Yesterday, French president Francois Hollande signed a bill making same-sex marriage legal in France. To mark the occasion, we’re revisiting our celebration of French wedding customs. The tone is a bit tongue-in-cheek, but our love of small, elegant weddings is real. Raise your glass of champagne and join us in a toast to croquembouche and dragées Read
Category Archives: Wedding Decor
Photos courtesy of the Green Bride Guide.
|If you’re planning a backyard wedding, play to the outdoor setting with decor and accessories that embrace nature’s themes and use eco-friendly materials, like the items in the Garden Wedding line from the Green Bride Guide.
We’ve highlighted some of our favorites in the pics above. Clockwise from top left: upcycled garden wedding invitations; jasmine head wreath for bride, bridesmaid, or flower girl; felt rose garland, plantable favor cards shaped like love birds and infused with flower seeds, lavender in a box wedding favors, and love bird wedding cake toppers.
We love that the Green Bride Guide provides modern designs for eco-conscious wedding couples, and Huppahs.com is proud to be an approved vendor of the Green Bride Guide.
What’s really cool: Damenti’s owners, Kevin and Helen MacDonald, set up the bar every winter to help raise funds for lots of local charities.
What’s even more cool: You could set up an ice bar like this for an event in the heat of summer.
One of the sculptors who created the walk-in ice bar, Bill Bywater (my big brother ;P), explains how it holds up in winter and summer, and gives some tips for using one at your own event:
With a freezer unit attached it can maintain during those days we had last week that peeked into the high fifties. And the freezer has been off all this week as the temps dropped back down. It will last like this from mid December through St Patrick’s Day.
That said, most customers want to know how it will hold up through an event. The answer is beautifully. All the construction elements are 5 to 10 inches thick making them very durable. Guests will feel a drop in temperature when they step up to the bar to order a cold drink. The ice will shrink at about 1/4 inch an hour at room temperature, resulting in a bar that will still be there the next day.
Even on a hot summer day it will last five hours without issue. Direct sunlight can actually be the bigger foe. The ultraviolet light shatters the crystal structure turning an ice block to rubble, from the outside in. Look at your prospective location at the time of day you will have your event to see where your shadow options are. That is where you want your ice bar. The ice bar looks best in darker setting anyway where it can be up lit or be illuminated with strings of chasing LED lighting.
Also consider reserving the ice bar to vodka drinks, or chilled white wine, a frozen drink or a couples “signature” drink. That way it won’t have ten people in front of it when the cocktail hour starts (so no one can see it). Let a house bar take care of high volume and mixed drinks.
The bar front can be themed or designed to the event at well at the bar top with engraved snow filled lettering.
Love the signature drink idea to avoid a crowd blocking the bar. Suggestions for a chilled signature drink, anyone? Please do share in the Comments section.
UPDATE: It turns out that the tops of the Trojans’ helmets are shot luges. I think I’ve used the word cool too many times in this post to use it again here, which is a shame.ALSO VISIT:
Yesterday the BBC reported that French couples increasingly are abandoning traditional French wedding customs and adopting American and British-style wedding details. I find this alarming.
As a champion of small weddings, I like to know there are pockets of the world holding out against the big, bridezilla-inducing wedding machine. Traditional French weddings are intimate and elegant. Until recently, French couples typically have forgone bridesmaids, groomsmen, and the budget-straining trimmings that have become customary for American and British celebrations. That the French in particular, who generally are known for taking pride in their national culture, would now abandon their long-standing allegiance to elegant simplicity seems a fair reason for concern.
The BBC credits last year’s wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton for making the first significant cracks in the cultural defenses of France’s brides. When those blushing mariées saw Kate’s wedding dress of English lace, they deserted their silk dresses. Since then, French couples have been waving wildly in welcome as save-the-date cards, personalized wedding favors, and tiered cakes veritably march in victory along the Champs-Élysées.
Surely, this development is a net positive for France’s wedding vendors and the British vendors who are marching on Paris to take advantage of the trend. But couples around the world who want a small, elegant wedding are losing a style ally.
