When newlyweds Shyanee and Chris Abeleda realized that they couldn't have their dream winery wedding in Yarra Valley, Melbourne (where Chris proposed) and have all their loved ones present at the same time, they decided that a garden wedding was the next best option. "We wanted it to be as easygoing, chill, and fun as it can be. Nothing too restrictive or formal," the bride tells Preview. "For the set-up, we opted for all those elements to create a winery/garden romantic wedding feels, like what we see in other countries."
Thankfully, event stylist Kitty Bunag knew exactly how to give the couple what they were looking for, transforming the outdoors of Paradiso Terrestre into a chic secret garden dream. "[It was] exactly how we envisioned it to be. Everyone loved it as much as we did, a lot of our guests said it's Pinterest-worthy," Shyanee gushes. Kitty sought to bring about an organic look to the venue, decorating the reception area with rose gold steel ornaments, lush pampas grass, an assortment of greenery, and furniture especially made by the groom himself for their big day.
Below, Preview talks to Kitty about her styling process, the elements to her garden design, the advice she would give to couples still on the lookout for the perfect wedding theme, and more! Check out her gorgeous set-up photos as well while you're at it for some wedding inspo.
Did you always dream of becoming an events designer/stylist?
"Not just events in particular. I’ve always been fascinated with spaces and design in general. I took up interior design in college really hoping to discover all the different worlds where it can take me."
How did this project come about? Were you a friend of the couple?
"The groom was an old friend from photography class many years ago and he was also from PSiD who now happens to be a furniture maker. We reconnected through a space design project, and now, their wedding."
Talk us through your creative process in styling the wedding. Did the bride have a specific peg or theme that you followed to a T? Did you take any creative liberties of your own?
"The look of this wedding was the bride’s vision from the start. She gave all her beautiful ideas. I interpreted and gave it direction with my own design deck based on everything she dreamt of. The choice of colors were her pick. That was basically what we worked with. The elements, choice of flowers, textiles, and textures were both our picks. The wooden tables were made by the groom and we agreed on not throwing a usual tablecloth over it. It really was a collaborative effort with the understanding that we both wanted was to create the most chic, classy, and romantic vibe."
Can you describe the overall look that crafted for the wedding?
"I’d say it’s romantic chic. A hint of organic/natural but not rustic (in a sense that all flora were not traditionally arranged but rather made to look like wildflowers that grew in the fields), done through a play of textures using rose gold steel, greenery, pampas grass (my current fave!), and flowers."
Did you encounter any difficulties while styling the wedding?
"Only the extreme heat while we were setting up at noon. Because the venue was completely open, we had to wait 'til the sun moves a bit west to put all centerpieces with flowers in place."
What advice would you give to a bride who's still in search of the perfect look/theme for her wedding?
"Your day, your say. When you browse for inspiration, think about what goes on behind the ones you gravitate to. A wedding theme should be more than a mere style or trend. It should reflect the personality of the couple. Close your eyes and imagine your wedding day. What does it look like? How do you want your guests to feel as they walk in? Then get the help of a planner and stylist who you absolutely trust and understand your vision. Enjoy the process!"
What's one design/styling philosophy that you always follow when it comes to your work?
"Same as #6. The design and style of a space should be centered around those who will occupy it.
"When finding inspiration, only use the 'essence of the theme', rather than interpreting it literally. If you must take elements from a theme, deconstruct them to recreate a style. This applies to every little thing from font choices, to colors, and shapes of objects."
How can other prospective clients contact you if they're interested in working with you for their own events?
"Through email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Instagram @kwittyb."