Styling guru & floral artist Miriam Avery is an award winning, leading floral designer and experienced wedding planner. Miriam is the founding Director of Chic Rustique in Australia and the UK. She has become widely renowned in Australia for her immaculate taste, passion for creating distinctive design concepts, sincerity and diligence whilst also being sensitive to individual needs. She loves challenges and has a talent for transforming the most unassuming looking venue into a spellbinding scene.
We chat to Miriam about her loves, styling career and all things weddings!
MW: Tell us a bit about yourself.
MA: My name is Miriam Avery and I am the founding Director of Chic Rustique in Australia and the UK. I am a wedding floral designer and stylist with over a decade of wedding industry experience, as well as qualifications in Floral Design and Viticulture. I am passionate about creating distinctive design concepts for individual events and weddings.
I love everything about my job from the early planning stages and first meeting my couples and finding out all about them, what makes them tick as a couple and what styles best reflect their personalities as a couple. I feel honoured every week to be able to provide a service so personal to people and hopefully provide them with a swoon worthy day. I love how I found my true destiny in life. From growing up in the beautiful Scottish countryside and finding beauty in my everyday surroundings and an initial foray into music and acting to chasing my dreams all the way to Australia where I gained qualifications in Floral Design and Viticulture. My early career in Australia saw me cut my teeth in the vineyard industry which taught me all about plants and nature in general and gave me a further appreciation of flowers and how they work!
The things I love most in life are a creative challenge, travelling back and forth between Scotland/England and my new home in Australia, Margaret River, spending time with my very down to earth husband who is a beef farmer (he keeps it real for me!), spending time with my gorgeously crazy and spirited daughter Harriet, appreciating a good Chardonnay with friends, gardening, cooking and my rather large passion for shoes!
MW: How did you get started as a stylist?
MA: Chic Rustique is an international wedding and event flower design and styling business with offices in Margaret River, Western Australia and Berkshire, UK. It all began in 2010 when I was on maternity leave from my role as Wedding and Functions Coordinator at a Margaret River winery. 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 Miriam's dining room table into a 400 square metre warehouse, workshop and showroom.
Though the scale of wedding flowers and decorations has increased the individual care and attention to each event has not.
And the team couldn't be happier with the development! The results show as Modern Wedding has announced Chic Rustique as one of Austrlia's top 25 wedding stylists and we have been voted as Best Wedding Stylist in WA by past and present brides thru the ABIA awards!
MW: What colours and colour palette combinations do you love for next 12 months?
MA: I’m suggesting deep bold colours for the next 12 months. They are super sexy and ultra-romantic and still retain a classic sophisticated air to them. I love deep reds with dusty pinks and splashes of gold; deep reds with teal blue/green and gold; or walnut brown with ivory and cream, pops of cherry red and deep greens.
MW: What are your favourite new styling trends for 2016/2017?
MA: Hanging Florals are to die for and I love the opportunity to get my hands dirty with a few at a wedding. Even just a hanging plank with mixed hanging foliage and some festoon lights creates such an amazing ambiance, its hard not to swoon over them.
I love the big messy bouquets that are popular at the moment. They are a great challenge too. It may not appear so but sometimes a big messy (made to look very natural) bouquet can be harder to get right than a straight forward 40 rose bouquet!
Floral Walls with a difference. I love it when I see a wall that’s not just straight flowers. They are stunning and luxurious, and there is beauty in block flowers, but I love different textures of foliage, bark and different types of flowers.
Homemade arches and arbours. I love seeing people create something that reflects them as a couple. Homemade arches, arbour, tipis, doors are beautiful. We have a few of our own and love the fun we get to have designing different ways to dress them, where to position them, how big to make them, what colour flowers to have on them, whether to have a chandelier! Everybody is so different so it is about being brave and having exactly what you want.
Image by John Rice Photographer
MW: What are your five favourite styling elements to work with right now and why?
MA: Paperbark – I love any type of wood but paperbark in particular. I love to wrap it around vases, bouquets or incorporate it into a floral wall/door. I love the smell of it, I love the texture and I love, above all, that is such a natural product. I never thought when I first saw a paperbark tree that I would find such beauty in its bark!
Mercury – Homemade mercury vases are the way forward. I love the vintage twinkling look that mercury gives a table. We started making our own when we were caught short for one wedding and being in Western Australia (and in the country) you can’t just pop to the shops to get more so we learned how to make our own. The result was fantastic!
Pepper Berry – My favourite foliage of the moment is definitely pepper berry although it does make me sneeze a lot during use! It smells devine, has gorgeous trailing leaves and looks amazing in any natural, unstructured arrangements we do.
Crystal – Candelabras, vases, chandeliers. I love them all and they add the ultimate romance to any event. Even a simple crystal tea light holder can add the charm you need to complete the look on a table.
Flower Crowns- They make me VERY nervous (but in a good way) and I still get very twitchy when I have to deliver the crown to a bride and see if I have got it right. I feel that they are even more personal than the bouquet itself purely because it’s going on your head. I get a little bit neurotic if I need to get somebody else to deliver the crown and they don’t text me to let me know if the bride liked the crown. I automatically think they hate it! Flower crowns are definitely in vogue at the moment and will be around for a while longer I suspect. They give me a very good creative challenge and makes me push the boundaries of comfort!
Photography by Photogerson
MW: What are your top 3 tips for brides wanting to create unique wedding style?
MA: 1. Don’t try to be somebody you are not or copy a cool wedding you have seen in a magazine. Dig deep and analyse who you really are as a couple. There is no point in focussing on one person’s style. The whole point of a wedding is the union of two people and I love nothing more than bringing two styles and personalities together to create one perfect completely unique style.
2. Pick a venue that complements your style; if you are trying to create a twilight style wedding in a large open airy space you are going to fail. Either pick the venue then the style of your wedding or choose a style and find a venue to match.
3. Sometimes less is more.
Photography by Photogerson
MW: If you were designing your own wedding, how would you style it?
MA: It would definitely be an outdoor wedding. There is a square in Edinburgh which is surrounded with cherry blossoms. I can’t remember the name of it now but I passed it every day on my way to school. I always thought I would declare my love to somebody one day while standing under those trees surrounded by flowering cherry blossoms and old buildings. The reception would be Edinburgh Castle so that huge chandeliers could be hung with cascading flowers and foliage. I would have big long tables adorned with deep red and pink flowers in gold vases at different heights. Some would be very tall (over the head) and others in tiny vases. There would be silk table cloths with wooden charger plates or place mats, gold cutlery and a ridiculous amount of candles! And finally, it would have to be in March; my favourite time of year and also when the cherry blossoms flower in Scotland.