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The Art of Florals: Real Weddings Magazine Cover Shoot

So here I am “blogging” again after a 7 month hiatus as per usual. I don’t struggle with the image selection or actually putting together the post (both of which are just time consuming), I struggle with what to write.

As I mentioned in a post I shared on Instagram recently, I feel like I’m not finding words that are worthy of our couples nor the time, effort and passion that goes into creating what you are seeing by us and all of the other vendors. But I read something recently that just made the writing click for me. It said “don’t write for anyone but yourself”. I don’t know why but it instantly made it feel like a weight had been lifted… the pressure I had put on myself for what I should or need to write is gone. So here I am, just writing whatever the hell I want to because ultimately this is a journal for me and the team of our passion and our work, and whoever decides they want to follow along is more than welcome 🙂

I’m kicking off my slew of posts with our cover shoot for Real Weddings Magazine, captured beautifully by Justine Milton who flew in from Calgary just to work on this shoot with us. This was a labour of love and we’re so excited when we see images from it floating around on Pinterest etc. Just so you know, the hanging installation took us THREE HOURS to install. Using a scissor lift, we installed, balanced + positioned each gold ring from the ceiling beams at The Polygon Gallery and Celsia Floral meticulously applied every single floral in a calculated location. So while we have received numerous requests to create something similar at an actual wedding, most couples opt out once they learn the cost due to the amount of labour required to install something like this in a much more condensed timeline and most likely on a larger scale.

Styled shoots are seriously as much work as a wedding day in terms of design as you are designing and styling all of the same aspects… ceremony, florals, tablescape, rentals, stationery (just not multiplying the quantity) plus being the decision maker for hair style, makeup style, dress (all things typically the bride decides). This shoot was no exception and I remember being up until midnight the night before, stressed to the max, tracking our linens from U.S. based La Tavola Fine Linen asking myself why I sign myself up for these things?! FedEx had conveniently lost the linens in the mail that week and didn’t update the tracking properly so it kept showing a delivery date that never happened.

As always, everything is figuroutable. I quickly organized a back up plan so I could at least sleep that night (sort of) and the incredible customer support team at La Tavola was on top of shipping a new package overnight that thankfully arrived on time… to my in-laws house on the North Shore where my mother-in-law patiently waited all morning for it as we didn’t want to miss the delivery and needed it to arrive close to the shoot location which was on the North Shore. It takes a village! And of course I continue to do this to myself because of the end result. It’s like a high when you see it all come together so you come back for more.

I’ve shared my entire Q&A with Real Weddings Magazine at the bottom of this post so you can get more insight into the design vision, inspiration and how it all came together. We could not have brought together the design without the floral wizardry of Celsia Floral. Major shout out to Katie Elwood Makeup Artistry + Jade Kugelman Hair who nailed our hair + makeup looks, Union Bridal for supplying the perfect dresses, Oh The Sweet Things for hand crafting the most beautiful stationery for our tablescape and to The Wise Co. for coming over from the Island to provide the perfect furniture pieces. Lastly, huge thank you to Real Weddings Magazine for entrusting us with styling this cover and giving us the creative freedom to create something unique that truly reflects our work. Phew, just whipped this up in under 4 minutes – damn that feels good!

* Your inspiration behind the overall design concept/theme/vision?

We wanted this design to communicate that what we create is art. Something that was not just beautiful, but interesting + meaningful and interpreted in different ways. Something where people can really see the value in hiring a professional wedding designer to create a uniquely customized wedding unlike anything else they’ve see before. Of course an Art Gallery provided the perfect space for displaying our art 😉

I’ve been pulling a lot of my inspiration as of late from interior design styles – specifically the bold + minimalist Scandinavian style, Ikebana – the Japanese art of flower arrangement as well as from a couple Australian designers who design solely with blooms, no foliage or greenery. Each of those played a part in how this “Modern Fine Art meets European Romance” style came together.

That said, our inspiration is always our couples. In this particular case, the Art Director was our client per se and from her we gathered all of the information we would typically gather in our design process, including the overall vision, desired colour palette, floral varietals, any must haves as well as the vibe, feel or theme she was envisioning. We take that information and translate it into a personalized design with our signature edge added to it.

* The metal geometric decor (chairs, tables), the lace embellished dresses, the floral stationery suite – that mix of hard lines with soft feminine details – can you talk about why these elements inspired you? And what inspired you to pull them together?

