Expert advice about venue styling

Here is a selection of Q&As from Your Sussex Wedding magazine whether it be about flowers, hair and makeup, fashion, wedding themes, health & beauty, cakes, stationery, legal advice. If you would like your question answered by our experts, please email it to


Springtime style

Springtime style

Q. How can we incorporate the best of spring in our venue styling?

A. Sally Gallis says: Spring for me is all about colour. You might wish to incorporate fresh pastels, such as baby pinks, dusky blues and delicate yellows, or turn up the volume using jewel tones, and zingy pops of red, zesty lemon, magenta, and deep purple.

The warmer weather and longer days mean you can bring the outside in, or take yourselves out! Open-air seating areas are still a lovely idea, and I've seen some amazing budget-friendly chill-out spaces, which allow you to stay outside for the stunning golden hour.

Scent is so important and spring brings it in abundance. Your venue would smell beautifully fresh with the aroma of daffodils, hyacinth, lavender, tulips and peonies in rustic planters, and will inject a burst of colour, which you can extend to other decorative elements.

Sally Gallis,Events by Design


Guilty pleasures

Guilty pleasures

Q. We're getting married between Christmas and New Year, and really want to bring the season into our day without being overly cheesy! What can you suggest?

A. Brian Mole says: You've chosen a wonderful time of year for a wedding. If you're lucky enough to have snow, just think about what the photos could look like! Chances are your family and friends will all be around during this festive holiday season, and as the pressures of Christmas are over, they'll be only too happy to celebrate with you.

Musically, there's not much need to have too many cheesy Christmas tunes, which will probably grate with most people by then. Instead, just think of your favourite music. Ask your family and friends what they love to dance to if you need a little more inspiration, and let your DJ know what you don't want as everyone's definition of cheesy is a little different! Above all, enjoy this fabulous time of the year with your loved ones.

Brian Mole


Colour me autumn

Colour me autumn

Q. We're getting married next November and are struggling to settle on a palette. What would you advise?

A. Amanda Samain says: 2020 will see a mix of palettes. We have the ongoing trend for white and greenery with a pop of gold, then there's the opulent navy, burgundy and plum tones. Woodland weddings and natural vibes are still strong and can set off a venue spectacularly, lending it an enchanted ambience. White table linens with bold-hued napkins can finish a tablescape beautifully, and you can make an even bigger impact by adding tinted glassware.

Amanda Samain


Bullion for you

Bullion for you

Q. I'm looking to wow our guests with venue styling that's both modern and quirky - what can you suggest?

A. Alison Hood says: Hanging hoops of bullion are a hot styling newbie that we expect to see much more of over the coming months. These fanciful ornamental braids or fringing are made with twists of gold, silver or white threads. In fact, they've been used similarly in design and décor for decades but appear to be making a stylish comeback.

Bullion cords have a remarkable ability to create an immediate impact, with their grand presence introducing an entirely different ambience and air of elegance to any setting. Additionally, they are tremendously versatile, blending beautifully into any theme, whether it be modern, minimalist, edgy, bohemian, vintage, quirky or classical.

Big in impact, small on budget. What's not to love? This is one design element to deserve a seat at the style round table for a long time to come.

Psst… check out page 67 to see this style must have in action!

Alison Hood


Neon: The new black

Neon: The new black

Q. What's hot at the moment in terms of venue styling?

A. Alison Hood says: Neon signs have firmly hit the wedding hot list this year. Many of us want our big day to be stunning, but would also love to have that edge of cool and talk-ability. So a neon sign spelling out words of adoration or coolness is a wedding décor must-have.

Aside from the obvious pizzazz of the '80s-esque disco feel this splash of light can bring, what we love about neons is their ability to absolutely transform any space into something romantic, modern and stylish. When it comes to incorporating these beauties into your space the more unembellished the environment the better. They work magnificently against stark, exposed or rugged backdrops found in barns, churches and historical venues.

Soft, pastel flower choices, such as roses, peonies or hydrangeas can also accentuate these signs with the fusion of country-meets-cool. When it comes to bohemian, minimalistic, or even classic aesthetics complement with pampas grass, disco balls, foliage walls and large, geometric copper-piping frames.

For an insta-perfect wedding these typographic luminosities are a definite affirmative.

Alison Hood


Style our marquee

Style our marquee

Q. How can we style our marquee wedding reception in the best possible way?

A. Annabel Grange says: It's important to add a colour or greenery to your marquee as they're supplied in plain ivory or white, although you can have a coloured swag added to the walls. At the entrance blossom or bay trees line the path for your guests and look great decorated with a soft organza bow and lights for the evening. Bespoke fresh flower garlands and large heart-shaped displays, brimming with roses and seasonal flowers, also look great for entrance walkways.

Table centres are vital. Tall vases or martini glasses filled with large blooms immediately bring the space to life, with little else required except for a table mirror and some petals or crystals. If you're looking at lower table versions, then the addition of lanterns or string lights hung from the ceiling will help fill that space. For an unusual twist, suspend a flower hoop from above.

For the top table, a larger floral arrangement packed full of blooms with only a small amount of greenery tumbling over the front of the table looks striking against the stark walls of the marquee. Larger pedestal arrangements either side of the top table finish off the look. With a free-flowing softer style, these can be used for the ceremony first.

For the evening, strategically placed uplighters create a colour wash along the walls and make a cosy atmosphere. Also, LED light strings in nearby trees and bushes give a pretty evening feel – as do glass balls with LED lights inside hung from branches. Finally, don't be afraid of embracing a theme. They work really well on such a blank canvas. Plus, there'll be plenty of space to add props or larger bespoke designs in corner areas.

Annabel Grange


Man with a plan

Man with a plan

Q. How can I make my big day seasonal?

A. Nick Henley says: Planning is key. It's important to be comfortable and prepare for the elements. I always let couples know how long they're going to spend outside ahead of time and advise them to bring a cover up or jacket. Shivering and skin peppered with goosebumps will make for uncomfortable looking photos! Plus, agreeing how a shawl, for example, can be incorporated to give a range of poses whilst keeping the couple warm will pay dividends later. Timing is critical with weddings in the latter part of the year as the light is lost earlier meaning there can be a clash between the breakfast and capturing those all-important images. Light falls very differently during the winter months, low light or a setting sun can create a glare making the couple squint or cause a lens flare. But it can be used to our advantage in creating some dramatic images. I will always visit the location at the same time a few days before to get a feel for how conditions will be.


- Come prepared to embrace the elements.

- Tell your photographer if you're feeling cold or would prefer a different location and don't tough it out as it will show in the shots.

- Have a realistic plan for the photos and remember that for group shots, you'll often be committing your guests to a trip outside without jackets.

- Finally work with your photographer and share ideas so that you incorporate any them into your photos.

Nick Henley

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