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November 10, 2010

Wedding Decor | Centrepieces | Reception Lighting Design

{Wedding Decor Inspiration}

The other day, a bride and I were discussing event decor and design that exudes all things elaborate. We’re looking to create spectacular “Wow Factor”, but within a reasonable cost… essentially, designing luxe on a budget! Inspired by this photo from the decor gurus at FOS Decor Center, the bride asked me to help source vendor options.

Typically, when a bride comes to me for help with event design, she comes armed with inspiration photos in hand. It becomes my job to look at the photos, pull out the common elements, and recreate these for her within a specific budget.

When you plan weddings every day, you learn to scrutinize details in everything. When you spend your days creating picture-perfect moments for others, you become aware of every little element that a typical bride may not notice.

While a bride may send the above photo to me and say, “I want these centrepieces!” – what we need to do first is break down the elements of design that have gone into creating the photo:

  • - fabric-draped walls
  • - extensive uplighting
  • - table linens
  • - chiavari chairs
  • - plate chargers
  • - linen napkins
  • - napkin rings
  • - elaborate floral arrangements
  • … and then, cascading crystal centrepieces surrounded by votive candles.

I chatted with my friend, Raviv at FOS and he told me that re-creating the above look starts at approximately $15,000. Even though the individual centerpiece may only be a few hundred dollars, the same centerpiece will not look as stunning against a more modest decor backdrop. It was this information in hand that I realized something…. decor never looks the same in real life as it does in pictures!


{luxurious lighting}

The lighting in wedding decor photos is likely the key element in creating the “mood” of the image. Here is an example of how similar decor elements (chiavari chairs, posh linens, cascading flowers, and martini glass centerpieces) can look completetly different due to surrounding lighting effects.

Lighting is one of the most efficient ways to achieve some serious “WOW” factor… from lavish hues to icy glows.


{The power of Pro}

Beyond simply the lighting of the walls, the power of professional photography is imminent in showcasing wedding decor photos. Photographers not only use high-end equipment, but also capture decor elements from the best angles, within the best framing, and with the most clarity.

When I coordinate weddings, I try to take pictures throughout the day of all the design elements we created together (using my little, pink, point-and-shoot camera). Following the wedding, I usually receive the photographers’ professional images to showcase on my website, and then have the side-by-side comparison of how things look personally versus professionally. You can see from both Amanda and Andrea’s photos that my little point-and-shoot doesn’t do the decor any justice at all.

(A special THANKS! to Amanda Lachapelle and Andrea at Splash Photography for unknowingly providing the photos – from our September 4th and October 17th weddings together – for these examples!)

The moral of this decor blog story is this: when you find a photo of something you love, give some serious thought to what it is that you’re swooning over! is it the lighting? is it the colours? the lines? the textures?

Almost any decor concept can be re-created on a budget. All you need is some designing creativity, a realistic sense of expense, a scrutinizing eye, and the willingness to trust your event designers and decorators that when everyone comes together, it will, in fact, be everything that you’re picturing in your mind – or better!

Happy decorating!

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September 15, 2010

Wedding Centrepieces vs. Wedding Tablescapes | Above and beyond traditional decor….

I wrote yesterday about how how I love wedding centerpieces (or centrepieces!) to be different – about how square vases fit perfectly together to create a single decor piece that incorporates various elements of design, and how the clean lines and straight corners really embellish contemporary, modern, funky design styles. By the time I finished writing yesterday’s blog, I realized that it’s not only the conjoining of various elements that I’m crazy about, it’s also the dynamic visual appeal of multi-leveled, tiered centerpieces… which I realized have a name….. tablescapes!

Just like the name implies, a tablescape is a landscape for your wedding table, rather than just a single, solitary centerpiece. According to Suite101.com, a Tablescape refers to the interplay of decor elements that create a sort of vignette of the table. Your wedding tablescape is made up of table linens, serving platters, flatware, china, and the decorative flowers, candles, and other elements you use to exaggerate your wedding theme. Your tablescape is made up of all the elements of your wedding design: flowers, colours, textures, and overall feel of your event. Like I asked yesterday…. are you going for modern contemporary or classic timeless? will you be using candlelight or LED’s? pretty peonies or bare branches?

Here are some examples of wedding reception tablescapes:

Wedding tablescapes can range from insanely expensive to ridiculously affordable, depending on how you plan on combining all your decor elements. Rentals (like the above black vintage-contemporary lamps) are pricey, and so are multitudes of florals like in the photo above that one…. but candles, vases, and elegant touches of florals can be combined to be stunningly beautiful, and done on a budget!

My favourite way to create a tablescape without breaking the bank? water!

Using various heights of vases with various levels of water in them, you can float candles and/or flowers to create a dynamic tablescape centerpiece without spending more (or sometimes even spending less!) than you would on a standard, floral, topiary-style centerpiece. You can take another $2-$3 from your budget, buy some food colouring, and have your decorator, florist, or Day-Of Coordinator tint the water for you to add even more splash of colour to your reception space!

IMPORTANT: If you’re looking to create a tablescape rather than centepriece for your wedding reception tables, consider the following:

- Does the venue have a candle rule? (most venues are okay with candles, so long as they’re enclosed in glass). Some venues even allow open flames but ask you to consider drafts in the rooms that will cause certain candles to burn much faster than others

*** very important – DO NOT buy your candles at the dollar store! they burn much hotter (two wicks) and more smokey (poor wax quality) than standard candles, and this WILL set of venue smoke alarms (I speak from experience)

- How much serving space will your catering staff require on each table? if you are having a family style dinner, more platters will be put on the table than if you’re serving a plated or buffet-style meal

- How will you get rid of all the centerpieces at the end of the night? will guests take individual vases? will someone pack them up so you can sell them afterwards?

…. just some tips to think about, care of a wedding planner ;)

Happy Tablescape-ing!

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