Exposed metal beams. Raw wood furniture. And nothing too delicate or precious. The industrial aesthetic is one of the edgier wedding trends currently circulating, but just because its focus is on unfinished and deconstructed elements doesn't mean it's easy to pull off.
"The industrial look is all about being a little rough and undone," says Courtney Geigle of My Wed Style. That means picking chairs without luxe cushions, earthy pots instead of fancy vases, and generally holding back from anything too glitzy-glam. The result is a boldly understated effect that lets the wedding itself take the spotlight.
Here's how to get started.
"Look for out-of-the-box venues," says Kim Sayatovic of Belladeux Event Design. "Warehouses may be popular, but you can also look at train stations, shipyards, or existing businesses with industrial-style architecture." Just about any empty space with a concrete floor, and peeling paint for good measure, is a good bet, Geigle adds.
"After years of barn weddings, and plenty of blush and white, adding a raw, dark feel will make your event one your guests are sure to remember," says Tessa Brand of Tessa Lyn Events. Nail the industrial wedding look by stringing lights against a rough brick wall, she says. It's a great backdrop for photos. Marquee lights and large bulbs can also lend a modern look where other weddings might rely on classic chandeliers. Sayatovic suggests candles with rustic-looking candlesticks—as in, metal pipes, distressed paint, or even machine parts—for tabletops.
No matter the space you're working with, the florals can set the tone for much of the wedding. And if you're working with a raw space, you'll have an especially easy time integrating industrial charm. Carrie Turner and Michelle Chamoures of The White Box say it's best to skip the fussy linens and opt for an exposed tabletop with greenery intertwined with tall, tapered candlesticks. "Using neutral flowers (or opting for succulents and hanging greenery) will accentuate the natural textures in the room, like brick, wood, concrete, and metal," they say. Sayatovic agrees, adding that ivy and moss are both good options to discuss with your florist.
Mixing utilitarian materials like metals and woods will lend an industrial air to almost any soiree. To that end, Cristen Faherty of Cristen & Co. recommends sourcing antique metal house numbers and mounting them on a brick or piece of washed wood as table numbers. "Think about the old mill and factory days. What materials and machinery were they using and how you could source and incorporate pieces into various elements of your wedding day," she says, adding that old metal scales can be topped with donuts and used as dessert displays. As far as the tables themselves, Sayatovic says to look for a distressed or vintage furniture rental company and ask for wooden tables with pipe-style legs paired with silver chairs. Just avoid being too matchy.
There's no need to deny yourself the pleasure of slipping into an ethereal white dress just to stick with an industrial theme. Accessories can do the trick if you want to tap into the trend. Mariana Leung of Weng Meng Design Studio suggests borrowing from the steampunk movement. Look for pieces with clockwork gears and metal details, like her sash embroidered with gears.
Brides opting for an industrial-styled wedding will probably want to skew edgy and dark when it comes to makeup. "My favorite palette for an industrial theme is a softly blended smoky eye in shades of gunmetal, shimmery taupe or burgundy browns, paired with flawless, pale skin (barely flushed cheeks) and a deep lip in oxblood or mulberry shades," says Jennifer Trotter of Lip Service Makeup. You can go dark and dramatic with eyeshadow but be sure to blend out any harsh edges. Choose demi-wispy lashes, or add tons of individuals, Trotter says. And you're better off skipping winged liner, bronzer, bright pastels, too much highlighting, and pale or vibrant lip colors. Ask your stylist to create an undone, organic style using plenty of root texturizing powder. A deconstructed fishtail braid or loose chignon are both messy-beautiful options, Trotter adds.
Walls & All
A simple concrete or brick wall is all you need to set the tone for some stunningly spare photo ops. Nicole Ettenhofer of George Street Photo & Video worked with a couple who got married at the Eastern Building in downtown Los Angeles. Their ceremony took place in front of a bare concrete outer wall of the structure and their first look was photographed at an elevator bay with oversized painted numbers on the doors. Keeping with the minimal feel, a seating chart was made with plain brown craft paper and chalk and tacked onto a similarly stark surface. You could also pick up some free pallets from your local home improvement store, Sayatovic says, and then attach them to a wall (with leg braces for safety!) with seating assignments.