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Wedding styling pitfalls to avoid

Thoughts turning to how to style your day? Exciting (and slightly terrifying), isn’t it?! But before you break out the mood boards  – Hello Pinterest! – wedding stylist, Toria has some words of wisdom to share…

“If, like me, you are a creative type with a spreadsheet-loving kind of edge, then styling your own wedding could be a dream come true for you (in addition to the whole ‘marrying the partner of your dreams’ part, obviously). Not only does it mean you can let your imagination run wild with beautiful and exciting possibilities, but this is probably the only opportunity when you can purchase a Filofax-type organiser without being mocked by friends and family: it’s a win/win situation.

“However, whilst there are lots of ‘how-to’ articles online about styling your wedding, there are very few posts that mention some of the common pitfalls which couples can fall into on the styling journey. To help you avoid them, I have listed seven of the most common mistakes people make when they decide to go it alone on the styling front.

Trying to have it all

“Whilst wedding budgets appear to be growing year-on-year in the United Kingdom, most people are still not in the position of being able to afford their Pinterest wedding. Therefore, in order to ensure you do not over-extend the reach of your budget, it is wise to focus on three or so elements that you want to prioritise in your styling. This could be an extravagant wedding cake, a table plan with handwritten calligraphy details on it, personalised signage throughout your venue, or a flower installation that welcomes everyone as they enter the ceremony. Focus on these priorities and only add to the list if your wedding budget allows.


Sticking to a wedding “theme”

“Themes can be tempting if you are unsure where to start with your styling. But here’s a secret: a theme is easy because it narrows down your options. If you decide on a wedding theme, any decisions you make could end up being dictated by the theme as opposed to being enhanced by it. You may find yourself shoe-horning ideas into the day, or choosing certain colours only because ‘it fits the theme’. Using your personal style, interests and the story of you and your partner, keeps the options open (and the day is more likely to feel like you).

Working against the style of your wedding venue/location

“It is worth remembering that the style of the venue will affect – to a greater or lesser extent – how you can style the space. A traditional wedding venue with décor dating back to the Flood will not accommodate modern styling quite so well as a newly-renovated restaurant, for example. Unless you are looking to fuse two looks into one with huge gusto and confidence (and know exactly how to make the two complement one another), I would suggest using the style of your venue as good foundation on which to build your own style.


Spreading the décor too thinly

“This often happens when there is a large space to fill, or multiple rooms that will be used by guests. Couples can start to feel that they have to continue the styling throughout the venue, and begin to split their wedding décor into smaller groups in order to cover all areas. Unfortunately, what this does is lessen the overall impression of the styling. For example, imagine one string of lights in each of the venue’s five rooms, or a canopy of lights across the dance floor. Grouping décor into fewer groups is a better way of creating impact and will ensure your wedding style is noticed by your guests.

Playing down the table décor

“Even on a small budget, there are small decorative details you can add to your table to give it a more personalised feeling. Adding small thank you cards to each place setting, or folding every guest’s napkin into creative shapes, are both inexpensive ways to go that extra mile on your dining décor. Tables are the perfect place to tell a little more of your personal story, so make sure to use your styling there to full effect.

Flying solo

“Even with your enthusiasm for all things creative, your wedding is still a rather large event to be styling on your own. And even if your partner enjoys being imaginative too, and is completely committed to building a photobooth from the leftovers of your friend’s shed, there is still strength in numbers. Asking your friends and family to help with styling elements is a lovely way to involve guests who are not necessarily part of the wedding party. Just make sure you are happy to accept their creative efforts, acknowledging that they might not be quite the work of professionals…

Underestimating the time factor

“Every styling element takes time, and it is easy to woefully underestimate how long each item will take. And on a practical level, if there is anything you can build, assemble, fold, iron, tie, glue, or pin ahead of the wedding day, try and do so. Not only will it save you time on the last stretch, it will reduce your to-do list for the day itself to a less terrifying length!

“Wedding styling is great fun, and if you are time-rich, full of ideas, and love the idea of working from concept to execution, then whip out that planner and sketch pad, and let your creative flag fly.

“And if not, then I would still buy a Filofax. But that’s just me.”

We’d love to hear how you will be styling your day! 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.

Photos copyright of David Aveyard, Lorna Ewings & Elemental Photography.