The official blog for Harlow Garland Weddings and Events. To search for posts or view all posts, head over to our library which is searchable and categorised! 

Keeping Focus vs Keeping Up

Image by Courtney Horwood

Image by Courtney Horwood

Pinterest, Instagram and wedding sites are awash with examples of incredible weddings. Whether an elopement at Everest base camp or an elaborate, over-the-top wedding that cost upwards of a million dollars, there are a wealth of images from weddings at each end of the spectrum and everwhere in between that continually reinforce the need to go big - go bigger - outdo! But somewhere in the constant surge to compete, your budget escapes and more importantly, so does the root meaning of the wedding itself.

In its purest essence, your wedding is simply you and your beloved coming together in front of those who know you and support you the most to profess your love and loyalty to each other, unifying your lives together as one.

We know as planners we should in theory be prompting you to spend more, to go for the big weddings and yes, big weddings make up a significant portion of our client base but we also know that brides who were so adamant about including every tiny added-extra they could from favours to gift bags to custom designed dance floors, on the actual day, more often than not, didn't really notice the fruit of their muse, they didn't concern themselves with fulfilling every single tradition or having their wedding feature on a blog or in a magazine - that comes later, what they thought of on the day and all they're really concerned with in the moment, is celebrating with their family and friends, snuggling into the chest of their shiny new husband, revelling in the joy they feel as a newlywed, imagining their futures and celebrating their present and that's something we see at every wedding - regardless of whether we're helping with day of coordination at a DIY backyard wedding or we've planned and styled every tiny full service detail to a bride's elaborate specification for a private fine art wedding only accessible by air or sea. Your wedding will be memorable because of the way you felt, the way your guests felt, the atmosphere, the sense memory and the revelry.

Don't get swept up in creating an elaborate wedding based on your social competition. By all means, make your wedding a spectacular star-studded event if you desire - for many, it's not about keeping up with Jones', it's about their personal tastes, their style as a couple and for some of our celebrity clients, it's about expectation and publicity.

Scale Everest if you have the funds, the experience will be so worth it and the photos will be amazing and unique, just keep the root of the wedding true to who you are as a couple, make it about creating an atmosphere rather than replicating a scene from a movie.

Your wedding comes but once, place the biggest focus on the truest value - the two of you.

The Trouble with Trends


Every season, we as readers are inundated with articles from various magazines and websites about the latest trends in weddings - the biggest designers, the most popular styles and Pantone's colour of the year, among others. Pinterest becomes a veritable online collage of that trend; magazines and sites pick it up nd litter their pages and posts full of anything that directly correlates to that trend and the year it precedes is filled with imagery and samples of real weddings pertaining to that trend - by the end of the year, we're all so tired of seeing those images that nothing deters us more than to possibly include any aspect of that trend.

We see it all the time - a bride will come in with her mind set on this year's latest trend and a month before the wedding, she will come to us feeling like her vision has been so overdone in the 6-12 months since she started planning, feeling unoriginal, uninspired and saturated by a sea of on-trend elements and in desperate want of an entirely new vision. And that's ok - we're used to brides changing their entire vision and it's relatively easy to make the switch - for us, that side of things is easy and as a preventative, we do try to steer our clients away from anything too trend-reliant to protect them from the outset but for a couple going it alone (without a planner), the idea of changing the entire tone of the wedding is a seemingly impossible feat.

When a style is on-trend, the elements that make up that styling can go up in price by 50%, sometimes more, to take advantage of the ability to charge a higher price point. For us, we will never take the side of a trend at a ridiculous price point when a slightly different styling option could save money or we could fit in more of what the couple will truly value.

Harlow Garland has always maintained a signature style which doesn't follow any trends and that's a big reason why our clients choose us. Our style is elegant and simple, refined and very visual, moody and intimate and when required of a particular vision, elaborate and dramatic. We intentionally take our time choosing subject matter for our shoots because we don't want our style muddied by what is trending.

Our Advice

Instead of following trends, choose styling that speaks to you personally, take your time selecting elements that invoke emotion or which evoke an ambience you want the guests to feel on the day.

Styling isn't a straight-out-of-the-gate necessity - what you're looking to do at the start is to think about the overall themes - formal or informal, inside or outside, modern or bygone era. With those decisions, you're able to lock in the big ticket items like venue, photographer and your planner.

Once those are set in stone, you have time - a lot of it - to refine what the day will look like. It certainly helps if you have an idea in mind but your planner will be able to work with you to refine the vision.

If you're going it alone, it will be about focusing on compiling a board of images that resonate with you - what colours appeal to you, what's your signature style? Having an elaborate, dramatic wedding style when you're a shy introvert would be nonsensical, as would having a three-day bohemian music festival wedding when you still listen to pop songs from the 90s. If you are a minimalist at home, stay minimal for your wedding - simple table arrangements, perhaps long tables for symmetry. If your other Pinterest boards are all about opulent home decor and majestic gowns, then a simple beach ceremony likely isn't going to fit the bill.

Your wedding is a reflection of you and your partner - your two individual styles combining into one, much the same as your lives will soon intertwine in marriage.

Keep the styling simple and relevant to who you are together. If an element from a trend speaks to you and to that combined style, by all means include it but work it in with styling elements that don't come from that trend to balance it out.

Setting And Styling Your Reception Tables

The way in which you choose to set and style your wedding reception tables can largely impact the evening's ambience. You will have to decide on linens, silverware, centrepieces and much more, while still ensuring your tables are balanced and set in the correct manner. As this can be an overwhelming task, we have put together some of our top tips to help you establish your perfect reception tables.

