How much thought have you given to your venue styling? None at all? You’re not alone. “Some couples don’t feel bothered about their décor until closer to the time,” laughs stylist Lorna Mirfin of Ayrshire company, Love is the Key Weddings. “Then they realise, ‘wait a minute – I do really want this centrepiece and statement backdrop!’ It’s something you should consider from the outset, as it could determine your venue choice, as well as the overall atmosphere and theme you are looking to create.”
It’s easy to find yourself consumed by the decision-making rabbit warren that is the venue, at the expense of everything else. After all, you’d be hard pushed to marry without one. But hear us out: what is the point of booking a barn in the back of beyond if you’re fantasising about sleek, industrial table-scapes? Styling can only take you so far. If you have a picture in your head that’s vastly different to your venue, Houston, you’ve got a problem. Each informs the other.
Case in point: when I tied the knot, the task was to align our local, unpretentious village hall wedding with some very ambitious ideas of an elaborate, Neverland-inspired look. The reality was crumbling walls, a school gym-style floor and a series of ominous oil paintings, plus the last-minute prospect of having to stage both ceremony and reception in this same hall. Cue the venue stylists, who transformed the place in every sense of the word, yet still worked with the original charm and features of the building that we’d fallen for. It’s a delicate balancing act few have down.
Certainly not lacking in the talent department, Lorna takes the lead from both couple and location, and is not afraid to experiment with multiple themes if the nuptials call for it. “I just worked on a close friend’s wedding who held part one in Ibiza and the second leg at Harelaw Farm,” she says of her most memorable project so far. “I loved working in the sun obviously – I could get used to that! The theme in Ibiza was quite bohemian, while the décor at Harelaw was very pretty and rustic to tie in with the venue.”
She’s mastered the art of vintage-led styling, without it being saccharine or predictable. “I’m inspired by couples’ visions,” she explains. “I love coming up with ideas and building moodboards, especially when I have a free reign to design. In terms of trends, for 2018, I am still seeing a lot of blush being used, as well as bucolic florals, bold prints and blues.
“Recently, I did a Disney-themed day, which I totally adored. Every centrepiece represented a different movie.” Her imaginative approach saw a pastel tea-set precariously balanced on a cake stand serving as the focal point of an Alice in Wonderland table, a shiny red apple and mirror hidden in a dense nest of twigs and ivy denoting Snow White and a rainbow bunch of balloons symbolising Up.
Although Lorna is new to the scene, her diary is already bursting. (“You really want to get your styling company booked up as soon as possible,” she warns. “Have this thought out as soon as you pick your venue.”) It’s this hectic schedule that’s her greatest hurdle. “On actual decorating days it’s go-go-go!” she admits. “There are a few moments that I can get a wee bit stressed but I have a good team behind me, always helping me get the job done and the venue looking super amazing!” As another string to her bow, Lorna can also take care of your stationery.
“The most challenging thing is trying to juggle being a mum to my two kids and running a full-time business, but I can do most of my work at night when the wee ones are in bed so it works relatively well.
“It’s so rewarding when you have delivered the couple’s dream, when you stand back and think, wow!”