Planning a wedding is no small undertaking — no matter how intimate and down-to-earth you decide to make your celebration of love. This is primarily because the lucky couple gets to decide exactly who gets to come to their party, how they want to celebrate and the type of experience they want to provide — from the music and dancing to food to the atmosphere and general vibe.
Many factors must work together to pull off a memorable and unique wedding reception. Not least of all is striving to create an aesthetic theme, color scheme or mood you’d like to experience and capture. While the types of libations you offer arguably have the largest impact other than the venue itself, the lucky couple will also have to decide how they want their wedding venue to be decorated.
So who sets up wedding décor? Does the wedding planner decorate the venue? Is it worth hiring a professional or can you work in a DIY decorative job? Keep reading to learn more about how to set the perfect décor for your special day.
Who Sets Up Wedding Décor, Including Take Down Afterward?
Many couples who want to take the vibe of their wedding day to the next level look for a professional wedding designer to help design the interior and bring all the colors, ideas, themes and metaphors together in a meaningful way. The wedding designer will provide everything from planning ideas and options to set up beforehand and careful tear down after.
This can be hugely convenient for the engaged couple, as it can allow them more time for fun and celebrating and less time for stressing about the details of their wedding.
What is a Wedding Designer and What Do They Do?
Sometimes described as the “architect” of your wedding, the primary job of a wedding designer is to elevate your day to something beautiful, meaningful, memorable and resonant with who you are as a couple.
If farm-to-table catering is important to you, a designer might choose a rustic theme with forest tones, props like pallets of seasonal fruit (that could later be turned into “thank you for coming” jam for guests) or linen fabrics. They may also play with a florist or local plant forager to help capture the perfect look.
On the other hand, say you want a barn wedding. A wedding designer will ensure you get the bales of hay, the cowboy hat and boots, the jean jackets, the quilted barn and maybe some farm animal props or face masks.
Or maybe, you want a soft, romantic look to your wedding with pastel colors, velvet or sheer fabrics and delicate bouquets of flowers like peonies or ranunculus.
In short, their job is to create the physical manifestation of your dream wedding in tandem with the wedding planner, whose job is to tie everything together logistically.
Should I Expect My Wedding Planner to Decorate My Venue?
While you want your wedding planner to be able to work effectively with your wedding designer, you should not expect your wedding planner to do manual labor for your wedding celebration. Their primary job is coordinating logistics, adhering to budgeting expectations, communicating clearly and positively with the engaged couple and making sure things run smoothly during the big day through emergency mitigation and last-minute problem-solving efforts. You should not expect them to set up and tear down decorations at your venue at the end of your event.
How Much Does a Good Wedding Designer Cost?
For a quality wedding designer, most brides can expect the total bill to be between $3,000 and $5,000 for a full-service interior decoration and overall effective execution of a theme. Understandably, this is not in every couple’s budget. Still, it is one way to effectively “level up” your wedding game for a truly unforgettable ambiance that perfectly captures the essence of your relationship.
Is DIY Wedding Décor Worth It?
Listen up, newlyweds-to-be: only you can decide what your money is worth versus your time and effort. For some sweeties, draping their chosen fabric from their aunt’s hobby collection, gathering wildflowers and keeping things humble, earthy and simple can be a desirable way to initiate the beginning of the rest of their lives together.
Maybe you have a partner who loves welding, wood carving or sculpting. There’s nothing wrong with setting the mood in your own unique way — especially if it comes at a fraction of the cost of a quality wedding designer.
That being said, some couples prefer to have a professional, polished look to their final result and enjoy not having to worry or spend money on materials and labor instead of set up and tear down at the end of the night — and for this reason, hiring a pro is worth the expense.
How to Choose the Perfect Wedding Designer for Your Dream Wedding
So you’ve decided the experienced eye of a professional wedding designer coupled with dodging the hassle of setting up and tearing down décor at the end of the night is worth the expense. In that case, you may want to invest in an experienced wedding designer to provide you with a thoughtful, intentional theme for your wedding that can inspire friends and family and elevate your big day. Here are some of the top seven things to look for in a good wedding designer:
1. Ability to work with your budget:
While it’s not necessarily a cheap endeavor to have your wedding professionally decorated and designed, it can create an environment of awe for guests and family, set a tone of reverence or playfulness for the proceedings and be one more way to take your big day to the next level.
You and your hunny deserve it! Of course, it’s always a plus when you find a wedding designer willing to work with your budget — even if you can only afford the low end of their services. Maybe they will meet you halfway.
