"The creative urge is strong in us and among the strong emotions of the human heart is a love of beauty and a desire to create beauty. But it is not given to all of us to be artists in the generally accepted sense of the word. With flowers, however, with living plants as your medium, it is possible to create beauty, even to the degree of making a masterpiece". -Constance Spry
In all areas of creative industries certain buzz words have become popular. Fine art, curation, stylist, creative or art direction. It is one thing to throw these words around in business planning, but what does it all mean?
So many wedding professionals claim to be or specialize in one or all of the above, but how as clients can you distinguish whether your wedding planner, florist, calligrapher, or photographer is truly capable of achieving these things? Being informed and aware of the terminology is essential to determine those vendors that actually are versus those just throwing around the terminology without any substance behind it.
Using the term fine art to describe a wedding has become particularly fashionable at the moment, boarding on trendy. Fine art traditionally refers to creative art, specifically visual art, whose products are appreciated primarily or solely for their imaginative, aesthetic, or intellectual content. At least according to Merriam Webster. In terms of fine art wedding vendors, it is those who use very specific and high end materials. Those come with a hefty price tag. Photographers who only shoot on film as it is highly specialized and expensive. It is the florist who wraps bouquets in only plant dyed silk ribbons and specifically sources unusual flowers. It is something that everyone is aiming for, but is it necessarily for everyone?
To curate is typically referenced in terms of art or collections as it means to select, organize, or look after items. For any wedding professional, to curate their work means so seek and source the best materials for the specific craft. For wedding planners, it is collecting the best vendors to suit your needs and tastes. For florists, it is finding the best quality flowers, ribbons, vessels, etc. for their clients. For calligraphers and photographers its finding the best inks and films. You probably get the drift by now.
Styling is another term adopted by the wedding industry. Long before there were fashion and food stylists, photographers dictated the styling choices for shoots. These days, it seems everything requires “styling.” What does that mean in terms of a wedding? Bringing your entire vision to life and ensuring that all the elements of your big day come together seamlessly. It means that as opposed to merely having a florist delivering centerpieces and bouquets, they will arrange their designs thoughtfully on the table. They incorporate thoughtful details such as fruits or smaller buds on the table to mix with votives or other elements to elevate the overall look and feel of the event. Styling goes so far beyond just putting together flowers. It is all the thoughtful details that take a simple compote to a thoughtful presentation. It’s also a lot more difficult than it looks.
Not all wedding vendors are great creative or art directors. That is another example of terminology borrowed from other industries and often used incorrectly. There will be many who argue this point, but every type of wedding vendor is in their own way leading the creative direction of their brand, but not all are created equal. We can only speak in terms of florists. Some florists are just that, really good florists. They know flowers in and out. They know traditional techniques like the back of their hand. They are technically speaking, the ones who make the artistic decisions as flowers are their chosen medium.
What separates a run of the mill florist from one who pulls double duty as a creative or art director and florist? This florist would say, a strong background in the arts. A knowledge of the design process, color theory, composition, form, space, balance. There are techniques specific to florists and there are those specific to designers. A florist that is a true creative or art director has the ability to combine both.
How do you know if your chosen vendors are these things or if you even need them? That is tough. When planning a wedding, it is important to prioritize you needs. Is have physical copies of film photos both in your budget and super important to you? Is letter pressing and gold leaf on your invitations something you will treasure for ever? Will your day be ruined without organically dyed silk ribbon wrapped around your bouquet? That is entirely up to you!