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LOVE/HATE: The Bootylicious Edition

Hosting a wedding reception means serving refreshments… no exceptions. And it doesn’t matter if you’re planning on digging into cake and champagne or looking forward to a seven course gourmet reception dinner, you have to provide somewhere for guests to sit and enjoy their repast. While it’s entirely possible to wine, dine, and entertain your wedding guests without assigned seating, I’d venture to say that most brides and grooms create seating charts to avoid the possibility of wedding guests bum rushing the good seats as soon as the reception venue doors open.

One can, of course, order a custom seating chart and place cards that wouldn’t look out of place in a calligrapher’s portfolio or create a seating chart and place cards using one’s home computer. These can be spiced up by creatively naming tables with monikers such as elements from the periodic table or cities known for being romantic. Then again, don’t discount the idea of really working your theme into your reception seating chart, like so:

Seating Chart Boots

Created by Bellinter House in Ireland, this clever multi-part seating chart features muddy wellies flocked by farm scenes in miniature, complete with grass fields and livestock. Topping it all off were table cards named after various breeds of cow.

reception seating chart boots

I love it! Piggies and wellies wouldn’t have fit into my wedding theme — which was simply “wedding,” if you can call that a theme — but for an upscale farmhouse affair, it would be divine. It’s cute, a little quirky, and potentially inexpensive if you happen to have a large family living in a rainy clime. However, I do believe I would have left the mud out of doors where it belongs, which I’m sure most reception venues would appreciate.

What say you?

(Photo by Jeni Glasgow)

Balloons At Receptions: Dos and Don’ts

I know, I know. The first thing that comes to mind when thinking ‘balloons’ is Junior’s third birthday party, not a chic wedding reception. But while it’s common to think of balloons as juvenile, don’t discount them just yet.
Done wrong, they’re admittedly ghetto unfabulous. Done right, balloons at wedding receptions can be quite pretty… but there are a few tricks to using them in your wedding decor. First, think of balloons as auxiliary reception decor, not the focal point. Balloons work best as wedding reception decor when they fade into the background. Second, wedding balloon bouquets and other novelty balloon creations? Pass. And third, stick to plain latex balloons. Mylar balloons really are for the kiddies.

wedding balloons 2

For those brides and grooms even considering using balloons in their reception decor, here are the dos and the don’ts:

DO treat balloons as a means of camouflaging boring or ugly reception venue ceilings. A mass of subtly colored helium balloons with dangling strings bobbing just below a very high ceiling can look rather ethereal. A somber space can even become rather radiant with the judicious application of lighting and balloons. Rather not use helium? Balloons can be hung upside down from ribbons strung from wall to wall.

DON’T look to your senior prom for inspiration. I’m sure plenty of us remember the sand-filled, cellophane-wrapped centerpieces that serve no purpose other than using up space on a table and keeping a bunch of balloons from floating into space. These are not, I repeat not, elegant. They’re shiny, and there’s a difference.

DO stick to a simple color palette. Pastels work surprisingly well, possibly because the subdued hues let the balloons become an innocuous splash of color that blends into a larger decor scheme. In other words, think of balloons like filler flowers rather than the main blossom. They shouldn’t be standing out.

DON’T go overboard. If you have balloons floating above, don’t also have balloon columns flanking the doorways and a balloon arch over the cake and balloons tied to tables and a balloon tunnel leading into the ballroom. In fact, don’t have large archways or tunnels at all. Use balloons sparingly at in your reception space for the best results, lest your wedding end up looking like a Sweet 16 in the 80s.

DO go for larger balloons when your balloons will be tethered to a table, as seen in the first pic in this white wedding color scheme post. Bigger balloons, oddly enough, look less like balloons and more decorative, like rice paper lanterns or globe lights (especially when backed by some kind of light source).

And finally DON’T do this:

wedding balloons 4

I’m not even sure what *this* is and why it was done, but just don’t.

LOVE/HATE: The ‘We Know Who You Are’ Edition

So before I tell you what I think of this week’s LOVE/HATE, I have a confession to make. I must confess that I’ve never been a huge fan of sweetheart tables at wedding receptions. Especially when they’re raised on a platform, surrounded by an archway of balloons or flowers, or flocked by absolutely huge wicker chairs that are not in keeping with the rest of the reception decor. I would never in a million years suggest that a bride and groom who wanted to sit apart not do it, but I think that sweetheart tables are a little silly. You don’t need a sweetheart table, however, to set the bride and groom apart.

bride and groom signs

Hmmmm… I’m torn. On one hand, these signs from The Back Porche Shoppe are cute. I like the distressed look, good for a rustic-y country wedding. And even though everyone at that wedding presumably can pick the bride and groom out of the crowd, it’s nice to set the happy couple’s chairs apart from those of the hoi polloi. On the other hand, just what does one *do* with a bride sign and a groom sign months or years after the wedding? Much more useful, I should think, would be Mr. and Mrs. signs (also sold by The Back Porch Shoppe), which could hang in one’s living room before hanging in one’s foyer before hanging over one’s workbench in the garage before being put on a table at a yard sale without selling before eventually being tossed out with the trash or given away on Freecycle.

What say you?

Wedding Colors and the Mood of the Reception

Choosing a wedding color scheme can be difficult, and not just because there is an infinite rainbow of hues from which to draw inspiration. It’s simply that it can be tough to tell what impact your wedding colors will have on the mood of your ceremony and reception ahead of time. Unless you have your heart set on a palette, consider waiting until you’ve chosen your wedding reception venue to pick your wedding colors… particularly if the venues you’re considering all have colored carpets and other decorative touches that will stand out on their own.

