Trend forecast: the rise of industrial weddings

Trend on the rise: Industrial Weddings at Smart Artz Gallery in South Melbourne. Image: Smart Artz Gallery

Trend on the rise: Industrial Weddings  Image: Smart Artz Gallery

Industrial styling has been popular within design circles for many years now, however, this trend has only recently filtered into the wedding realm – and the result is an unexpectedly potent concoction of raw textures and contemporary elements that modern couples are loving.

Here’s everything you need to know about industrial wedding venues and weddings.

OK, so what is industrial design?

Industrial design is not a concept typically associated with weddings, however, the trend of hosting ceremonies in industrial spaces and incorporating raw textures such as rusted metal, timber and concrete into wedding styling is becoming an increasingly popular aesthetic with contemporary brides.

Image Don't Tell Charles via Instagram

Image: Don’t Tell Charles via Instagram

“Think industrial warehouses, large open spaces, polished concrete, and raw materials,” says Sharon Dawson, co-owner of Smart Artz Gallery, one of Melbourne’s most popular industrial wedding spaces.

Sharon says she has seen a sharp increase in industrial weddings over the past five years adding that she isn’t surprised that the world of weddings has embraced the industrial theme so enthusiastically.

“Raw elements really seem to appeal to modern couples who have a real affinity for polished concrete, big steel beams on rafters and, at Smart Artz, our vintage light fittings, which we had a welder come in and make especially for us.”

The term industrial is characterised by references to manufacturing, factories and similar blue collar working environment. However, in recent years, the term has been applied to styling and design concepts and trends have spearheaded the industrial aesthetic becoming not just accepted, but in demand, in the wedding venue space.

And, what happens when industrial design meets weddings?

Think crystal chandeliers hung against crumbling exposed brick walls; imagine walking down the aisle on highly polished concrete and kissing your beloved beneath exposed beams dripping with lush green foliage.

“It’s all about the delicate feel of a traditional wedding pitted against the seemingly harsh, utilitarian styling of the industrial world,” says Sharon. “It’s practical and sharp meeting soft, flowing and delicate – and it works marvellously.”

Sharon, whose giant industrial space even houses Dame Nellie Melba’s piano, says that industrial venues can provide “the perfect canvas on which to mix vintage and contemporary furniture, and beautiful stand out pieces.”

Industrial styling ideas

“Raw industrial spaces have an energy about them that beckons creative embellishment,” says Sharon, suggests stringing fairy lights and floral arrangements and vintage industrial furniture, because they juxtapose nicely with the industrial look of the space.

“Hanging different floral arrangements from the rafters looks really great, too.

“There is opportunity in the drama of vast spaces and there is beauty in unexpected elements such as crystal ornaments, chandeliers and beautiful decorative objects occupying a utilitarian environment.”

Adding criss-crossing strings of dimly lit fairy lights around scaffolding is an example of a clever way to add pretty elements to dilute the industrial theme and making an industrial environment applicable to a wedding context.

Sharon says that pretty styling elements juxtapose well within an industrial space.

Image: Danfredo Photos and Films

Image: Danfredo Photos and Films

Mixing raw textures with contemporary elements provides a look that lacks pretension, and can be an affordable option for some brides who can find new purpose in salvaged objects and typically unused spaces.

Sharon says that using utilitarian objects such as “funky mason jars, light fixtures tethered with old rope and rusted mirrors,” add to the aesthetic of industrial wedding spaces.

“From the funky jars used for cocktails, to the stand-out pieces such as an eight-metre rusted table which we use for sit down banquets or decorate for stand-up cocktail weddings.”

The best part about industrial spaces, says Sharon, is they can be affordable to decorate and still look great without an excess of flowers or styling elements.

“As someone who has had a hand in more 400 weddings, you’d think nothing would surprise me,” she adds, “yet there’s something new and fresh and really exciting about industrial weddings.

“I’ve never seen two that are similar – and that’s a very surprising thing when you eat, breath and dream weddings every day!”

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