Stylist Secrets: 5 Ways to Wow

Transforming a space into a blow-you-away level of lovely may only take a few subtle tweaks – stylist Ashley Hibbard from Southern Belle Styling & Events shares her best tips.


    Transforming a space into a blow-you-away level of lovely may only take a few subtle tweaks – stylist Ashley Hibbard from Southern Belle Styling & Events shares her best tips. 

    Signage is one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways of adding that ‘something extra’. Whether it’s a chalkboard, a mirror, a hand-painted piece of wood or a simple print and frame, signs can help tie together everything from  colour schemes to stationery and flowers. With clever wording, they can make your guests laugh and as an added bonus, they can provide practical instruction so your guests know what’s happening throughout the day.

    Collections of objects will always make a bigger impact than singular ones. It’s a tried and true styling method. Twenty lanterns spread out in a giant marquee or reception room can look like an after thought, but if you grouped those same 20 lanterns together and hang them in one area, suddenly they create a statement. This trick works with anything from candlesticks to flowers.  

    When it comes to blooms, don’t be afraid to be different. As well all know, flowers can get expensive – rather than focusing on big (and often expensive) flowers, experiment with fresh fruits that work with your colour scheme – think vibrant citrus fruits, blackberries or plums. As well as adding a pop of colour, they create a lush texture. In one wedding I styled this year, the couple didn’t want flowers – instead, we created an edible tablescape using different lettuces, fruit and potted vegetables.

    Lights, lights and more lights! Great lighting helps create the romantic atmosphere almost every couple longs for on their wedding day. At a wedding I styled this year, instead of blooms we created a table runner of about 20 vases filled with floating candles. We also placed our giant LOVE marquee sign in the fireplace surrounded by pillar candles of different sizes, and draped fairy lights from the ceiling. The lights set the scene for a dreamy night full of love, laughs and dancing.

    Thinking outside the box with your venue is a great way to set your day apart. There’s no need to settle for a dedicated wedding space: one couple I worked for booked out cabins in the forest (so all the guests could stay together for the long weekend), another chose a bach on a beach and most recently, I had a couple book Hauraki Blue Cruises. Their ceremony will be on an island in the Hauraki Gulf, and their reception will be on the boat where all the guests can stay the night. Many couples wrongly assume these options are out of their price range – but they may be more affordable than you think, as often these venue options will let you save in other areas – such as catering.  

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