It gives me such pleasure this morning to share our latest instalment from our long-term collaborative blogging partners, Pocketful of Dreams. We've been teaming up with Michelle and Vicki now for over two years to bring you regular inspiration boards and it's been such a fun and inspiring journey so far. I'm always so bowled over with how much research this brilliant creative team undertake to curate these boards for you all – this isn't just a set of pretty images pulled together for the sake of Pinterest – much thought and consideration is given to describing how the ideas can be translated practically in to your own wedding day setting. It's something that really sets the Pocketful of Dreams girls apart for me. I'm not one for taking advantage of Love My Dress® over the valentines period and turning it in to a big gush fest, but we did want to mark the occasion today and Michelle and Vicky have risen to the challenge as usual. Enjoy all.
Happy Valentine's Day! It's the Pocketful of Dreams girls back again this morning, filling your day with a huge dose of gorgeous eye candy and practical styling ideas to show you how to create and – most importantly – implement a wedding based around a specific type of venue.
In the past we've covered everything from tipis to warehouses and even gourmet restaurants. Today however, we are turning to the blank canvas venue. We wanted to create a look that was romantic (it is Valentine's Day, after all!) but still cool and chic. Something that would show you how to create a slightly more design-focused aesthetic within a real blank canvas space that feels stylish and polished. And we have chosen the perfect example of this type of venue to base today's style guide around. Ladies and Gents, we give you Sunbeam Studios…
THE BLANK CANVAS VENUE
So what is a blank canvas venue? Typically they tend to be vast white-walled empty spaces which have no defining style or aesthetic offering you total freedom and control over how to dress the space. No hideous carpets, no oddly coloured furniture that can't be moved…total carte blanche to transform the space into your own vision without restriction. Places like converted warehouses and photographic studios.
Which is both exciting, but also potentially a little scary, so if this is the type of venue you're drawn towards, there are a few things to take into consideration:
- Firstly, really take the time upfront to think about the overall look and feel of the day you're hoping to achieve; you've got nothing in situ to work from so it's important you create a clear vision you can articulate and define before you start sourcing decor and briefing suppliers. This is where creative wedding planners, like us at Pocketful of Dreams, can really help to develop and define a cohesive design concept that will be guide the styling of your day.
- Having defined that vision, come up with ideas to carefully dress the venue ensuring decorations create impact and don't get lost in the vast whiteness. Play to the scale of the space and try not to fill it with little bits of 'stuff'. Instead, think about how you can enhance the surroundings and the architectural elements of the setting.
- Don't forget, true blank canvas venues like photographic studios, are typically more amenable to you changing and altering the space as long as you make good any changes you make, so don't be afraid to ask to do things you might never expect to get away with at a more traditional wedding venue like hanging creative installations or adhering elements to walls.
- Ultimately, you want to think like an art gallery curator; you're looking to style the space with interesting and eye-catching displays and installations that are almost like mini works of art, all coming together to create your very own, personal and unique day.
Our blank canvas venue of choice is Sunbeam Studios: a historic and grand hidden-gem in London; a grade II listed building dating back to 1903, it is located near Ladbroke Grove and Portobello market and fuses contemporary design with elegant period features. Formerly an automobile showroom, this venue offers fabulous light, gorgeous features and whilst it might be a hidden gem within the world of weddings, it's long been recognised as a hot spot in the media world. Paloma Faith's latest video was shot here and Mario Testino has even shot a Vogue cover there, darling!
From a practical perspective, it has several spaces that can be used for the various elements of your wedding day, from the ceremony itself to cocktails, dinner and dancing. What we love most about this space are the 40ft high vaulted ceiling, arched windows and marble floors, all of which make this the perfect blank-canvas venue for a bold colour-popping design. And who were we to say no to that challenge….
As it's Valentine's Day, we thought we'd hinge our design around a 'cool kinda love', our bride and groom is the type who of course love each other truly, madly, deeply but they also love to have fun, knowing just how to throw one hell of a party. The aim of the game is to take romantic and give it a modern twist, with an injection of fun, frolics and a whole lotta dancing.
Inspired by the deep red synonymous with Valentine's Day, we've lifted the colour palette from a one-dimensional mono scheme with an electric red that sits alongside deep violet, hot pink and a softer rose pink to balance the boldness. Of course this needs a metallic to really add that extra layer of cool luxe so we chose our favourite: gold, which we're seeing as a muted brushed gold shade rather anything too sleek and shiny.
