Melissa at Oak & Linden is a wedding stylist with a particular passion for floral design. She brings her keen eye for artistic detail and a distinctive flair to her styling – and then there’s the flowers, oh, those gorgeous arrangements – to complement it all! Thinking outside the square to bring all the elements of your dreams together, Melissa works to create your vision, for this most important of days. And to see it all come together, on your wedding day, is surely the stuff of dreams!
When did Oak & Linden come into being?
Oak & Linden came into being in London back in 2011.
What is Oak & Linden gaining a reputation for in the wedding business?
We are gaining a reputation for our styling and floral design. Originally we only offered wedding styling and hire but after dipping our toes into floristry we found that people couldn’t get enough of it. We always try to add something different to our floral designs, be it working in a quirky touch such as fruit and berries or using unusual vases. We also offer planning, coordination and installation, making us a one-stop shop for engaged couples.
As if she wasn’t busy enough, having a background in interiors, Melissa started a sister business in which she offers interior styling. It’s a great way for couples to create a wedding registry because she can create a registry based on the items suggested to style their home.
Image by Lil Elements
How would describe your style – both with styling and florals?
The Oak & Linden style, whether it be in styling, florals or interiors, is all about timeless elegance and a celebration of natural beauty. We love combining interesting textures and delicate colour palettes. We always add our signature quirky touch to reflect our client’s personalities in a unique way. Having begun life in London, we often bring an international edge to our designs.
What excites you about styling a wedding?
I love the process of transforming a space and seeing people’s reactions once the installation is complete. Hearing gasps of delight and surprise as they discover all the little touches is such a rewarding experience. That said, my favourite part of the process is the very beginning…Its the first time you walk into the space and your mind races with all the different ways you could transform it. Its the possibilities and allowing your mind to run with any crazy idea that pops into it that gives me the biggest rush.
Image courtesy of Oak & Linden
Do you see particular styles being used, or do you like to encourage your brides to ‘think outside the square’ and do something a little different?
Of course we see trends and couples bringing in similar inspiration images but because our designs are a response to both the locations and the couple’s personalities, by the end of the design process they are always unique. We do the ‘thinking outside the square’ for our brides and often when we present them with these ideas they have no hesitation about running with them.
Do you think that making the wedding styling and florals cohesive with the style of the reception venue is important?
Absolutely!! The venue is the foundation for the design. We do love to contrast styles though – just because a venue might be rustic, it does not mean that the styling must be too. It’s all about thoughtful execution.
As it can become really confusing with all the different gorgeous elements/styles available to include in a wedding, do you see part of your role as helping brides to clarify and refine their wedding décor? How do you achieve this?
This is the most common thing we come across. Brides come to the initial consultation with so many ideas and say that they know what they like but they are having trouble refining their ideas and bringing them all together. Most of the time we resolve this by finding a way to link the ideas – for example colour can be a great unifier.
Image by Nerida McMurray Photography
What do you love about flowers?
They are my most trusted muse! Almost all my designs are sparked by something I’ve noticed in nature. Flowers are particularly great for coming up with a colour scheme. Within one flower head there can be a wide spectrum of colours and they are always harmonious and full of depth! So I guess what I love about flowers is they are always inspiring.
Do you see the flowers arrangements as being the ‘glue’ that brings the whole style of the wedding together?
For sure! They set the tone for the whole space both in terms of colour and texture.
What are some of the quirky, and different ways we can use flowers at the wedding?
Flowers can be your wedding favours too! You can fold the napkin into a pocket and slip a beautiful stem or mini posie in – tie it with a beautiful ribbon and thank you card. It’s simple, adds colour and style to the table and is a gift that all your guests will love. Too many times I see favours that are left behind…when have you ever seen guests not wanting to take the flowers!!! Flowers also don’t have to be used in a traditional vase. We’ve done arrangements in seashells, miniature glasshouses, logs and trophies…anything that has a hollowed space can be a vase!!!
Image by Nerida McMurray Photography
Do you have some favourite floral elements (or flowers) that you feel brings that ‘wow’ factor to the wedding décor?
I LOVE anemonies. I am also a huge fan of mixing small blooms in amongst larger flower heads. It adds depth, interest and texture to arrangements. For this, I often use wax or berries. This creates a wow factor because the arrangements become so much more interesting…the closer you inspect them, the more detail you appreciate.
You also have a hire business as part of Oak & Linden. What are popular hire items at the moment?
Our hire range grows organically from the items we have custom sourced for clients. We don’t have 100’s of chairs, but rather one-off finds such as our industrial rusted LOVE sign. It’s become a mini celebrity…its been on the Today Show, in the local paper and magazines, fairs and wedding all around NSW. It was on display the other day and I had someone come up and say I know this sign, you must be from Oak & Linden!!! We often use it to style food stations or the gift table. We also have a swing we adorn with flowers for engagement shoots and a beautiful hand carved screen, which we’ve used both as a ceremony backdrop and as a seating chart display.
Image courtesy of Oak & Linden
Where do you ship these items to?
So far we’ve only had enquiries to ship within NSW but depending on the size and how delicate the item is, we could ship hire products anywhere really.
If money is tight, how can a bridal couple decorate their wedding in a stylish and elegant way?
I always tell people to book a space that is beautiful already so that they don’t have to spend a fortune decorating it. There are some things worth spending money on such as your venue and chairs – a good chair can transform a space! Fairylights and candles are so inexpensive and always make a space feel magical. Nowadays you can get battery-operated fairylights so having a power source is no longer an issue. String them everywhere!!! There are loads of businesses that will install fairylights for you too, which will be cheaper than buying them all yourself. Going for round tables rather than long ones can also be cheaper because you only need one centrepiece and no runner is needed.
With your knowledge of the bridal industry and weddings, do you have any further advice to give to brides?
Winter weddings are amazing! You can get better deals in low-season, have a greater choice of suppliers. Some of my favourite flowers are only available in winter too!!! Having an outdoor ceremony is beautiful but it has its downsides – formulating a plan B, making sure there is enough shade for everyone, getting heels stuck in the grass and long dresses dirtied. In a winter wedding you’ll be inside and these are no longer these issue!!
Thank you Melissa for sharing your story. To find out more about Oak & Linden visit the website.
Headshot courtesy of Oak & Linden