When it comes to styling your wedding, every bride’s first instinct is to hop onto Pinterest for ideas and inspiration.
That is one way to go…
However, Pinterest is known for easily overwhelming brides with #allthethings and soon, after a few hours (and possibly a few glasses of wine), you’ll end up with hundreds of saved pins and boards, without a clear “next step”.
So, which guidelines should you use when styling your own wedding? How can you include your favorite wedding ideas into your style?
Let’s have a look!
12 Tips for styling your own wedding
Before we dive right in, I want to remind you of the single most important thing you need to have in place when planning your wedding – and that goes for the decor, flowers and general styling, too…
The wedding budget…
Let jump into the list of tips for styling your own wedding!
1. Do a mock-setup of your wedding look
You need to think carefully about how you are going to incorporate your interests into your wedding design.
Most people go overboard because they have too many ideas and want to add them all into their wedding style. You also need to consider if everything you want to include, works well together. A good way to establish this, is to do a mock setup of a table, to get the overall look and feel of your wedding design – ask the venue if they can do this for you, or ask a wedding planner to help you with this, if you have one.
If you’re hiring some of your decor, make an appointment to view their items and ask for a table on which you can set everything out in the shop/showroom or wherever they operate from. This should also give you more or less an idea of what is available to use.
Wedding Style Pro Tip: Create a mock-setup table and ‘look’ to help you decide if your wedding style will work.
2. Decide on your color scheme
Your color scheme needs to match to prevent an eye-sore.. Colors that don’t match can easily make a wedding look like a high school reunion or corporate function.
Wedding Style Pro Tip: Use color swatches from the paint store to help you decide on a matching color scheme
3. Be careful when using custom lighting, such as laser lights
It’s your wedding and you want to make it look like an elegant affair!
If you’re going to use laser lights or multiple colored lights at your wedding, try to stick to an overall “white look” in your wedding styling, such as mostly white linen and backdrops. You can also use softer or pastel colors if you wish, because these colors tend to look light and creamy in the evening.
Ask your DJ or person who is in charge of lighting if you can choose one or two colors, as opposed to a whole spectrum of colors, lasers and spots.
It’s time to watch that wedding budget again, as paying for a decent DJ takes out a whole chunk of your total amount for your wedding. Make sure to have a thorough wedding budget in place so that you know how much you have available to spend on a DJ package.
Wedding Style Pro Tip: Use plenty of white elements if you are going to have multiple colored lighting in the evening
4. Choose one theme
Unless it is an audition for Cowboys vs. Aliens, you shouldn’t mix themes up.
Although, some brides have great success doing a bohemian beach theme, for example, hybrid themes should be planned carefully. Rather go easy on yourself and stick to one theme, if you’re going to do a theme at all.
If you want to use more than one theme, look for similar elements and try to match them in that way.
Wedding Style Pro Tip: When working with themes, try to stick to one theme for your wedding to avoid elements that will clash. Hybrid themes are more challenging to pull off.
5. Consider the Wedding Venue
The magic of your wedding style might already be there…
Look at the overall vibe and style of your wedding venue. How many extra cover-ups or distractions does it really need? It might already be perfect the way it is, and the venue might already have exactly what you need.
This is a key thing to consider when you are still looking for your wedding venue. It is much easier and cost effective to work with an already pretty venue than one that needs a bit (or a lot) of TLC.
Wedding Style Pro Tip: Choose a wedding venue that is already pretty and easy to work with – the chapel as well as the reception venue!
6. Keep it simple
Most guests won’t even notice all of the hours of effort you put into your wedding styling, such as what type of flowers you had on the tables, or what color scheme you chose.
They will remember things like what food they ate and what type of music they danced to.
Rather spend your budget on catering and a good quality DJ, for example, than expensive decor items (unless you can afford to splurge on this).
Wedding Style Tip: Keep it simple – more money from your budget can rather be spent on good food and music
7. The Magic of Draping
You will be amazed at what draping can do to an unattractive wall or ceiling, and it can look stunning and romantic!
If it’s the perfect venue, but the ceiling is not pretty, consider hiring draping services and add fairy lights as an option, and if the venue allows it. You get draping in all colors, styles and with or without things like lights and flowers. My favorite colors for draping are light, creamy colors such as whites, soft pinks or blush, and cream.
