If you are recently engaged, it’s highly likely you have heard of a ‘Wedding Stylist’. What was originally a service for celebrity brides and the uber-wealthy, has in the last few years become a more attractive and accessible option for the average bride. To help you in determining whether hiring a stylist is a must-do for your own wedding, we’ve interviewed five of the Sunshine Coast’s favourite wedding stylists to find out what they do, what they can offer couples, and their best tips and tricks for identifying your unique wedding style.
Written by Tara Eglington
What is a wedding stylist?
Wedding stylists and wedding planners are often confused with each other. Although there are some planners who also style weddings, and vice versa, the two roles actually have distinct differences. Wedding planners are heavily involved in the organisation of the event – sourcing and booking a venue, coordinating vendors, creating run sheets and ensuring the big day runs smoothly.
Wedding stylists on the other hand, focus on the aesthetic elements of the day – the overall design and appearance of the wedding, from the more obvious elements like the colours, furniture, floral styling, and lighting, to all the little details in between, such as the texture of the tags on the ‘thank you’ gift at guests places, to the exact shade of the napkins on the table. A stylist’s overall objective is to translate the vision that the bride or groom had about the look and feel of their day, into reality.
How do stylists work with a couple to determine a look for their day?
If you’re recently engaged, you’re probably flicking through bridal magazines, studying a multitude of different weddings, and contemplating what looks and styles appeal to you. One of the key roles of a wedding stylist is to work closely with a couple to not only identify their style, but also to refine it. Nicole Hopkins from Splash Events says, ‘The concept of an event theme can be very confusing to some, but each event has a backbone, something that brings all the elements together. This becomes the theme or style, which sometimes isn’t as obvious as it may seem. From our initial meeting we talk to clients, find out their likes and dislikes, their favourite things and what’s important to them. Then we take away all the information and develop a mood board to reflect all these elements.’
You may ask how a stylist can identify your tastes better than you, but as Trudy Croad from Lovebird Weddings says, the process of identifying a couple’s style is very in-depth. ‘Getting to know our clients is a really important element of our job. Some clients come to us knowing exactly what they want, so then our job is about how to pull this look together with the furniture and decor that we own. Others come to us with a blank canvas and are really counting on us to come up with a look that reflects them. Generally though, concepts develop over time, which is why we value working with our clients in a consultative basis right up until their wedding day…over time tastes will change and new trends will develop, and our clients count on us to have a dynamic styling process so that come the day of the wedding, we really have evolved the original concept to be better and more relevant to here and now.’
Whereas a bride or groom may get stuck on a particular ‘colour theme’ or detail (floral arch, fairy lights) a wedding stylist will look at an event in an overall cohesive way, ensuring the styling tells a story about you as a couple, and the event has a particular atmosphere about it. Carly Baum from CL Weddings and Events says, ‘We love learning about who the bride and groom are and what they love. This is the best way forward to ensure that their style and design briefs are not just about the pretty blooms or that amazing arm chair but about the day as a whole and how each detail will help make it the “best day ever”.
Why would I hire a Wedding Stylist?
Some brides would ask why a stylist is necessary, especially if they have a clear vision for their day, are over-flowing with creative ideas, or are take-charge types who are fantastic at organisation. However there’s actually a multitude of reasons why more and more brides are hiring stylists, particularly on the Sunshine Coast.
Your wedding day is one of the most important events of your life. For some brides, there’s nothing more reassuring than knowing that their special day is in the hands of an expert. As Nicole from Splash Events says, ‘Event stylists and coordinators know just about everything when it comes to a group of people coming together for special occasions. We know what colours and decor work well together, how to avoid last minute issues, how to fix anything that does go wrong and we have the creative fair to create an amazing ambiance for any event. It’s our job to make it look easy but when it comes to having a professional polished look and feel to your entire wedding, the success is really in the details.’
Trudy from Lovebird Weddings agrees with this. ‘A wedding stylist will really help to bring an overall “feel” and “ambience” to your wedding, as they are trained in identifying the best ways of utilising your styling budget. They assist in creating focal points in a wedding design which will make your wedding memorable.’
Enthusiasm and extra attention to detail:
Wedding Stylists are passionate about what they do, so in hiring one, you know that a great deal of energy and time will be dedicated towards your wedding day. For the team at Beedazzled Events, each and every event is something they look forward to: ‘The actual styling on the day is where our decorators get to express their creativity and shine. We get a great deal of enjoyment from turning a blank canvas into a stunning wedding ceremony and reception for the couple. We love knowing that we’ve played a significant role in making the couple’s most important day everything they dreamed of.’
