Until recently wedding stylists were, largely, associated with celebrity weddings and were only ever mentioned on the pages of glossy magazines but, certainly during the past five years, they’ve become a crucial part of weddings for those of us brides-to-be who don’t know our pomanders from our palette, or our bunting from our boutonnieres.
Brisbane wedding stylist Shannon Roscarel says not a week goes by that someone doesn’t ask her, “What exactly does a wedding stylist do?”
So, we’ve asked Shannon, who specializes in creating one-off, truly unique wedding ceremonies and receptions, to answer our most frequently asked questions about wedding stylists and, thankfully, she’s cleared up the mystery.
Erm, what exactly is a wedding stylist?
Wedding stylists are those people (and they’re usually perfectionists, says Shannon), who turns a bride and groom’s vision of their wedding day into a reality.
“We listen to their thoughts, we unravel their visions and do everything within our power to meet their expectations to build their dream wedding day,” says Shannon. “We set the scene according to the bride and groom’s vision and then ensure it happen by tying in, for example, the floral design, the furniture, the props, the lighting and the table centerpieces.”
So, what’s the difference between a stylist and a wedding planner?
Many people assume wedding planners and stylists are the same thing. They’re most definitely not, says Shannon who is also an experienced florist.
“While some event planners will also double as stylists, there are plenty of individuals and companies out there who specialise just in the styling of events, usually weddings,” she adds.
Event planners tend to cover many bases from sourcing suppliers, scouting venues, planning menus, managing your budget, and tracking RSVPs. However, wedding stylists focus on creating a picture-perfect backdrop to your wedding, ensuring that everything is matched harmoniously from start to finish and they’re primarily focussed on the overall design of the event.
What will a stylist do at my wedding?
A stylist’s aim is to bring a couple’s vision of their big day to life, so “we’ll start by encouraging a couple to start putting together an inspiration board,” says Shannon who says she spends far too much time on Pinterest.
“It’s a collection of all the things that that catch their eye and may include inspiration from fashion, art, flowers, furniture and any other place they draw inspiration from.”
Shannon says a stylist will then use their skill, experience, and eye for design to find a theme and a common thread that has emerged from their choice of pictures (and materials etc) and then match it with their personal style as a couple.
“Often, the bride and groom can’t even see it!” she adds.
When the stylist spots the common theme, they’ll start helping the couple choose colors and the other elements they want to be included in their event. “We’ll tie everything together so that it runs through the ceremony and flowers, the reception and even the dress and invitations. We create a harmonious link between everything to do with the wedding.”
The stylist will also work with the couple to decide on what sort of atmosphere they wish to create and they, often, worry about the finishing touches, from furniture hire, draping and lighting to the choice and arrangement of flowers.
“Of course, if a couple don’t want to be involved at that level, that’s OK, too,” says Shannon, “We can do it all – as long as they share with us what’s in their heads!”
How will having a wedding stylist at my wedding make a difference to the final event?
“Hiring a stylist will ensure your wedding will look polished from beginning to end,” adds Shannon who never recreates the same wedding twice. “A carefully styled event looks gorgeous and truly reflects the couple who are marrying. We also remove lots of unwanted stress from the couple and, if I’m doing two shabby chic weddings, there’s no way they’ll be the same. They can’t be. Every single couple is different!”
Much of what the stylist does is bring their experience to an event most people only ever plan once. Most couples wouldn’t think about the practicalities of, for example, having centerpieces so tall that guests can’t talk to one another across a table, yet, says Shannon, “these are the kind of details us stylists live, sleep and breathe!”
When should I include a stylist in my wedding planning?
While a stylist can tie in at any stage, if you’re sure you’re having a stylist, include them as early as possible before making any big decisions. Some brides start booking things years before.
Your choice of venue for both the ceremony and reception is key for a stylist. Choose a space that you love – treating it as a beautiful canvas before you begin to personalize it. Once you have found a space that appeals to you and complements your wedding vision, then the ambiance and harmony created by your stylist will follow.
Is there anything a wedding stylist doesn’t do?
Stylists, generally, focus on the design side of things. They won’t book venues or locations; choose the menus or seek permits for, say, a beach wedding. “Of course, we can,” says Shannon “because an experienced stylist has lots of connections and will have worked on every aspect of a wedding at some stage, but a stylist’s true expertise is more about the overall look and feel of a wedding.”
“They’ll provide the decorations or help you choose a style of dress, anything to do with the look and feel, anything to do with fashion or decor or design.”
Can I have a wedding planner AND a wedding stylist?
Of course you can! Just be sure your wedding planner and stylist can work together and keep the boundaries very clear. Also, know that planners and stylists may work according to different schedules. Don’t forget that you may have a wedding co-ordinator too, courtesy of your venue!
What are the three biggest styling tips you can share?
– Attention to detail is key, says Shannon. “Be selective about the little things such as your décor and linens. Your guest will spend most of their time at the reception tables, so it’s worth the extra effort.
– Use lighting to create atmosphere. Candlelight creates a sense of romance, while coloured lights create drama! Always consider what kind of ambiance you’re trying to create and develop your décor to achieve your creative vision.
– Balance is key to creating a visually beautiful space, so keep in mind how all the decorative elements can come together harmoniously through colour.
What if the stylist’s vision doesn’t match mine?
“Everything always begins and ends with the bride and groom and a skilled stylist will be able to draw out the essence of each couple’s story,” says Shannon. “If you’re getting the feeling that your stylist doesn’t understand that – or won’t listen, then they’re probably not the right one!”
What is your favourite styling accessory?
“It may sound corny,” says Shannon, “but the best ‘accessory’ is a happy bride and groom who enjoy the whole creative process!”
“The results are worth it and I get goosebumps every single time a bride and groom walk into their ceremony or reception venue and their faces light up – and I know that I had a hand in it. It’s absolutely priceless!”