Weddings – Steps for Styling

More tips from our expert Lauren….

At the BIG step we are lucky to have a great range of wedding specialists to call upon as our experts for the advice sections of our website.


Charlotte Wood is a talented wedding and event stylist, with years of experience and impeccable taste. We asked her to share some of her wisdom and advice with us on how to visualize and style your wedding reception.


The best way to tackle your table styling is to determine the general feel you want to achieve for your wedding and try to carry it throughout every element of the day. Ideally, this starts from when your guests receive their invitation. If you haven’t decided on your theme when the invites go out, keep it simple, perhaps just tying in your chosen colour palette.

Wow factor. Your reception venue will really determine the look and style of your tables. The best venues to work with are the ones that can be used as a blank canvas. Rather than feeling disappointed that your venue doesn’t have a lot of decoration or is too minimalist, take this as an opportunity to really make the venue your own. Generally, venues suitable for weddings are large in size, which means they can often accommodate more rather than less. When people walk into your reception, you want a “WOW” to be their first impression – and you want your guests to remember that reaction. Don’t be afraid to use more than what you would use if you were dressing your table at home for a dinner party.

Don’t be afraid to get messy! By dressing each table slightly differently, you can create a high impact style that will be a real talking point amongst your guests. Although remember to keep the basics the same – i.e. choose flowers in the same colour but have different types of blooms on each table; alternatively, use clear glass holders in a range of heights and sizes, but have a slightly different collection on each table. This fits in nicely with the vintage look that is very popular at the moment.

Hire with a twist. If you are styling your wedding DIY, look for unusual items to hire. Good wedding stylists will have a range of items that are different from what is generally available through your “run of the mill” hire companies. Think birdcages, parasols, vintage votives and lanterns.

Pick a hero. At the other end of the spectrum is the idea of having one element that is the “hero” of your look. For example, single stems of flowers placed simply on the tables could compliment a bold pattern, such as a black and white design. The pattern is the “hero” in this case, which also means you can save money by accompanying it with a handful of flowers instead of ornate arrangements. Top tip: If you decide to mix up patterns on your tables, keep the colour theme the same.

Think outside the square. Look for different ways to use items. Sometimes traditional candleholders can work really well as vases, and vice versa. Small votive holders can also look really sweet with single stems of flowers.

Get help with the final stage. Decorating the tables always takes a lot longer than people anticipate. So if relying on friends or family, make sure you have more people enlisted to help than you would think. It would be very disappointing to spend a lot of money on your centrepieces and decorations only to walk into your reception to find they are not properly set up. Top tip – style a table yourself, photograph it and then give the photo to friends/family who will be setting up on your behalf.

For more tips and articles about styling and theming click here:

For more information on Charlotte Wood and her range of hire items click Here


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Top 10 Cost Cuts for your Wedding.

You want the wedding of your dreams, but the economy and your bank account are less than dreamy. No worries… Lauren form the fantastic wedding planning website has got some great tips to help you keep costs down!

  1. Recycle Heirlooms: If you have family heirlooms, reuse the diamonds or metal to make your wedding rings; or wear them on your wedding day to compliment your attire – they can double as your something borrowed and something old. It’s a great way to save money, but it’s also an eco-friendly alternative and a nod to the past!
  2. RSVP Online: Don’t worry about ordering return envelopes and postage for your stationery. Invite your guests to RSVP online via your theBIGstep wedding homepage.
  3. Lollies in the Middle: Instead of flower arrangements or other pricey centrepieces, fill glass vases or jars with candy. These can add colour to your tables and can be used as after dinner treats!
  4. Dessert with a Twist: Skip a plated or buffet dessert in favour of your wedding cake. Many couples are opting for less traditional cakes and choosing more favourable flavours, including mud cake, carrot cake, banana cake, or a combination of flavours to serve to their guests. Alternatively, get the girls together and bake a cupcake for each guest that you can arrange on a tower of cloth-covered boxes – a cute wedding cake and dessert in one!
  5. Hire your wedding dress: Dresses can be one of the most expensive items on the wedding budget list. You spend all this money for one item that you will never wear again. Many of the bridal boutiques hire out some beautiful gowns – no one needs to know and you can still look fabulous on the day in an amazing wedding dress. It is also common to hire bridesmaids dresses.
  6. Friends & Family: You will be amazed at how helpful and resourceful friends and family can be. Consider your guest list and ask around to see if anyone can source alcohol at wholesale prices, arrange your flowers, design your invitations, decorate your wedding venue, make your wedding cake or make you wedding jewellery.
  7. One Long Course: Feed your guests all evening without the cost of a 3-course meal! Replacing the traditional meal with a constant stream of canapés is a modern twist that will keep guests’ stomachs full while also keeping costs down.
  8. Candlelight: Candles can add elegance to a venue with the light of a match. Grab a bunch of different sized candles or a pile of tea lights from The Warehouse, Briscoes or Farmers, but don’t light them until just before your guests arrive, as you don’t want them burning out before the last dance!
  9. Palladium Rings: Palladium is a platinum group metal that, in its latest alloy composition, has an amazing similarity to platinum, but it wears like gold. It’s less expensive than gold and considerably more affordable than platinum, but feels like one and looks like the other!
  10. Hire: If you search carefully you will find that there are businesses out there that hire all sorts of interesting bits and pieces for a wedding. From the big item things such as marques to crystal chandeliers – right down to small accessories to decorate your table with.

The key things when trying to save money on your big day are to research, shop around and think outside the square.

Good luck and happy planning!

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Recoup the cost of your Photographic Equipment…

by hiring it out to others!

