The Beauty of a High Low Design For Your Wedding

I was talking to a colleague as we were wrapping up a destination wedding weekend and they were very sweetly complimenting me on the wedding. They really liked the layout, the look and feel and flow of everything.

I will be honest, I don’t always give myself due credit for things. But when others say it, there’s a beautiful validation.

And interestingly, when I think back on the past 14 years, the comments I’ve received are always very similar.

Different. Fun. Personal. But also functional.

Hanging orchid chandeliers, live tree centerpieces and twinkle lights in a clear tent wedding reception in Hawaii by destination wedding planner Mango Muse Events

When I think about my designs, which encompass both the visual, but also the flow and feel, 14+ years of experience definitely plays into it. But also creativity.

Creativity given the couple, the style, the vibe, the location.

But I also have to give credit to my clients, who are my inspiration. They are also non-traditional and looking for something different.

And that allows me to play with the flow and design in new and interesting ways.

They are also not afraid to get their hands dirty. So, while they want an amazing experience, they aren’t pretentious or aiming for fancy.

They don’t care about or want over the top. They’re not looking for uber-luxurious.

We’re aiming for authenticity, for meaning.

Keeping it true to them and taking care of the people they love. And creating an unforgettable experience for everyone.

And so as I was thinking about how I design, I realized that how we achieve this is with high low design.

What Is High Low Design?

An modern celestial high low design wedding reception for a glamping wedding at Under Canvas

If you aren’t familiar with high low design, no I’m not talking about a wedding dress with a low back and high front. And no, I’m not talking about high and low centerpieces.

High low design comes from the realm of interior design.

The idea is that you can achieve a stylish and functional design while also not breaking the bank.

It’s about combining high quality and higher priced items with lower quality, lower priced items (but still nice) to create a mixture that works well.

And while the functionality of a high low design is about the melding of style and affordability, it’s also about understanding that not all expensive items are great or better. And some less expensive items can be fantastic.

I like to think of it as a finding good value for the client, which is a concept I’ve talked about before.

This high low design concept is not talked about really in the wedding world, but it’s a great analogy for what we at Mango Muse Events do.

Because we create a meaningful and great experience for both the couple and the guests by combining professional elements with DIY elements.

The professional elements are the “high” design items, there to produce a high quality event with a great experience.

The DIY elements are the “low” design items that bring in the personal touch.

And while we all know that DIY can save you money, with my clients, it’s not about the money per se (although that helps!).

It’s about infusing the wedding with personal elements, handmade elements or special items that you can’t just buy or rent or have someone make for you.

The “low” in this case, isn’t low quality, just not professional.

Because there’s an unmistakeable beauty in something made with love.

And I think a high low design is really a beautiful way to create a wedding.

4 Tips to create a high low design for your wedding

Elegant fall wedding tablescape with vintage details for a destination wedding in France at Chateau de Jaslesnes

So, the question I imagine you have is, how do you create a high low design?

You can certainly throw together high and low items and be done with it. But to do it well, requires some work.

And unfortunately, there isn’t a formula I can give you to follow because there are a lot of variables that will play into this (location, vendors, etc…).

And of course design is highly dependent on you and the wedding you’re looking to create.

But, I do have some tips to help you think through a high low design for your wedding and help make it successful.

Tip #1 – Start with the high

Tall flowering Hawthorne branch centerpieces and a beautiful tablescape for a Calistoga Ranch destination wedding by destination wedding planner Mango Muse Events

In order for a high low design to work, the high side has to be solid. Because it is the foundation that supports the low side.

Which means, you need to figure out not only what needs to be professionally handled, but by who.

This is obviously all about finding and hiring your vendor team. And is something every couple knows they need to do.

But there are 2 things I want to stress with this:

#1 -The first is that choosing the right wedding professionals to help create your wedding is key.

Because hiring a florist and hiring the right florist are two different things.

To create a successful high low design, you have to have the right team.

