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Chic Rustique is a wedding planning, styling, florist and hire service all rolled into one business. You would think that would be rather a challenge for one person, but Miriam thrives on creating stunning events – whether they be a wedding or other celebrations. Each bridal couple has their own story and Miriam is able to create a cohesive and elegant look, reflecting their personalities and style, right down to the finest detail, to create a magical occasion. How lucky are bridal couples in Western Australia to have Chic Rustique right on their doorstep? Here is Miriam’s story.

What is your background and how did you get into the wedding industry? Were you always creative?

I grew up in the beautiful Scottish countryside where, from an early age, I demonstrated an aptitude for creativity and a natural eye for beauty in my everyday surroundings. After an initial foray into music and acting I chased my dreams all the way to Australia where I ultimately gained my qualifications in Floral Design and Viticulture. My early career in Australia saw me cut my teeth in the vineyard industry, working in a variety of austere locations proving that I can adapt to any location. After a few years of working in the vineyards and studying how plants grow and thrive I decided to move into the hospitality and events industry within the Margaret River wine region. From there I started organizing and planning weddings and large scale events and in turn led me to starting my own business. In 2010 while I was on maternity leave from my role as Wedding and Functions Manager at a Margaret River winery, I decided to make the leap of starting Chic Rustique. Having already spent years working with brides, I discovered that Margaret River needed someone who hired out tasteful decorations such as candle holders, lanterns, candelabras, table linen, and all the other finishing touches required for an event so I set about sourcing elegant, beautiful and good quality wedding and event styling accessories. Within a few months, what started as a part-time business, had grown into a full time and demanding, yet satisfying job. The next step in Chic Rustique’s journey was to offer floral design so, never to fear a challenge, I enrolled in Flowers Design School and studied floral design specialising and excelling in wedding and event flowers.

Chic Rustique’s style and impeccable service has been so popular that our range now encompasses hundreds of beautiful accessories (many of them custom designed by the team at Chic Rustique). We offer a complete styling service from start to finish. Chic Rustique’s wedding decoration collection has blossomed from the small selection of products originally displayed on my dining room table into a 400 square metre warehouse, workshop and showroom.

Where are you based?

Chic Rustique is based in Margaret River, Western Australia but also travels throughout the South West and WA. We welcome national and international enquiries; no destination is too far. We are proud to boast that our work has spanned 3 continents including Australia, England, Ireland, Europe and South Africa over the last 10 years. Chic Rustique has a branch in Berkshire, England and welcomes enquires for the English summer months.

You have different aspects to your business:

Flowers and Floral Design:

Chic Rustique uses texture and colour to create a distinctive and unique flower story for every event. Whether it is opulence and decadence you require or simplicity and elegance Chic Rustique can use its extensive global experience to custom design your event. We design everything from buttonholes, bouquets, table centerpieces, ceremony arbour flowers, hanging installations, table garlands, urn arrangements and much more. We love using lots of different materials and types of flowers to add depth to our designs!

Styling:

We specialise in carefully-sourced, premium-quality furniture and décor from all over the world. Our creative finishing touches vary from lustrous candelabras to exotic lanterns; vintage inspired accessories to sophisticated linen and elegant furniture including the beautiful tiffany chairs. Many of our products are designed and made exclusively for Chic Rustique. We offer our styling expertise along with floral design so that the client does not need to use more than once supplier to design their wedding. This gives them a complete package and a seamless and stress free experience.

Hire:

For those who wish to set up and dismantle the décor themselves we offer a select range of styling products, furniture and accessories which can be dry hired. We can organise delivery to and collection from the venue. We have a large showroom in Margaret River where all of our products are on display and prearranged appointments are very welcome. We also offer a separate chair hire and furniture hire service called Margaret River Wedding Chairs for the customers requiring only furniture hire.

Wedding Planning and Styling:

Chic Rustique is now pleased to offer a complete PLANNING and STYLING service like none other in WA. This service is perfect for the couples who are seeking a wedding away from home but do not have the time, the means or the local knowledge to coordinate it. Not only can we help you plan your wedding or event from the tiniest details encompassing all aspects of your wedding plus coordinating your guests and their accommodation but we will style and decorate your wedding with award winning flair and imagination.

