When it comes to wedding styling, it’s the unexpected moments of magic that capture our hearts and enlighten our minds. Moments that exude an inimitable level of authenticity, leaving their mark in our memory trace forever.
And whilst we all aspire to mimic such magical settings, its undeniably alluring to get caught up in the hype of wedding trends and Pinterest feeds, leading to an end result that lacks both cohesion and authenticity.
Leading Australian wedding stylist Shonel Bryant, owner of Melbourne styling company Nomad Styling, describes her work as “visually translating people’s lives into a beautiful interactive space for them and their loved ones”. With a signature aesthetic that is nothing short of breaking the rules and dropping the trends, we reached out to Shonel for her advice on how couples can style a wedding that speaks all things authentically and unashamedly you.
As a stylist, do you follow wedding trends?
I would have to answer no, I find I don’t really acknowledge wedding trends when working with couples, or have yearly visual concepts in mind etc. I would like to think as a stylist I offer my clients the chance to break through the trends, to find what is authentic to them. I find most of the couples who are drawn to my work are seeking something unique that is reflective of them and their lives together; it’s all about whats right for the couple, that transcends trends.
What advice can you offer couples when sourcing inspiration for their wedding?
I would encourage couples to begin by collating imagery not of weddings, but of interiors, fashion, architecture, art, music etc. This process helps you discover an aesthetic that is authentically you, as opposed to a set of ideas you have seen in previous weddings. It is at this point when presented with these abstract ideas, that as a stylist we can mould them into a reality that remains uniquely yours.
What single element must always be included and considered when styling a wedding?
I believe most people like their weddings to be remotely timeless (though that’s not particularly my approach unless couples stipulate that to me specifically), so I believe the answer will always be texture. Texture also creates an extremely tactile experience for their guests which in turn makes it more memorable. As soon as people reach out and touch things, they remember them. I obsess over textural elements in all my designs.
Are you a firm believer in wedding styling focal points? How should couples decide where and what the focal point to their wedding is?
I love creating focal points in my bespoke designs, each wedding needs to have one!
The most memorable part of a wedding design to me (wherever possible) has to be custom made for the greatest impact. The location varies depending on the couple. For instance, I have a couple this season who are extremely into their music, so we are creating a custom DJ booth for them. Another couple wanted a place for their guests to take selfies in front of that wasn’t a ‘photo booth’ as such, so I made this element of their wedding a unique installation and ‘wow’ piece.
What color palettes are you finding yourself drawn to in 2019, and how should couples look to define their wedding color palette?
I’m personally more of a natural, earthy toned woman by nature, however when coming up with a colour palette for a client, I always start with the venue and then draw my inspiration from there. For example, I recently styled a wedding at the George Ballroom, Melbourne where I found some lovely peach and sage green tones in their patina walls. When putting together the palette I made sure to incorporate these tones throughout the design, to gently connect the elements, without making it look too ‘perfectly matched’.
In the instance where the couple have booked a good ‘blank canvas’ style venue such as a warehouse, I can draw more color inspiration from the couple themselves and the general mood they want to create.
What’s one trend you feel is here to stay in 2019?
I really feel like velvet fabrics and furnishings are going to remain popular in 2019. Despite being on mass currently in the commercial market, velvet always adds a certain level of plushness to a design; a premium, luxurious feel with a beautiful textural element. Like any trend I’m sure it will dip off a little as new ones come in, but I think it will always have it’s place, and for good reason.
Greenery in 2019, in or out?
There will always be a place for greenery, it adds a distinct richness and is great for building volume and mass whilst also spreading the budget further. It’s also a necessity for larger pieces.
There is a lot of greenery spray painting going around at the moment to mute down color palettes, however I don’t feel like greenery on it’s own will ever lose its place. More people are seeing and liking the softer palettes that don’t use greenery, and versatility is great – it’s good to have options! However, as with everything, it’s best to choose what is right for you, over what others are doing or whats considered ‘trending’.
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What style venues are you drawing inspiration from in 2019?
I’m an extremely tactile person so naturally I’m drawn to textural places with a story to tell. I’m lucky enough to be styling an old papermill this season – the walls, the scale, the feeling in the space is just magical! In a recent site visit, myself and the florist began to tear up, it was a beautiful moment just being present in the space and have it completely overwhelm you.
I should add that as a stylist, working in magical spaces like this comes with an added pressure as you need to be very respectful, ensuring the elements you bring in will not take away from the space, but rather will add to it’s charm with an impact that is seamlessly consistent and with a gentle flow.
For this wedding in particular, we are allocating a lot of the styling budget to lighting the venue, so once tastefully lit you can appreciate the building in all it’s glory. Stay tuned for pictures of this one, it’s going to be magical!!!
Finally, what advice do you have for couples styling their wedding in 2019 and beyond?
To me it’s an honour to visually translate people’s lives into beautiful interactive spaces for them and their loved ones. I’m helping to create memories that will last a lifetime. That is like a direct caffeine hit to my soul!
Having a wedding that is entirely you and reflective of your lives together at that point in time is what it’s all about. Couples should walk into the space, and the overall feeling of them as a couple should just pour out from the very beginning of the wedding, right through to the end.
It’s simple to design a beautiful wedding similar to those that have been seen a million times before. It’s potentially going to date less and it’s always a safe option. But it won’t ever be able to match an experience that produces raw emotion, personality and a sense of unashamed authenticity that comes with true, intimate storytelling.