Monday, January 7, 2013

designing an event that "feels" right

It should come as no surprise that the design aspect of our wedding planning has been the easiest part for me. While I’d gladly hand off to another expert my own home design, including hanging artwork or picking out curtains, there is something about designing an event that truly excites me. Perhaps it’s because it is the departure from our everyday experience – something totally different than sitting at your own breakfast table and at your own household linen.

In fact, the “experience” is what Phil and I have chosen as our most important wedding element. It reflects our own couple culture of cherishing the experience of everyday living, and of each day together. At the end of the day, with intention, we come together to cook a meal, not just sit and eat. We do things as partners that others simply take for granted. At our wedding, we want to celebrate those intentional moments by sharing our “experience” with our guests.

{photos by PhotoLadyLove}

Phil and I can describe our wedding in one simple word: warm. In a winter month, it would be obvious and easy to do the exact opposite (for it will, in all likelihood, be COLD). So, we have chosen to go the route of intimacy, bringing in warmth from the food (will share food details soon!), the décor, and the signature hospitality. The overall aesthetic, and the comfort of our loved ones on the wedding day is far more important to us than any fancy flower arrangement or matte satin linen. We’re skipping elaborate centerpieces and custom lighting because they don’t fit the “feel” that we are trying to achieve.

We chose warm tones, such as eggplant, sage, champagne, gold, slate and navy. Huge helpings of magnolia will line the tables. Add to that candle light and a pop of sparkle! Who doesn’t love a pop of sparkle? Food is so important to Phil and I that we’re even decorating with it! Artichokes, oranges, and lemons will brighten the tables. A few arrangements of flowers, dispersed around the room and featuring hydrangea, dusty miller, more magnolia and herbs will tie the perfect wintry floral palette together.

Stepping briefly back into “Wedding Planner” mode, for the brides-to-be who are reading this, take my advice: put yourselves in your guests’ shoes. Try, as best you can, to visualize your day and do a virtual walk-through, looking for opportunities to grace your loved ones with hospitality and love. Look for potential points of tension and craft ways to eliminate them. Figure out where your guests will spend the most time, and where you want their attention focused, and spend your energy there. For you, it could be tearing up the dance floor, or marveling at the dining tables, or maybe even gorging themselves on cake. Each event dynamic is as unique as your couple personality is, so there is no “prescription” for the perfect atmosphere. However, if you look at your event from this perspective, you will certainly focus less on flashy centerpieces, and more on your own guest experience and the overall “feel” of the day.

Whether or not 100% of my guests notice the small details, this “experience” excites me the most (naturally, the FOOD excites Phil the most!). Everything from a “basket of blankets to borrow” with cozy wintry white blankets and a gold “Richmond, Virginia” embroider, to our favorite recipes handed out as favors is special and thoughtful. Sparkly pom pom toothpicks will hold our late night snack burgers together, and you know the stationery will be beautiful to boot.

Next, we’ll talk about food from the hospitality perspective (I know, I know – you want a menu!), and how service can mean so much when creating a specific guest aesthetic. More soon!

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