We offer a variety of packages with the following services available:

Budget planning, allocation of costs, management and final reconciliation • Creating and managing the overall timeline, listing detailed progress for each item • Vendor selection, contract and rate negotiation • Vendor booking and ongoing management • Sourcing and booking bridal party accommodation • Sourcing and booking bridal party and guest transportation to and from ceremony and reception • Wedding rehearsal scheduling and supervision • On-the-day management for vendor bump-in and bump-out logistics and timings • Onsite guest concierge, vendor co-ordination and responsibility for keeping to schedule • Ongoing support in the form of emails, telephone and video calls • Impartial and calm sounding board and support throughout the entire process.

What influences your choice of blooms and foliage for each wedding?

Every wedding is unique so I try to match the right bloom with each client. We don’t do carbon copies of other weddings as we really want to express the couple’s style through a careful choice of flowers and styling accessories. The client’s personality along with the time of year and the venue choice all have to be taken into consideration when choosing the right flowers and foliage. Seasonal availability can also be a factor. I like every bride to feel special so we always go that extra mile to make sure her wedding is perfect and bespoke.

Were styling and wedding planning a natural extension of your floral design business?

Absolutely! Actually it started the other way around! I could see a gap in the market in Margaret River for a business hiring beautiful wedding decorations. There were plenty hire and styling businesses in Perth (which is about 3 hours away) but that meant the brides were either bringing all their décor down with them or having to buy them and work out what to do with them after their wedding. My style became so popular that people started to ask me to style their whole wedding from start to finish and then they started to ask if I could do flowers. For a while I teamed up with a florist but I quickly fell in love with doing the work myself and discovered I had a natural flair so I decided to study floral design in Perth in an intensive course. As the years have gone on and Chic Rustique has built up a great reputation (and because we have lived in the area for nearly 20 years) it was a natural progression to add planning to our services as well. We were already offering the advice to brides and some were even asking us to plan their weddings! We found that the overseas market especially were in need of a complete service with one supplier knowing that they got the whole vision! Working with one team guarantees the couple a fluid experience and avoids confusion and conflicting ideas.

Does adding your own styling allow you more control over the final design?

Yes, it does. It gives us more freedom to create new designs specific to the bride. It’s our job to translate the bride’s dream wedding from her imagination to a reality. If we have complete control of the styling we can provide her with the best experience.

How do you go about designing a style for a wedding? What elements do you consider?

I always like to talk to both the bride and groom to find out what makes them tick. What hobbies do they have? What are their favourite colours, favourite seasons, favourite food! Are they modernistic or more boho in style? You can also tell a lot from what a couple are wearing. Are they wearing bright clothes or are they more natural colours? So the couple’s personality is the primary factor in designing a style. Then the venue and time of year play a large part in the styling. If it’s a winter wedding then we need to invoke warmth. We can do this through colours and style of furniture. We can use quite voluptuous textures like fur and velvet so people feel warm (even if they are not!). I also really like to make sure the groom is having his style portrayed at the wedding. So often, it’s all about the bride and her dream wedding, but it’s so important to reflect them as a couple and not 2 separate people! We have created buttonholes made from Lego men before to express a groom’s quirky personality!

What styling touches do you use to create a spectacular setting?

Every event is different but I find by using contrasting materials it really helps! So if we are doing a ceremony in the middle of the forest I like to use bright and bold colours in big quantities to get the wow factor and it can be introduced into a simple detail like long flowing ribbons. Using block materials or colours always works as well. I also try to touch every sense if possible. Obviously, visual is the strongest sense, but by having the right scent and sound complementing the visual impact people have a deeper and more pleasing reaction to it.

What are the small details that can make an impact on the décor?

It can be as small as they way you fold a napkin or the colour of the ribbon you choose to wrap the bouquet in. The small details are necessary to complete the scene. If the napkin was folded plainly it would look nice but it wouldn’t have wow factor. I take personal responsibility for thinking about everything single aspect of the wedding and making sure that those fine details have been considered and look their best on the day.

Do you see any flower and styling trends emerging for the coming year?

