From floral crowns and antique chairs to handmade decorations, couples are walking up the aisle in vintage style, designer Ela Saliba tells Melanie Vella.

The fusion of shabby chic, vintage and rustic wedding themes celebrates the intricacies of old world items, antiques and earthy tones, marrying great design with ease and embracing imperfections.

Many couples want their wedding day to capture all their most treasured memories and create an ambience that reflects their shared character and style. This style plays well with traditional Maltese churches, rustic outdoor venues and the inclusion of family heirlooms within the decor.

Graphic designer Ela Saliba creates the vintage, shabby chic and bohemian style for some of her clients to create a more fun and romantic experience.

“I was brought up surrounded by the Maltese village lifestyle, I was always fascinated by reused objects. Through my travels and design work, I was further inspired to learn ways to transform used props and furniture into beautiful repurposed objects,” she says.

“My work with an interior design studio flourished into the creation of my own brand.”

Pina is a collection of handmade gifts inspired by nature, village lifestyle and ethnic designs.

Another exciting element of this theme is discovering shabby chic gems in your grandmother’s cupboard, picking up old suitcases from a vintage shop or putting together a delicate tea set from a flea market

“Wedding decor, design and souvenirs are the most recent step in my venture.”

This is increasingly becoming today’s modern approach to wedding celebrations. The style creates room for a more personalised and unique set-up with personal touches that have sentimental value.

Saliba meets couples like Kate and Sandro Scerri who wanted to celebrate their day of unity, yet move away from the expense and extravagance of a traditional wedding that replicates versions of a royal wedding.

“Their dream was to showcase who they are and enjoy their wedding day intimately with their closest family and friends, without breaking the bank before starting their new life together.

“I love to work hand-in-hand with couples to get their input. Usually I will be given a set of images that directs me towards the approach I will take to turn a dream into a memorable experience,” she explains.

The beauty of a shabby chic wedding is that there are few rules and plenty of freedom when choosing the colour scheme. Pastels work particularly well wrapped together with a deep vibrant contrast to craft an alternative and striking look. Accents of pastel pink, baby blue or light lemon yellow work well with deep maroons or deep purples. Setting these gentle colours against earthier tones like deep green or coffee browns will also blend everything together.

Another exciting element of this theme is discovering shabby chic gems in your grandmother’s cupboard, picking up old suitcases from a vintage shop or putting together a delicate tea set from a flea market. Repainting and restyling these pieces to fit in with the colour scheme and theme will add an eclectic mix of old-world pieces to the decor.

The Scerris chose to have their wedding in a traditional Maltese farmhouse. The rustic stone walls and wild garden were a beautiful canvas to paint the rest of the picture. The wooden feel of the décor was balanced perfectly with cream fabrics and bright hues of wild flowers to further set the mood.

“We built a rubble wall around the bar which was complemented by the recycled distressed wood used for the tables and seating. This blended perfectly with the hand-crafted decor and vintage wooden frames to capture the couple’s mostprecious moments.”

The addition of red velvet time-worn sofas pulled everything together.

Typical wedding trends that incorporate accents of gold and silver can be used in more versatile and subtle ways. Distinct features include is the use of vintage bistro signage with lace and gold or silver trimmings to capture a more home, yet elegant feel.

The careful use of lighting creates a romantic and intimate environment. Mason jars with candles decorated with twine and ribbon also embraces more of the theme. A concentrated cluster of one colour lends a graphic impact to a centre piece, which can be created by hand-picked seasonal flowers and plants.

Saliba opts for a simple yet playful design with invitations. The perfect medley of cream and brown tones mixed with rope, recycled paper envelopes and a pop of colour ties the theme in seamlessly.

Creating wedding souvenirs is another opportunity to get the creative juices flowing.

“For Kate and Sandro we created little pouches with shells, trinkets and a short message from the bride and groom. This was tied together with ribbon according to the colour scheme of the wedding.”

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