Expert advice about venue styling

Here is a selection of Q&As from Your Bristol and Somerset 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


A very big house in the country

A very big house in the country

Q. We're overwhelmed by the thought of styling our manor house venue. What are your top tips for dressing our day without breaking the bank?

A. Alison Hieron says: This setting is perfect for a quintessentially English celebration. Start by deciding on a colour scheme and create your vision from this. Flowers are a must in this type of venue, and candles – where possible – make the perfect accessory.

Look around the house to see what features you can enhance, like a fireplace, mantelpiece or staircase. Use framed mirrors on easels dressed with blooms for seating plans and signage. For a personal, cost-effective touch, put out family photos in classic-style frames nestled in soft fabrics on a sideboard.

Line a sweeping staircase with candles and petals, and add a big arrangement at the foot of the stairs. To save the pennies, consider hiring artificial floral arrangements.

Table centrepieces can be created in many different ways. Candelabra wrapped with green leafy hedgerow garlands look stunning. Glass vases filled with seasonal flowers are another way to add nature's colours into your English country wedding. Don't try to fill every little space – just focus in and showcase certain details. Wooden signage and floral backdrops make great focal points, and bunting is another pretty yet inexpensive option.

Just remember, you chose the country house because it's already beautiful; you just want to enhance what's there.

Alison Hieron


Winter warmer

Winter warmer

Q. We're getting married in February. What touches can we add to our venue to make it feel more cosy and inviting?

A. Charlotte Martin says: For a winter wedding, I don't think you can beat wraps or blankets made from gorgeous natural wool fibres draped over the back of your chairs. Not only does this add warmth and comfort to your venue, but it's also a stylish and quirky alternative to standard chair covers. For added luxury, try layering it over fabulous faux fur.

Having wonderful fabrics around your venue means you and your loved ones can wrap up in them if you get chilly in the evening. The other advantage is that they make great keepsakes and can be used around your home or in your wardrobe for years to come.

Can't find fabrics in your colour scheme? You can even have pieces made to order for a personal touch.

Charlotte Martin


The finishing touch

The finishing touch

Q. What items can we use to dress our rustic barn for a traditional Christmas feel?

A. Catherine Cooke says: There's nothing more romantic than a December wedding. However, doing justice to a rustic barn venue at this time of year can be challenging. First and foremost, pick your colour scheme. Once you've established this, you can then start making plans for how to make the space inviting and celebratory. Using ribbon is a cost-effective and fun choice. You can use it to liven up beams, chairs, table legs and supporting posts.

The obvious palette choice for the season would be green and red, but for a fresh take, why not opt for bright red and grass green to add a vibrant pop of colour to what can be a dull barn interior? Don't forget all those little touches like table decorations, seating plan and menus – they can all be embellished with a touch of colour.

Catherine Cooke


Fabulously festive

Fabulously festive

Q. We're planning a Christmas wedding in a stately home. Where do we turn to for help in creating this look?

A. Becky Storey and Emma Chapman-Burnett says: Winter weddings are a magical occasion, and what better place to celebrate than in a beautiful grand home? With their high ceilings and traditional interiors, settings like this have stunning features that can be wonderfully enhanced.

Choosing a theme, creating a moodboard and collecting images of your favourite styles is a great starting point, and it means sourcing décor to match is much easier. If you're stuck, we recommend asking to see photographs of previous weddings at the venue and also checking out photographers' Instagram accounts.

To achieve a sophisticated and timeless look, we suggest working with a local florist who knows their seasonal blooms. Creating overhead floral installations intertwined with subtle lighting creates an intimate look in larger spaces, while dramatic floral garlands over fireplaces outline the beauty of traditional features.

Different textures such as linen cloths or effortlessly displayed napkins give a soft look and add personality. Styling doesn't need to be pristine to be elegant, and this goes for crockery too. There are many companies offering fabulous alternatives to white plates that give a personal touch. Finally, keep it simple. And don't overlook the details you love.

Becky Storey and Emma Chapman-Burnett