How Wedding Design Works With Your Wedding Venue

Wedding venues are often the first thing ticked off the list when it comes to wedding planning, after all, you can't get married without somewhere to say "I do". Every couple, no matter how organised / disorganised, laidback / wedding-obsessed, who have 2 years to plan / 3 months to plan, have their own list of criteria which dictates where they sign on the dotted line for venue use.

Whether it be distance from home, where their family & friends can easily travel to and from, the additional stylistic elements that come with the venue package, or the ability to design that space so it looks exactly like their wedding Pinterest board - each venue has a particular roster of key attributes to live up to. 

Whatever your list of desires that you refuse to compromise one, it is still fundamental to consider how your venue will look on your wedding day. At the end of the day, it is how you day looks, and therefore makes you feel, that you will remember for all of those years to come - not how long the drive was from your home. So whilst you are looking around venues and marking each against your checklist of intransigent qualities, it will serve you extremely well to picture each venue as the setting for the wedding design you have in mind.

If you have dreamed about an altar adorned with an abundance of melting candles, then choosing a stately home may not give you this option. That is not to say you should change your mind about booking if it has all of the other elements that you have your heart set on - there is always a way with design - but you should bear in mind where you are going to relocate your dream candlelit altar to in the venue. This is where a wedding designer comes in extremely handy, as we have a keen eye for pin-pointing spaces where each stylistic element will work best.

I firmly of the belief that you can make your chosen wedding design work for anywhere! Any venue, any space, any size - whatever dreamy, luxurious, stylish, whimsical looks you are dreaming up in your head can absolutely work anywhere - it sometimes just takes a little bit of working out. And the solutions may not always be obvious. This is especially important to remember if you have already chosen your wedding venue and now you are stressing out as to how you're going to put into practice all of the ideas that you've discovered, and dreamed about, since. It can happen, I promise you.

I always find a little anecdote illustrates my point better than me aimlessly rambling on, so I'm going to explain what happened on a shoot earlier this week to show honestly how wedding design can be adapted and made perfect for whichever space you have chosen as the backdrop to your very own Happy Ending. 

On Tuesday I was working at The Asylum in Peckham on a styled shoot that I had been asked to style by my wonderful friend Becy from Belle Art Photography. I was offered the chance beforehand to have a quick visit to the venue, however Peckham is not just a hop, skip and jump from my home in Notting Hill. And given that I'd stalked the venue for years on social media I felt like I knew enough. For an actual wedding, one or two venue visits (depending on requirements) would be carried out well in advance, however often the fun of a styled shoot is making the magic come together on the day.

Now when I turned up at the venue, I had a good idea of what I was going to style, but realistically until you have seen the table that you're going to use, no decision can be practically made. Upon exploring every cupboard and nook and cranny of that venue I was left with two options - a trestle table that reminded me very much of school exams, or a tiny round side table which would hold a cup of coffee and that was about it. I opted for the trestle table, but if you know the type I am talking about, you know that making this look high-fashion was a job and a half. 

Next challenge, ironing the table cloth to cover up the soulless trestle. Let's be honest, creases at a wedding are never okay; point blanc. And so I am always prepared to iron until everything looks like it has been steamed and pressed to within an inch of its life. (Fun fact - I never ever iron as I always seem to buy clothes that never need ironing. The only things I iron are outfits for weddings and tablecloths...for weddings!) Except the only plug was halfway up the venue's stone wall and really just meant for the festoon lighting that was hung dramatically around the walls. But did this hold me - or the lovely Shelena from Bloam - back? No, we plugged that iron in and with the table as close to the wall as could be managed that tablecloth was steamed to (almost) perfection. 

Not too much else went awry with the styling of the table, however when it came to hanging up the most stunning muslin wedding sign you have ever seen in your life, made by the wonderful Cathy from Willow Beau, we were stumped for a second. Normally fishing wire is a staple tool in my styling kit. What you can't magic up with a little bit of fishing wire you simply shouldn't bother with! However, fishing wire had escaped my attention on this day, with it not actually being a real wedding day and knowing that I didn't need it for any of my styling decisions it had been left in my styling stock at home.

So there the three of us were, me, Shelena and Cathy, stood staring at the stone wall of this abandoned chapel. I'm sure you could have heard the cogs turning in our heads if you listened carefully enough! Shelena, being very intelligent and creative, started scanning for any built-in hooks on the wall, and this is a tip that I think needs to be bestowed upon any bride who wants to get a little creative and DIY with their wedding space. Built-in hooks are your friend!!! And can save you a lot of agony - so if you spot them, then use them! Tie things around them, drape things from them, and string things between them. If your venue has them then you have struck gold, my friend!

Fortunately, the wall we were blankly staring at had two hooks! However, the distance between them was colossal and therefore wasn't much help to us at all. So the next suggestion was to tightly tie black silk ribbons around the corner of the fabric sign and loop these onto the festoon lighting cord. A great idea, which would have also added to the dramatic and industrial effect that the venue is famed for. Apart from the ideal point for us to string the festoon was just a little too high for us 5"somethings to reach. Even when we were precariously perched on tiptoes on old wooden chairs. Finally, Shelena spotted that the festoon bulbs had little hooks sitting just above them and our ribbon loops would slot perfectly over these. Oh, it worked like a charm!

As unexciting as I'm sure this story was, I hope that you can see my point. The Asylum was chosen because every single supplier involved in this shoot was in love with it and was desperate to get their hands on it (in it?) for a day. But it's safe to say it wasn't chosen for its practicalities and we all showed up with a passion to create something fiercely beautiful rather than with an exact plan for execution. As a free-spirit I am much more drawn towards decisions that let my creativity just flow. Ask anyone who knows me and they'll tell you that I think with my heart first and my head second, which is a nice way of saying my common sense is lacking. But as long as you can think of the practical ways to make your crazy and out-there ideas happen then you are onto a winner.

The title of this blog post (without meaning to sound patronising; I'm sure you can all read. Unless you just came here for the pictures, in which case you are my kind of people!) is "How wedding design works with your wedding venue". The answer to that non-question and the whole point to this rambly blog post is: any wedding design can work with your venue. Sure, it may need tweaking, refining, relocating to other parts of the venue but whatever style you want to go for can and will work anywhere with the right wedding design direction. 

So book the dream venue. You'll know as soon as you walk in and feel goosebumps that it's the one. So pay the deposit, but have an eye to where you might start creating your magic, because the last thing you want to do the day before your wedding is stand and stare blankly at a stone wall and start counting hooks. 

Charlotte xoxo