JULIAN + CHERRY, COLUMN GARDEN + INTERCONTINENTAL DOUBLE BAY

“We want our wedding to look and feel elegant and romantic” - those were their exact words when we first met to discuss their wedding. And it was the job brief that we laid the foundation of their wedding decor.

Julian & Cherry chose an outdoor garden venue (Column Garden within Sydney’s Centennial Parklands). This meant that there was an existing backdrop to work around.

Our styling ethos is deeply embodied in embracing natural elements and for an outdoor wedding ceremony such as this, we wanted to show off the surroundings of Column Garden in all its glory. This is why we chose ghost chairs for guest seating. They look great in nature because they’re translucent. Instead of wooden white fold-chairs that would block the view, we decided on ghost chairs to help the wedding ceremony blend into the natural environment.

As for the backdrop, you will see two plinths decorated with seasonal florals. Once again, our desire was to incorporate the Column Garden with the wedding ceremony. An arbour would have blocked the view of the space’s natural backdrop. The two plinths helped centre the couple whilst taking full advantage of the surroundings. Because the wedding ceremony was held in broad daylight, we wanted contrasting colours. Pastel colours would simply have been lost and washed out, hence the popping red in the flower colour palette. We deliberately sourced orchids and roses that were in season and added dried palms. We used a few ghost cubes to place floral arrangements to give the appearance of floating flowers from afar.

Most couples never think twice about personalising their signing table and chairs. Usually, the venue or marriage celebrant includes a standard signing table and chairs. But not us! Standard isn’t in our vocabulary! Going back to our ethos of working with natural as best as we can, we were deliberate in our choice of material when it came to the signing table and chairs. A metal table would not fit in with the look and feel we wanted Julian, Cherry and their guests to feel. As event stylists, every single element matters. So we chose a signing table and a set of chairs made of cane.

Nature is beautiful - we want to help accentuate it by working with it, not against nature. Let’s talk about the signage because we put a lot of thought into signage.

You may think that signage is boring and stock-standard but did you know your wedding signage forms part of the first impression of the wedding? It sets the mood and gets everyone excited for what’s to come. During our consult with Julien & Cherry, we realised that they were very modern and down-to-earth people. Hence, we decided on an arch-shaped frome for their welcome sign and seating chart. If you look closely, you will see that the top curve of the frame and signage is congruent with the arch found in the ghost chairs. Stuff like this makes us happy as we’re design nerds - hopefully you’re one to appreciate the finer details as well.

When we design welcome signs, we try our best to repurpose them for sustainability reasons. Plus, it has the added benefit of saving clients money from having a separate sign designed and made for their wedding reception.

On a final note, you will notice that Julian & Cherry’s welcome sign matches and mismatches with their reception seating chart. This was our take on yin & yang.

“I want to be surrounded by flowers” - she said. Now, if you’ve ever been to a hotel ballroom, you will know that they’re typically bland with less than ideal down-lights. To combat this and to give Cherry her dream reception setting, we had to come up with something special. It was possible to suspend hanging florals from the ceiling, but this would have cost a lot of money as Intercontinental Sydney Double Bay does not have rigging points and trusses by default. Therefore, we custom designed a mesh panel backdrop that not only sat behind the couple at the bridal table, but allowed the flowers to hang over them. This allowed us to achieve the job brief of surrounding the bride and groom with flowers and became the focal point of the entire venue space.

When you see anything French from the provincial era, your immediate brain connects it with the words ‘elegant’ and ‘romantic’. Or at least, it does for us! This is why we brought in the two special occasional chairs for the bride and groom.

One of the ways that we increase the interactiveness of a wedding reception for wedding guests is via an open photo booth. This differs from a traditional photo booth in the sense that there is no booth per se. Plus, it is a BYO camera concept. We wanted Julian & Cherry’s wedding guests to enjoy the night as much as possible. We did this by designing a separate space within the hotel ballroom to serve as an open photo booth. We brought in a matching emerald green lounge to fit in with the overall French provincial garden party theme. As with the bridal table, we surrounded this space with florals and candles.

It was a massive hit with guests posing on the lounge all night.

As we mentioned earlier, hotel ballrooms don’t have the most romantic of lighting. Most hotel venues have spotty lighting that is either too dim or too harsh. Going back to our foundation of creating a romantic and elegant space for the couple and their guests, we introduced 100+ candles across the room - from the bridal table to guest tables to even the open photo booth. Candles help create a warm and inviting mood (plus, they’re cost-effective which is great news for you).

Finally, we custom-designed a set of stationery and typography to achieve cohesion and elegance.

With the backdrop, florals, occasional chairs, and candles, we were able to replicate a romantic garden theme within a hotel ballroom.

Lilac Zhang