This was going to be the paragraph where I compared the traditional French wedding to an endangered species and made the case for the importance of preserving biodiversity in our wedding planning ecosystem. But at this point, I think we all want to move on to the pretty pictures.
So, like scientists who gather and protect species in danger of extinction, let us preserve here the details of a traditional French wedding, so they can be enjoyed by future generations — even if not in their native habitat.
Traditional French Wedding Details:
|Wedding Dress: Silk.
(Source: Alexandra King on Etsy, Bristol, England, United Kingdom.)
|Le Vin d’Honneur: A mini reception directly following the ceremony. Many of the ceremony guests, such as work colleagues and friends of the couples’ parents, attend this vin d’honneur but not the main reception. The expected beverage: Kir Royale.|
|Drinks: Champagne, coffee.||Dessert: Croquembouche
(Source: Fancy That Wedding Cake. Oxfordshire, England, UK)
Favors: Dragées (sugared almonds).
(Source: Milena Bertarelli, MilenaSupplies on Etsy)
I thought I’d share a question I received from one of our clients in Maine this week, along with my answer:
Q: Do people use ribbons on the corners of the Battenburg Lace Huppah? Is there an easy way to attach ribbons? How many ribbons work best at each corner?
A: People don’t usually use ribbons with this huppah, but you certainly could. Ribbons tie easily to the screw eyes at the tops of the poles that the canopy corners are tied to.
It’s tricky to advise you on how many ribbons to use, since I have seen brides decorate our huppahs in ways that haven’t occurred to me and look great. I would say, though, for the Battenburg Lace Huppah I would keep the effect subtle. The line of lace that goes across each overhang is a notable horizontal visual element, so I wouldn’t add ribbons that make a strong vertical statement that competes with the lace. I wouldn’t use a mix of strong colors. The number of ribbons would depend on the width; I wouldn’t use more than two 1″ wide ribbons, though you could mix narrower widths.
If you’re going to use ribbon, it works best if each ribbon is about 6-feet long and tied to the screw eyes at about the middle of the ribbon, so two 3-foot long ends hang down from each ribbon. If you vary the lengths of the two ends by an inch or so, the ribbons will have more movement, especially if they catch a breeze.
I love to see the ways couples decorate our huppahs. This week, Natalie sent photos of her wedding to Richard in a New York City park earlier this month. You can feel the joy just looking at the photos.
The simple, natural beauty of the flower petals on the ground is perfect for a spring wedding in the park.
To decorate the poles of the Ivory Silk Huppah, Natalie layered not just colors, but textures, too, with charcoal grey silk ribbons and tassels in a color that I’m going to call muted bronze.
Natalie found the ribbons and tassels at Jo Ann Fabrics. The tassels were in the curtain trimming isle, Natalie says, and she chose the ribbon from the ribbon isle, in medium width.
For other brides who want to recreate this effect, Natalie recommends, “make the ribbons longer, because I wished they would have flapped in the wind more.” Still, I can’t imagine they could have created any more joy.
Thanks so much for sharing, Natalie! All the best to you and Richard.
It’s only March, but I’m calling Huppah.com’s top huppah of 2012: the Organza Huppah. Organza always places among the top wedding fabrics, but this year it’s pulling away from the rest of the pack early. Organza’s light weave lets light diffuse through, creating a soft, romantic aura. The fabric has more drape than tulle and more body than chiffon, making it a great choice for dress overlays, fabric flowers and huppah canopies. Huppahs.com’s Organza Huppah features a thin ribbon scrolling across the fabric, to add texture and play gently with the light that filters down to the ceremony below.
In celebration of organza, I’ve gathered these organza wedding dresses, accessories, and decorations from some of my favorite Etsy designers:
“Acacia”, vintage-inspired tea length bridal gown from Ellana Couture.
“Floressa” organza flower bridal hairpin by PowderBlueBijoux.
Silver organza favor pouches with navy and white scalloped circle thank you tags by WeddingsBySusan.
