When I was asked if I wanted to interview the Matthew Robbins, celebrity event designer, wedding planner, DIY extraordinaire and author of the most beautiful book I have ever seen, INSPIRED WEDDINGS, I said YES! I've already told you about how I fell in love with this book by one of Martha's right hand wedding experts and wished I could have TWO copies it was that beautiful. But let me also mention that since then, I won a copy of the book from none other than Sweet Paul. The best surprise ever...I rarely win anything, but it came autographed! I was floored and so incredibly grateful. It has a special spot on my favorite bookshelf and I really do look at it constantly. It is full of wonderful information to inspire any event, from small friendly gatherings to the one big hub-bub so gorgeous that will get everyone talking.
I'm sure you noticed the incredibly beautiful floral spread in the fall issue of Martha Stewart Weddings, that was Matthew! Matthew was so kind to answer some of my questions and I even have a special surprise which will be coming next, so check back.
For holiday entertaining, what is your personal style? I prefer a very unfussy, relaxed approach to the holidays. i also love featuring natural materials rather than so much of the glitz and glam. I generally choose a limited color palette and I allow the color to dictate the decor. I also enjoy featuring unexpected tones for Autumn decor. This brings much more interest to any table setting or arrangement.
Do you have something that is used every year or do you try something new? There are a few details I like to see every year such as my vintage collection of holiday decor.
What do you think are the main essentials to entertaining with style over the holidays? Limit your color palette and your range of ingredients. This will allow for a much more edited, curated and style decor. If you stick to one or two "star" tones to feature you can accent with a more intense color as the anchor or finishing touch.
Where do you draw your inspiration? I find inspiration and ideas for my own holiday decor when I travel but also in the natural world. I love to feature seasonal materials in unexpected tones such as muted green pumpkins and gourds displayed in a heavy pewter or silver bowl. This brings a sophisticated edge to the rustic autumnal ingredients.
What tips would you give to someone just starting out in event planning and styling? Find your niche and really work hard to cultivate your special talents. These are the things that will set you apart from your colleagues. Also find designers or stylists who inspire you and your work. Offer to do an internship or ask if they need help every now and then so you can really learn more about their design process, their business and their approach.
When styling something, do you start with a few items and add one by one? What is your styling method? I generally start with a point of inspiration such as the objects detailed in my book. After I have my inspiration I dig deeper to allow the inspiration to dictate the general design direction for the project. This will determine mood, textures, color palette, form and function. Always rely on your inspiration and give your design meaning by infusing it with the details from your original inspiration.
Do you style before hand to prep or on the shoot/event? There always needs to be some serious prep work for any shoot or event. I spend days, weeks and months preparing the details for any project. I like to have everything organized and ready to go on site. The major decor or styling moments always happen on site as I like to create in the space I'm installing or shooting.
A huge THANK YOU to Matthew for sharing his secrets! Add his stunning book to your wishlist this holiday! It would make a great gift for the event planner or stylist in your life.