Hiring a Wedding Decorator

Williamstown Fairgrounds fireplace hydrangea buckets Williamstown fairgrounds stage Cornwall wedding popcorn bar hand painted mason jar hydrangea and book centrepiece cake and head table first dance with decor chairs at head table overhead table shot orchids in diamanté vases rushing at head table diamanté chair covers

I’ve photographed weddings with wide-ranging décor styles – rustic, modern, simple and detailed. What I’ve noticed is that the more thought that goes into the decor, the better the reception photos tend to be. If you give your photographer something to work with, you’ll be rewarded! When I think of big impact wedding décor, Sage Designs comes to immediately to mind. I would LOVE to work a wedding with Sophie because she really is a master at what she does. Sophie Branchaud is an incredibly talented decorator working with awesome clients around the region, so I asked if she’d be willing to write a guest post about why it might be worth leaving room in your budget for a wedding decorator. Here’s what she had to say…


First off, I want to say a great big thanks to Ang for inviting me to contribute to her blog! I always love an opportunity to reach out and discuss weddings and events. This industry is incredibly fascinating and is in a constant state of flux. Trends come and go; traditions are constantly changing and being reinvented; established practices are being challenged and redefined. It’s an exciting time to be an event professional!

Anyone who has spent more than 15 minutes on Pinterest will have to agree that DIY decor is a HUGE trend, and I totally LOVE it. I love walking into a wedding space where the couple has taken the time to craft thoughtful favours and build creative guest books. I’ve even had clients build their own centerpiece containers which we then filled with stunning flowers for them.

Of course, there are so many things that can be done by the couple or by family and friends… in fact, some couples choose to take care of everything from flowers to dress-making on their own. Kudos to those couples! It makes for a super-personalized event.

That being said, there are tons of great reasons to hire a professional decorator and here are the big three:

1. Renting vs. Buying: When you do all of your own decor you have to purchase a number of items yourself, which usually amounts to a far greater cost than renting the same items. After the wedding you have to either sell, give away, or indefinitely store (if you’re a pack-rat like me) all of the items. Worst – and saddest – case, you simply throw everything away. Renting things like vases, table numbers, linens, chair covers, chalk boards, picture frames, etc. means that you’re contributing to the cycle of Reduce/ Reuse/Recycle (great for the planet), AND as if that wasn’t a grand enough reason, you’re also supporting local small businesses (great for the economy).

2. Big Impact Installations: We’re often hired by clients who want to do the majority of their own decor but still want a professional to take care of some of the larger installations which require special equipment and/or training to execute safely, correctly, and most effectively. This includes items like large backdrops, ceiling treatments, lighting, and large floral installations. These installations usually serve as major focal points in the space and really help set the tone. (**Ang’s own note: spending money on a decorator who can manage this particular portion is so definitely worth it for the impact on your photos, let alone the impact on the night. Great décor doesn’t just show in the room during the ceremony or reception – it’s reflected in your photos.)

3. Lack of Stress & Pressure: Yesterday a client emailed me to say, “Honestly, Sophie, I have no clue how I’d be doing any of this without you!” I’ve worked very closely with this client, as I do with every client, to make sure that every detail is just right, confirming that numbers have been finalized, all installation and dismantling timings are confirmed, and that everything is generally ready to go. When you hire a professional to take care of your decor you don’t have to worry about whether or not the linens will arrive on time, whether the flowers will survive the night, or whether you have enough time to get the chair covers on before hair & makeup – because, realistically, you’ll likely not have access to your venue until the day of the wedding (or sometimes the night before). You can also sit back and relax on event day knowing that everything is being set up correctly instead of worrying about whether or not cousin Frank understood your description of a pocket fold so that the menus can be tucked inside.

And oh boy, this is really just the tip of the iceberg… but I don’t want to overstay my welcome here. With a few glasses of wine and some cozy sweatpants I could tell you a few horror stories of DIY decor gone terribly, terribly wrong – and a few that went spectacularly right!

…Another time, perhaps.

So?! How are you decorating for your big day? Have you struck a zen-like balance between DIY and professional assistance or are you leaning more toward one end of the spectrum or the other?

Have some decor questions you’d like answered? Send me an email, I’d love to hear from you! :)


Sophie Branchaud

Creative Director, Sage Designs



Sage Designs | Ottawa Wedding & Event Decorator
Sage Designs is Ottawa’s hottest event design studio. Offering decor, rentals, flowers, lighting, backdrops, draping and more for weddings and special events. Serving Ottawa, Gatineau, Perth, Cornwall, Kingston, and Montreal.