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Avoiding the Christmas Cliché

Planning a Christmas wedding but wanting to avoid the tradition of red and green topped with tinsel sparkle? The good news is that diversity is the new word when it comes to festive styling. Guest blogger Toria shares some ideas on how to style for the season the way you want to…

Styling inspiration: John Lewis M&S and Lakeland

Designing your Winter Wedding

“Christmas in the UK is getting an overhaul. At some point in recent years, people started realising that there was more to the festive colour palette than red and green. As a nation, it was as if we collectively realised that we have neighbours who are nailing this look all year round, simply due to their harsher winters and longer nights. Scandinavia called and the UK, desperate to change up its tired tinsel and broken baubles vibe, took up the inspiration call.

“Suddenly, the Christmas ranges in shops were no longer garish and dated. Now, we have modern options, monochrome designs; we have even branched into neutral colours when once we could only see gold and silver. There is no need for glitter and sparkle if that’s not your taste, and flashes of light can come from various candleholders, lamps, and softer lighting, not just the standard disco fairylights.

“So, what does this mean for styling festive weddings? One word: diversity.

“Instead of feeling like they must acknowledge a traditional Christmassy vibe at their wedding, couples planning winter weddings can now open up their options to different ideas of winter decor and the styling implications of the festive period. However, if this now feels like too much choice, the following two questions will help you begin designing your winter wedding:

1) Do you want to go big, or do you want to rock that minimalist vibe?

2) Do you like traditional elements, or do you want to take a modern slant on festivities?

“This leaves you with four options: a frills-and-all traditional look; a paired-back traditional ambiance; a big, bold, modern take on winter; or a stripped-back contemporary feel.

“Once you have decided the look that best suits the atmosphere and experience you would like to create for you and your guests, designing your day will become easier.

Images Blue Sky Photography and floristry M&S

Bring on the Bold

“Even if you are drawn to the traditional red and green colour palette, there is room to bring in two or three other colours for this style. Greys, navy, black, browns, and burgundy are all perfect for this time of year when the light fades a little earlier in the day.

“Texture is also hugely important for this look. Layer tablecloths and runners, and make sure that napkins are heavy duty. Draping blankets and shawls over the chairs for your guests adds to this element and creates a feeling of warmth.

“For floristry, think ‘traditional’ trees and shrubs for the UK in winter: conifers, holly (and the berries), pine cones, and ivy. And with lights, you can take fairy light canopies to the next level.

Simple and Traditional

“Although the colour palette can take from the traditional selection, using more white can offer a simplicity to this kind of traditional vibe. And whilst adding textures into the mix is still a great idea, it can be subtler, such as using the same colour for any furs you add to seating areas, or using wood throughout in your décor.

“Adding little details like small sprigs of evergreens on your guests’ plates, or adding pine cones to any fireplace fires gives an understated feeling of Christmas, without being brash or over-the-top.

Inspiration from Neptune

Bold and Modern

“The tendency with modern styles is to try and reduce the colour palette to only two or three colours. However, this can be limiting and may take you down a monochrome route even if you did not intend it to. Keep your palette open and look to use two or three of your chosen colours predominantly to create cohesion.

“For lighting, think sleek, tapered candles in modern holders rather than lots of tea lights, and go bold with bigger festoon lights as opposed to fairylights.

“The beauty with this style is that you can take traditional foliage for this time of year and make it feel modern by how you present it. Large, suspended branches are a hallmark of Scandinavian Christmases, so think big for any greenery, and do not be afraid to simply use leafless branches throughout your venue to invoke a wintery feeling.

Stripped-back Modernity

“As above, but utilising a neutral colour palette to create a calm ambience that allows the rest of your décor to do the talking.

“Crockery, cutlery, and glassware should have clean, simple lines, so avoid anything with too many patterns or flourishes. And any stationery should also stick to this idea: the fewer bows, glittery extras, and number of pieces of paper, the better.

“There are many ways to make each style your own, but these are a good place to start if you are worried about becoming a Christmas cliché. However, if tinsel is the backdrop of lots of happy memories for you, then go bold and indulge your inner Christmas (s)elf.”

Oooh we love Toria’s ideas and advice. Perfect for anyone planning a winter wedding. We’d love to hear your ideas. Alie 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.