Pale pink satin, organza flower girl dress with cascading vertical ruffles. For babies, toddlers, and girls, from Daisies + Damsels.
Organza chair sashes, custom made in a rainbow of colors by GiftsForHer26.
Whimsical organza bridal headband with rhinestone accents by TKDesignsetc.
“The Lucille”, Ivory organza bridal or bridesmaid satin sash or belt by Ted Zeppelynn’s Fine Wedding Accessories.
Does Tangerine Tango, Pantone’s 2012 color of the year, work for weddings, I asked in a post a couple of days ago. Photographer JeanneMarie, of Hawaii-based JeanneMariePics, answered the question by sharing some gorgeous photos of a tangerine and pink wedding she shot earlier this year on the beach in Kailua.
JeanneMarie’s pic of the bridal bouquet at right gives you an idea of how the colors play out. To see more photographs from this wedding, and to see especially how these colors play out against a blue sea and green lawn, visit JeanneMarie’s blog >.
Thanks for sharing JeanneMarie!
“Sophisticated but at the same time dramatic and seductive, Tangerine Tango is an orange with a lot of depth to it,” said Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute®. “Reminiscent of the radiant shadings of a sunset, Tangerine Tango marries the vivaciousness and adrenaline rush of red with the friendliness and warmth of yellow, to form a high-visibility, magnetic hue that emanates heat and energy.”
We’re sure to see Tangerine Tango appliances, clothing, accessories, and ads. Given Pantone’s close association with one of the country’s leading retailers of wedding clothing and accessories, The Dessy Group, we’re almost certainly headed for Tangerine Tango bridesmaids’ dresses.
Question: How do you think Tangerine Tango works as a wedding color?
When my parents got married, they didn’t know that 55 years later their wedding style could be referred to as “vintage”. But check out the details in these photos; they make great inspiration for today’s 1950′s vintage-inclined bride. That’s my mom in the wedding dress, and Dad is the handsome fellow standing over her left shoulder. I put a framed copy of this photograph on a table at the entrance to my own wedding.
My mom wears a dress influenced by Grace Kelly’s gown, with a nipped in waistline and bodice with a lace overlay, details that Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge adopted more recently when she married Prince William. I’ve always loved the tea length skirt. Mom carries a bouquet of daisies. Forty years later, these daisies inspired the theme of a surprise anniversary party my brothers and sisters and I threw for my parents.
The maid of honor, my mom’s sister and my Aunt Mary, wears the same silhouette as the bride, but fashioned from silk satin in the perfect shade of blue. The skirt has an overlay of what looks like fine tulle. Check out Aunt Mary’s pillbox hat with tulle veil–caught here by a light breeze–and the dyed-to-match satin pumps.
The moms of the bride and groom are perfectly coordinated to the rest of the party but show their personal style. I’m loving their hats, gloves, and corsages. That’s Grandma Gethard on the far right and Grammy Bywater on the left. (By the way, that’s not Grandpa Bywater standing next to her. When everyone got to the park to take pictures, they realized that Grandpa Wally had been left behind at the ceremony. No one remembers whose fault that was; at least it doesn’t seem to bother anyone any more. It’s not even clear that anyone got particularly worked up about it at the time. Standing in for Grandpa Wally on the far right is Cousin Raymond.)
I don’t know most of the women in this photo, but I wish I did. They look strong, even formidable, and they seem to get along well. They know how to wear hats. And gloves. And pearls. I’ve often studied this photo trying to work out the shapes of the hats on the gaggle of women in the background. You can’t see them totally, but we’re clearly talking textured tulles and pastels. Two of the women are my Grandpa Wally’s sisters: Nelli Forcino on the right, and Aunt Minnie, in the purple print dress on the right, who I knew from many childhood trips to Groton, Massachusetts. I don’t know the young woman in the foreground, but I’m sure that in the movie version of my parents’ wedding she would be played by Winona Ryder. Well, a young Winona Ryder. Time does fly.
