these great tips with us!
At The Rustic at Heart it is our passion to tell love stories through event stationery and signage that is created out of materials with texture and elegance. We offer Wood, leather, acrylic and linen paper all laser engraved with modern designs to create unique stationery packages. Any theme, colour or style. We love to create packages to suit all our couples stories.