If there is one book that has blown me away this year it’s ‘Matthew Robbins Inspired Weddings’. We know him best from his work with Martha Stewart Weddings, but I tell you, his book? It’s all about integrating your own life, your own personality into your wedding (a review coming soon!) SO I am so honoured Matthew was able to join us for an expert interview today on Polka Dot Wisdom!

Please tell us a little about yourself. And your design background?

My background is in fine art and art history. I studied painting, printmaking and textiles. My college years were filled with exploring these disciplines (and many others) along with developing my own visual language for my art and design work. I love to collect beautiful objects from all over the world. Travel is a passion and one of the essentials in my own life for staying inspired. I’m also a gardening fanatic and find endless ideas in the plant world.

What inspired you to write your first book ‘Matthew Robbins’ Inspired Weddings’?

I recognized the need for good design books and resources in the event and wedding industries. I noticed the desire in my clients to find inspiration and ideas that live comfortably in the world of art, design and fashion instead of being limited to tired, old fashioned and fussy wedding trends. For so many years the event and wedding resources out there really lived in a vacuum and did not relate to trends or standards in the design world. I wanted to bring that design savvy eye to the table for planning a party or a wedding and empower readers to think like a stylist, artist or designer.

A key piece of advice from your book is in your introduction – ‘I like to encourage couples to think of their wedding as the largest dinner party they’ve ever thrown’. How do couples translate that idea into their wedding?

Think about your venue as your home for the night. What would you do and what are the choices you would make in your home if you were hosting a fabulous party? Go with your gut and stick to the things that feel true to who you are and the story you would like to tell. Remember this is not the only dinner party you will ever host. Think of it as the start of many you will enjoy as a couple. You want your wedding day to feel authentic and true to your history, aesthetic and life choices.

You’ve divided your book into themes such as Citrus, Schoolhouse Map and Twine. Is the point of these themes to take an object you love and build a theme around it?

The point of the specific chapters is to shed some light on how to not only find inspiration but how to actually use it. I thought if we focused on one specific theme or object in each chapter that would allow for a more specific design approach in detailing the methods for extracting the core design and style elements. It really helps to define your vision when you edit your inspiration down to one or two images, objects or ideas. You want to create something strong and defined so narrowing your focus will bring a better and more cohesive design to your event.

How should brides start this process?

I suggest starting your design process by literally going out and hunting for inspiration. If you are an art lover spend time in museums and galleries. Stroll through gardens blooming during the season you plan to be married. Try different restaurants and find elements in the menus that feel special or unique. Spend time online and in magazines looking at interior design and fashion. Once you find all of your inspiration gather it and start the editing process. Edit, edit and continue to edit until you find a really unique, cohesive and authentic design story.

Does this extend to the food and drink you serve – should they tie in with your theme?

Your food and drink ideas should definitely relate to the overall aesthetic of your wedding but you can work this in loosely. You don’t have to feel pressured to color coordinate all of your food or menu items. You can toss in a few surprise elements embedded in the cocktail food, the bar menu, the dinner courses or dessert that will tie things together. Remember this can be subtle such as a nod to seasonal produce or a dish that recognizes your cultural roots or traditions.

You’ve peppered the book with your thoughts – on raw bars, welcome gifts, food presentation – to name a few. Is there anything you really feel strongly that the couple must get right, or are there really no rules?

The things that have to be right are the experiences. The details can be simple but you want to leave your guests with a wonderful sense of time and place. You can do this by choosing just the right song, serving the perfect specialty cocktail or having the perfect lighting. Everything needs to work together to create a special event. Remember you need a holistic, integrated approach when planning your wedding. Each and every choice relates to the bigger picture which is ultimately a day all about celebrating your love and life as a married couple.

Do you have a favourite colour or theme that you tend to use elements of again and again?

I tend to love garden elements so I’m drawn to fresh herbs, vines and unique textural elements in floral arrangements. I also love balancing vintage, eclectic details with a more modern, streamlined aesthetic. This is something I do with many of our events and I love the contrast. It keeps things interesting and less predictable.

Are there any trends so see emerging in the next 12 months?

I see a trend for embracing crisp, bold color again and moving away from so many of the muted, antique color palettes. Simple, chic and effortless are all buzz words that will continue to follow trends in wedding and event design. I also see an ongoing obsession with bold, graphic pattern in textiles and printed materials.

Thank you Matthew for sharing your story with us today. Find out more about Matthew at Matthew Robbins Design

All images are by  Thuss + Farrell

Matthew Robbins may be contacted through Matthew Robbins Design