Stylist’s corner with The Little Wedding Helper: A wintry table setting for Christmas parties and weddings

You didn’t think we’d move to Darling Lovely Life and leave our favourite columnists behind, did you? Our fabulous wedding and party style guru, Kirsten Butler of award-winning styling business, The Little Wedding Helper, is back with another epic how-to post for the festive season. Whether you’re having a winter wedding, throwing a seasonal soirée or having an intimate family dinner, this chic, vintage-inspired, easy and inexpensive winter styling is bound to impress. Over to Kirsten for her special how-to festive styling guide.

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Images © Dawn Wilkins Photography

Don’t be afraid

The nights are closing in, the heating is on, and Christmas is round the corner.

With all the planning and preparation brought on by the Yuletide, styling might be the last thing on your mind. Sure, you’ll light the candles and trim the tree, but what about those tiny details that will make each Christmas a time to cherish and remember? The thought of creating a winter wonderland needn’t be a scary one, after all, Halloween has been and gone.

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Candles create atmosphere and opulence

Creating the right ambience is the key to cosy Christmas styling, a little haven of light and warmth in the deep, dark winter. We really made the most of the beautiful candelabras, sourced from local charity shops – the silver reflected the candlelight around the room and the lighting really softened the white decorations – taking the room from frosty to inviting. Isn’t it amazing what a little candlelight can do? What I really love about the candles is the height they add to the centerpiece. The added height really speaks of grandeur and opulence, even in a small space. If you want to add some extra festive touches candles are easily available in golds, greens, silvers and reds.

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Christmas decorations are an investment

The gorgeous décor came from The Range in Bristol. The owl candles, table runner, acorns, wooden stars, and the tea-lights came to less than £50. And the best bit about investing in seasonal ornaments? They can be used again and again for years to come. I fully intend to be the lady with neatly marked boxes in the loft for every holiday. So keep that in mind when buying decorative pieces. You want longevity, timeless elegance that you; will make you long to unpack them each year.

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Keep colours simple and let the foliage do the talking

By keeping the colour story simple we were able to maximise on seasonal evergreen foliage from the garden. Silken green leaves, trailing ivy, and hardy herbs were paired with flowers we picked up from the supermarket were incredibly cost effective (and who can say no to a sprig or two of baby’s breath?). We arranged them in aged mercury style tea-light holders and kept the rest of the styling to white and clear glass.

Whether your table is adorned with a gorgeous heirloom tablecloth, or you’re going bare (because who wants to tackle gravy stains on Boxing Day?) a table runner or length of fabric is an easy way of updating the look of your room and adding a touch of colour.

Save table space

When laying the table though, we started with the place settings first, ensuring that each person would have enough room to eat, drink, and be merry. There’s nothing worse than battling with elegantly arrange sprigs of holly while tucking into your stuffing balls! Once we’d set out the tableware and glassware we started decorating the runner. Using the fabric as a guide for the centrepiece was an easy way to make sure we didn’t encroach on anybodies personal space. When it came to place settings we focused on layering, again to save much needed table space. We layered the dinner plate and side plate, topped off with a wooden star, adorned with a silver acorn and length of ribbon.

This effect could be re-created by tying a Christmas ornament around a napkin or to a luggage tag with each guests name. If you’re struggling for gift ideas you could even choose ornaments for each guest in place of a present (and you get to save on wrapping paper).

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Hopefully I’ve inspired you to take the plunge and re-imagine your festive table. Special thanks of course to Dawn Wilkins for capturing our transformation and to Emma Norton for arranging the flowers and greenery and lending me her dining room. But enough of this! Finish your cuppa, there are presents to wrap, stuffing balls to roll, and you’ve got a room to decorate!

Merry (very early) Christmas.

8 Comments on Stylist’s corner with The Little Wedding Helper: A wintry table setting for Christmas parties and weddings

  1. Nikki @KnotsAndKisses
    November 13, 2013 at 8:11 am (6 years ago)

    Love this! … I am a Christmas addict … in fact I really am that lady who has several different themes and colours of decorations which are neatly labelled and boxed in the loft! I’ve already started planning my Christmas display this year :)

      • Nikki @KnotsAndKisses
        November 25, 2013 at 5:26 pm (6 years ago)

        I’m mixing traditional reds and greens and a bit of gingham and throwing in some gorgeous pink lace and roses :)

  2. Annie
    November 13, 2013 at 8:58 am (6 years ago)

    Impressive! And very classy xx

  3. sandra picksley
    November 14, 2013 at 10:51 am (6 years ago)

    I love this set up, so festive but with glamour. Too true about investing in good pieces which may be used year on year, finding pieces to add to the collection every year to keep it fresh. My only sadness is as a stylist you have bought flowers from a supermarket and not supported your local florist :-(

    • The Little Wedding Helper
      November 14, 2013 at 11:08 am (6 years ago)

      Thank you for all the lovely comments! As a stylist I always do use the local flower market but on this shoot we used mainly foliage from the garden & wanted to show that if you can’t get to your florist or are doing a big shop for Christmas at your supermarket then this is what can be achieved. Many of my local florists I recommended for weddings that I style & we support each other in our work which is great.

    • Sara - Darling Lovely Life editor
      November 14, 2013 at 11:10 am (6 years ago)

      Hi Sandra, thank you for your comment. We do love a bit of seasonal glamour!

      I think you have misunderstood though. Emma Norton, who arranged the flowers for this table IS a florist. Kirsten is one of the most conscientious people I know when it comes to supporting local businesses.

      While on this occasion they have supplemented some of their greenery with flowers purchased from the supermarket, they are arranged BY the local florist.

      However, I do have to add that while I love supporting local businesses, I believe strongly in our right to choose where we buy from without being judged. Everyone has the right as a consumer to make those choices and I’m sure if they chose to buy something from a supermarket as opposed to a local supplier they would have their reasons which they don’t need to justify.

      I understand as a small business it can be jarring to see people buying from larger competitors, but that is the way a free market works. Smaller businesses have something totally different to offer and it’s that uniqueness and personal service that will keep people coming back for the appropriate occasions.

      • sandra picksley
        November 14, 2013 at 7:25 pm (6 years ago)

        Thank you to you both for replying to my comments. I think I have been misunderstood or my point missed though. I have absolutely no objection to people buying from where they so choose and it is right that they are not judged in anyway shape or form. MY point was as this was a styling blog and both ladies being in the profession I would have thought they would in the first instance bought items from other professionals. Hopefully guiding people who want to recreate this to similar places to buy.
        We all know supermarkets are first choice for many people, they (supermarkets) don’t need any extra help.


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