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Planning A Wedding? Find Out What You Need To Know Now

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We talk to wedding stylist, Grace Campbell of Grace & Saviour to discover what’s important when planning a summer wedding, her favourite Irish venue and one outrageous bride request!

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Photo: Paula O’Hara

How do you approach styling a wedding reception and where do you look to for inspiration?

We start with our client and ask questions to gauge who they are as a couple, and to learn as much detail as we can in order to inform design direction and choices. Inspiration, for me starts with the venue, the season, and the couples’ wishes; to draw out why the couple chose that venue, and how we can reflect their style in order to bring out the qualities of the day and flatter both our clients’ vision and the space they are in.

What is your role on the day of the wedding?

To whisper the couples’ style throughout their wedding space in a way that reflects who they are to all their guests, in a comfortable and beautiful space.

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Photo: Grace & Saviour

How soon should a bride contact you when planning for the celebration?

I find most clients get in touch around one year before the wedding. Some are a lot earlier when we’re involved in selecting the venue or some are a lot later, for example, an elopement. 

What do you think is important when it comes to curating a summer wedding?

When it’s warm, and the evenings are long, guests want to be comfortable and feel relaxed in their environment, while being entertained. It is important to think of the season, seasonal food, colours, drinks or whether part of the day will be outside. Also, don’t forget with summer weddings, candles or other lighting ideas are not really going to make an impact until late in the evening. Instead, other details become more important such as flowers and linens.

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Photo: Grace & Saviour

Where is your favourite venue in Ireland?

This changes all the time. Long running favourites have always been Castle Leslie Estate, and The West Wing at Crom, but recently I really enjoyed working with the team at Bellinter House. Or, if the feel of the wedding is much more relaxed, I love venues like Limepark Arts and Cottages, or Riverdale Barn, because the team that run them never stop working and adding improvements.

Are there any current trends emerging from the wedding industry at present?

I feel like couples who we’ve recently worked with are moving away from the very relaxed venues, back to a more refined feel, but retaining a relaxed elegance that is not hotel or barn. I like a lot of our clients are now seeking the elegance and service of old established houses and estates, but with a less stuffy, more relaxed attitude. Moving away from the barn wedding, but not quite a hotel, we are seeing a lot of alternative venues and brides are still requesting polish. Our couples want all the comforts and refinement of long established historical properties, but with a relaxed elegance that allows them to gather with friends and family over great food.

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Photo: Grace & Saviour

Have you ever had any outrageous requests?

Yes, once we were asked to create a table plan and cards after members of the family who had passed away. It is the one and only time we actually said no, it just didn’t sit well with what we do. Once explained, the bride completely understood.

Out of all the weddings you’ve designed, which one has stood out and surprised you? 

I definitely have favourites and they all have one common factor – when the bride’s visual expectations realistically match her budget. Pinterest and other inspiration sources are wonderful, but ideas must be in context of what is achievable within the venue, the budget and the season.

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Photo: Grace & Saviour

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