If you’ve ever been a wedding guest, then you’ll have played the “what sort of wedding is going to be?” game. Everyone does. It’s part of what makes a wedding so exciting. It’s the bubbles of anticipation. It’s part of the gorgeous buzz that is a friend’s big day. It’s pulling up to the reception in a car full of people, each of you dressed to impress in suits and dresses and hats and shiny shoes, as you whisper over one another in fever-pitch voices desperately trying to guess what sort of magic will unfold when you step inside the venue.
We all love that moment. We all love being wowed by a totally unique wedding. We all love seeing how different and amazing a space can look when it has been totally transformed.
Now, for anyone getting married, you will have come to realise that picking the perfect venue is as big as any decision can get. Of course it is. It’s the setting for the first day of the rest of your life. It is the backdrop to that one photo album you will look at over and over and over again. But just because you’ve decided to go with a reception space in a stately home, or the ballroom in a boutique hotel or a garden pavilion tucked away in an enchanted wood doesn’t mean you can’t give it an incredible makeover and make it yours. Totally yours. In every sense of the word. After all, this is your big day, and what could be more incredible than having your personal style and your story reflected in every tiny detail, no matter where your gaze wanders.
And, with that in mind, we’ve pulled together some amazing ideas to help give the first chapter of your story the personal touch it deserves:
1. A Home Away From Home
What could be more personal than making your chosen venue feel like a home, something that can be done just as well with little tweaks. Create a few vignettes around your space, the kind that add big splashes of personality yet quickly fade into the background; things like using an old antique dresser as a coffee station topped off with little vintage props and framed photos, or try putting your guestbook on top of a grand piano and decorating it with flower arrangements, family trinkets and some framed blackboards that have snippets of your love story written across them. Or why not create a cocktail area in a corner, dressing it up to look like a cosy living room, or make a subtle difference by opting for low centrepieces on the tables instead of those tall ones that have become synonymous with ballroom weddings.
2. The Light Of A Thousand Stars
Getting creative with the lighting is one of the most breathtaking ways to transform a space. For example, if you want to make your space feel chic and stylish, then try adding amber uplights to the walls for a more inviting glow (and more flattering photographs). If you want to bring in a spot of quirky charm, then think about how you could create a contrast with your lighting, such as hanging chandeliers from the trees above your lounge area or filling the lofty ceilings with a thousand string lights, taking what was once empty and making it feel more intimate. But don’t just think about the space itself; think about lighting up the walk to your venue too. Think about how hanging lanterns could lead the way to the entrance of your venue, and consider using some old floor standing street lights in any outdoor areas you’re planning on having.
3. Flatter With A Focal Point
No matter what sort of space you opt for - whether it is a gorgeous marquee in the middle of nowhere or an industrial loft in an urban setting - you can completely change the scene by making new focal points, especially ones that add a contemporary twist to a wedding tradition. For example, imagine how breathtaking it would look if your wedding cake was carefully suspended from the ceiling, especially if you used the space beneath it to create a gorgeous little moment - a display of candles, a floor covered in photos of the two of you, a love note, or anything that is unique to you. Of course, it doesn’t have to be a play on tradition. You could hang a monogram gobo light on the wall behind your sweethearts chair at the top table. You could use a plethora of tables, chairs and seating options to transform the different parts of your space. Or it could be something as simple as playing around with the layout of your space. Yes, the round-tables-and-dancefloor-combination is tried and tested, but what about divvying up your space to create a little more drama and privacy and coziness; creating a few lounge areas and outdoor seating options and cocktail tables, each of them separated with clever positioning and a few lovely drapes.
4. Have Fun With Fabrics
When you decorate a home, you tend embraced your fashion tastes with a smile. You play around with fabrics and you pair this texture with that and you have fun. It’s what makes a home feel so personal. So homely. And that is exactly what you want your wedding venue to feel like. You want it to reflect your own personal styles, which is why you shouldn’t be afraid to play around with fabrics, patterns and prints. Now, if you want to go all out, then do. Go for it. Embrace fabrics and textures wherever you possibly can. However, if you only want to dip your toe in with a few details, then just stick to little things, like the cushions you use to decorate that lounge area in the corner, or get a bit jazzy with the chair ties, or add faux-fur blankets to your outdoor spots, or try putting up little patterned teepees for people to sneak off to for those champagne-fuelled deep and meaningfuls. It’s tiny details like this that will make a space sparkle with personality.
5. Invite The Outside In
Until you’ve see it with your own eyes, you won’t believe how much a few cut trees can make you smile and then bite your bottom-lip in gobsmacked disbelief. That’s because inviting a little slice of the great outdoors into your venue is the best way of breathing life into a space. If you like the idea of this, but want to keep things subtle, then try asking your florist to use some smallish branches to break up your dinner tables, or ask your planner to put a pergola over the head table and then wrap it in vines and roses and greenery of every kind to make it stand out in the most romantic way possible. If, however, you want to create a magical ambiance by filling a huge space with mother nature, then don’t be afraid to decorate the pillars, pedestals, columns and supports with cut saplings, giving your venue a park-like feeling that will blow the minds of each and every one of your guests. Trust us on that one.
6. The Art Of Mixology
Mixing things up and breaking away from tradition - even slightly - can be a terrifying move to make. But if you know where and how to do this, well, it could be the one thing that totally changes the feel and flow of your big day. Take your tables as a prime example; round tables are the classic option. But, if you have some fun and mix round tables with square ones, you’ll find you’ve created a gorgeously eclectic look that your guests will bounce off. Or you could use long banquet-style tables to create that intimate family vibe (as well as get people dancing on the tops, and who doesn’t love a good evening dancing on tables?!). But don’t stop there. Try mixing up your glassware. Add cobalt, black and red glasses to your traditional clear ones to a add a dollop of personality to your place settings. The same goes for your seating. Try renting more unusual chairs so that you have row after row of eye-catching seats. You could hire ones with printed backs, or use a plethora of colours, or have a cocktail of different styles, all of which will create a wonderfully unique look.
Here’s the best bit: what you decide is totally up to you. That’s the beauty of making your big day unique. That said, having a huge amount of choice can make you rattle with nerves. Of course it can. After all, choice suggests a decision can be right or wrong. But this is about making your wedding space yours, so think about what makes you you. Think about what makes you and your love a one-of-a-kind couple. Once you know that, the word wrong doesn’t exist anymore; there is only perfection.
Thanks for reading!