Today’s guest blogger: Rick Ryan, Nashville Wedding DJ, Uplighting and Photobooth
It is amazing how quickly uplighting is becoming a “must have” item at weddings. No, it doesn’t surprise me that discerning brides are wanting this after all, when done correctly, it adds more “pizazz” than perhaps any other single decoration you can do. That said, as a wedding vendor who does this on a regular basis, I’d like to share a few bits of wisdom that will help you with your own uplighting.
1. Color Selection – I have to be honest, I generally cringe when a client says “We want a very subtle color.” The whole point in going to the time and expense of uplighting is to enhance the facility. Vibrant colors are what make your pictures jump off the page. They also, quite noticeably change the mood of your guests. It’s been proven in scientific studies that colors have a dramatic impact on mood and energy. If you’re really after a subdued vibe for your event, white or amber are excellent choices. However, aren’t most brides always the ones telling me they “just want our guests to have a great time”? Use color to your advantage! Magenta, Purple, Blue, or Red (or shades thereof) are some excellent choices.
2. LED or Incandescent? Incandescent cans/fixtures still are used fairly regularly by some lighting contractors. I believe it’s primarily because these fixtures are cheaper or perhaps it happens to be what the lighting vendor has in their stock. While we do also have some incandescent fixtures, we don’t typically recommend them for uplighting for several reasons: 1) They get hot and little ones are drawn to them like a moth to a flame. It’s a sure-fire recipe for little hands that get burned and that translates into wailing kids at YOUR event. 2) It takes a lot more power to run them and that means more and bigger extension cords to power them. 3) Limited color choice. These fixtures use gel paper to shade the bulb for whatever color you’re after and that means, no changes at the event. If your chosen gel paper color doesn’t mix well with the paint on the walls, tough luck as there’s no way to tweak the color shades on the spot.
LED fixtures are cool to the touch, use very little electricity and the colors can be changed quickly, at the venue. If the color you picked at your meeting gets changed by the color on the wall, your technician can often adjust the shading on-the-fly, prior to your guests’ arrival.
3. Table/Chair Placement – Uplighting is usually done by placing fixtures on the floor, next to the wall. We recommend a 3 foot buffer zone for all tables/chairs. This keeps guests from bumping, moving or even damaging the lighting fixtures. It also gives the lighting technician the ability to do a more even spacing between each fixture, improving the overall look of the presentation.
4. How Much Is Enough? One thing I tell all my clients is, “Don’t skimp on the number of fixtures.” When you run short on a color presentation, it’s very apparent to everyone in attendance. It’s better to slightly over-do it than to come up short. The biggest question I hear is “How many cans do I need?” As you would expect, it obviously depends on the size of the room(s), the number of guests, and what wall-space is available for lighting. What I can tell you is, for most of our jobs (125-200 guests), the magic number always seems to come up to 20. This is roughly a 1500-2500 sq ft room and is what comes standard with our “Diamond Package”. For rooms of 2500-4000 sq ft, I generally recommend 30 cans, sometimes more.
5. DMX vs Stand-Alone (LEDs only) – LED lighting fixtures have two modes they can be operated in: stand-alone or DMX. I won’t bore you with the techy details but basically DMX means the lighting fixtures can be controlled remotely (either wireless or wired). Of the jobs we’ve done, almost all have been non-DMX. Without going into specifics, basically DMX will add $200-$400 in labor costs, not to mention the fact that it will add tons of cable and tape to your setup. For the little bit of extra flexibility it gives, our customers have stated that it’s simply not worth it. Yes, we’ll be happy to make your entire venue “beat to the music” or “make the colors change between songs” but in our experience, it’s not something we hear on a regular basis.
6. Static or Color-Change – Most LED fixtures can be programmed to roll gently from one color to the other. This is known as “color change mode”. We do have a fair portion of our wedding clients that opt for this setup, but I’d place it as the minority. Practically all of our school dances or proms use color change but weddings typically will either go with a single (static) color or perhaps may use alternating patterns of color (“red – white – red – white”). Only you can decide what works best for your color scheme and venue. One thing I will add is that it also can be dictated by the wall space available. We’ve done a number of venues where they may have a patio area with temporary sidewalls installed. These types of setups will have minimal wall space to be colored and may work better with multiple colors, rolling constantly. A hotel ballroom typically will have a lot of open wall space and will get too busy with so many colors going on. Better to choose a static color, or pattern of statics and stick with that.
