• Emily Gustafson

#wednesdaywisdom - Styling 101

Hi friends! Sorry the skipping our #wednesdaywisdom last week. I spent the day doing one of my favorite things - a styled shoot. For those who may not know, a styled shoot is where wedding/event vendors come together to volunteer their time, goods, and services to create a "mock" wedding and photograph it. It takes lots of people working together to make it happen and we had a great team (see below for a list of vendors involved).

As the planner for the shoot, my main focus was gathering the vendors together, organizing the timing of the day, and styling the shoot. Undeniably, the styling is my favorite part. At shoots like this, I have the opportunity to choose the color palette and overall mood that would best fit the setting. Maypop Fields is a gorgeous modern, barn event venue that has bright white walls and was just screaming for a bright, airy, spring shoot with lots of green, and soft, dewy spring pinks and peaches with pops of gold.

So, with that in mind, I set out gathering inspiration to make the styling cohesive. Here are some steps that I take to keep my vision for the styling of the wedding clear and consistent:

1. My first step is to create a mood board and/or pinterest board with details that evoke the style I'm going for. The internet is full of beautiful photos that capture at least a little piece of what I was going for in terms of colors and overall feel. I love grabbing those items putting them together and taking pictures of them. It's a great way to know if what you're imagining really makes sense in real life.

Gathering goodies to prepare for the shoot in my dining room. Note my stylish socks :)

2. Once you have your vision - stick to it! It is very easy to be led astray as you wander around seeing stuff you like online. While the internet is the ulitimate styling inspiration resource, it's also really easy to be led far away from your original idea by what you see someone else do online. Now, sometimes being led another direction isn't such a bad idea (like getting rid of the bunny plate from the photo above). But, you don't want to find yourself with a dark crimson floral centerpieces in your light and airy sping photo shoot because they grabbed your attention on the interwebs. Save that idea for next time, remember where you want to go and consult that mood board/pinterest to keep it on track.

3. Communicate clearly with the person who is styling your event. Tell them your likes and dislikes, even if you think they're silly. Do you have a deep disdain for floating candles? Tell your planner/stylist. Do you want to banish daisies from all floral arrangements? Be sure to tell your planner/stylist. The entire point of event styling is to make it personal for you. So that everyone in the room walks in and says, "Wow, this is so... you." So, give your planner/stylist the upperhand by telling them openly and honestly what will make the event unique and yours.

4. Bring your stuff to the party! In our photo shoot we incorporated lots of my own and my Mom's antiques and family heirlooms. I love seeing all those items dolled up and beautifully photographed and I think that my family members love it too. But, it doesn't have to be an antique to be included in your event. I've used a couple's collection of Star Wars figures in their centerpieces, another's original art and sculpture in their decor. Contributing your own special items makes the day more personal, more meaningful, and many times a lot more fun. People love seeing that your stuff and by extension you are represented. If you're throwing the party - then it should feel like YOUR party.

5. Relax and let someone else obsess over the details. You can ask anyone at the shoot at Maypop Fields last week - I ran around that venue with a steamer and a ruler, obsessing over the details, trying to put everything just where I wanted it. Moving it forward, then back, then a little to the left. But, I love that stuff! I love seeing it all come together; often in combinations and ways that I hadn't imagined before set-up for the event or photo shoot. It takes time to set it all up and bring all the little details together. Let me stress, this should not be your job, or your Mom's, or your Aunt Cathy's job for your wedding or event. Trust me, you need to give that job to someone else. That's why all of the other steps are so important. Once you've identified what you're going for, communicated what you want, and incorporated anything personal that you want to use in your event styling, it's time to sit back and let someone else take the plan and run with it. The "ruler and steamer" headspace isn't one you need to be in when the big day is all about you! Hand over the ruler, for real, it's for the best. The relax and watch the magic happen.

And now, I'll leave you with a whole bunch of goodies from the day of the shoot, including a few behind the scenes shots of our team making the magic happen. Photos are courtesy of Winx Photo and Brittany Conner Photography.

Our all-star vendor team:

Maypop Fields

Leah Nicole Photography

Winx Photo

Brittany Conner Photography

(See my instagram for lots more shots!)

Katie Carnegie Hair and Makeup

Lillian Ruth Bridal

Regal Tuxedo

Echelon Floral Design

Rachel Write Pretty

TriStar Scribe

EG Weddings & Events

Models: Maleia Twilla & Gabe Martinez

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