When summer months come, moods get lighter, gardens become brighter, and – thanks to the longer days – we get longer time to play with friends and family. Hedonism and romance go hand in hand, too, so how do you style a summer wedding that brings everything that we love about summer, together? We asked two different experts to give us their tips.
“Cocktails in teapots, lawn games and lots of Pimms!”Kirsten, Little Wedding Helper
“Creams, green and pastels are a great place to start for a summer wedding colour palette” says Laure Pages, wedding planner at Summer Lodge Country House Hotel, in Dorset. From your wedding invitations to your table runners, your ties, laces and bows, dress you and your venue in soft hues and you can’t go wrong.
For the perfect summer wedding theme, English Country Garden parties and Festival style receptions rule… especially when they are teaming with the summer season’s greatest flora and foliage.
“The English country garden party is still popular: you’ll have a drinks reception on the lawn, a string quartet playing, lawn games and lots of Pimms!” says Kirsten Butler, of wedding stylist service, The Little Wedding Helper.
“Afternoon tea can be a great alternative to a traditional three-course meal, with cocktails in teapots and beautiful vintage China, cutlery and glassware to really add that quintessential English look and feel.”
FESTIVAL WEDDING THEMES
“With the longer summer evenings, festival style weddings have also become popular this year” explains Kirsten, “with a laid back and informal feel to the proceedings with a few traditions swapped for more personal touches. Think colourful Glastonbury vibes with your own playlists, live musicians, flower crowns, boho styled dresses and not a morning suit to be seen.”
Guests can stay in yurts or bell tents so the wedding can last a whole weekend rather than just one day.
“I’ve seen foliage becoming more popular than ever before with huge floral centrepieces being replaced with green foliage runners and candles in beautiful muted tones such as greys and blush.”
Hiring coloured linen for tables really adds that wow factor as well as beautiful calligraphy stationery to add those personal touches.
Long tables have made a welcome change to the traditional round tables and create a real impact with a nod to how events would originally been held back in the day.”
THE FINER DETAILS
“We call them the TNTs – Tiny Noticeable Touches,” says Laure. “They’re what separates the good from the great.”
Kirsten agrees: “The finer details are the subtle touches that really pull a wedding together, giving the celebration a cohesive look and feel, whilst still feeling personal and reflective of the couple.
“It’s important to remember though that couples will have different priorities for their budgets with some details like the cake not being as important to them as the stationery, or vice versa! This kind of detailing can easily become overwhelming and this is where a wedding stylist can help with advice, ideas and inspiration.”
Some key styling details are often overlooked, so it’s important to take your time and think about what you want your guests to feel and experience at every stage of your wedding day. And what you want them to remember.
For Laure, carefully placed entertainment options and offbeat idiosyncracies will really add to your guests memories of the day.
“Put deck chairs out for your guests to sit on, and consider arranging something fun for your guests to do whilst you are being swept of for photographs,” she says; “if you add something out of the ordinary to more ‘conventional’ parts of the day, it makes the day more memorable. Our favourite is Sabrage where guests are taught to use a sword to open a bottle of champagne.”
Kirsten suggests setting up guest stations filled with useful things for your guests. “In the warmer months, think about providing some summer cooldowns to help guests stay cool and comfortable. A guest station with sun lotion, cooling wipes or spray, fans and even sunglasses can be a welcoming comfort. As can chilled bottles of water or a couple of Kilner dispensers with flavoured water to quench thirsty guests.”
Embellishing stand-alone features, like a table of drinks, will also make a big difference. “Don’t just lay glasses out on a clothed table for your reception,” advises Kirsten, “use vintage furniture to display glasses; set up a gin bar or even a Prosecco station with cordials and fruits. Then add some colour and fun with straws and stirrers!”
The summer is all about being outdoors, so choosing a venue that has outdoor space big enough to accommodate all your guests is essential, even if you’re not marrying under a gazebo and most of your wedding is held inside. Many couples, for example, like to hold their drinks reception outside before going inside for their food.
Others like to have the option of spilling out into fairy-lit gardens at night to cool off from the post-dinner dancing.
Country venues – such as country houses, tythe barns and woodlands are great for summer weddings because they are usually surrounded by beautiful gardens or countryside which offer shade during the day and cooling temperatures in the night.
Go seasonal. From hydrangeas and sweet peas to roses and peonies, there’s plenty of high-scented (or not so) choice when it comes to home grown UK flowers, so you can support local businesses, too. Subtle or statement, use flowers thoughtfully to embellish your theme and they could easily steal the stylistic show.
“Flowers will soften edges,” explains Kirsten, “so thinking about putting them along mantlepieces or on the corners of the bar or cake table, and on the back of chairs.”
“I love floral details around signage, too – like the table plan or the welcome sign. And, although one often thinks of flowers being in vases, it can be fun to be a little creative and hang flower hoops as backdrops on a plain wall or even fill wellies with posies and position at the entrance of your venue!”
“Croquet is such a summer game and great for weddings, as everyone can play” says Laure. “For children, venues with large gardens lend themselves brilliantly for treasure hunts and other lawn games, such as horse-shoe throwing, welly wanging, chess and skittles.”
With Thanks to:
The Little Wedding Helper – Kirsten Butler is an an award-winning venue stylist who specialises in working with couples who want their weddings to be completely unique. Based in Bristol, Kirsten weaves elements of each couples ideals, interests and passions into the decor of their wedding to create details that truly reflect each couple, and that guests will remember and enjoy. littleweddinghelper.co.uk.
Laure Pages is a wedding planner at Summer Lodge Country House Hotel, in Dorset.
Buttonholes, wedding party, cake – Scott & Guy’s wedding, images by Hannah Hall Photography
– Garden Party – Pinterest
Lineup sign – Pinterest
Studded Wellies – Pinterest
Tipi – Boho Weddings
Festival Style Band – Boho Weddings
Wedding Chair Ribbons – Pinterest
Sign-post – Boho Weddings
Fairy lit path to Marquee – Perfect Wedding magazine
Deck Chairs – Summer Lodge Country House Hotel, Devon
Guest Stations: Pimp Your Prosecco image by Aga Tomaszek (styling by The Little Wedding Helper); other guest stations via Pinterest.
Gazebo at Newton Hall, Northumberland
Gardens at Summer Lodge Country House Hotel, Devon
Walled Gardens at Lanwades Hall, Suffolk
Countryside surrounding Ellenborough Country Park, Gloucestershire
Barn at Ufton Court, Berkshire
Suspended Hyudrangeas – Pinterest
Cushions and Flowers on Steps – Paola de Paola at Sara and Karen’s wedding
Flowers on Mantlepiece at Pentney Abbey, image by Paul Tibbs Photography
Flowers on Door Handle at Summer Lodge Country House Hotel, Devon
Flower decor – Pinterest
Lawn Games – Deer Pearl