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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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November 4, 2009

Planning your wedding reception like a pro…

Filed under: Bridal Blog — Tags: , , — WeddingGirl @ 8:44 am

Every once in a while, TheKnot.com sends me random emails with articles about planning a wedding. I found the latest article particularly useful in illustrating the ways in which every bride can make her reception memorable, so ofcourse – I thought I would share!

1) Match your wedding reception mood to your wedding reception space

- if you’re getting married in an old, Victorian mansion, use vintage elements of decor… while a modern, contemporary ballroom calls for a more funky/edgy design concept

victorianmansion-wedding- if you’re getting married outdoors, embrace its whimsical nature (no pun intended) and avoid tightly-bound modern floral centerpieces (opting instead for more loosely, hand-tied bouquets of wildflowers)

2) Create common elements

- a wedding ‘theme’ doesn’t necessarily have to be made up of Halloween decor or medieval costumes…. just find common elements of decor (i.e. white and silver or gold and ivory, sparkles, pearls, a certain kind of flower, etc) and tie these in throughout the venue


3) Lighting

- one of the most dramatic ways to enhance your reception space and audibly hear guests gasp upon entering: lighting. Definitely worth the high-ticket expense! ( and can easily be offset with budget alternatives for other details)


4) Ceiling

- if it’s unsightly, cover it up!!


5) Floor

- …. refer to #4!! (you can rent carpeting, a wooden floor, or just “puddle” your linens)


6) Fill your space

- borrow antique furniture from a relative or furnish your vintage wedding with Flea Market finds, or splurge on contacting a movie props company for furniture rental or large set decor


7) Texture breaks up the monotony of standard reception spaces


8) Be creative…

… with clothesline escort cards, mason jar votive candle holders, and branch decor.


9) Be mindful of first impressions


10) Don’t forget the hallways


11) Embellish the bar

- it’s a great idea to do something unique to make your bar area just as elaborate as the rest of your reception space, but avoid putting anything on the counter itself (i.e. flowers) – it disrupts the bartender’s activities. There are some companies that will rent lit-up or themed bars for events.


12) Mix and Match your table sizes

- if you’re looking for a more intimate feel, opt for large square or rectangular king’s tables rather than standard banquet rounds.


13) Dazzle-up your chairs

… but make sure they’re still comfortable to sit on! (this picture also shows mismatched tables and decor – and how well it can be done!!)


14) Don’t forget the bathrooms…


15) Don’t let anyone get lost!


16) Tiny little extras…

… like personalized cocktail napkins or themed napkin rings, carry your decor right through to the dinner table… and throughout the night!


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