I think hanging installations will continue to be popular for the next couple of seasons along with lots of greenery and native flowers being used in centerpieces and table styling. I think bright and bold colours are on their way back with brides starting to use cherry reds, navy blue and deep purple much more. Using different textures in table styling will be popular. Charger plates with a Moroccan design or something a bit different will replace the standard crystal or metallic charger plate. Also, brides are really loving the coloured table cloths at the moment, in subtle greys or blush.

How does working closely with your wedding planner, allow a better outcome for your clients?

We can offer the client a complete service without that person having to explain their wedding vision to several different suppliers and potentially cause confusion. By choosing one team that can cover all of these services we can guarantee a seamless experience and the client will know that everyone is on the same page. Communication is in house and therefore immediate. We know our team is reliable and working towards a common goal. The result is simply better. The client receives a wedding that has been planned and executed by a highly professional team which make it their mission in life to create amazing weddings.

Do you find there is difference in what brides are looking for in terms of flowers and styling, in Australia and the UK?

Yes. Most of the weddings are indoors in the UK so you are working with lots of different textures and materials. In Australia most people have outdoor ceremonies with a celebrant whereas it’s still very traditional to have a church wedding in the UK. However, this trend is changing as many brides are opting for an outdoor ceremony if they can find the right place and it has an indoor back up option for inclement weather! I think lots of brides would prefer to have very natural looking flowers and styling with natives and eucalyptus but often their venue just doesn’t suit the theme. Many of the venues suit more traditional and formal flowers so it’s about finding a balance for them.

What delights you about working with flowers and styling weddings?

I can’t really explain the feeling! I just LOVE flowers and I just love my job. It is the most rewarding job transforming a place into something special. I love seeing the bride’s face when they see what we have created. Some even cry (in happiness!). There is such a fragility about flowers and you only have a small window of time to work with them that when you produce something beautiful with them it gives you such visual joy. I love surprising people with the finished product. Many people cannot visualize their wedding so seeing them get to see it in the flesh is awesome!

When you have finished setting up a wedding and you see the final design elements come together, what are the thoughts that cross your mind?

We did it! Phew, it worked! I usually feel quite excited that we have produced something special for a couple and that we have contributed to making their day wonderful. If it’s a long planning process I can often feel a bit sad too that the journey is nearly over. I love the “now” of the set up. When you are in it and doing it. It’s so rewarding to create something beautiful for somebody that has put their absolute trust in you! It’s also terrifying and I guarantee you that every single wedding makes me nervous and if I have got it right! Even just handing the bouquet over to a bride is a moment of trepidation for me; will she love it? Not just like it, but will she LOVE it? So when we nail a design I am so proud of myself and my team for getting it right.

What is special about WA and the Margaret River region?

So many reasons why my part of the world is so special! The expansive coastline which is virtually untouched! The beautiful forests, the caves, the wineries and vineyards, the beaches and all the water sports and activities on offer, the food is amazing, the people are relaxed and fun loving, the wild flowers and the rugged style of the area are all so beautiful. It’s not too hot down south in WA giving us a Mediterranean temperature which means it’s hot in summer and cold in winter! Margaret River really is an amazing destination for a wedding. It offers so many activities for different groups of people whether you are a family or a single person. I have lived in the area for nearly 20 years and every day I fall in love with it a little bit more!

What are you reading right now?

I am reading the Outlander series! So good! Plus various self help books on women in business, marketing, social media and all that sort of stuff!

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I love spending time with my friends and family. I especially love being outdoors, going 4WDing with my husband and daughter, and drinking wine with my friends. I also love nothing more than spending a Sunday afternoon baking or cooking up a storm! I try to squeeze in some yoga or exercise when I can but it’s a hectic life running your own business and being a mother and wife!

Thank you Miriam for sharing your story. How inspiring to see such beautiful flowers and styling and such care taken to create the perfect day for every bridal couple. To find out more about Chic Rustique visit the website.

All images by Katie Grant

Headshot courtesy of Miriam at Chic Rustique.

Photographer: Katie Grant

Image by Elleni Toumpas

Weddings are awesome! At what other time do you get to gather all of your closest friends and family, put on a massive party and dance the night away?

We know finding the perfect venue for significant celebrations can be seriously tricky!

