A chat with…
Last week I had a great time meeting up with the lovely Camille from A Little Je Ne Sais Quoi. Camille is a talented event stylist working in and around Oxford. I caught up with her for a coffee and a chat about how to style a wedding…
Q. What exactly is a Wedding Stylist?
As a wedding stylist it’s my job to turn a couple’s vision for their wedding into reality. I work with my clients right from the start – deciding on the atmosphere they want to achieve. We create a theme which ties everything together including invitations, floral design, props, lighting, table plan, and centre pieces.
Q. So this is different from a Wedding Planner, right?
Absolutely – but a lot of people think it’s the same thing! The difference is that a wedding planner takes on the organisation for the whole event. This might include finding a venue, choosing the dress, creating menus and managing the budget. The stylist focuses solely on the artistic design – the look of the wedding.
Q. Can you talk me through what you do for a typical wedding?
So, when I first meet clients we talk a lot. I ask a whole host of questions and try to get a really good sense of the couple and who they are. When you’re getting married you want you wedding to reflect your personality so as the stylist I want to get to know the bride and groom as much as possible.
The next step is for me to go away and create a mood board. At this stage there are no limits so I set my imagination free to come up with ideas on atmosphere, lighting, colour, and tone.
As an example, when I was styling Ben and John’s wedding, the colour green came through really strongly as a theme on the mood board. The couple had chosen Rhodes House as their venue and, because of its grandness, I didn’t want to compete with the surroundings. I was looking for something more subtle and wanted to focus on little touches to add value. As a result, instead of flowers, we decorated with an array of stunning succulents.
Once I’ve talked through the mood board with my clients we get down to the question of the styling budget and what can be made possible. When this is locked down I get to work sourcing the flowers, props and decorations. I keep in constant touch with my clients throughout the process and we tend to get really excited about it all.
On the day itself I’m in charge of setting up the decorations. I usually have an assistant with me or sometimes a small team depending on the wedding. I work closely with the florist and the venue to turn all the ideas we’ve discussed into reality. After the wedding it’s my responsibility to take everything down. I return any hired props and leave the venue in its original state.
Q. What is a styling budget?
My styling fee is £1,500. This includes all the preparations, meeting with suppliers, and sourcing all the decorations and props. I will be there styling everything on the day and will also be in charge of taking everything down after the wedding.
The ‘styling budget’ is how much will be spent on the decorations such as flowers, props, and balloons. This budget can be flexible and each and every wedding is different. I’ve worked on weddings with a styling budget of £5,000 and others with only £500. I can make magic with any budget!
Q. Wow! So you can really work with a budget of £500?
Yes, of course! I have a barn just outside Oxford where I store lots of my props. Where the budget is tight I am able to reuse many things I have stored in there. For one couple with a relatively modest budget my assistant picked lots of wild flowers from the meadow on the morning of the wedding.
I do a lot of leg-work to source items inexpensively and can often be found rummaging in charity shops to find just the right vintage pieces. For one small DIY wedding I worked on last year we created a wall of origami birds and each member of the bridal party was asked to make 30 of them! This saved a huge amount of money and time and shows that, by working together, all kinds of things are possible.
Q. Any advice for couples styling their own wedding?
1 – Start with Pinterest and create a board of things you like. I also look at magazines, although not really wedding magazines. For one wedding I looked at a lot of interior magazines as I was searching for something sophisticated and chic.
2 – Write down key style priorities and give the ideas time to develop.
3 – Your style will evolve. Where it starts and where it ends are two completely different places. Don’t fight this – it’s all party of the creative process.
4 – Let your suppliers guide you but allow yourself the freedom to change your mind as your vision gets clearer.
5 – The key to styling is that everything has to work in harmony.
Q. Which other local suppliers would you like to work with?
I’d love to work with Bicycle Blooms, a new florist that’s opened in Cowley, Oxford. I’ve heard great things about them.
Thank you Camille for answering my questions. If you have questions of your own please leave them in the comments below and Camille will reply with her expertise.
Thanks also to Bare Foot Oxford for the yummy coffee and cake, we will be back for sure.