The foundation for this particular design was certainly the art of florals. We wanted a bold + heavy use of florals without foliage or greenery + for the design to emphasize the shape, line + form of the particular flowers being used. Not only in the arrangements but also tied throughout the stationery, aisle runner, bar backdrop and the selected dresses.

Florals are already very feminine by nature so with the pinks, whites + red floral colour palette we wanted to use, we needed to source + design with decor pieces that would help neutralize the “girly-ness” and translate it into more of a mature feminine vibe. In order to achieve that, we used a strong navy as our foundational colour, selected chairs with hard lines, bold furniture and heavy, modern tabletop details.

* Can you talk about how you played with texture and dimension in the decor?

Texture and dimension are everything to us. Ensuring those two things are thoughtfully considered in a design can make a world of difference in how a space transforms or a particular vision is brought to life. Texture and dimension allow us to achieve our signature “orderly minimalist” and “intentionally random” design techniques.

* Can you talk about the overall colour scheme? How the boldness of red and navy was incorporated with the softer, more traditional colours of white and pinks/peaches?

I think I touched on this above but let me know if you’re looking for a different response (copied from above):

Florals are generally very feminine by nature. With the pinks, whites + red floral colour palette we were using, we needed to source + design with decor pieces that would help neutralize the “girly-ness”, and translate it into more of a mature feminine vibe. In order to achieve that, we used a strong navy as our foundational colour, selected chairs with hard lines and used heavy, modern tabletop details.

* Why you chose the cutlery, plates, napkins, napkin rings and stemware you did? Basically the full tablescape details and how it works into your theme, including table linens, etc.

Our foundational colour, navy, denoted our linen colour. We sourced a beautiful navy velvet linen from La Tavola Linen. From there, we selected heavy ceramic plates, modern stemware, mix-matched vases with interesting lines, and enriched it all with gold accents. The combination of both grey + white candlesticks created more dimension.

We contrasted the dainty + romantic floral illustrations on the stationery with modern hard lines within the gold napkin rings. For us, napkins are always the finishing touch. Everything else we have decided on denotes the colour, fabric + placement of our napkin. We were left with needing another neutral, in a linen to contrast the velvet and in a relaxed placement to contrast all of the other hard lines.

* Why did you keep it simple with the florals on the table?

While we did not want to distract from the hanging installation, we also wanted our simple table florals to feel very intentional. The table florals were designed with ikebana in mind, the Japanese art of flower arrangements. This is more than simply putting a flower in a vessel – it is thoughtfully curated selection + placement of each. Emphasis is placed on the natural shapes + graceful lines of each flower, designing with not only the bloom, but also the line + form of the stems as you see with the anthurium and rose stems.

* Tell me about why you chose a suspended, dramatic structural floral installations over the tablescape?

Because we could! We’re often very limited in what we can do on wedding days due to set up timeframes, venue restrictions and of course the inevitable budget, so for this styled shoot we did something we wish we could do a lot more of at weddings – suspended installations.

Hanging installations tend to have a larger, more dramatic impact and allow you scale back on the table drama to go the more thoughtfully curated minimalist route.

Plus, we are huge advocates of family style dinner service and we’re finding we need to design the tables with less to keep space for dinner platters. Which means we’re looking elsewhere for placement + installation of florals + decor.

* Tell me about the inspiration behind the stationery suite – the menu and invitation – and how it ties to the overall theme?

The black and white floral illustrated stationery was inspired by the Primrose Wall Mural we sourced from Urban Decals that was used as both the aisle runner as well as backdrop for the bar area. The black + white floral illustrations allowed us to keep a very dainty feel throughout, while also staying modern + minimalist.

We strayed from the typical individual menus at each place setting by designing an upright menu for the centre of the table which created a more inviting + homestyle European feel.

* Why did you go with B&W for the stationery?

B+W for the stationery helped us err on the side of modern, minimalist + edgy, while still incorporating very dainty + romantic illustrations.

* The paper flowers theme – in the jewellery, in the stationery suite, on the panel of the dress – can you talk about how that worked into your vision?

I think I answered this one above as well (copied from above):

The foundation for this particular design was certainly the art of florals. We wanted a bold + heavy use of florals without foliage or greenery + for the design to emphasize the shape, line + form of the particular flowers being used. Not only in the arrangements but also tied throughout the stationery, aisle runner, bar backdrop and the selected dresses.

* Why did you select that engagement ring?