They can provide some props and décor to combine with your contributions, such as flowers from a personal garden, antique props or oddities you have in a private collection. Maybe you know a local caterer willing to offer you a discount. This gives your designer something to work with, and your collaborative efforts can sometimes be just as rewarding as letting the professional work their magic solo.
2. Actively listens to your wants and ways to celebrate your unique relationship:
It’s important to find a wedding decorator who listens closely to what you hope to get out of your big day. The best ones will communicate with you throughout the process — but still inspire wonder and awe during the reveal on your big day. Every couple has a unique chemistry and vibe — and a professional wedding designer should be able to tap into that and artistically reflect it for your loved ones.
3. Industry-leading design tools and access to quality materials:
A high-caliber wedding decorator will have software systems, a warehouse of props and relationships with local wedding vendors such as florists, fabric shops, dining furniture rental services, etc. If you choose a designer with these connections already made at this point in their career, you can rest easy that the process will go smoothly — and they might even be able to get you the best deals possible for the outcome.
4. Positive reviews:
Definitely take your time looking at reviews for wedding designers. How well do they pick up on the nuances of a couple’s relationship and can they express that in a way that resonates with the couple and celebrants successfully?
How many couples were satisfied with the customer service, ease of transaction, budgeting flexibility and magical ambiance they were able to capture? While you should always take previous reviews with a grain of salt, they can be a great starting point for getting a feel for what it might be like to work with someone before you hire them.
5. Prior experience with the venue, your wedding planner or both:
An obvious perk to hiring a wedding designer would be if they already have relationships with local wedding industry professionals — especially your wedding planner. Between the two of them, you and your sweetheart should be able to be hands-off during the venue preparation process and relax before the festivities begin.
6. Experience and industry insight:
They often say you get what you pay for — and sometimes splurging on a high-level wedding designer will not only make the process easier and more inspired, but they might be able to contribute concepts, themes, color schemes, etc. to your general ideas and help evolve your seedling ideas into a masterfully-executed wedding ambiance that sets the tone for an evening of magic, love and wonder.
7. Total service experience:
When you hire a professional wedding designer, you shouldn’t have to worry about anything — from supplying materials to the tedious process of setting up hundreds of wedding chairs, tables and a beverage station to tear down at the end of the night. This means you spend your energy celebrating, eating and sharing your love story with those closest to you rather than worrying about mind-numbing logistics and physical exertion.
You also shouldn’t miss these other top picks when planning décor for your big day:
- How Much Does a Wedding Decorator Cost?
- How to Find and Decorate the Birch Wedding Arch of Your Dreams
How to Find a Wedding Designer “Near You”
Of course, the almighty internet can be a great place to find the highest-ranking wedding designer in your area — but this might not always provide the best value for your experience. They might also be higher in price than competitors with smaller website ranking budgets. While you can always fall back on an internet search to find someone suitable for your big day, you may have better luck when touching base with your trusted wedding planner.
In theory, your wedding planner should be able to provide a list of high-quality wedding decorators — ideally that they have already worked well with and have an easy professional understanding. Another reason you should ideally find your wedding designer through your wedding planner is that they may offer discounts due to healthy working relationships that make the whole process smoother, simpler and often more affordable for everyone.
This can save you precious budgeting room for hiccups in the plan (like a wedding cake caught in traffic or a power outage just before your reservation at your chosen venue) or even provide more padding in your honeymoon budget.
Is DIY Wedding Décor More or Less Practical Than Hiring a Designer?
When it comes down to it, no one has a better inventory of your decorative skills, crafting ability, available time on your hands before your big day and budgeting constraints than you. If you have access to quirky decorative materials or creative ideas on managing your vision for your big day and the time available to make it happen, then there’s no sense in spending thousands of dollars that you don’t have to.
However, if saving time and energy is important to you, and you wish to prioritize other aspects of your wedding experience, you may decide that an extra $3,000 to $5,000 out of pocket is well worth the price.
However you decide to set the tone for your big day, remember — it is about prioritizing you and your partner and how you want to remember your wedding. There will always be guests with complaints or critiques; your job is to tune out anyone who is not perfectly satisfied with your taste in lighting and focus on manifesting an experience to remember for a lifetime.
As a multi-passionate creative and a self-proclaimed frequent flyer of weddings, Kiara combines her love for the wedding industry and experience as a professional wedding photographer with her writing abilities to share tips, tricks, and helpful information with couples. She is the owner of Switech Studios a popular wedding photography business. With tons of insider information from behind her camera lens on how to have the best wedding possible, Kiara’s in-depth knowledge is sure to put you on the road to wedding planning success.