Wedding Decor and Styling

This is a blog that's been heavily requested! One that I've put off writing because, obviously, I am not a wedding stylist. However, I have shot an awful lot of beautiful weddings, with themes, colour palettes and DIY decor, and I've put together a lot of concept led styled shoots! So read on for some wedding styling inspiration, whether you need a stylist, theme, colour palette, or huge budget.

Wedding at Lake district wedding venue, Townhead Estate. Windemere wedding venue, wedding photography by Esme Whiteside

When it comes to my own styled shoots, I always start with a base colour palette. This essentially comes down to trends and to personal taste. I'm really into blushes, neutrals, rusts and mustards right now, and whilst these are favourite colours of mine, the mustards and rusts are very 'on wedding trend' right now. You can never go wrong with neutrals and blush pinks in my opinion, especially with some richer burgundies and mauves thrown in for some depth, but that is definitely my favourite colour palette to work with! The bold tones (mustard, fuschia, rust etc) are really stylish right now and definitely make a statement. I love working with paired back and muted colour palettes, but I love the bolds too - with muted you can get away with a lot of tones to create layers of colour and depth, whereas with the bolds you need to work with more of a 'colour pop', than lots of shades to keep it stylish. I'm always inspired by flowers, for my own shoots, and would happily just have flowers EVERYWHERE. However, loads of fresh flowers naturally brings up your budget VERY quickly. For tables, I personally love a scattering of flowers in bud vases, rather than the huge centrepieces (that eat into your budget!) and going big on your bouquets and any florals you want for your ceremony instead. If you look at my shoots, the table florals are usually more of a minimal affair, with bouquets and installations taking centre stage.

Wedding tablescape with orange colour palette at Yorkshire wedding venue Oakwood Barn at Ryther
Wedding table set up with orange colour palette at Yorkshire wedding venue Oakwood Barn at Ryther.

I think for wedding styling, you're always to a degree going to be led by trends - which is absolutely fine. You as a couple and your wedding are a product of the time, but you don't want your styling to get dated quickly (as it'll last forever in your images!). So don't worry too much about being bang on trend, as trends change, do what YOU like and think looks good. It's always nice to add personal touches to your styling, my bride Sarah who got married at Victoria Baths, learnt macrame, as her grandma used to be an expert. She made a macrame backdrop for her top table, and had touches throughout her feasting trestle tables and church ceremony. She finished the look with floating candles, LOADS of palm leaves and greenery, and copper pipe table numbers. So her decor theme was definitely more foresty/greenery/rustic, but super stylish and personal at the same time. If your budget for flowers isn't huge, then adding lots of greenery is a perfect way to keep your tables looking full!

Victoria baths wedding. Wedding in Manchester city centre venue
Wedding at Victoria Baths. Manchester Wedding photography by Esme Whiteside Photography
Wedding styling at Manchester wedding venue Victoria Baths. Manchester wedding photography

Do you need a stylist? Stylists are amazing. I really appreciate the work they do, and when I do a shoot with a stylist, it means I don't have to make the artistic direction decisions about crockery, candles, napkins, or anything to do with the table really. They magically source and arrange it all, and I've got a beautiful looking venue. Obviously, stylists aren't cheap, because of the time and work that goes into sourcing your styling items, and putting it all together on the day. Most stylists have a range of packages, from just source and hire, to full on the day styling. If decor isn't a priority for you, or you feel you have a good eye, and want to put a lot of time into styling your own venue, then I'd say you don't need a stylist. Often your florist will be able to offer a package including your table florals, which is then a bulk of the work done for you, most venues will have crockery and cutlery, and furniture. If you have a very specific look in mind, and don't to invest your time into doing it yourself, then a stylist could be a good option. A lot of my weddings don't have stylists, so don't feel like your wedding won't look beautiful without one, it's perfectly doable to style your wedding yourself (as per Sarah above!) and have a beautiful wedding.

Harry Potter themed wedding decor at North West Wedding venue Wyresdale Park
Autumn themed dried wedding flowers at Wyresdale Park

The images above are from Chris and Joe's Wyresdale Park Wedding. They wanted an autumn theme, with personal hints of things they loved. So they opted for Harry Potter theme table names, dried seasonal flowers and pumpkins for their buttonholes and table decor, and wooden rustic touches. The venue had long feasting trestle tables, which suited their sharing platter and pizza meal, and it all tied together perfectly. This styling was definitely a labour of love and a priority for them, however it was all DIY, with no florist either, just a lot of time taken and help from family and friends!

Wedding styling at Lake District wedding venue Inn on the Lake
Wedding Ceremony at Lake district wedding venue Inn on the Lake
Lake District wedding venue Inn on the Lake

Lisa and Scott (above) went quite traditional with their styling, to suit their Lake District wedding venue, Inn on the Lake. They used rustic wooden plaques with names of their favourite lake district walks as their table numbers, with gin favours. They also had lots of greenery with white roses as their flowers, (Flowers By Lisa) which were used for their top table and their ceremony. With it being a winter wedding, the white theme worked really well, and the lake district touches were super personal.

Alternative wedding at North West wedding venue Holmes Mill
Bride and bridesmaids wedding photography at North West wedding venue Holmes Mill

So when thinking about your wedding styling, the main things to consider are: Colour palette, theme, venue, and florist. A colour palette is a really good starting point, as you'll probably want to dress your wedding squad in the same colour, or similar tonal colours, and have your florist work to that palette too. You can then work in any napkins, on the day stationery, table cloths etc to that colour scheme too. You don't necessarily HAVE to have a specific theme, or a theme that runs throughout everything, but personal touches or themes are nice, as in the weddings above! Even the season that your wedding is in is a strong theme, ie autumn wedding, rusts, oranges, reds, mustard. Summer weddings, lots of colour. Next consider your venue, the size, the shape of the rooms. What kind of tables do you want, what kind do the venue have? Round is traditional, but more and more weddings I'm seeing the long trestle tables, or 6 seater trestles. What do you want for your top table? Something long for 10 people, or a round sweetheart just for you two? Lastly your florist! Large centrepieces, or minimal bud vases for your tables? Floral installations or aisle runners? There's so many options and you can get lost down pinterest holes for hours - choose suppliers that you trust. They'll support you throughout the process, and there's always the stylist option if DIY is way too much for you! Whatever styling you decide on, make sure it's something you love, and represents you both as a couple. If you both love star wars then work that in, if you want gothic styling, then opt for a grey,black,lavender colour palette. Whatever you decide, as long as it's something you love with a few personal touches, it'll be perfect.

Styling in shoot images: First image - Tebbey and Co. Orange shoot at Oakwood Barn at Ryther with Florals by Emma Cox Floristry, Cake by Where the Ribbon Ends and furniture by Typical Type and Holmes Mill bridesmaids shoot, both styled by My Pretties Uk. With florals, fabric and prop hire by Wildfire Floral Co. Image below at Windemere Jetty. Florals by Made in Flowers, Cake by Yummy Pudding Co, and stationery by Pen and Fold

Wedding styling with cake and stationery at Lake District wedding venue in Windemere