Cover photography credit: Pippa MacKenzie Photography
Renowned wedding expert and Strictly Weddings’ UK partner, Bruce Russell, is famous for his artistic approach to wedding planning. From a blank slate of possibilities, Russell draws upon his own treasures of inspiration, the couple’s distinctive spirit and unique elements which define them, to create spectacular, one-of-a-kind occasions…masterpieces, if you will. His passion for artistry and detail produces a total immersion and stimulation of the senses for all guests. It is for these reasons that Russell’s trusted skills are called upon by the most discerning of brides who request what he does best: making unforgettable memories.
In addition to his extensive range of wedding planning and design offerings, Russell is the principal wedding expert at the iconic Savoy in London where the By Bruce Russell team provides in-house planning services. Even more, Russell founded The Bridal Room, an online platform to help brides navigate wedding suppliers and services, connecting them and providing background to respected luxury brands.
With more than 18 years of industry experience, Russell certainly knows how to guide couples through the planning process. Russell shares with Strictly Weddings key insights into his artistic approach, and we are absolutely delighted to learn from the best!
Images 1- 8 Credit: Pippa MacKenzie Photography
How do you infuse artistry into the wedding planning process?
BR: I like to think of weddings as being like a play – each element to the occasion is a different ‘act’, which flows seamlessly and is united by the theatre of the overall production of the day(s). Whether I’m planning the ceremony, reception, dinner or evening events, I look at each component independently and then again within the round, to create an immersive experience which engages all of the senses. Creative design has always been a cornerstone of the services that I provide to couples and over the years I’ve built up a Little White Book of some of the top partners and suppliers who work alongside me to realize couples’ dreams.
All too often, I think an undue emphasis is placed on visual aesthetics. There is no doubt that they are crucial in the overall theatre of the day, but when creating a stunning floral display, for example, I also like to think as to how an evocative scent (from the flowers or perhaps from some strategically placed candles) might serve as the ultimate complement. Dramatic tablescaping is stunning, but I also want people’s palates to be stimulated by some really creative catering on the food and drink front, or for the entertainment to be something truly distinctive. With a wedding, we are not only creating a magnificent day of celebration, we are also making memories and when I’m planning a wedding, I don’t just focus on the ‘here and now’ – I would like for a particular scent, piece of music, or taste to transport the couple back to this magical moment for years to come.
How can a couple add their own personal artistry to the celebration?
BR: Adopting a bespoke, highly personalized approach to weddings is something that I value particularly highly. Before putting ‘pen to paper’ on the planning front, I always sit down with a couple and really get to know them, ascertain their likes and dislikes and understand how they envisage their wedding day. There are few occasions that are a more personal declaration of love than a wedding and it’s so important to ensure that the day really reflects who they are. It’s all too easy to adopt a formulaic ‘me too’ approach when it comes to planning, but I’m delighted to say that I’ve found more and more couples to be adopting this more autonomous and creative approach when it comes to their special day.
In terms of realizing the creation of personal artistry, I often find the best way to do this is in the details on the day. Whether it’s the music that is played as the bride walks down the aisle, the scent of the candles, the wedding favors that are offered to guests or within the wider entertainment, there is no shortage of ways to share with your assembled friends and families some of the elements that define you as a couple!
Images 9 – 19 Credit: Chloe Hall Photography
Where do you find inspiration to incorporate into the wedding experience?
BR: We are so lucky that creative inspiration lies around every corner and I am forever spotting different design elements that could be incorporated into a wedding. From design, architecture and fashion to even the different elements to daily life or dining out, there is no shortage of stimulation. But for me, the most important inspiration comes from the couple themselves – without their creative input the overall theme for the day won’t be half as special…
In which key areas do you advise couples to invest in the best?
BR: As any couple knows, when it comes to planning your big day, the budgeting can be somewhat complicated – but there are certain areas where, with the right investment, you can really make the different elements to your day achieve six-star standout. I always say it’s best to start with the stationary – this is the first impression that your guests will receive and it’s important to set the right tone. Another area which is often overlooked by couples, but which is well worth the money, is lighting – without good lighting, it doesn’t matter how marvelous your flowers are or how stunning the entertainment as nobody will see them in their full glory. Remember, even the finest photographer can’t work miracles in the dark!
Do you favor timelessness over trends? Or both? Why?
BR: I would always favor timelessness over trends. Of course, one cannot ignore fashion and where possible and appropriate I do look to incorporate certain trends into the wedding. But the most important thing to remember here is that there is no point in following the latest fad if it is totally at odds with the wider look and feel of the wedding day – ultimately everything needs to link back to the venue and resonate with you as a couple. When push comes to shove, I would say that it would be far better for a couple to set a new trend with their wedding than simply to follow the crowd!
What are a few high-design rules that you live by?
BR: The most important high-design rule for me is that a wedding day is so much more than just ‘big, bold and beautiful’ aesthetics – it should be an occasion that really resonates with both the couple and their assembled friends and family. Of course, we want there to be a strong visual impact – the bride’s beautiful dress, harnessing the art of tablescaping as a form of set design for the theatre of the day – but I always look to marry this to a more rounded immersion and stimulation of the senses to create a standout occasion and memories that last forever.
Images 20-25 Credit: John Nassari
More Information on By Bruce Russell
Are you a UK bride looking for the wedding planning prowess of the inimitable Bruce Russell? Learn more about Bruce Russell’s wedding expertise and specialist services by visiting his Luxe List partner page and getting connected!