The way we celebrate has drastically changed. People are ditching the large, abundant parties and opting for ones that feel close, personal, and ever meaningful—sometimes even from their own backyards. Extravagant weddings aren't for everyone anymore, and couples are turning their own homes into wonderful venues for their big days.
A growing number of people are opting for outdoor celebrations with a small group of family and friends. To help them make the most of their big day—and their outdoor spaces—Bobby Berk teamed up with Lowe's to help five couples reimagine their yards into the wedding venue of their dreams.
For Berk, the thrill of getting to surprise the couples was a great substitute for the excitement he usually feels while surprising the heroes with their new spaces on Queer Eye, which was on a filming hiatus at the time.
"It was really great because I was honestly missing out on that rush," Berk tells MyDomaine. "So it was nice for me to be able to get those endorphins by popping on those personal calls with the couples and surprising them with me being the one to help them design their wedding."
And as anyone who's seen even one episode of Queer Eye knows, Berk has an innate talent for tapping into his clients' personal style, which helps him create meaningful, one-of-a-kind designs. So his virtual consultations with the five pairs of soon-to-be-spouses were a key component of him helping them style their weddings.
His secret to uncovering each person's personal style? Asking the right questions. And surprisingly, those questions rarely involve interior design.
Ask people about things that have nothing to do with design, and that's how you get to the heart of things.
"Doing Queer Eye, I learned really quick that asking people about design usually doesn't give me a real impression of their style," he explains. "I found that asking them about their favorite TV show and their favorite movie, or asking them to show me their favorite sweater was a better approach.
Specifically, he remembers connecting with Remy—who inherited his grandmother's house—from season two, not based on his design tastes, but his interests. Berk asked Remy a few key questions and found out his favorite show was Mad Men and his dream vacation was a trip to Cuba. So, Berk styled his home with mid-century furniture with a Don Draper vibe and a Cuban-inspired wall mural.
"His response was 'I would not have ever imagined this was my style but, wow, this is my style'," Berk says. "And I explained, 'I asked you about things that you're passionate about and things that you love.' That's why I steer away from asking people about design, because they get nervous and it's out of their comfort zone so they just start throwing stuff out there that really isn't them. So I find, ask people about things that have nothing to do with design, and that's how you get to the heart of things."
This approach helped Berk zero in on the styles of each of the five couples whose weddings he helped design. He was then able to pull items from each of the curated collections he worked on with Lowe's to pull off his vision.
There was one element that pulled each look together though, and it's the same thing Berk suggests everyone consider when designing an outdoor space: good lighting.
"I would say lighting is one of the most important things. I always say you can make any space look good with the right lighting," Berk explains. "Floodlights or other bright light for a backyard are just not great. You want to have a nice, chic, dim light."