“My experience at Raffaele Ciuca was indescribable. Maria, the store manager was my stylist who made me feel so calm.” #RCREALBRIDE CLAUDIA RC – How did you meet Alex? My husband Alex and I were high school sweethearts. Alex was 2 years above me and we met when he was in year 12. RC – How did Alex propose? Alex proposed on my birthday in January of 2014. We were on a cruise and had just got back on the ship from a day in Vanuatu where we had been zip lining through the national forest. We got back to our room when suddenly there was a knock at the door. It was a lady from the ships day spa coming to pick me up for a 2 hour massage and treatment. This was my birthday gift from Alex. After my amazing treatment from the spa, I got back to our room where Alex was waiting for me so that we could go to dinner. As I approached our room, the door was covered in balloons with a sign saying “Happy Birthday Claudia”. Alex opened the door and was dressed in a wonderful black tux. I rushed in thinking I was late to dinner and asked him to give me a few minutes to get ready. He took my hand and lead me into our room where there was a birthday cake and three gifts. The last gift was a little gift bag which, when I looked inside, there was the little ring box! I took it out and before I knew it, Alex was on his knee saying all these wonderful things. After tears of joy, I said eventually nodded “yes” because I was so speechless. Further to my surprise, he walked over to two champagne glasses and pointed to the little camera hiding between them. He had filmed the whole thing! We then Skyped all our family who were also waiting with champagne back home. RC – Is there a particular reason as to why you chose your venue? We decided to have our wedding reception at Zinc in Federation square for many reasons. The main reason was because of it’s amazing location and modern yet basic interiors which meant I could turn the room into the wonderland I had always imagined. RC – Your favourite part of the wedding? The whole thing!! But, if I had to chose it would definitely be walking down the aisle with my dad towards my future husband. It’s the one thing a bride runs through her head multiple times leading up to the day and is a moment that gave me the biggest butterflies I have ever experienced! RC – How did the dress make you feel? My dress made me feel like every girl is meant to feel on her wedding day. Everything from beautiful to comfortable. It was a dress I never imagined wearing and now I couldn’t see myself wearing anything else! RC – How was your bridal shopping experience? My experience at Raffaele Ciuca was indescribable. Maria, the store manager was my stylist who made me feel so calm. It can become a very overwhelming experience with so many dresses and styles to choose from. My older sister bought her wedding dress from RC in 2011 and was also looked after by Maria. Maria and the team were a dream to work with! RC – Tips for brides-to-be! A bride can never be too organised! I starting planning my wedding almost instantly after getting engaged and planned it over an 18 months period. A lot of people made comments about starting so early but I couldn’t recommend it more. I am a generally stressed person and by being organised throughout the process, it meant that my wedding day and the week leading up to it was calm and enjoyable.