7. Chair Rails, How to Handle Them – When we do an install, one of the things we’re always trying to do is to keep fixtures out of the way and close to the wall. First, we don’t want guests tripping over our fixtures but also (to be transparent) we really don’t want guests stepping on (and potentially breaking) our expensive fixtures. One of the problems we regularly run into are chair rails. While these do a great job at preserving paint from chairs and tables, they also block off light as it travels up the wall area. The only way to overcome this is to set fixtures further away from the wall, usually about a half-foot. However, keep in mind table and chair placement (#3 above).
8. Uplighting Sets the Tone – One of the things that I regularly preach to my clients (most of our engagements include DJ service as well) is that we create great events by setting the tone from the very start. The moment a guest walks in we want them to do “the tilt-back” (as I like to call it). That’s where they walk in the entrance, then pause as their eyes widen and they take in all the sights and sounds we’re presenting. If we’ve done our job correctly, this raises the expectation of your guests. Once that expectation is raised, it’s much easier to push it on into “off the hook” territory. Uplighting is a tremendous tool for setting the tone of an event. When a guest walks into a room with bright, vivid colors all around, they can’t help but to expect a fantastic evening and expectation creates energy.
9. Do It Yourself or Pro? I know that everyone is looking for ways to save a buck, especially in today’s economy. While it’s true that fixtures can be rented, most people don’t realize what it takes to get power to all your fixtures. By the time you rent the fixtures, then buy all the extension cords needed, it often is the same price (or more) than just paying a professional outfit to do the install, not to mention the job of tearing it all back down and returning the fixtures. But even beyond the “hassle factor” involved, having a bunch of extension cords often creates a huge mess and that’s not something you want on your special day. We use special zip cord with add-a-tap outlets for our installs. These are long strands of cable (25ft & 50ft) that have an outlet every 5 feet. It puts a much cleaner line against the wallboard but, more importantly, it helps to keep spacing even between fixtures. There’s nothing that will ruin a lighting presentation faster than to have a 5ft gap, then 7ft, then 4ft, etc.
10. Children – I debated strongly whether to mention this or not and let me say it first, I LOVE kids. I have two of my own and kids hold a near and dear place in my heart. That said, for some unknown reason, a lot of parents have a tendency to not keep watch over their kids at weddings. Add uplighting into that picture and you have an almost guarantee that the kids will be messing with fixtures, expensive lighting fixtures. There’s nothing worse from a vendor’s perspective than to look up, as I did a couple of months back, and see some three year old walking along the wall, kicking your fixtures like a kickball. It’s a delicate subject but, if you’re going to do uplighting, please make your guests (with children) aware of the situation and ask their assistance to keep things in control. When things get broken, it’s the client who ends up paying.
I hope the above gives you some ideas in planning lighting for your own event. If there’s anything I may do to assist, please don’t hesitate to contact me anytime. Now, light it up!
About the author: Rick Ryan owns and operates a DJ, Lighting and Photobooth service company in the Nashville area. His company has become one of the fastest-growing and in demand wedding vendors in Middle Tennessee. For more info, please contact Rick below.
Nashville Wedding DJ, Uplighting and Photobooth
KosherEye recommends the projects for your Rosh Hashanah table, but in the same way toddlers know that just about any object makes a fabulous hat, we know that pretty holiday projects like this make great wedding inspiration.Imagine candy trees among the apothecary jars of sweets on your candy buffet or the lollipop place card holders doubling as favors. See all the projects and instructions at KosherEye.com…
Captured Photography of Oxford, Mississippi photographed this backyard wedding of Emily & Andy of Louisiana in May 2011. The styling is rustic with a light touch…and another pie dessert buffet – keep ‘em coming! (see our peach pie recipe).