Principal Designer and Creative Director Ashley Plainos from Ashton Creative in conversation about the design principles and inspiration behind the beautiful Toronto wedding of Taylor and Sarah at Berkeley Church wedding venue Toronto.
When Taylor and Sarah first approached you to design and work with them on their wedding what were the first questions you asked ?
Aside from the formal elements needed for a quote like what elements and quantities they were looking for we discussed their style and how they wanted the day to come across. I always ask if there are particular flowers that the couple loves and would like to use , as well as the ones they dislike. Even though flowers are seasonal and not all varieties are available throughout the year knowing what flowers they like helps me understand the type of look they are after better and allows me to make suggestions for in season flowers that would give a similar look.
What role did you play in creating this unique and customized wedding?
I worked closely with Sarah to develop a more unique colour scheme than the typical wedding. They wanted something fun and different, but we also had the challenge of designing a scheme using flowers that had little or no scent because a number of important guests had severe allergies and the couple wanted to ensure they were comfortable all night long. With the mis-matched bridesmaids gowns we combined the pinks and purples together and added pops of coral and peach to brighten it up even more. It made for a truly beautiful colour palette that wasn’t just the standard pink and white you see in a lot of weddings.
How would you describe the style of this wedding and how does your background in fine arts inform your work?
This wedding was a little bit of everything so I’d definitely call it eclectic chic. I draw on my fine art background the most when it comes to colours for sure. Sometimes the slightest variation of a tone can work for you or against you so getting the right palette I think is really important, especially when you are combining colours that you don’t often see together. For most people the flowers in their wedding are large contributors to their chosen colour scheme so making sure I get this part right is particularly important.
Megan Ewing beautifully captured the wedding day in her photography and showcased all your beautiful design work. How would you describe her style of photography at this wedding?
Megan did a fantastic job photographing this wedding. A good photographer really is worth their weight in gold and I could tell Megan really had the couples trust so they were relaxed and themselves for their photos which makes a big difference. Sarah and Taylor were such a fun and lighthearted couple so it was great to see the photos reflect that. Megan really highlighted the flowers well, finding framing and angles that highlight the elements and the colours. She found a way to juxtapose the old world feel of Berkeley Church with the more modern palette and keep it within the vintage esthetic the couple was after. She did a phenomenal job.
What are some of your design inspirations you turn to in your work?
I’m sure like most wedding vendors I find a lot of inspiration within the industry, looking online and in magazines for all the pretty things people do at weddings. But outside of that I can be inspired by anything, a store window display, the colours of a textile or watching the sky turn colour at sunset. When you are a visual person you see things in a different way and I sometime catch myself staring at something most people would walk right past.
The wedding flowers worked so well with the historic venue highlighting the best features of the space. How do you approach designing a space with your floral choices?
There a “typical” wedding elements in every wedding, bouquets, ceremony decor and reception decor. Every couple is different in terms of what they like and at the end of the day it’s their wedding so even if I think a space would look wonderful with a tall cascading centerpiece, if the couple wants low arrangements that’s what they will get! It’s really important for me to guide the couple into making decisions on what is important to them and what they like the look of, while still giving my professional and experienced opinion. I’m also a big fan of utilizing ceremony flowers for the reception decor so they get to be seen for most of the day. Budget is also a huge reality for most couples so making sure we can highlight the most important things on their list becomes more important than overselling them on every bell and whistle.
The wedding design was so well integrated and tied together stylistically. What are some of your techniques for achieving this?
Colour is a big one, especially for flowers because it is usually the flowers that are the biggest contributor to the overall colour scheme. Using the same flowers across all the elements also creates continutity and also ends up being more cost effective!
What is your process for communicating with your clients as their big day arrives?
When I meet with a client for a consult I take down all the information I need to create a quote. From there I give them a few options for each element they are interested with a price quotation broken down line by line so they have the ability to create their own package based on what flower combinations they like. I illustrate all the design elements in idea boards with photos of examples of each arrangement and the flowers we would use in their specific colours. This way they know exactly what they are getting and can visualize how everything will look on the day. Once they make their choice we put it into a formal contract and then that’s it. In the weeks leading up we confirm small details like delivery and timing and any remaining finessing based on other decor they have recently incorporated but most of the work is done upfront so I usually don’t have to pester them with questions before the wedding. They’ll have enough to do after all! I try to make my involvement in their day as stress free and simple for them as possible.
What about this wedding do you feel pushed your creativity to a new level?
The great thing about Sarah & Taylor is I really got a sense that they trusted me. They weren’t so set on knowing how every little thing would look so they left me some creative control which always allows me to better flex some creative muscle. With their desire for an out of the box colour palette I really had fun selecting blooms in colours I thought they would like and still work well together.
How do you continue to grow and evolve your design process?
Every wedding is a learning experience. You come across a new flower, new method, a new challenge. Sometimes learning from your mistakes is the best way too. I also regularly pop into my suppliers to see whats new and in season from the growers. We are lucky to live in Ontario with access to so many beautiful locally grown flowers. Finally, I really try to keep aware of what others in my industry are doing and seeing how I can add my own twist to it. Attracting clients that give me creative control and their full trust really allow me to dream up something wonderful and unique for them.
What are some of the trends in wedding design you expect and hope to see popping up in the wedding season2017?
I LOVE that greenery has made such a come back and people are moving towards a more natural botanical style, rather than the solid round ball of flowers. It just allows for so much more experimentation with shapes and textures and it creates arrangements that are so individually unique. Plus people are really starting to embrace more interesting colour palettes with lots of different tones and variation. While blush is beautiful (and still insanely popular) it’s so much more interesting with a pop of burgundy, coral or muted purple thrown into the mix. When it comes to weddings these days there are no rules anymore so couples can really do whatever they want when it comes to how their day will look. No one should want their wedding to look like every other one they’ve been too… what’s the fun in that?