Hayes Bridal

Founded by designer and dressmaker Alice Hayes, Hayes Bridal embraces the philosophy of “less is more,” allowing brides to revel in their unique beauty and feel truly themselves on their special day.

Before delving into an insightful Q&A with Alice Hayes, it’s essential to appreciate the brand’s ethos. With a commitment to simplicity, each gown is meticulously crafted in Auckland, embodying the belief that elegance lies in embracing one’s genuine self. Below, Alice shares more of how the brand started, her inspirations, and her design philosophy.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your brand Hayes Bridal, how did it come about? What is special about Hayes Bridal and why?

I had been working in fashion for years and was shopping for dresses with my sister for her wedding in 2017, it wasn’t easy to find what she was looking for. So I saw a gap in the bridal offering here in New Zealand of something I felt would suit the more low-key and relaxed approach we tend to take to a wedding day.

I wanted to create bridalwear that was true to that style of wedding – something that feels really pared back and effortless, but still refined, beautiful and ‘bridal’. A perfect creative outlet for my love of dressmaking; Hayes Bridal started as a passion project with the hope that it would allow me to spend more of my time making. It took off so quickly, 6 years later – I’ve never looked back. Every custom Hayes Bridal piece is special because it is made by me, for you. Each dress is truly a labour of love as I wouldn’t design something if I wasn’t going to enjoy spending my time making it.

There is a collaborative element to the design and a very personal touch having something made from scratch here in the studio. Keeping Hayes Bridal made in New Zealand and in house is very important to me. I always treasure the connections I make with brides, catching up and hearing all about their wedding plans along the way as the dress comes together. I feel so lucky to have had the most wonderful clients over the past 6 years, there is always so much warmth in the studio. It’s all love!

What do you think is most important for people to consider when searching for a wedding dress and what would your number one tip be?

My number one piece of advice is to choose a dress for yourself alone. A few times I have had brides change their minds along the way because they have tried to follow the opinions of their loved ones that wasn’t necessarily in line with what they actually wanted for themselves. So trying to stay really honest with yourself about what you feel best in, even if it’s not exactly what you were expecting to love.

On the day – regardless of what the dress actually looks like – if you’re feeling comfortable and authentically you, that is the beauty that will radiate!

What inspires you and your designs?

I am inspired by my brides in so many ways! Seeing my designs worn by brides in the studio can give really valuable feedback and inspire a new idea. Or sometimes a custom dress that I’ve previously made can be tweaked and turned into a collection style. The Caroline gown for example, I made a custom dress for a friend last year and absolutely loved it. The design in the collection is slightly different but was definitely inspired by her vision.

I don’t really keep up with what’s happening in the wedding world, but I do follow a few favourite designers at international fashion weeks and I love to see the street style – especially from Copenhagen. Sometimes I’ll notice an interesting design detail or styling choice and think it would translate beautifully into bridal and work that into a new design.

Where do you see wedding gown trends heading in future?

I think as modern weddings (thankfully!) become less traditional, trends are becoming less important and wedding attire is becoming more varied, which I love! The most beautiful weddings are the ones where the personality of the couple shines through, just a beautiful day of celebrating their love – whatever that looks like for them – rather than following the trends or a traditional and typical template of a wedding.

I try to avoid anything that feels too trend-driven. Something super ‘on trend’ can feel quite contrived to me and is what dates the quickest. I believe you can’t go wrong with a sleek silhouette in a beautiful fabric, with a perfect fit. So no matter what the trends do next, I’ll still be here making my relaxed and beautifully simple silk pieces.

Any exciting plans for the future?

I’m working on a few new designs which is always exciting! I’m really just loving being in the studio at the moment and seeing my collection designs worn by beautiful brides coming in to meet me for dress consultations. I feel very grateful and happy with how Hayes Bridal is going, so an exciting future for me is just full of more of the same!

Learn more at hayesbridal.co.nz and @hayesbridal.