Do you remember when you were in school and you used to get those homeworks (normally after the summer holidays), where you had to write about what you got up to at the weekend or describe a day out? There’d always be that one kid who’d had the most incredible summer at Disneyland or been to the Caribbean or something, whilst you’d only been camping for a night in Bognor! Pffft! Anyway, this feels a little like one of those assignments! Recently, we’ve had quite a few enquiries from students looking for work experience and wanting to learn more about working in the wedding industry and how to be a Wedding Stylist so I thought what better way to give an insight than to do a brief ‘A Day In The Life Of A Wedding Stylist’?!
So, before I start, it’s probably important to point out that for most stylists, every day is different and in many respects, that’s one of the best aspects of the job! You really never know what you might be doing! For the purpose of this blog though, I’ll stick with a more ‘backstage’ type of day, rather than a wedding set-up as when we’re actually on site setting up a wedding, it’s exciting but fairly obvious what we’re doing. (It also takes a large proportion of the day and we’re shattered afterwards, so wouldn’t make for very interesting reading!)
Our days ALWAYS start early and end late. (insert sad face) It’s part and parcel of working in this industry and of running your own business. There is just always so much to do, we’d never keep on top of it otherwise! Most people, like us, also have families and still have all those family commitments they need to do everyday, on top of their work. So at 7am, we’re up and at ‘em, in a ‘sponsored by caffeine’ kinda way. Getting ourselves fed and watered for the day and ferrying our kids off to nursery or to Granny’s house. If we’re feeling especially organised, this is our time to try to do a few household jobs like getting dinner ready as invariably, we’re exhausted by the time we get home and we already survive on far too many takeaways as it is! Arghhh!
I also like to use this time to make a daily To Do List and prioritise what needs to be done and in what order. I don’t always manage to get completely through the list but if I know which things are more urgent, I find I’m so much more efficient and calmer in my approach.
We normally start the day with admin. I’m definitely more of a morning person and find that my brain has turned to mush by about 4pm (is it just me?!), so it’s better to do some communication whilst I’m fresh. I’ll sit down at my desk with a HUUUUGE cup of coffee and get cracking. Overnight, we will have had lots of new email enquiries come through which all have to be processed and responded to. It’s so lovely to see all the enquiries waiting patiently in your inbox but also, kind of the bain of my life (if I’m honest) as they take so long and are never straight forward. It wouldn’t be an over-exaggeration to say that each enquiry can take between 15mins-45mins to respond to and that will probably only be the first communication in a long line of emails/phone calls/skypes! Yikes!
In amongst our new enquiries, of course, we have all of our current booked couples who are still communicating about their weddings. As their day creeps closer and closer, they may be making changes to their guest numbers or adding accessories or letting us know logistical information etc – so emails will be pinging back and forth all morning!
We love to meet our couples in person and our face to face consultations are a really popular option. So at 10AM, we might pop out to meet our new clients and learn more about their weddings. It’s really helpful to be able to go through their design ideas in more detail and use our experience to make suggestions on how they can really take their wedding décor to the next level! We often find that couples have overlooked some design areas completely or are struggling to bring lots of different colours and themes together, so it’s usually a relief once we streamline things for them. It’s also just genuinely nice to meet new people and hear about how they met, their love story, their likes and dislikes etc. The more information we know, the more personal and unique we can make their wedding design!
The consultations can be quite tiring though! There’s a LOT of talking and excitement and it is one of the times during the day when I am most focused as I really have to listen carefully, not only to what the couple are asking for but also to what’s NOT being said - reading between the lines and finding areas and ideas that they haven’t thought of. Yet, I wouldn’t change it; the results we get from the consultations are unquestionable and it’s a joy and privilege being invited into someone’s home. (It’s also a nice break from the admin to get outside and go for a nice drive to a new location!!)
Back in the office and our thoughts return to the weddings that we will be preparing for over the coming months. More often than not, we will need to order new bits and bobs. A couple might have requested something totally unique or we might just be expanding our range. So time needs to be spent speaking to our suppliers and trawling through websites to find the perfect products. This is an arduous job but important that we do it carefully so that our products are always the best quality possible.
We also love to source things in person. Our best case scenario is being able to scour charity shops and antique shops for one off items that will set off the décor perfectly! Oh, we do love an Aladdin’s Cave! In those moments, happily wandering down a high street, you really appreciate how varied this job is and that you can ‘go shopping’ and get paid for it! Never fear though, we are brought very much back to reality when we then spend the next hour in B&Q looking at timber and pebbles! It’s all about balance, hey?
It is definitely not always a glamorous job, being a wedding stylist! I think sometimes people perceive it as making lots of beaut moodboards and flouncing around with candles and rose petals! Alas, the reality is a lot more dusty and sweaty!
Depending on what weddings we have booked that week, we might spend the afternoon doing any of the following:
- Spray painting easels
- Building wooden frames/structures
- Cleaning glass and mirrors
- Ironing sashes
- Tidying and re-organising stock
- Clearing out the vans
This week, for example, I dip painted 48 bunches of twigs in a builders bath! I’m not sure who was more covered with paint in the end – me or the twigs?!
It goes without saying, however, that wedding prep is critically important! It means that when we arrive at a wedding, we are 100% confident that what we have will look stunning and that anything mechanical/structural will indeed stand up and stay put! It also ensures that we can set-up a wedding within a tight time-frame if needed, as everything is prepped beforehand, we know quantities and we know everything is polished and perfect already.
And pause. Normal life returns temporarily. More feeding and watering of children and adults takes place, as well as a momentary rest.
This is the sad bit. Hopefully, most other business owners will relate to the fact that work is rarely 9-5 and we often work late into the evenings. Throughout the day, we will have accomplished a huge amount but what hasn’t even been touched on is social media, marketing and advertising, website updates, etc. Not to mention the responses that we have received back from this mornings’ admin burst! So it’s fairly normal for us to catch up on some of these elements before we hit the sack.
Don’t feel too sorry for us though, I have managed to watch nearly the entire series of A Handmaid’s Tail (Amaaaaazzzzzzzing!) whilst uploading new products to the website and I’ve got a few boxsets on the waiting list too! And actually, as much as they are long days – we do secretly love it and are closet workaholics. There’s something about working on your OWN business. It never feels like a chore and there’s this constant buzz as you feel the progress you’re making and watch as your business grows and develops. We’re very lucky to be in the situation we are in; working for ourselves and doing something we’re so damn passionate about!