More and more photographers are listing their photography equipment for hire.

This helps photographers recoup costs of expensive equipment they aren’t using all the time and giving others access to equipment for one off  or specialty shoots.

Hire your equipment out and enable emerging photographers who may not be able to afford new equipment and puts money back in your pocket!

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Get the Right Photographer for Your Wedding

A good wedding photographer should have the ability to really capture mood and emotion with their photographs even with excitement and distractions of the day going on around them.

Choose a photographer who is within your budget and whose quality and style of photography is consistent with your tastes.

Meet up and discuss the types of pictures they will be taking, how many and let them know exactly what you want.

Book and pay deposit early so you don’t miss out on the photographer of your choice.

Top tip! It’s a great idea to have as many photos as possible taken before the ceremony when every one is still fresh.

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Run a business online

Want to have your own business no capital outlay and no business skills needed?

People are already doing it – here’s how…

We all have things we only use occasionally and there a people with things they only need occasionally.

Hire Things provides a safe easy to use platform for people to make money from things they rarely use by hiring them out to their community.

Have a look around your home and garage what do you have that you could hire out to others? Any kind of camping gear, sports equipment, children and babies toys and equipmenttents, computers, desksski’s, camera, sewing machine, play station, pram, lawn mower, tools, gazebo etc etc

From hiring out toys Rhonda has built her own toy and party hire business online so she could stay at home with her kids and not return to work; – Sam hires out his photography equipment so he can buy more gear and grow as a photography business; – Emma hires out her own wedding linen and decorations and has now decided to become a wedding planner.

So what do you need to do?

Step 1.  Find things to hire out.

Step 2. Clean up, take photos, and set prices.

Step 3. List them on Hire Things.

CONGRATULATIONS –  you’re in business!

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School holidays – make some “fun” money!

The school holidays are just around the corner.  They often come with boredom  ( ” Mum I’m bored, there nothing to do”) and expense ( ” Mum can I have some money for….”)

These holidays – flip it around. Get the kids looking around your home for things they aren’t using all the time.  Things like sports equipment, musical instrumentstoys,   gamescamping gear – things they could hire out and make some money from!

We  call it  fun money in my house, every time we hire something out – we use the money for family fun! Movies, out for dinner, a special treat.

Making money from things you already have without selling them  – how cool is that!

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Costumes – not just for grown ups!

Costumes and fancy dress have become such a big thing for parties these  days as we all indulge our alter egos!

We all love dressing up and none more so than kids.

Mine loved anything sparkly and shiny! The range of costumes for hire for kids these days is truly astonishing and would have saved me hours of sewing what they quickly grew out of!

You can get costumes for babies and toddlers  – 6months upwards which are cute, cuddly and gorgeous.

5-9 year old costumes are the required  fairy, pixie, mermaid, superhero,  pirates,  knights and princess.

The 10yrs+ costumes get a little more sophisticated ( but not TOO  grown up)  as they head to their teenage years, while still being lots of fun.

Costumes really are great for  reflecting the of fun and fantasy of being a kid.

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Art Hire

The rise in art hire now lets everyone  have great art on their walls, without the lifetime commitment and a large cash outlay.

This is great for peolpe like me who worry about tiring of a particular art piece and like to change things around regularly. If you want to refresh you room – change the paintings – it’s inexpensive decoration. Offices and boardrooms can be kept fresh and modern by regularly updating the art

If you can’t afford to buy the art your interested in you can hire it in the meantime.  Some artists, like Lucy, have schemes where once the rental time has expired, there is then a chance to purchase the artwork if you wish at retail price minus the rental amount already paid.

Art hire is not just a great way for consumers to enter the art world but for artists to have their work prominently displayed in a variety of locations – and be paid for it! A fantastic way to reach a wider audience.

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How to afford your next Holiday

Holidays are something that we work hard for throughout the year but sometime the money just doesn’t stretch far enough.

With the current economy we have to think smarter but it’s not always about working harder. How do you get more value from the things you already own?

You have sold off some things on Trade Me, but what about the other things that you only use occasionally? The tent you use once a year, surfing you might take up again, baby gear…just in case! You really aren’t ready to sell them for a fraction of their value so how can they make you money and not just take up space?

There’s an astoundingly simple solution. Share them with people who need them. There are things we use occasionally and there are people with things they need occasionally.

People aren’t always comfortable borrowing regularly so hiring/renting from each other and sharing resources is a very practical way for you both to save and make money. We don’t need to own everything we need.

Hire Things provides online platform for communities to rent and share easily and safely. Called person to person renting or peer to peer rental this is a relatively new trend that is seeing significant growth as people look to monetize their assets.

Here are just a few examples of how this could work for you.

Peter has hired out his family tent regularly and has made more money than he paid for it! Better still he’s going to keep hiring it out and keep making money from it. The people hiring it could take their family camping without spending heaps of money on getting all the gear. Buy for $900 or hire for $160? Not a difficult choice.

Rhonda has set up her own toy and party hire business online which has enabled her to stay at home with her children and not return to work.

Sam hires out his photography equipment to fund buying more gear – which he then hires out when he’s not using it! This has given him a regular income.

So have a look around – what can you hire out? List them online and start looking through some holiday brochures…

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Be in to Win!

Become a Hire Things  Facebook fan today and go into a prize package draw for…

Movie Tickets for two, a bottle of wine and a big box of chocolates!

Winner drawn and published 1st March 2010

We use Face book to publish interesting updates and articles on relevant topics such as sharing resources, connecting communities, hiring, saving and making money, environmental impact, building online businesses as well as competitions and lots of fun stuff!

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