The Décor and Rentals

by Anna Jones

Rentals from EventWorks. Photo courtesy Callie Beale

The Details

You’re engaged! You’re thrilled. You’re in love. You’re ... overwhelmed. Whether you’ve dreamed of the big day your whole life or never thought about it until the moment you said yes, the actual process of planning your wedding is uncharted territory. Let this guide be your road map — and leave the details to us.


Designing your dream wedding begins with a mood board. Gathering key design elements and colors via Pinterest or phys- ical display is not only fun but will also help you understand and hone the overall aesthetic of your wedding.

Wedding planner Alysse Sweeney of Design Studio South starts the wedding design process by asking her clients a series of exploratory questions to get to know their tastes and personalities. What are their favorite stores? What are their favorite foods? Where did they fall in love? These answers provide a larger picture of who clients are and their personalities might be woven into the wedding.

Sweeney then asks her couples what colors they have in mind and presents a few complementary colors as well. The end result is a broader color scheme made up of six to seven colors to use throughout the wedding day, instead of just two or three.

“I always like to open couples up to adding in other color options they might not have considered before,” Sweeney says. “It gives a bit more depth and visual interest within the context of the overall design of the wedding.”


When searching for a rental company, Ellen Nye of EventWorks in Savannah suggests doing your homework. “Research their websites and social media and read reviews,” she says. “A lot of rental companies carry similar inventories, but we all have different smaller items — decide what is most important to you, and then make your decision based on which company has the most things you want.”

Once you make your decision, Nye suggests communicating with your rental company throughout the planning process and asking lots of questions to make sure you get the most for your money.

After securing basic rental needs, build in custom touches. A lounge area with couches can be personalized with throw pillows and pictures of the bride and groom’s family on side tables. Dinner and cocktail tables can feature a mix of high and low floral arrangements in different types of containers. While it’s important to keep your expectations in line with your budget, small elements like these can have a big impact on the overall look of the event.

“Things do have a way of adding up quickly, so if there is something you fall in love with but your budget doesn’t support, you will have to be open to editing down to fit within your budget parameters,” Sweeney says.

The ballroom at Perry Lane Hotel. Photo courtesy Perry Lane Hotel


One of the final details to fall into place is often the getting-ready plan for the day of the wedding, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, reserving a location for pre-wedding prep can be as easy as booking a suite at a hotel or venue near your ceremony so you don’t have to fuss with complicated transportation or unfore- seen traffic.

“More and more we see that wedding parties are all getting ready together onsite starting first thing in the morning,” says Allison Newton, wedding specialist at Perry Lane Hotel in Savannah. “Most hair and makeup teams come to work with the bride and bridesmaids onsite as well, so the bridal party will have mimosas, breakfast and pastries together as a big group. But it’s not just bridesmaids — it’s Mom, the mother of the groom and grandmothers, which makes it a real girls’ day.”

Newton recommends having plenty of space. “It can be a long day, and the worst thing you can do is book a room where everyone is on top of each other,” she notes. “You want enough room for people to meander and spread out to enjoy themselves.” Perry Lane Hotel’s Celebration Suite offers a built-in hair and makeup station, numerous makeup mirrors, and even hooks for bridesmaids to hang their dresses to prevent wrinkles.

As for the groom and his wedding party, they’ll want to follow suit by booking a spacious room to hang out and get dressed in for the day of the wedding, but men often forget to order food in advance, and that’s where things can get dicey. Shane Johnson of Rise Biscuits Donuts in Savannah says he gets loads of last-minute requests for day-of-wedding orders. He notes that biscuits make a great breakfast, and they’re the perfect sustenance to stick with the bridal party throughout the day.