Wedding stylists: what do they do and do I actually need one? It’s a common question and the short answer is ‘a lot’ and ‘maybe’. It depends how hands-on and DIY-inclined you are, and whether you want to spend your wedding day setting up or sitting back and sipping on champers.
One thing we do know however, is that popular wedding venues like these offer a glorious amount of flexibility to create whatever look and vibe you want but require a lot more planning and coordination to pull off than traditional, all-inclusive wedding venues.
It’s totally understandable that most of us don’t fully understand all that’s involved in the wedding styling game (given that we’re only planning our weddings once – touch wood).
Read on below.
What is a wedding stylist?
In a nutshell, a person or team that works with you to design, set-up and pack-down the event styling for your big day.
There’s no one ‘set’ job description for a wedding stylist but here are some of the things that most can and will do :
- Meet with you to chat through your ideas for how you want your wedding to look and feel
- Work with you to create a personal style for your big day – from the ceremony and lighting to the furniture and beyond
- Hire out styling items from their own inventory of goods
- Source specific items for you on request
- Be there on the day to set up your styling
- Be there after the day to pack-down your styling
So… what’s the difference between a wedding stylist and a wedding planner?
Ashdown & Bee: Usually it’s a little tricky to know where the line between stylist, planner and florist sits. Each stylist has varied services, so it’s best to chat with your professionals and know the full scope of their brand and what they can offer.
We love to incorporate all of the above and tailor each category to best suit the individual client. Other stylists who stick to more of a coordination or decorating service should be able to point you in the direction of fabulous florists and planners to compliment your style and work cohesively as a team.
What are some of the misconceptions of wedding stylists?
Ashdown & Bee: That styling is super easy and anyone can do it. Some people also think our job only takes an hour or two (the time when we’re physically at the venue setting up.) Short bump in times actually create more work/stress for us, and more staff are usually required to ensure our level of attention to detail and perfection is attained.
There is a lot of work that goes on behind-the-scenes leading up to the day, on the day and after the event. Our two hour ‘bump in’ at the venue usually is a 16 hour day for us with packing vans, collecting furniture/props, bumping in, installation and bumping out at midnight etc.). That’s not including the item sourcing, emails, site visits, returning props/furniture afterwards etc.
What are the advantages of having a pro look after your wedding styling vs. doing it yourself or having a friend do it?
Ashdown & Bee: A professional stylist works on weddings and events every week, so generally have quick solutions when things go wrong behind the scenes (and they always do!).
What are the benefits to hiring a wedding stylist?
Etc. Event Styling: Stylists LOVE trend spotting and are often very creative thinkers. If you’re truly wanting to brand your day, then a stylist will design bespoke concepts just for you. This gives a unique and intimate feel to your day. We love hearing guests walk into the room and say ‘Yep, this is so Nicole and Justin’. This is when we know we’ve successfully styled a day just for our couple.
What are some of the things that you do that couples may not realise are part of the job?
Etc. Event Styling: Early mornings. Very late nights. Hundreds of emails and phone calls. Logistics management. Coordination and meetings with your suppliers to ensure everyone is on the same page. Scheduling. Debriefing. Ordering. Hand-making. Lots of ladder climbing. Cleaning. Ironing (I never iron at home, only table cloths and napkins haha!).
And although we absolutely adore our job, our families and friends do bear the price we pay in eating dinner by the computer instead of the table or missing weekend activities to suspend florals from a wedding arbour. We are so passionate about our role in your day but are so lucky our families and friends respect this of us during wedding season.
Why should I consider hiring styling items instead of buying them outright?
Etc. Event Styling: A lot of DIY brides tend to buy items in bulk for centrepieces etc. The thing is, a stylist may have these for hire or can outsource them for you instead – and often at a cheaper or same rate as your retail purchase price.
They set them up, pack them down and you don’t have to worry about storage, organisation, logistics or trying to resell them post-wedding.
Because there are a lot of DIY brides out there, we’re hearing it’s becoming harder to on-sell wedding items because the market is becoming flooded with this and too competitive. You often end up storing these items for months and selling at a much, much lower price in order to just get rid of them.
WedShed note: we thought we’d chime in here to say she’s right. We bought furniture and styling items for our own weddings and guess what? Despite trying to flog them off on Gumtree and eBay, they’re still sitting in the garage a year later.
What are some of the things that effect how much your services cost?
There are so many cost considerations that can affect the price of your styling package and its super important to be across these before you book your venue.
Often couples book a venue without realising they’ve signed a contract allowing only a two hour bump in time… or their room is only accessible via three flights of stairs. Anything is possible when it comes to our packages but these things will influence the quote.
Here are some of our top considerations that might affect your styling quote:
- Travel required
- How much furniture and décor is desired
- If lighting is needed
- Flowers and hanging greenery (this is a big one)
- Size of the team needed
- How long it may take to set up
- How much time is allowed to set up (the less time, the more staff required)
- Site visits
- Supplier management
- Bump out procedures
How labour intensive is your job?
Ashdown & Bee: Extremely!! Sometimes we feel like we move house every weekend… A lot of the job involves packing the van, unloading at the venue, carrying up stairs or indirect paths, then packing items back up and re-loading them.
THEN there is unloading the van at our studio or if we’ve outsourced, then re-loading and taking to the supplier and unloading. PHEW.
What’s your biggest wedding tip you can give couples planning their weddings?
Etc. Event Styling: Trust your vision, ensure you can relax and still have a laugh, ensure you have a great relationship with your suppliers and most importantly, please have fun!
Ashdown & Bee: Select a few key elements that are super important to you both e.g. abundance of floral, oversized neon signage etc, and throw your budget at these elements and keep the rest minimal and refinded.
Also, we love to create a talking point or wow factor in every space we design so recommend doing the same!