THE VENUE DESIGN
When it comes to dressing this space, we wanted a wow-factor showpiece, something big and bold. A real statement that will set the tone for the day. So we're making use of those gorgeous white walls that are just crying out to be styled. With our team of specialist printers we'd create custom vinyl lettering of a quote that has immediate impact and resonance. Something romantic that doesn't veer into the sickly sweet territory; we feel that "with every heartbeat" hits the perfect note.
Next, we'd hire in trees to edge the room and provide colour and texture. These red maple trees just happen to complement our colour palette perfectly and at three metres high will work perfectly to fill a grand high ceilinged space such as this. Finding large potted trees can be tricky and costly, so don't be afraid to go faux – these maples are actually artificial but you really would never know.
A blank canvas venue typically requires you to bring everything you need in so we would look to work with a hire company such as Great Hire for various chill-out furniture pieces. These not only serve practical purposes (for instance seating for elderly relatives or somewhere for guests to put down their drinks when they fancy a dance) but the joy of hiring in is that you can handpick pieces that perfectly bring your design to life. Here for instance, we would opt for sumptuous pink Chesterfields and Chandelle chairs, introducing a hint of fun and sparkle with deep red sequin cushions. Around the venue and soft seating areas, we would add a floral punch with towers of flower heads presented in lucite boxes, sat on top of funky pink and red perspex plinths for a sophisticated yet unexpected look.
One of the real features of this venue is its gorgeous light so we would look to create an installation of colourful perspex sheeting that could naturally hang and catch the light, casting beautiful coloured shards of light across the venue as dusk fell. Bringing in feature lighting also helps to really set the tone so, as well as washing the venue with a pink-hued light, we'd opt for a stunning gold cocktail bar decorated with a giant marquee light. Shaped like a heart, of course.
And the final piece of this gorgeously colourful jigsaw would be a custom-made dancefloor in ombre striped shades from red to pink.
We'd set the tone of the day from the very start with clear perspex stationery. Long favoured by the fashion set and used by many designers for Fashion Week invites (well, we are setting our wedding in a photographic studio, after all), perspex can be lasercut, engraved or overprinted so offers huge flexibility. Cutture offer bespoke Cleartouch stationery suites, which would be perfect here, with a design that blends a gentle transparency with tones of hot pink, red and purple to ensure that the bold party-vibe comes through from the get-go.
We would set our wedding breakfast up to be an interactive and welcoming affair, with long rows of tables set out for refectory style social-dining. Instead of opting for standard trestles, we'd look to use rustic, reclaimed wooden tables with interesting leg details such as the dark steel hairpin ones seen here. The wood adds a level of warmth to the scheme stopping it look too minimalist and stark and of course we couldn't resist making a nod to one of 2014's key design trends with these lucite chairs, adding a transparent element.
With such gorgeous tables, linens really aren't needed but we'd add a sense of drama by creating illuminated runners down the centre of each aisle, acting as a fabulous plinth for an array of closely arranged ombre florals, with coloured candles in lucite holders adding a sparkly ambience.
Guests would enjoy a sumptuous feast served on gorgeous coloured tableware and eaten with matt gold cutlery . The final touch is water glasses with quirky, geometric gold detailing.
Our Cool Kinda Love inspiration guide was designed specifically with Sunbeam Studios in mind, but of course, this look would work for any couple getting married in a cool, crisp white venue that is just crying out for some vibrant pops of colour and interesting installations. It really is the perfect choice for any modern couple with a strong creative vision, looking to stamp their own personality and tastes onto their venue. A couple who want to celebrate love, but are looking for something that doesn't take itself too seriously and allows their guests to have the utmost fun.
Do let us know what you think in the comments box below and we'd love to hear your thoughts and suggestions for what type of venue you'd like us to tackle next in our Wedding Styling Guide.
And don't forget we offer a design service to wedding planning couples to create wedding a wedding design concept just like this one. We can work with you to help you refine your ideas, adding our extensive knowledge of what we know works and providing you with a set of comprehensive mood boards that you can use to brief your own team of suppliers. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Michelle & Vicki xx
Creative Event Designers at Pocketful of Dreams
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