Hawke’s Bay designer wedding dresses: Olivia Briasco starts her dream business in the Bay

Happily ever after begins in a boutique wedding dress shop in Westshore.

OBriasco Bridal Boutique owned and run by Olivia Briasco has recently launched its debut line of wedding gowns, all designed and made locally in Hawke’s Bay by Olivia.

Entitled Collection 1 and launched under her flagship brand Obriasco, Olivia’s nine dresses are designed to bring to life women’s individuality – while remaining timeless as a keepsake for years to come.

The former atelier assistant for Victoria Beckham Ltd in London says that her goal when she opened her business was to create an environment to make brides feel relaxed.

“A lot of brides are a bit nervous when they come in. It’s a first for most of them.

“I start by congratulating them and then we sit down and chat. I ask lots of questions, we talk about design, style, and the overall look. The more discussion early on the better.

“It’s not just about the dress. It’s about the whole look. Some brides ask for advice on earrings, shoes, makeup. I also make veils and have made a bride a matching drawstring bag to hold her lipstick and phone and another a bow — things to personalise their style.”

Briasco says the launch of her dresses has long been a dream, driven by a desire to make that feeling of luxury design more accessible for the Kiwi bride.

“I wanted to fill that gap between the types of dresses you see internationally, on the red carpet, and everyday accessibility. Your wedding day is a time to express your personality and feel amazing – and each distinct dress is here to do just that for brides-to-be.”

She says white and ivory are still the top colours and that big ball gown dresses with fitted tops have been popular as have slip dress styles like the one worn by Jacinda Ardern at her wedding to Clarke Gayford at Craggy Range last Saturday.

Born and bred in Hawke’s Bay, Briasco says the region is a popular wedding destination.

“It’s a beautiful place to be. We get a lot of locals coming back from overseas to get married at home. Hawke’s Bay is accessible, it’s not crazy busy like Auckland and of course, we have some of the best wedding venues in the country.”

Two years after opening Briasco says this season is shaping up to be amazing. “Lots of weddings were put off last year so it’s been really busy.”

She finished off 2023 on a high by being announced the winner of the Ultimate Visitor Experience in the Hawke’s Bay Business Awards 2023.

“Someone nominated OBriasco Bridal Boutique so I decided to proceed with the application process. Then I was told I was a finalist so I thought I had better get a ticket to the awards. I was so surprised to win.”


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First published by HB Today. Click here to read the full article.