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Project Onward

Kelly Connolly

Founder, Nimble Well

We enlisted the help of vintage vixen Kelly Connolly of Nimble Well, an eclectic event decor rental company, to create three little wedding vignettes. Kelly schools us in three wedding decor trends; a watercolor palette, mid century modern with brass accents and over-the-top crystals. After getting married, Kelly noticed her friends asking to borrow the collection she had acquired planning her farm wedding—then Nimble Well was born and still only one of the few vintage rental companies in Chicago.

For wedding decor inspiration, Kelly says to just go nuts on Pinterest—as if we needed an excuse! But to really gather a vision for your big day, it’s all about the editing process. She recommends picking a date to end the inspiration exploration then to go through all your images and edit. She helps us get started here.

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For the first trend-to-keep-an-eye-on, Kelly elevated basic wedding decor to a wonderful world of watercolor (pictured above). Mixing warm and cool colors, this wedding trend creates a fresh and light atmosphere. Watercolor has been popular in paper and textile design, and for weddings creates a romantic feel without a strict color palette.

“Watercolor palettes pair nicely with contemporary, free-form calligraphy and hand-lettering, the garden-y florals that are catching fire now and natural-dyed silk runners. It’s a romantic look that’s light with a little bit of a vintage feel without being stodgy,” Kelly says,

And since wedding style is taking more direction from home decor, Kelly whips up a vignette featuring a sleek, mid-century modern look paired with brass accents (pictured below). She notes, it’s a style that feels fresh and won’t look outdated quickly. Since copper and brass are seriously trending in home design, and rose gold in fashion, mixing metals adds depth and warmth to a timeless mid century styles.

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Kelly tips us on how to create focal points without elements competing: “It’s about choosing what you want to highlight and what should play a supporting role. If you want florals to be soft and pretty neutral, you can bring color and interest other places like the glassware and linens. If you want the florals to have more focus, choose tableware that picks up an element, but won’t compete with them.”

Sparkle is never out of style at weddings. For Kelly’s third trend to watch, she creates a tablescape of over-the-top crystals (pictured below) with vintage pieces—the heft and decadence of crystal is the epitome of a luxe celebration. And Kelly notes, there’s nothing like the sound of a toast with crystal. Amen.

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Other trends that Kelly loves for weddings? “I love the warmth of a table with a ton of candles,” she says. “Crystal picks up and reflects light well—crystal and candlelight. That’s all you need. You could stop right there! And bringing in wood with some texture and interest, like vintage butcher blocks and live-edge pieces, is a polished update to the rustic trend that’s been evolving over the last few years.”

Still stuck? Kelly explains her own inspiration process: “I discard what doesn’t resonate, whittle it down to what is still appealing and consider what exactly I like about each element. I keep distilling until I’ve found the things that are beautiful and practical. It might be close to the thing that set me off exploring in the beginning, but often it’s very different and just has a kernel of the thing that was the spark.”

Rentals range from approx. $2 to $50. More details at

PHOTO: Tim Musho
TEXT: Alaina Africano