Bernadette Thomas

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What inspired you to get into the bridal fashion industry?

A love of beautiful cloth, laces and the wonderful array of fashions from yesteryear steered me towards becoming a bridal fashion designer. I realise I'm also a little unique in that I've chosen to personally make every single wedding gown I've ever produced. I love the artisan aspect of working with every element of a gowns’ creation and I feel very lucky to be able to be part of such a special creation. It's a lot of fun.

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What is the favourite wedding gown you’ve designed?

I have had many many favourites over the years but the current fave has to be my youngest daughter Hannah's beautiful gown from her recent wedding. Not just because it was hers, but because we had the loveliest time working together to create a gown that was totally her. And that is how all the other 'favourites' ended up being so special .

Bernadette’s daughter, Hannah, on her wedding day

Bernadette’s daughter, Hannah, on her wedding day

What is the first thing you consider when designing a wedding gown?

The first thing is what will suit the bride.

When designing for a bride it's important that the gown is not only going to suit her but also her wedding. I enjoy listening to all her plans and ideas – we're a unique lot in NZ and it's not unusual for a bride to be riding her favourite horse into the ceremony, or helicoptering to some remote mountaintop or beach. All of these elements must be taken into account when designing, so not only does the gown suit the beautiful young woman wearing it, but also suits the occasion .

If I'm designing for a photo shoot or promotional gown I design to the cloth, i.e. I let the fabric tell me what it likes.

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What are your trend predictions for bridal fashion in 2020 and beyond?

Bridal fashion can be quite cyclical in that fashions revolve over the years with a few tweaks. I think the soft romantic look will definitely be popular, with soft flowing fabrics mixed with lace. But also two-piece ensembles with lovely full skirts, side pockets and seperate lace over tops that not only look stunning in photos but are fun to wear without the weight and heaviness that many gowns have had in the past. Also, maybe a little 1920s influence with clever bias-cut will shine again.

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What is your number one piece of advice for a bride searching for her dream gown?

My advice is to stay as true as you can to what you're dreaming of, but to be prepared that if it doesn't suit you as you had hoped, to be open to change. There's is always a beautiful solution – that's what designers are here for. Don't let other people put you off your own style – your gown should be a reflection of you, not your best friend.

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What would you describe as your signature style?

Gowns that suit New Zealand. Soft silk chiffon petals that dance in the wind, bias-cut silk crepe skirts that fall beautifully with elegant leg splits, textured lace bodices, and elegant, simple flowing silk veils.

Bernadette Thomas Bridal

26a Uxbridge Street, Renwick, Marlborough

Phone 03 572 8504

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