How Do I Style Weddings? My Creative and Practical Process
If you are curious about what a wedding stylist actually does and how I can help you create the wedding of your dreams, this blog should help you.
I’ve laid out how I go about styling weddings, so you can have some insight into my whole creative and practical process, as well as what it’s like working with me...
Step 1: Getting to Know You and Your Vision
Because what I do is all about helping you to design a celebration that soulfully represents you, getting to know you as a couple and what you want from your wedding day is the first crucial step.
This is important in being able to visualise and create a wedding that encapsulates who you are and what you want.
No two weddings I style are ever the same, as each one is tailored to your personal style, as well as your venue, the time of year, the food and entertainment you’ve chosen, and most importantly, the experience you want to share with your guests.
This means when we first meet, I’ll ask lots of questions! I’ll ask you about your engagement and get a sense of who you are as a couple. Then I’ll ask about your venue, what sort of catering you’re planning, number of guests, the ambience you would like throughout the day and if you have any thoughts on the colours or style of the decor you’d like.
Some couples have a really firm concept and know exactly how they want everything to look and some feel a bit unsure and daunted about the decor and don’t know where to start. Either is fine for me to be able to go off and work on their design plan.
Step 2: Creating your Bespoke Design Plan
After listening to all your ideas and requirements I go off and spend a lot of time figuring out how each area of your wedding will look.
To create this design plan, I first break down the day into ‘ceremony’ and ‘reception’ and then break it down again into the following areas:
Ceremony: Entrance (including the welcome sign, confetti basket and any other decor), aisle decor, aisle runner, pew ends, ceremony backdrop, ceremony decor, signing table (fabric runner / decor) and drinks areas.
Reception: Seating plan, top table, guest tables, place settings, ceiling decor, cards & gift area, bar, cake table, guestbook table, discord for the dance floor and backdrop for the band / DJ.
To know what’s possible in terms of decor installation, I often need to speak with the marquee company or venue. They will give me the info I need about where things can be hung and will send me a floor plan and the table layout. This helps me create your design plan as I know the venue’s focal points and where to concentrate the decor.
If you’ve booked a florist, I also liaise with them to find out about the exact colours and florals they will be using, so I can style the decor to tie in with these. Or, if you have booked my ‘It Takes Two’ collaborative package with RV Floristry, then Rachel and I will work together on the design to make sure all the different aspects tie in seamlessly.
I use Pinterest and Instagram to find images that help me illustrate my ideas and show you how your wedding could look. I put all my suggestions into one moodboard to make sure it all works cohesively. I can either start my own board on Pinterest or you can add me to yours, if you have one.
Once I’ve worked out how to make all the areas of your wedding look beautiful and flow together, I gather the right images to illustrate my vision. I’ll then use these images to create my initial design plan, which I’ll send on to you.
Wondering what’s included in your design plan and how it may look? You can see one of my example design plans here.
Step 3: Getting Feedback on the Design Plan
When couples see their design plan, it gives them a really good idea of how everything will come together on their special day. This is a really fun moment in the process and I love seeing their reactions!
Often they are ones of relief, as they start to see the styling taking shape! Being able to visualise how my design concepts will materialise in real life is really reassuring and inspiring for most couples!
At this point, couples can tell me all their thoughts, ideas and any changes they’d like to see. Sometimes I’ll put different options in the plan so they can choose their favourite.
If a couple want to, they can make changes to the design plan up until a month before their event, so there’s lots of flexibility. I want them to feel 100% happy.
A month before the wedding is the cut off for changes as I have to order items in and start making any handmade items by that point. That said, some small changes can be made up to the wedding day, such as the tweaks we need to make if guests drop out due to sickness, etc. I can even make tweeks on the day if the guest numbers change. I always try to be as accommodating as possible.
Step 4: Making and Sourcing
Once I have the design plan finalised, I get busy collecting, sourcing and making all decor elements that I’ve planned to use.
These might include fabrics, vases, table decorations, lighting solutions, candle holders and many other things, as well as all the bits and bobs I need to make any bespoke items.
I love styling with unique items that add both depth and character to the wedding’s atmosphere and prevent that ‘out-of-a-box’ wedding feel. I handmake a lot of my props, such as wedding arches, macrame hangings and wedding signs... so they truly are one of a kind.
To make things as sustainable as possible and prevent waste, I try to reuse things and hire things where possible. I already have a huge treasure trove of items that I’ve made or collected, and you have access to all my props when working with me.
Step 5: Getting Everything Ready (the week before)
The week before your wedding I’ll be busy making sure all props are cleaned, ironed, polished and packed into my van.
This is always done at least the day before set up (never on the day!) and, of course, I ensure that I have my styling toolkit, which is fully stocked with all my essential supplies.
Step 6: Set Up on the Wedding Day
On the wedding day itself I’m usually up and out of the door by 7am, ready to arrive at the location, unload and start styling!
When it comes to styling weddings, I always start with the ceiling as the structure I'm decorating as a ceiling centrepiece (which is usually a hoop or wooden ladder) will be lowered and then hoisted up when it’s ready.
Or, if I’m attaching decor straight to the ceiling, then the tables need to be out the way so I can use a ladder.
Once the ceiling is dressed, I can then put the tables into the correct position and put the tablecloths and runners down so the catering staff can then lay the tables with cutlery and glasses.
After this I decorate the ceremony area - wedding arch, signs, signing table, etc, before heading back to the reception area to finish setting up the table decor, place settings, bar area and any other sections that need dressing.
At this point, I also put out any decor items you’ve provided, such as wedding favours or colouring books and toys for children at the wedding.
Once the ceremony is over, I move the decor items we’ve used in this area to the reception area so that they can be enjoyed for the rest of the day.
I really like to make sure that you get the most out of your decor and these beautiful pieces so I plan to maximise everything that’s been used!
Step 7: Pack Down
This is the least glamorous bit of the process, but a necessary one! I’m sure you’d rather someone else is worrying about this aspect of your wedding day so you don’t need to think about it!
I also return the following day (or sometimes late at night if the wedding is at a hotel) to pack everything away.
I make sure any hired items go back to their suppliers, and all my props are taken home to be cleaned, washed and packed away.