Updated: Oct 28, 2018
Recently Bride and Groom Magazine interviewed principal planner and stylist, Danielle Esterman on all things wedding styling and we are thrilled to be able to share our questions and answers with you.
What exactly is a wedding stylist? And how do they differ from a wedding planner?
A wedding stylist is someone who focuses on the aesthetic of a wedding. A stylist’s main aim is to ensure that your guests are having the time of their life in the most beautifully decorated and thought out space. While a planner ensures the budget, logistics, timeline etc. of a wedding are perfected.
What are the ways a wedding stylist can help a couple planning their wedding?
If the bridal couple have decided to plan their wedding themselves, a stylist can be a godsend. Once a concept has been created, the stylist will then take charge of all matters relating to the design. That may include the ceremony, cocktail hour and reception as well as any other personalised bits and pieces. This would also include liaison with the various suppliers relating to these items. A stylist will also be present on the wedding day to ensure that everything is set up to match the design and ambience. That means the couple won’t have to rely on inexperienced venue staff and their bridal party or family members to run around hours before the wedding setting up. Most stylists will then go back to the venue the day after and ensure that all hire items etc. are sent back to the respective companies, leaving the couple to enjoy their first day as newlyweds.
Do most couples come to you with a vision or do you create it for them?
Most couples tend to have an idea of what look they are after. Whether it be a single flower that they’ve seen and would love to incorporate or even something more personal, like a family heirloom. It’s our job to take their ideas and create a cohesively, thought out design that captures it all.
What’s a good rule of thumb if you’re working with a budget?
Less is more. Coco Chanel once said “Once you’ve dressed, and before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take at least one thing off.” The same can be applied to wedding styling. There is beauty in simplicity so when working with a smaller budget, focus on the details and personalise as much as you can. After all, it’s the details that make your wedding memorable.
What’s a common mistake couple’s make when planning or theming their wedding?
Theme over indulgence or taking their theme too literally. There is a major difference between using a colour or theme as a starting point and taking elements from it to create your own personal wedding style vs over theming every aspect of the wedding. You need to be very careful that you don’t cross the “too much” line. Sure, you’ve decided your wedding inspiration is lace, but you don’t need to have it, on your dress, your maids’ dresses, bouquets, buttonholes, down the aisle, gazebo, table linen, chairs, place settings, favours, stationery, florals etc.
What is the typical day in the life of a wedding stylist?
I spend most of my time running around meeting with clients and suppliers putting together the design that we have created. This is anything from choosing linens, to place settings and florals. When I’m not driving all over Auckland, I’m creating mood boards, style sheets or design concepts, and trying to source the best options for my Brides, all in the comfort of my home office.
What are your favourite wedding trends right now?
My favourite trend right now is the soft romantic garden look with lush pastel florals. I’m also super in love with floral chandeliers :)
What’s your favourite favour idea?
This will completely throw you off, but my favourite favour is a donation. I know lots of couples ask for donations to be made to various charities in lieu of gifts, but my favourite favour was when a couple made a donation in the name of each guest to the SPCA. It wasn’t a huge amount. I think it was about $5 each but it definitely topped providing a Ferro Roche choccie that would be eaten before the starter was served.
What are your three go-to styling tips that you can share?
Refine your ideas. Take all of your pins, magazine cut outs, etc. and put them together. Work out which style and colour scheme shines through the most. Once you have that get rid of the other images. If you keep them they will confuse you and half way through the planning phase you will start changing your mind and second guessing your choices. This will cause unnecessary stress on you and everyone around you.
Create a style board. From the images you have kept, be realistic about what your budget is and what you are able to source and create a style board. Your style board should always be taken as a starting point of your design and not the final expectation. It’s up to you (or your stylist) to take the ideas and create a wedding that is uniquely you.
Source the right suppliers. I’ve said it a thousand times, if my suppliers weren’t any good, my work would be the same! The importance of experienced and passionate suppliers is fundamental to an epic wedding. You also need to ensure that the style of the suppliers you choose matches in with your overall wedding style. You could also try working with suppliers who have worked together in the past. That way you are able to see their results before you meet with them and know that they have a great working relationship.
I once read somewhere, “How do I know which suppliers to hire?”
The answer, “If you’d like to be friends with the person, you’re probably a good match”