I love seeing what event designers call pull out of their hats, it always takes my breath away! Joining us today is the lovely Renee from Sydney based Funktionality who pull together amazing events with plenty of style!
Tell me about yourself, your background?
I’ve been in the wedding industry for about four years now, and I love it!
I started out on Hamilton Island, which is a beautiful spot to get married and helped so many couples tie the knot. I moved to Sydney late last year to firstly get back to civilization, (I really missed the supermarkets and going to the movie theatre!) and to help plan weddings on more of a larger scale.
My background includes a lot of customer service and media organisation, and at the time of getting into weddings I wasn’t sure which direction to take my skills but it has worked out perfectly for me.
How did you get into the wedding industry?
Funktionality launched in 2000 to begin work on the Sydney Olympic Games. This was a time in Australia when very few event managers really understood how styling, themeing and interesting decor features could enhance the mood and contribute to the success of an event every bit as much as good organisation and planning. After experiencing one of our breathtaking corporate special events, many of our clients began requesting us to work our magic on personal events including anniversaries and weddings, as they wanted something different and out of the mould, and this is how the wedding side of our business really took hold. Before long, the Museum of Contemporary Art had contracted us to style for the weddings held on their premises and by reputation and the recommendation of many satisfied brides, business just grew and grew.
Image by O’Neill Photography
What do you love about this industry?
I love the fact there is a whole industry dedicated to a single rite of passage that has been occurring for thousands of years, yet every individual wedding is somehow a stand-alone unique event. Every day I get to challenge my own creativity and engage in innovative and new ways to create that particular look a bride wants at the best possible price. Knowing that what you end up creating for the couple will be a memory cherished for years to come is deeply gratifying also, as is the almost daily challenge of overcoming the tricky logistics of some of Sydney’s most beautiful, historic venues.
Then there are the perks, such as the delicious food tastings and opening the mail to find chocolate, stationary and ribbon samples to play around with. Most of my Saturday mornings are spent assembling centrepieces, embellishing tables and decorating stunning waterfront locations. I love that I get to work with lots of pretty and happy things like flowers, candles and stationary!
What/who inspires you?
Everyday life really, I read a lot of blogs, home decorating and wedding magazines, you should see the pile I have on my desk for momentary inspiration. Nature, photographs, architecture, my fellow colleagues, Music – the first few notes can bring back memories and laughter, quiet moments…a whole event can be based on a well chosen lyric. I also love to talk to people, every time I meet a couple I find that they alone can inspire me, nothing beats a good love story.
I believe inspiration can come from anywhere!
Do you offer packages for bridal couples – so that they can choose the level of service they require?
At Funktionality, we know how individual it is to be planning a wedding day, so we don’t offer “packages” per say, but you can choose the level and type of services you require from us. We are able to offer a full wedding event management service, where we oversee every detail of your special day or we can just help you with an area of the planning you are struggling with. Our highly creative team specialise in venue sourcing with site visits, to finding the right caterers, photographers, entertainment, transport, decor, themeing, lighting, bonbonniere, stationary and florals to suit your style and budget. We can be with you each step of the way, all the way through to the styling and on site co-ordination of the big day itself.
Over the past ten years we have formed close and longstanding relationships with suppliers and venues alike, ensuring our clients always get the very best service at highly competitive prices. We can negotiate the dates you want before they are publicly released and have won multiple awards for our inspired styling and professional but friendly service.
Image by O’Neill Photography
Describe the process you and the couple go through when planning the styling concepts for their wedding?
Here at Funk, we really listen to both the bride and groom’s individual wants and expectations of their day. We help them flesh out any initial ideas into definite and tangible concepts that will physically translate into a memorable experience that is unique and reflective of the couple themselves. We then work to fit these concepts into a suitable budget. We are very experienced in managing every aspect of your special day, reducing the stress load and giving you more time and energy to enjoy the best parts of getting married.
Do you see a particular incoming trend in weddings for the next 12 months?
Key trends are turning over at a faster rate than ever before, as ideas are being spread and recycled faster through the use of social media and blogging. The D.I.Y movement is also an exciting improvement to the industry; everybody wants something that is new, different, and exclusively custom made for them. Nobody wants anything you can just buy off a shelf in a store. The ceremony and reception are far less rigid in structure nowadays, and becoming even more so, opening up whole new possibilities in what entertainment options are available for the celebration.
Boutique-style venues that offer a feeling of intimacy or have a unique or quirky feature are definitely having resurgence at the moment and the trend seems to be here for the long haul.
Through your website, you offer a hire service. Are you able to send the items anywhere in Australia? Or is it a delivery only hire service?
Predominately we service the Sydney region but occasionally we extended into the ACT and we have done a few co-events in Melbourne. We mostly operate with a delivery and collection service but our smaller themeing items are available to dry hire, on collection from our three storey warehouse in Marrickville. We do not tend to mail out our stock as we like to ensure and maintain the high quality of it.
Location Blue Mountains. Image by Rowen Atkinson Photography
Where do you see Funktionality in five years time?
I see us being the forefront of wedding styling industry, possibly separating the furniture hire and management aspects of our company into two separate entities.
Tell me about a wedding you have styled, that you particularly loved?
I did an Alice in Wonderland themed wedding- colourful sweet peas bursting from teapots, loads of large mushrooms and bold colours.
Another favourite was a couple who married in an old 1930’s cinema, the whole place smelled of fresh popcorn and icecream that the guest got to munch on during the ceremony, it was so different, the guests were raving about it!
Image of Renee by Paul Cincotta