About to say I do? You’re going to need a serious style guru to guide you through the wedding planning process. Enter Abby Larson, editor and founder of StyleMePretty.com and StyleMePrettyLiving.com—two of the web’s most beautifully curated sites offering real-life inspiration for your big day and beyond. We’ve enlisted her to share her top selects for dresses, decor, and more in The Wedding Event on Gilt, and to dish on what makes for a picture-perfect day. Read the Q+A, then shop her picks!
StyleFile: Planning a wedding can become a full-time job–whats your advice for brides to help make it an easier experience?
Abby Larson: Hire a wedding planner! Although to those on a strict budget this may seem like a splurge, a good wedding planner can not only make the experience so much more manageable (allowing you to actually have fun with it) but they can save you money in the costly mistakes that brides often make when planning. Other than that, make sure to build in moments of fun throughout the whole process – make a day out of dress shopping with your mom and your besties, have your maids over for some wine and crafting, turn cake testing into a full on date night. Dote on the journey just as you would the day itself!
SF: What are some of the biggest trends in dresses and décor you’ve been seeing?
AL: A return to elegance with traditional styles that are updated with a modern twist. A ballroom silhouette cut completely in lightweight, wispy fabric perfect for dancing the night away. Fabric embelishments that scream elegance. A sense of modesty built into the sexy with low cut backs and 3/4 length sleeves. Décor is becoming more and more personal and less and less cookie cutter. Brides are having fun with color, with details, and aren’t taking themselves too seriously. Prints have found their way into wedding day decor – dressing tables and maids alike. Classic elegance is still very much top of mind but there are smiles built into the tradition – a great playlist, an inspired menu, a cool DJ in lieu of a huge band.
SF: Does the dress need to reflect the kind of wedding you’re having? Are ballgowns on the beach a no-no, or vintage-style lace restricted to country weddings only?
AL: A ballgown on the beach is probably my favorite combination of all time. The gown needs to reflect the style of the wedding to a point – but that doesn’t mean that opposites don’t attract. I always suggest finding your venue first and then letting everything else – from the fashion to the decor – trickle down from there. If you go in that order, your wedding will feel much more cohesive and effortless.
Photograph: Susan Beard
SF: Black tie weddings have the potential to be stuffy–how do you bring a personal touch to a very formal affair?
AL: Moments of DIY should be found in every wedding – from black tie to backyard. They are such a nice way to let your guests know that there was a person behind all of the beauty. Something simple like a handwritten note on each place setting really goes the distance in bringing warmth and intimacy to an otherwise formal wedding. Add to that a menu that isn’t too stuffy, a band that plays really great music, and burgers at midnight, and you can have formal beauty with a foundation of fun.
SF: What are some of the most memorable touches you’ve seen couples create?
AL: We fell in love with a couple that had a huge all white pillow fight with their bridal party. The smiles were off the charts and you could literally feel the fun. We also had a couple who designed a reception inspired by the roadside markets that they discovered in italy. So little kiosks filled with snacks, treats and amazing flowers. We had a couple toss popcorn in lieu of rice, an Irish couple that served fish and chips at midnight, we’ve seen full on circus inspired weddings where the entire reception mimicked the carnival of a circus and couples who held intimate glamping receptions instead of a big celebration. We even had one where the bride went down the aisle in a wheelchair to support her ill father. The most memorable weddings are the ones built around the couple in all of their authenticity.
SF: Let’s talk dream weddings: if money were no object, what kind of wedding would you throw?
AL: A backyard wedding. With chandeliers hanging from trees, a gorgeous wooden dance floor, a spanish guitar, family style dining and all of the luxuries – ice cold champagne, comfortable chairs, twinkle lights tucked into every tree, catering from my favorite 5 star restaurant – but on a small, really intimate scale of 30-40 guests.
SF: Your site is so aspirational for so many brides. How do you decide what makes a wedding SMP-worthy? Is it tough to edit down from all of the submissions you receive? What makes a wedding truly stand out for you?
AL: For many weddings, it comes down to the photography. Clean, beautiful images that really allow the story of the day to unfold. We like to see a sense of editing in the decor. So while we love trends, we don’t love to see EVERY trend. Flowers are big. We rarely turn down a peony filled affair. We want to see that the couple was in love, that they planned their wedding with love, that they built a day that really reflects who they are. We want to see little details that make the day unique and big emotion that make the day romantic.