Some wedding stylists feel just as invested in the big day as you do. Nicole from Splash Events says that ‘Clients often come to me with an image in their minds but don’t quite know how to pull it all together to be breathtaking. I love the challenge of interpreting their desires, working to their budget and watching their faces when it all comes together. It is so exciting seeing a concept come to life and to witness the delight of the client when they finally see what they had dreamed. I am continuously challenged to come up with unique ideas and I love this about my work.’
Stylists notice the infinitesimal details that matter to a bride – the exact variations in colour and texture in your centrepieces, the height of your candles, the placement of your name cards respective to the guests’ plates and napkins. A great stylist always does their upmost to ensure that when the bride enters the ceremony or reception space, it’s exactly how she envisioned. As Carly from CL Weddings and Events says, ‘ultimately it’s all about customer service and satisfaction.’
Ensuring your celebration is truly unique:
Wedding stylists are designers at heart, creative thinkers who seek out inspiration in every form. Rather than delivering a cookie cutter wedding that’s ‘on trend’, a truly talented stylist draws ideas from non-wedding related sources, meaning that your event will be truly one of a kind.
Trudy from Lovebird Weddings says ‘Stylists understand space and colour…A stylist will understand the dimensions of space and what feels right, and what doesn’t work…it’s a natural instinct, but is also a learned technique. Stylists are also not afraid of creating colour palettes with 6-8 colours within them. They understand that in doing this, they are creating texture, shade and also a more styled feel to the room. They are also not lead by the bridesmaid dress colour…they consider this just one of the colours of the palette.’
Nicole from Splash Events says, ‘For me, inspiration comes from within. I’m constantly inspired and always looking for fresh, unique designs. I don’t stick to wedding or event themes or websites, I look at interior design and travel sites, as well as home decor, personal accessories and fashion blogs. I’m mostly inspired by my clients though – it doesn’t take long before I get a sense of what they want. Once I get that connection… I can feel it, see it and then bring the vision alive to make it truly unique.’
Easy access to beautiful and one of a kind hire items:
When planning their styling details, many brides wind up on Etsy or eBay, spending considerable amounts on candlesticks, cake toppers or wooden signage, assuming that these items will be an easy re-sell after the event. This isn’t often the case, as the rise of DIY weddings has meant an over-supply of these items in the market.
Wedding Styling companies usually have their own inventories, and offer unique furniture and accessories for clients to hire. Carly from CL Weddings and Events says, ‘Engaging a stylist to work with you on your wedding day design allows you to have access to beautiful pieces that are hard to source. We can bring forth the exact elements that perfectly match your taste.’
As many stylists continually update their collections in line with global design ideas, hiring items through your stylist means there is less chance of your wedding looking like every other before it (think of the recent overkill of rustic style weddings). The team at Beedazzled Events, for example, ‘have a huge range of decorating and styling equipment which is constantly being upgraded to keep up with current trends. When we initially meet with our couples in our showroom, they are able to view our extensive range of decorating/styling stock and transform thoughts and ideas into reality.’
Some brides love the idea of DIY but once they begin researching reception spots and wedding packages, they quickly realise self-set-up may not be an option. As Carly from CL Weddings and Events says ‘Often couples are unaware of how occupied they’ll be on their day and the very little timing some venues offer to dress and prepare the ceremony or reception. More often than not couples are knee deep in getting dressed, are on photo-shoots or in the middle of their ceremony during the allocated time that venues allow set up to take place.’
Some styling that involves hanging florals or elaborate lighting may mean starting at 5am of the wedding day, or even the night prior, meaning you may be exhausted before the main part of the celebration begins. Carly from CL Weddings and Events says, ‘I’ve always firmly believed that a bride and groom deserve the day off on their wedding day – this means they deserve to sip champagne and shout themselves the luxury of having the hard work done for them. It’s your one day and so you don’t want to be running around haggard, sweaty, dirty and stressed over where the ceremony is being moved to because the damn rain came along!’ Cassie Mc Donald from Pretty Little Lane agrees. ‘Knowing that we will be there to support them in the lead up, and that we take care of any final touches, provides a big relief for many of our clients and allows them to focus on other areas of their day.’
Styling a wedding on the Sunshine Coast:
Whether you are a Sunshine Coast local, or destination bride who’s chosen the area for their very special day, you may be wondering how to best style your wedding to reflect the beauty and character of the region. Focusing on your immediate environment is a great place to start. As Nicole from Splash Events says, ‘The Sunshine Coast, with its beautiful surrounds, is perfect for outdoor weddings. No matter where you get married, the beauty of nature adds so much to such a momentous occasion.’