To help you find and choose your ideal wedding venue we’ve put together some tried and tested tips to help you get started.

  1. STYLE:

A quick way to hone in on if a venue meets your requirements is to decide how you want your wedding to be styled. Many venues these days offer a blank canvas and can accommodate multiple themes. A good tip is to check out Instagram and Pinterest pages to get a feel for what a venue can offer and see if it’s what you’re after.

  1. INCLUSIONS:

Wedding packages vary from venue to venue and it can be hard to compare apples with oranges. Look into the overall value of a package such as; is there a variety of centrepieces to choose from, does the price include room hire and security fees? When these are added on top of the package price per head it can mean thousands of dollars more subtracted from your all-important budget.

  1. MENU:

Not all food is created equally. Does the venue have a dedicated team of onsite chefs creating mouth-watering dishes using only the freshest ingredients? Food is what helps to create a memorable wedding and makes up the bulk of the reception cost so make sure your venue can create an unforgettable menu that will have your guests raving.

  1. SERVICE:

Does your venue have wait staff dedicated to look after each table to provide amazing service from the beginning to the end of the night? Will guests have their empty glass topped up before they have to ask? This can make the difference between a good wedding and an amazing experience for your guests. A ratio of 1:20 guests is a minimum with a premium venue also offering a dedicated wedding coordinator, bridal attendant and manager on the night.

Ms Polka Dot says: There are so many details to consider when considering whether a venue offers all you want for your reception – and it’s often the little things like attentive staff that make the difference between good and fabulous!

About Showtime Events Centre: Our award winning venue boasts spectacular views of Melbourne’s city skyline and is superbly positioned along the Yarra River on South Wharf. With a vibrant mix of the old and new, our venue has retained heritage features whilst incorporating current and stylish contemporary designs to create a modern, open space.

Judy and Nam

This year at Flowers with Elegance it’s all about individuality. Brides and grooms are breaking out of the ‘norm’ and traditional wedding themes and venturing into untrodden waters in search of uniqueness.

We had the pleasure of being a part of styling one of the most unique weddings of 2017 – Nam and Judy’s wedding was fun, romantic, delicious and catered for the young and old.

When we met up with the bride and groom, the brief was garden style, low key with food trucks, a gelato stand, picnic rugs for the guests and a children’s entertainer all set in their backyard. The ceremony was to take place in a reserve park behind their house under an enormous tree.

Judy loves all flowers and had total trust in our ability and so left the styling and choice of blooms entirely to us. So we styled a bright and colourful palette to match her bright and cheerful personality.

We made up the bridal bouquets, hair crown, table centrepieces, flowers for the shed converted to a bar, flowers for the aisle and the boy’s boutonnieres in shades of pink, pale pink, yellow, cream and silver green native foliages to incorporate the native surroundings of the reserve where their ceremony was to take place.

We also constructed a flower wall as a photo focal point for the day. Due to the bright color palette of the bridal party, we chose a more subtle color scheme for the wall in shades of pale pink, magenta and green foliages of different textures and shades. The wall was a big hit with the guests and the bridal party!

Once we had our color palette sorted, sourcing the flowers was the next step. Everything we used was locally grown and in season. For the bridal party we chose David Austin roses for their effortless beauty and fragrance, sweet pea for softness, chrysanthemums for their different shapes and textures, dahlias for their feminine touch, as well as 5 different types of foliage for interest. So, when put together, the bouquets and flower wall were free and organic and gave a luscious garden feel.

The result was a grand success!

Laurence James Photography had captured the day in amazing detail. These images were exactly how it appeared on the day – bright and vibrant colors, a couple so in love, and lots of laughter all set in a beautiful backdrop created by Mother Nature.

Ms Polka Dot says: Bright colours are so pretty and create a happy atmosphere on a sunny day – add a happy bridal couple, and gelato cart and food truck – what more could you want!

Melissa from Flowers With Elegance says: We design everything from bridal bouquets, boutonnieres, corsages, flower girl pomander balls, floral crowns, flower wall and floral arches to a large selection of reception and ceremony/church floral arrangements. We pride ourselves in delivering beautiful flowers and outstanding service with a meticulous eye for details. Creating beautiful flowers is our passion.