If the entire reception area has to be draped, however, and you’re on a tight budget, make sure you have considered all other venue options before deciding.
Wedding Style Pro Tip: Consider adding draping and fairy lights to cover up a wall or ceiling at your wedding venue.
8. Have an Eco-friendly Wedding
Nowadays, everyone is putting in their efforts to be more “green”.
Why not show it in you wedding style? Replace flowers and heavy decor with greenery like moss and leaves, or even use plants as part of your decor. It can be more affordable and the guests can take the plants home as wedding favors.
Wedding Style Pro Tip: Go green! Consider having more greenery and plants rather than flowers at your wedding
9. Soften up your Wedding Look
If your overall look and feel of your wedding style comes across as hard, masculine or cold, consider using lace or ribbon here and there to soften things up.
Having soft detail such as tulle in the background, or adding some soft netting to the cake table, for example, can make your wedding look more feminine.
Wedding Style Pro Tip: White and blush elements can also soften up a masculine wedding look.
10. Be specific with your wedding style or theme
Make sure you know exactly what you are looking for in your wedding style.
You cannot aim for a “vintage” look and go that route, as the term is very broad. For example, “retro” will also fall under “vintage”. Furthermore, there are other vintage styles such as classic vintage, steampunk, rustic-vintage, and art-deco, just to name a few…
This is where the Bride’s Wedding Venue Workbook comes in handy. Besides the fact that you can compare ideal wedding venues, work out a budget and manage rental items, among other things, you will also be able to determine you wedding venue ‘vision’.
Wedding Style Pro Tip: Be specific with you theme when you are searching for your wedding look, especially on Pinterest.
11. Opt for a Timeless Look
If you look at old photos of your mother’s wedding or grandmother’s wedding, you will notice there are elements that just always work, at any wedding.
Many brides aim to do unique things at their wedding, which is a good thing. But sometimes, they try to do too many different things and then it doesn’t work out that well.
Why not stick to classic, traditional decor and style. For example: Red roses with Baby’s Breath, gold accents and fine porcelain to dine with? It might sound quite plain and ordinary now, but you can always add one or two extra elements to make your style unique.
Wedding Style Pro Tip: Timeless, classic elements at a wedding are always a winning strategy!
12. Get the Groom involved
Here is a great opportunity for the groom to get involved:
Both of you make separate lists of things that you like. Do it in separate rooms, preferably, because you shouldn’t know what is written on your partner’s list, and influence each others’ decisions. Think about favorite colors, flowers, metallics, places you’ve traveled to, etc. If you think of something you like, write it down.. Which food? Which outdoor activity? Board game? Cocktail? Make a huge list, so that there is a lot to compare with each other’s lists.
Don’t write what you think your partner might like because you want them to be happy on your wedding day. Be selfish – think about what YOU like. 🙂
Afterwards, compare the lists with each other, circle the similarities, then brainstorm only on those ideas. Think of how you can make your similar interests stand out on your wedding day. It is so romantic when a couple works with a theme that fits both their personalities…
Wedding Style Pro Tip: Ask your groom to help you decide on a style, based on your matching personality traits and interests.
BONUS TIP: Create a mood board
To get an idea for your wedding look and feel, why not create a mood board with your favorite wedding images, colors, fonts and so on. You can get a rough idea of what your wedding vibe will be
A great tool I use to design mood boards for clients, is Canva. This will be great for anything else you design for your wedding, too, such as wedding invitations. They also have plenty of templates to work with, which you can change to suit your style and needs. I highly recommend you get the pro version of Canva, to unlock gorgeous premium fonts, photos and design elements.
Here is an example of a mood board I designed in Canva, just as an example…
BONUS TIP: Determine what influences your wedding style
Many couples decide what influences their wedding style based on where their best memories happened. For example, where the groom proposed, or where they first went on holiday together. Destinations can inspire your wedding style, for example, by incorporating certain flowers or plants from that area, or prominent colors, etc.
by Tanya Viljoen
Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, Tanya Viljoen has been an active contributor and planner in the wedding industry since 2016. When not writing educational content for brides and wedding professionals, she can be found designing printables for her Etsy shop, TWCprintables. Keep up with her on Instagram.