Mix And Match

Do not be afraid to mix and match your silverware, glassware and plates. While styling a table that is harmonious exudes formality, mixing and matching different elements can help your tables to be more unique. If you choose to mix and match your plates by using different colours or patterns, we recommend that you ensure that they are kept to the same size around your tables. This will help to tie the elements together despite their differences.


Centrepieces are an important element for your tables. Consider mixing in your centrepieces at different heights to create interest at your tables and across your venue. Often if styling is placed all at one height, the table can look flat and dull. Although, whichever kind of centrepiece you decide upon, ensure that they are not placed at eye level as this can make conversation at the table difficult.


Your table linen should not be overlooked. Linen can add texture, colour and an overall element of warmth to your venue. Tablecloths and napkins come in an array of colours, textures and prints. When choosing yours, keep in mind the style and formality of your wedding. If you opt for a traditional white tablecloth, try adding a nod to your wedding style or colours through your choice of napkins. Table runners are also the perfect option for layering and adding texture.

Basic Table Setting Guidelines

When it comes to setting your table be sure you are aware of everything you need and know where it will go. This includes different types of glasses, silverware and china. For a formal setting, set the silverware on the table in the order it will be used – with the farthest away from the plate being used first to be used. For glasses, set the table with all the glasses that will be used during dinner – starting with a water glass and followed by wine glasses. In most cases, the only piece of china that would appear on the table would be a bread plate, and if preferred, a charger plate.


Lastly, ensure your tables are balanced. Over styling your tables by using excessive colours, patterns, and touches of décor can risk your tables looking messy. To ensure balance, know your space, focus on symmetry and ensure your tables have enough “white space” to avoid them looking too busy and unbalanced.

Favour Ideas For Your Wedding Day

Favour boxes by Bespoke by Harlow Garland. Image by  Adelina Photography

Favour boxes by Bespoke by Harlow Garland. Image by Adelina Photography

Many couples opt to give each of their guests a wedding favour as a memento of the special day. Here are some of our favourite wedding favour ideas that you can easily create.

Mini Potted Plant

Mini potted plants are a great choice for your wedding favours that can also double as a place card! When choosing a plant, succulents are perfect option because they are easy for your guests to care for once home. Opt for small pots that coordinate well with your wedding colours and tie around a ribbon to add a card with each guests name.

Fresh Flowers

Fresh flowers are the perfect favour option for a Spring wedding – and also double as a gorgeous piece of décor! Display bunches in metal buckets on a tiered stand next to your doorway. Once your wedding comes to an end, invite guests to take a bunch of the blooms as they are leaving.

Personalised Chocolate Bar

Personalised chocolate bars make for a wedding favour that everyone is sure to love. Choose your favourite store bought chocolate bars and personalise them by rewrapping them in paper that coordinates with your wedding theme and colours. Tie ribbon or twine around each one and add a piece of card with the bride and grooms name and the wedding date – here you could even also write a short message to each guest!


Candles are a thoughtful wedding favour that is sure to last well after your wedding. Choose one scent or a variety and if you are making your own, put them into containers that suit your theme – whether this is a mason jar or teacup.

Jar Condiments

If you and your partner are the foodie type, then jarred condiments are the perfect wedding favour idea. As they are simple to make in bulk, opt for your favourite jams, pickles and chutneys. Add labels with what is inside and personalise with each guests name!

Mini Wedding Cakes

For something slightly different than the traditional tiered wedding cake, opt for mini wedding cakes as your favour. Put the cakes into individual boxes and decorate them to coordinate with your wedding. This is also a great budget option.

Candy Station

Candy stations are becoming increasingly popular for wedding favours. Have a table with a variety of sweets where your guests can pick and choose their favourites and then put into bags to take home with them. For something extra, have your bags personalised with the bride and grooms names and the wedding date.

Tips For Choosing Your Wedding Colour Scheme

For many couples choosing a colour scheme for your wedding day can be a very important decision. If you are going to have a specific colour scheme for your wedding it is best to decide on this early in your wedding planning process to help make other important decisions easier, such as choosing your flowers and designing your invitations. Follow our suggestions to help with choosing the perfect colour scheme for your wedding day.

Get Inspired

Firstly it is good to get some inspiration so you can understand what colours you like and what colours you don’t like for a wedding palette. Pinterest is the perfect place for this, as well as wedding magazines or even old wedding albums of family and friends.

Consider The Season

Depending on what season your wedding is in you may want to bring it into your colour scheme. For an Autumn wedding you may want to opt to use deep reds or oranges in your colour scheme, or for a Summer wedding you may want to choose colours that are more bright, such as yellows and pinks.

Creating A Mood

Another important aspect you may want to think about when choosing your colour scheme is whether there is there a certain mood you want to convey through your colour scheme? If you want to create a lot of drama, opt for a jewel-toned palette. To enhance the romantic atmosphere go for reds or shades of pinks.

Look At A Colour Wheel

If you are having difficulty with what colours go well together have a look at a colour wheel. Typically, the colours on opposite sides of the colour wheel will go well together, for example, coral and turquoise look gorgeous together.

Accent Colours

Some people choose to complete their colour scheme by adding in one or two accent colours. For example, you may want to add accents of soft orange yellow to your hues of pastel pink colour scheme. This can help add more dimension to your chosen colour scheme.

Be Creative

Be creative when choosing your colour scheme. Don’t be afraid to add a pop of metallic to your favourite hue. Gold, copper and silver are becoming increasingly popular and can add an element of glam to your day. It is also fun and modern to introduce an unexpected colour pairing, such as combining a bright fuchsia with indigo. Whatever you choose remember that you do not need to follow any rules - choose a colour scheme that you love!

If you're still stuck or need any advice, don't hesitate to call or email one of our wonderfully talented planner/stylists to help!