3 Wedding Styling Mistakes Most Couples Make & How You Can Avoid Making The Same Mistakes

As wedding stylists, we’ve seen and heard it all. The jaw-dropping gorgeous, the unbelievably bad, and the downright nightmares. Making the impossible possible is a large part of the job and as professionals, our goal is always to help our clients have the best wedding day experience possible.

To help you have the most perfect wedding day, we’ve identified three of the most common wedding mistakes that couples make and how you don’t have to follow in the same steps.


1. Hiring a wedding stylist far too late

Most couples first choose a wedding date (depending on your cultural background, you may have limited say in which day(s) your wedding celebration falls upon). Then they begin researching suitable wedding venues that can accommodate their guest list, budget and date availability. After a few site inspections of various venues, they lock in a wedding venue; often two - one for the ceremony and one for the reception. And before they can take a few weeks to breathe, their last big ticket item to lock down is a wedding photographer.

If we had to pick just one cardinal sin - it would be this ( although #3 is pretty up there).Almost 95% of all engaged couples make this critical mistake and it is one that is difficult to correct. What exactly is this mistake that so many engaged couples make?They hire a wedding stylist way too late, often with a few months to go until their wedding day.

You see, most couples make crucial wedding planning decisions in this order: date > venue > photographer. Now, if you’re someone who doesn’t care about the aesthetics of your wedding (which I doubt because you’re here reading this), this wouldn’t apply so much to you. But if you do care about how your wedding looks and feel and you want it to be visually striking and beautiful, please don’t follow in the footsteps of ‘traditional wedding planning’.

As wedding stylists in Sydney, we have had the distinct pleasure of working with a culturally diverse client profile. As such, we understand that sometimes, picking the date of your wedding is beyond your control.

The modern professional young couple wants their wedding to be unique and memorable. Our clients want to create an experience for their family and friends. This is where a wedding stylist comes in. We help transform dreams into reality.

For those of you who don’t know, wedding stylists transform physical spaces to reflect a mood, feel, and/or atmosphere. We do this in many ways using different decorative elements. This can range from the lighting to floral arrangements to help achieve a certain theme. You can read more about what a wedding stylist does (and how our work is different to that of a professional wedding planner) over here.

A lot of planning and work goes into transforming a space. The more detailed your vision, the greater the number of logistics involved. More often than not, we have to tell our clients that we are unable to do certain things due to restrictions from the venue. By this stage, it is too late to change venues and we end up doing something we never like to do: compromise.

For example, many wedding venues in Sydney have very strict setup time frames - often only 90-minutes. There is only so much that we can accomplish in 90-minutes and if you have a grand vision, a 90-minute window is not going to cut it, even if we hire a hundred helping hands. Obviously, we don’t expect you to know this (and most venues do not disclose this in a way that makes sense to you at the time of booking).

We understand why 95% of couples hire a wedding venue first (because wedding venues are limited in number and thus, have limited availability). Fear of missing out (FOMO) is real here - you’d had to fall in love with a venue to find out that they’re unavailable.

So rather than following the conventional wisdom of hiring a wedding reception first, we believe your first task to do after deciding on your wedding date is to hire a wedding stylist. By doing so, you’ll avoid a lot of stress down the track. And who doesn’t like a little bit less stress? We certainly do!

2. Thinking that hiring a wedding stylist requires a huge wedding budget


Can I just say that we’re not big fans of the words ‘expensive’ or ‘cheap’. This is because the words themselves are meaningless due to their subjectiveness. A $10,000 wedding may be cheap as chips for one person while someone else will view this use of money as a complete waste of money. So for this reason, we believe that there is no such thing as an expensive wedding stylist or a cheap wedding stylist. What matters is the outcome and how easy/difficult it was for you to reach said goal.

In the past, wedding stylists were exclusive to the rich and famous (wedding planners were viewed in the same way). These days, not so much.

I’m not saying that hiring a professional wedding stylist is a cheap affair because that would be untrue. But on the flip side, it is equally untrue to put wedding stylists into the ‘too expensive’ bucket. In fact, if you agree with the saying that time is money, then you can say that by engaging a wedding stylist and benefiting from their wealth of knowledge and insights will literally save you money. This is because hiring a professional wedding stylist willalways save you time and stress. In some situations, we have saved our clients money.

Unless your day job is that of a professional event planner, chances are that your wedding will be the first full-scale event that you will be in charge of. No matter what they say, the first time is always messy. Mistakes will be made and some of these mistakes can often cost you thousands of dollars.

Can DIY wedding styling save you money? For sure!

Will it actually save you money? Probably not - in fact, you’ll more than likely end up wasting more time and money.

A wedding stylist will organise the delivery and collection of everything, as per your venue’s bump in and bump out timelines. This task in itself is a headache saver. You probably don’t know this but after every wedding, everything must be removed from the venue immediately. Unless you’re the super frugal type, I’ll hazard a guess that cleaning up is not what you had in mind for your wedding night. In addition to this, a wedding stylist will know which vendor to use for specific situations - some are better suited for certain projects as no vendor is ever the same. And we can source items for you so that you do not have to go out and buy them (and dispose of them later on).

The role of a wedding stylist varies from stylist to stylist and yes, prices vary as well. In the end, our goal is to transform a space that reflects your vision. We’ll do this by using florals (fresh or otherwise), adding furniture and furnishings, and creating personalised elements. Of course, there’s nothing stopping you from doing the same yourself via DIY but I can guarantee you that the stress you will feel in the weeks, months and days leading up to your wedding (as well as on the day of) will be significantly greater than if you had simply entrusted all this to a professional wedding stylist.


3. Unrealistic expectations

Fact: wedding stylists move heaven and earth to make the impossible possible.
Fact: lavish setups require hours upon hours of preparation and hours upon hours of on-site execution.

Fact: many venues do not have generous bump-in times.
Fact: fresh flowers do not survive in hot direct sun (neither do your guests, to be honest).
Fact: wedding stylists are humans who share the same daily challenges and struggles as you do.

As much as it pains me to write this, there is a worrying trend of unrealistic expectations. At Upside Down Events, we’re blessed to work with awesome couples who get us and treat us as fellow equals. But once in a while, we field demands and expectations that simply cannot be met.

The very marketing tool that we use is double-edged swords. Instagram is certainly to blame for setting unrealistic expectations. This is because almost every popular Instagram image has behind it thousands of dollars worth of fresh flowers. This doesn’t even factor in the labour cost of the florist and other vendors. And because Instagram is a visual platform rather than an informational one, most people are not aware of the time, effort and cost of raw materials that go into creating a stunning wedding setup.

Secondly, we get that your wedding day is important to you. I don’t know any wedding stylist who doesn’t care about their work. In fact, our problem is that we care a little bit too much. So when client’s text message us late in the night expecting us to respond immediately, it hurts. It hurts a lot.

So please, respect that we have our own personal lives to attend to and understand that we’re probably looking after multiple wedding clients. If we do fail to respond to you in 2-business days, by all means, follow up with us, preferably via email so that the communication may be tracked.

Lilac Zhang