Creative dynamo Jennifer Kennedy-Maksymiw from Tufts and Toile shares her dynamic styling and design approach
Jennifer Kennedy-Maksymiw Owner of and Head Stylist from Tufts and Toile in conversation about styling the beautiful wedding Joanna & Andrew at Berkeley Fieldhouse wedding venue Toronto.
You started your career as a photographer and a stylist, how has this experience helped you with current business?
It has helped immensely. I worked as a photographer and stylist for almost eight years shooting catalogue work for home decor and furniture companies. Styling was such a crucial part of those jobs and I enjoyed creating sets just as much as I enjoyed capturing them. I really fell in love with in home style and design through that work. I went into my first photography job straight out college not knowing much about interior design at all. I was living in a bland basement apartment with some animal print decor and zombie posters on the wall. I honestly don’t think I had even stepped into a home decor store prior to working with these companies. That experience really helped to build the foundation of Tufts and Toile, Vintage Rentals and Design.
When you first started creating the wedding vision with Joanna and Andrew, what were your first thoughts about the potential of this wedding?
Joanna & Andrew came to me with an idea, a few pinned inspiration images online and open minds. They loved the design of their wedding invites so much, they knew they wanted to see more of that design reflected throughout the wedding decor. The invites were an awesome starting point, and just from seeing those few pinned photos, it really made this couples style clear to me. Luckily for me, it was a style I really loved and was very excited to plan around. I pulled some of the colours for their wedding palette right from those invites and created the bulk of their paper goods with similar design details, including the table numbers, seating chart cards, reception table place cards and reserved tags for the first few rows of ceremony seating for their guests. The invite design was also used in their beautiful wedding cake by LeDolci.
How would you describe this beautiful wedding and what elements made you the happiest about the final outcome?
This wedding was so special to me because it was the first where my clients entrusted me in full to pull together their dream wedding. It was my first official full design wedding with styling services, so the whole experience was one to remember always. Prior to this wedding, I had offered my rentals “a la carte” and styling of small vignette designs. Joanna and Andrew came to me just a few months before their wedding in need of help, and I’m so glad they did. To see a wedding design come full circle, is the most rewarding feeling, ever. Period. After their wedding, it was without hesitation that I added full event design to the services I offer. This service includes sourcing and full management of florals, desserts, stationary and all rentals, laying out the floorplan and full set up and tear down services on the day of the event.
What has been your process for building up your beautiful collection of unique pieces that are part of the design for your couples?
Whenever I’m out and about my eyes are always in search of the next great vintage find. My collection really reflects my style and what I love. It’s pretty vintage, lots of soft neutral tones and feminine details, but not too girly. I love rustic modern farmhouse design and there are a lot of rustic pieces in my collection to reflect that side as well. My collection started with the decor I had collected for my own wedding in 2013 and has been growing steadily ever since. This past summer I began to explore refinishing vintage furniture, and now I hardly go a day without a paint brush or wax cloth in hand. I can’t wait to breathe new life into so many old and neglected pieces, and to slowly perfect this new craft. My collection has always been hand picked, and curated with a specific style in mind, but it’s these hand painted pieces that really make my collection so unique. Specifically for this wedding I had refinished a vintage two-tiered serving table with pie crust edges that was to play a very special part in the couples ceremony. Joanna’s late mother was to be remembered during the ceremony. A painted portrait was displayed on an easel to the right of their ceremony gazebo and this tiered table sat in front. It held a simple vase and two roses on the top tier; one for the bride and one for the groom to hold in her honour while they dedicated a moment of silence at the start of their ceremony in remembrance. It’s touching displays like this that really make me stop and appreciate the journey the pieces in my collection go on, and in this case brought a few tears to my eye.
The beautiful wedding dessert table created a romantic intimate setting for the wedding. What was your favourite part of it?
The vintage buffet, of course! Every detail was planned around that piece of furniture, it was perfect. And it’s just as practical as it is pretty. I stored all of their extra desserts in the buffet for easy access to replenish the trays and stands when that needed to happen.
How would you describe the style of the tablescaping of this stunning wedding and what was your process for building up its final look?
I always look at what the venue space has to offer and take the guest count into consideration before starting to come up with table designs. The reception room at Berkeley Fieldhouse is such a beautiful blank canvas. The white walls allow for so many different looks to be welcomed into the space, and unlike the majority of venues, you can really host any type of party there. I love how it opens the door to so many possibilities. I wanted to carry the white from the walls onto the tables, but break it up with some soft tones of beige, blush and ivory. Too much white on white can start to look sterile and we wanted the tables to feel romantic and a little rustic. It was important to my couple for the atmosphere to also feel less formal, so we went with long harvest tables and low floral arrangements and candlelight, allowing for lots of conversation and clinking of glasses between guests. Nude chiffon runners with a hint of blush ran down each table and gracefully broke up the white tablecloths. Blush floating candles and green stems of ruscus lay on top of the chiffon and a mix of floral arrangements with varying shades of pink and ivory sat on wood slabs with a framed number to mark each table. There was to be no head table or separate sweetheart table, as per the couples request, so instead I came up with a plan to integrate a sweetheart table into the middle of the first row of tables closest to the window wall, for the best light. It was still connected to the long tables, but gave Joanna and Andrew a special place to sit. They loved this idea. We separated this table to the eye by fully covering it with the nude chiffon and Mum’s Garden created a charming rustic arrangement in a planter box to highlight the table. The two large floral arrangements on rustic wooden pedestals from the ceremony doubled up as part of the backdrop for their sweetheart table. I love when clients are able to get the most out of their money by repurposing something so beautiful. The floral marked chairs from the ceremony were also used as the wedding party’s seats for the reception.
Who were the vendors you chose to work with on this wedding and what was the best part of working with this creative ensemble?
Mums Garden Floral Design for flowers, Sugar Girlee Co for balloons, LeDolci for cake and cupcakes and Susan Murray International for linens. I know these vendors are passionate about their work and always knock it out of the park. I didn’t have any doubt in my mind throughout the planning process that they wouldn’t bring their “A” game. Andrew & Joanna had also chose Heather Bunt as their photographer prior to us meeting, and I am so glad they did. Heather captured their wedding so beautifully, she’s a total rockstar.
Where are some of your go to places for inspiration and design concepts?
I love checking out flea markets and antique stores every chance I get. Countryside drives with my husband and hikes with my two year old son and two schnauzers are also a regular occurrence. My collection has a very rustic side and I’m always inspired by the rural roads and nature. Of course Pinterest and online blogs are a daily source of inspiration as well.
The lovely wedding had a fun whimsical creative feel to it that drew the guests into the day. How important was this to the wedding couple?
It was really important to Joanna and Andrew to have a fun wedding with some unexpected, out of the ordinary aspects. One of my favourite ideas was the popcorn bar. Which has been seen before many times, but in this case it was open to guests to help themselves fill a personal bag before grabbing their ceremony seats. Joanna & Andrew loved the idea of saying their I do’s while their guests casually munched on popcorn. What’s a good show without a good snack, right?