The quality of that team, which is specific to you and your wedding, will influence the low side and how successful those two work together.

The mix needs to be harmonious.

#2 – The second is to think really hard about the items you consider taking on.

This is a big part of tip #2, which we’ll talk about next.

But the big thing to remember is that anything that requires setup/breakdown or time and labor in the days leading up to the wedding is best left to a professional.

While the idea of taking on something big yourself may be really cool and sound really cool, the reality of that is a very different story.

You’ll regret it once the wedding gets close and it likely won’t turn out how you want it to. Or even if it does, you’ll be stressed out about it.

Tip #2 – Be strategic about the low

Handmade chuppah for a wedding ceremony in the middle of the redwoods in Ben Lomond

So let’s continue the conversation about what you take on or the low side of the design. This is the piece that really brings in that personal element.

But what you take on and how you take it on is important.

Being strategic about this is really important.

Not only for your sanity and stress levels, but also so the end product of your time and effort is worth it.

So there are 3 rules you want to follow:

#1 – So, first, only take on a project you feel comfortable with.

Which means you need to have the skills and know how to handle it.

For example, if you have no experience in wood working, I don’t recommend you make your wedding arch. But if you have experience in wood working and have just never made an arch specifically, that’s possible.

#2 – Only take on a project you want to take on.

Just because you have the skills do your own flowers, doesn’t mean you want to.

You need to be excited about your project, so that it’s fun and your love is poured into it.

Doing something that feels like a chore is not a good DIY because it will never turn out well. Nor will it be happy to make.

#3 – And lastly, only take on a project you have the time for.

Just because you can and would be excited to make your own wedding dress, doesn’t mean you have the bandwidth to do it.

Look at your time realistically and if you’re on the fence, err on the side of not doing it.

Because in most cases, DIY projects take more time that you think it will.

Tip #3 – Utilize the high and low within high and low

Natural textured wedding cake Isle of Skye Scotland destination wedding by destination wedding planner Mango Muse Events

We’ve talked about the high and the low in the most straightforward terms. But you also need to know that there is high and low within the high and low.

Yes, I know, that’s a confusing sentence. So, let me explain…

With the realm of the professionals you hire to help you with your wedding, there is also a high and low within that.

And this is where your priorities come into play.

If music is super important to you and the vision you have for your wedding, making sure you have a top notch DJ is crucial.

If stationery is less important to you and your vision, then you can opt for something pre-designed.

And similarly, with the DIY side of things, there is also a high and low within that.

And this comes down to the products you’re using and how you’re making it.

For example, there’s nicer quality papers and printing vs. doing everything on your home printer.

Or how you put together your welcome gifts can be packaged really nicely or thrown in a brown paper bag.

The point is that there is a high and low within both sides.

You want to utilize that high and low to your advantage and what makes sense for your wedding.

What you choose and how you manage that is up to you, but it’s about finding the right balance.

Which leads to me to tip #4…

Tip #4 – Find Balance

Couple dancing after their wedding at destination wedding in San Francisco.

When it comes to making a high low design work for your wedding, it’s all about balance.

You want it all to work together, represent the two of you and give your guests a good experience.

It’s about finding the pieces that fit together nicely and support each other within the vision you have.

The quality, whether high or low, working together to create something special.

But, it’s also about making sure the decisions you make are happy ones.

Ones that give you balance as well.

Because you don’t want to inadvertently stress yourself out because you took on more than you could handle.

Simultaneously, you want to feel like your vendor team is supporting you and your vision. And making life easier for you, not harder.

Because in the end, while creating a wonderful high low design for your wedding is great, enjoying the process is equally important.

Mixing both professional and DIY elements to create a high low design for your wedding is a great way to infuse yourselves into your wedding while also creating a wonderful experience.

It’s not always easy to do, but if you do it, it can result in a really special design.

And remember you don’t have to figure this out on your own! We’d be happy to assist you in finding that right balance. Contact us to learn more.

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