by Emma Peters February 16, 2018

Weddings are amazing aren't they? All the extravagance and expense is surely worth it isn't it? 

I got married last summer, and being a little older than your standard bride and with two kids already, we didn't feel the need to make it into a huge production. Well to be honest, due to aforementioned kids, there's not as much time, energy or money to squander as my pre child days!

Lucky for me though, I have great friends. In the interest of keeping it simple, we had the ceremony in a friends garden and with some genius moves from stylist extraordinaire, Fiona Hugues of Gatherum Collectif, we kept the budget down and the waste minimal.

I asked Fiona to share some of her best tips and wisdom for creating a memorable gathering without costing the earth in more ways than one.

Here's what she has to say.

Fiona HuguesWedding dreams can very quickly become overwhelmingly expensive so create a sustainable more eco-friendly celebration by choosing natural & vintage decorative elements that are usually easier on your budget.I trained as an artist well before food stylists were heard of and being a stylist was not yet a bonafide career, so I find I spend most of my time creating art works rather than purely styling. Each job to me is an art project that ends with a completed visual and entertaining experience, usually lead by handmade details and what is in season. I have this same holistic approach when I’m asked to direct a wedding, every detail needs to make sense and have a place in the final art piece. Without completely realising it I’ve been consciously styling for some time, pulling artistry and natural ethics together to create a memorable and hopefully magical day for the bride & groom.


Traditional venues can be costly and unappealing so take your ceremony to an outdoor setting whether it is under trees, on a beach or out in a beautiful paddock. Let guests know on the invite that they are joining you on the lawn or ocean-side so they can make correct wardrobe choices. Weather can be unpredictable so have a second venue option on standby if it does deteriorate. Simple wooden tables with vintage lace table cloths look stunning outdoors in the summer time. 



Forage for foliage and florals from roadsides, friends and family. Mixing found, foraged florals and natural elements in with commercially grown blooms is a good way of creating stunning seasonal impact plus saving you money at the same time. For now in high summer choose seed heads, dried bracken, grasses, gum leaves and seedlights. For a beach setting look for driftwood, tussock grass, seaweeds and shells. I do adore winter weddings with lush decorations based around dark twigs, red rosehips and rich leathery evergreen magnolia leaves.


Head to your local op shops for inexpensive table setting ideas, borrow vintage glassware & china or rent what you need. Most op shops have a good collection of mismatched pressed glass, silver plate & brass that you can pick up cheaply and look fabulous when mis-matched together. Sell as a bulk lot online afterwards or save & give to friends as gifts.


Make your own fabric napkins by buying lengths of cotton or linen and tearing it into informal squares. Print little notes on each place setting letting guests know they can take them home or keep them and sell on line as a bulk lot after the event.


For alfresco celebrations keep insects at bay with citronella candles or if entertaining indoors make the space your own by burning candles in your favourite scent. Be mindful this is not too overwhelming as you don’t want to put guests off their food.

Fiona Hugues Flowers


Choose local suppliers and growers. Go to farmers markets, find the producers you like and buy direct from them, often they are happy to discount for large numbers or amounts. Pair locally grown meats with condiments or seasonings from nearby, or locally made cheese with fruit from the area. Choose a whole wheel of a cheese you both love and pile accompaniments like comb honey, grapes and nuts high on large platters that guests can graze on all night.
Do the same with local wine – head to your closest wineries and try before you buy.


Emma Peters
Emma Peters

Emma Peters, organic makeup artist, creative director and founder of Belle & Sage, is committed to leading the conversation around beauty and wellness. With over twenty years of experience as a make-up artist, she knows you don’t have to sacrifice quality for clean.

She’ll help you find the what, learn the why, nail the how, and everything in between.

Letting you know more, wear better, and start making beautiful choices: from the inside, out.

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