However, even before you pick three or four or even more colors for your wedding, you should be thinking about the color families and levels of contrast that appeal to you in conjunction with the kind of wedding you want to have. Are you a bride who adores uber formal weddings? Or would you be happiest having a more rustic affair? Think carefully before you answer, because the colors you choose for your wedding palette will have a strong impact on the mood of your wedding!

To illustrate this point, I present what are essentially two identical wedding reception tables; the only thing very different about them is the color schemes used. First, a wedding reception table done up in pink and green.

pink and green wedding reception

My first impression is that of a daytime wedding, maybe one taking place either out of doors or in a light and airy greenhouse. The colors say springtime to me, though this particular color scheme would perfectly suit a summertime wedding. I’m picturing a bride in a not too elaborate wedding dress, maybe something a little shorter than is typical. The bridesmaids might be in a very light green or in unmatching white frocks. All in all, it strikes me a playful, fun, and not too too fancy wedding.

red wedding reception table

This red and white wedding reception table, on the other hand, looks more like it comes from an evening wedding to me, and I think it could be a much more formal function than the one pictured above. Why? For one thing, the colors are darker and deeper, and the lack of extreme contrast (red on red vs. pink on green) feels more elegant. I imagine the bride who chose this wedding reception table might also choose a more formal and traditional wedding dress for what would likely be a quite elegant wedding.

Isn’t that fascinating?

Images courtesy of Rebecca Thuss for Martha Stewart Weddings.

How Low Can You Go?

Brides-to-be take note: I just cannot stand having to lean around a too-tall, too-wide centerpiece to converse with the tablemates seated across from me at your wedding receptions. I may not know anyone at my table other than The Beard, but I am not afraid of making small talk with strangers, and would gladly chat with your high school friend or mother’s aunt’s daughter’s best friend who simply had to be invited and is consequently feeling rather awkward… if there wasn’t a tall vase filled with apples, twigs, flowers, and sparkle nuggets in the way. You don’t don’t have to take my preferences into account when choosing your reception centerpieces, of course, but before you go ga-ga over tall and elegant, consider opting instead for short and sweet. Here’s some inspiration:

low centerpieces 7

One low square vase plus one wide ribbon plus oodles of fresh flowers and trailing greens equals one simple reception centerpiece that a bride or groom could put together themselves with a little DIY skill. But if you’re hiring a florist to take care of your wedding flowers anyway, why not leave it to the experts?

(more…)

Wedding Cake Style, All Wrapped Up

Now that my lovely daughter Paloma is nine months old, I’ve been thinking a lot about DIY decoration ideas. What do these two seemingly disparate things have to do with one another? It’s simple. The Beard and I have been contemplating ideas for Paloma first birthday party, which means that I’ve been reviewing all kinds of neat DIY decorations that happen to be as appropriate for weddings as they are for birthdays.

One thing I’m loving right now is printable cupcake wrappers from Paper & Cake. That’s right, printable. As long as the bride or grooms owns or has access to a good printer, they can pay a little and get a lot since they can print out as many cupcake wrappers as they like, forever. Plus, the bride and groom can get away with serving cupcakes that are far less fancily iced because the cupcake wrapper is providing the color.

cupcake wrappers

Printable cupcake wrappers could be great for the DIY bride who would rather handle her wedding sweets herself than pay a baker to create something for her. Though the instructions recommend wrapping undecorated cupcakes and then frosting them, I can’t see that surrounding an already-decorated cake with a cupcake wrapper could do all that much harm other than flatten the icing a bit on the sides. And at $4 per printable pattern (or $10 for a selection of three cupcake wrappers) it’s an easy way for brides and grooms to customize their cupcakes… er, provided that one of Paper & Cake’s cupcake wrapper designs works with their wedding theme or color scheme. For those who can’t find a match, I found a free DIY cupcake wrapper tutorial that lets you use any pattern you want. Enjoy!

Inspiration: Blue and Orange

Friday the 13th, la la la. I’m not listening to any superstitious nonsense, but I am surrounding myself with everything that is extra pretty and fun and sparkly just in case of entirely non-cosmic downers! Which is why I went looking for a deliciously upbeat and cheerful reception table to feature in today’s post.

blue and orange wedding

I think this delightful table from Lollipop Events & Designs fits the bill, don’t you? Blue and orange weddings sound weird but are actually wonderful. How about that wood grain table runner or the decorative accents made from nothing more complicated (or expensive) than buttons, yard, and thread?

blue and orange wedding 2

Rough cut fabric and a plain cream button turn a boring white favor box into something beyond cute. Want the look? Hit up the nearest fabric store and grab your hot glue gun, ladies and gents, because you can do it. And while you’re at it, use some of the same fabric and buttons to create napkin rings!

blue and orange wedding 3

I heart mason jars, and not just because they’re free if you buy the right sort of pasta sauce from the supermarket. At this blue and orange wedding, each guest received custom crafty favors and mason jars accented with bright tangerine colored straws that had “Sip with Love” tags attached. Yummy!

blue and orange wedding 4

Lollipop said forget the flowers and went with centerpieces created using tall vases and bud vases featuring ribbons and pearl buttons and topped with foam balls covered in yarn in lieu of blooms. Those details, more than any other, keep things like the wood grain fabric and buttons and mason jars from turning the whole affair into a country jamboree.

BONUS: DIY brides can get the look at Lollipop’s DIY tutorials page!

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