Contemporary simplicity. While we wanted the ring to be standout, we didn’t want it to overshadow the detail on the dresses nor the bride’s natural beauty. This engagement ring was jaw dropping, yet so beautifully simple it didn’t steal the show.

* Any details about the bridal bouquet and florals (I assume it was your creative direction, but if not, I can reach out to Celsia so let me know)? The ombre colour effect of the florals?

The shape of the bouquet is what was more important for us. We wanted to avoid the typical wedding bouquet shape by moving to a contemporary version of the old school waterfall bouquet.

In terms of the ombre, you may want to reach out to Celsia to ask more but my understanding from our design conversations with Celsia + from the colours in the overall floral design:

You need a transitional colour that helps you move from one bold colour to the next. You can’t simply jump from a white to red for example – so in this case, the pink was our “stepping stone” and without the use of greenery or foliage to “fill” the gaps between colours, this created a stunning natural ombre effect.

* The large structural floral pieces – for the ceremony and the bar/lounge vignettes – what impact do they have on the overall design? How do they tie in?

If all budgets permitted, we would always go over the top with a few statement floral or botanical installations in an interesting + bold format. These create a bigger impact + are the “centerpiece” of the design in their own way. Then we focus on a thoughtfully curated selection of minimalist furniture + decor details to compliment.

The ceremony piece was inspired by the more traditional crescent shape design you often see around the altar area, which has a very intimate and romantic appeal. We modernized this by going with a suspended, three dimensional “crescent” in segregated pieces that could then be repurposed.

While we love creating unique + show stopper installations, we are also conscious of couple’s budgets and know that if we put a little bit more time + work into the structural planning of certain decor elements or floral pieces, we can repurpose them. Styled shoots are no exception, so that is what we did here. We designed a ceremony that could be disassembled and repurposed at the bar, lounge area as well as tablescape.

* The florals are mostly roses – with some orchids and anthuriums – and no greenery at all – why did you feel this focused simplicity was a fit for your vision? Were you happy with the impact?

We absolutely love the dramatic effect that all blooms and no foliage or greenery creates. It completely modernizes the floral design + gives zero excuse for “filler” so the placement of every floral has to be very intentional.

Referring back to ikebana, the orchids, anthuriums and roses all have tall, firm stems that allow for a lot of naturally organic structure + lines. We are eager to move away from the overuse of foliage + greenery while still ensuring the floral design has a dramatic impact.

* Why did you select the geometric wire chairs? And glass/metal tables in the lounge?

Visual interest. Each furniture piece we selected was visually interesting in shape, form or detail.

* Why did you choose the dresses you did for this vision?

Both of the dresses were carefully selected to align with the modern, romantic European + floral art theme.

The off-shoulder Rime Arodaky “Coppelia” crepe dress with flowery applied tulle cut out mimicked the floral illustrations on the stationery + gave our styling a playful edge. The Daalarna gown with long sleeves comprised of a floral appliqué over the bust and represented the more modern, fashion forward version of the classic long sleeve wedding dress which has a very romantic appeal.

* Tell me more about how you played with contrasts in your vision: soft/hard, dark/light/ feminine/geometric, structural/loose/organic, sparse/full

Balance. Our designs are always about finding a unique + edgy balance between soft/hard, dark/light, feminine/masculine, structural/organic + minimalist/dramatic.


Photography | Justine Milton @miltonphoto
Creative Direction, Planning + Design/Decor | Petite Pearl Events @petitepearlevents (Creative Director – Jessica Minnie @mrshumemin, Lead Designer – Brittany Shmyr @brittanyshmyr)
Florals | Celsia Floral @celsiafloral
Furniture | The Wise Co. @thewiseco
Venue | The Polygon Gallery @thepolygonvenue
Linen + Napkins | La Tavola Fine Linen @latavolalinen
Decor accents | Anthropologie, cb2, West Elm + The Wise Co. @anthropologie @cb2canada @westelm @thewiseco
Stationery | Oh The Sweet Things @ohthesweetthings
Makeup | Katie Elwood Makeup Artistry @katieelwood
Hair | Jade Kugelman Hair @jadekugelmanhair
Wedding Dresses | Union Bridal @unionbridal
Jewelry | Tiffany & Co. @tiffanyandco
Wall Decals | Urbanwalls @urbanwalls
Glassware | Pedersen’s Event Rentals @pedersenseventrentals

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