If you cast your mind to the gorgeous blue waters of Noosa, or the dramatic rolling hills of Maleny, it’s clear that both areas offer spectacular backdrops for outdoor celebrations. The stylists at Beedazzled Events are particularly passionate about incorporating the natural beauty of the region into their events: ‘With its beautiful beaches, lush hinterland, great weather and relaxed lifestyle, the Sunshine Coast is an ideal location for weddings. We are seeing many couples choosing outdoor ceremonies set on the beach, bushland or in gardens.’
The ‘laid-back’ feel of the coast often works its way into the styling elements of the big day – Cassie from Pretty Little Lane says that ‘weddings across the board are becoming much more relaxed in the sense of providing lush lounging areas, chill out zones and open-fire pits… creating a more personalised yet laid back atmosphere.’
Don’t be afraid to think outside the box when it comes to styling your day. Although many areas of the region are coastal, you shouldn’t feel you are limited to beach orientated concepts. The same applies to hinterland based venues – rustic or country-charm are far from your only options.
As Trudy from Lovebird Weddings says, ‘We are blessed in the Sunshine Coast to have both beach and the hinterland, and through this, our styling designs can lend to every available style. That is a really appealing part of what the Sunshine Coast has to offer for weddings.’
Splash Events are in agreement with this statement. ‘At Splash Events we have utilised Sunshine Coast venues and locations to create a variety of themes, from natural inspired concepts such as casual beach, boho and rustic, to more of the elegant and glamorous ranges such as classic romance, French countryside, vintage glam, contemporary/art deco or a quirky whimsical feel.’
Try to think about you and your fiancé’s natural styles – what colours, furnishings and textures do you love? Are you more casual chic, or do you lean towards refined elegance? Don’t be afraid to make this your starting point when considering the look and feel of your day.
Here are a few points of styling advice from the experts, along with their trend predictions for 2017
Styling tips for the Bride and Groom to be:
Beedazzled Events: Start planning early on by keeping an eye on Pinterest and starting a ‘Dream Wedding’ board. Continue to add to the board each time you see something you like. Over time you will see a theme naturally evolving. Sometimes all it takes is to see a particular colour or a simple flower or texture that you are drawn to for a plan to start to form.
CL Weddings and Events: Make sure you keep your feet firmly on the floor. The most important part of the day is the celebration of you and your fiancé and the life you’re about to lead together. All great celebrations need a spread of amazing food, really great drinks and music that make your guests beg for more. All those other details are just the cream on top. So don’t be swayed by trends or details that compromise those three very important details.
Splash Events: Be clear in what’s important to you, try not to fret the minor details and trust in your suppliers. Some of the best sets we have created have evolved from working with clients who have an overall vision, but then give full trust and flexibility for us to bring it all together. Choose quality suppliers who you can trust so you can truly sit back and enjoy the BEST DAY OF YOUR LIFE!!
Top Trends to Watch Out For in 2017:
Lovebird Weddings: Island Luxe is going to be a big theme for beach style weddings…the use of tropical foliage, rattan furniture, beaded and shell chandeliers, green, white and black coconuts…relaxed plantation elegance. I think we will also see more cocktail weddings than we have for a while, as many opt for a more relaxed boho-party vibe for their wedding day
Beedazzled Events: Trends seem to be leaning toward what we call a rustic boho style with feathers, fur and flowers, mismatched chairs and raw timber tables with highlights of brass and lots of foliage.
CL Weddings and Events: We’ll continue to see weddings that are designed to suit the couple regardless of tradition or opinion, which is fantastic! I do see a more refined touch to wedding floral design and decor styling coming though, with the addition of specialised and imported flower varieties and a very prominent return of table linen in all beautiful strong and soft colours. The hanging floral installation trend will merge into flower walls and we’ll see even more orchids being blended into designs in 2017.
Splash Events: The coastal and rustic beach themes are always high in demand and most likely will forever be on the Sunshine Coast. We love finding ways to apply a twist and make each wedding individual and unique. Splash has been appointed to style a high volume of freestanding structures this year with Tipi’s, Yurts and Marquees trending as a popular choice. Also deep rich colours coupled with striking coppers and bronzes, geometric lanterns, marble and concrete textures. There are many different trends popping up in the wedding industry but I think coastal and industrial styling will still be at the top for 2017.