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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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