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5 ways to add hygge to your wedding

If you’re planning a winter wedding (or perhaps hedging your bets in case your spring wedding here in Scotland features a little sleet or even snow!), then chances are you’ve given some thought as to how to create a cosy atmosphere for your guests. Today wedding stylist, Toria is taking us through how to bring a little extra warmth to the day…

With everyone jumping on the hygge bandwagon of late, you’ve possibly found yourself wondering how you might be able to bring the warmth associated with this concept into your wedding. And also how to pronounce the word.

Aside from the fact that many of the elements associated with hygge will likely already be in attendance on your big day – family, friends, good food – there are certainly ways to help bring this feeling of happiness, contentedness, simplicity, and mindfulness even more to the fore. And many of these can be enhanced even further with well-considered styling.

The beauty of hygge is that there are no rules as to what constitutes a hygge moment; merely the need and desire to recognise the beauty of a particular time. If in doubt, ask a Dane to explain; they have been embracing the concept of hygge for hundreds of years.

However, in case you don’t know any Danish people, and in order to help guide you on your way towards achieving this state, we have listed five common elements that, if nothing else, will ensure your day is beautifully intimate and authentic.

1. Nature

The connection to natural elements and the great outdoors can play a strong role in achieving a feeling of hygge. And the great news is that there are more and more options for outdoor weddings appearing every year: beaches, mountains, castle ruins, tipis, forests. The lack of spatial confines can encourage couples to think outside the usual format of a traditional wedding, and can bring a sense of freedom to the day. And true, the elements can be unpredictable, but this only lends itself to the sensory experience of an outdoor venue. Smells and sounds that are usually minimised or synthetic in indoor ceremonies can be hugely evocative and perfect for connecting to and remembering the day.

However, if the great outdoors is just a little too unpredictable for you, there are many ways to bring the outdoors inside. Flowers and foliage are naturally (pardon the pun) the first ideas to spring to mind. However, Scandinavian styling looks often to natural materials in many forms: wood, stones, cotton, leather, seagrass. Using a simple stone or leaf for place names, or leaving your table undressed to show the wood of the table beneath the crockery settings; these are simple ideas to bring nature into the day. And simplicity is definitely hygge.

2. Light

And the list of natural components does not have to end with tactile elements; just as important are the intangible. Natural light not only adds a freshness to the day, but adds a ‘realness’ to photos that is both candid and authentic. Look to use the light of your venue where you can, even if this means moving the placing of the ceremony or other activities throughout the day. As Gaudi said, ‘sunshine is the best painter and the light changes with the time,’ so taking advantage of this natural element is a simple way of adding beauty to the day.

And when evening comes, candles are the most hygge of all lights. Whilst many venues have restrictions over the use of candles, these can often be overcome if the flame is shielded (with a simple holder or dish, or something more substantial like a lantern or hurricane vase). The flicker of the flames lends atmosphere, increases intimacy, and adds a cosiness or warmth that whispers hygge.

3. Warmth

This feeling of cosiness can be carried through your day in many ways, but an easy way to start is by having a good number of guests for the venue you have chosen. Even if your wedding is an intimate affair of 20 people, the intimacy can be lost if you select a venue that can hold up to 60 guests. Aim to hover around the maximum capacity rather than the minimum if you are looking for a cosy feeling.

On a practical level, simple features like open fireplaces, or – if you are outside – fire pits, making blankets or shawls available for your guests, or providing them with umbrellas to keep them dry, are all ways to make your guests feel extra cared-for and, ultimately, more prone to that hygge feeling.

4. Food and drink

And if nothing else can induce that warm, fuzzy feeling, then food most definitely will. Sharing platters, personalised fortune cookies, interactive food stations; all of these will encourage engagement with the food you serve your guests, and give them opportunities to share in your big day with you.

If your food budget doesn’t quite stretch to a tuk-tuk of tacos, then consider putting more than just the food selections on your menus. Perhaps a different story on each menu about you and your partner; some lesser known facts about how you met; or what it means to you both to have everyone there to spend the day with you.

5. Alone time

Finally, whilst it is wonderful to have everyone you love under the same roof, the day is also about you as a couple. Take the time to leave everyone for a few minutes, just to share a moment together and revel in the fact that this day is happening. There is nothing more hygge than being in the present moment. And realising that the moment is a present.

Fire pits, sharing platters and cosy feels – what’s not to love? Christina x

Wedding stylist Toria Clarke-Adair runs Arrow and Twine from her home in Aberdeenshire, and loves nothing more than helping couples create an individual, personal style for their day. From sourcing off-beat props from salvage yards to helping brides who have reached peak wedmin burnout, she loves everything about planning a wedding.

Photography copyright of Craig & Eva Sanders, Photos by Zoe, Jen Owens Images, Wonderful and Strange, and The Gibsons.