Susan Taylor
home style tips

wedding decor bliss

While wedding design is not my primary field, every now and then I will agree to design and coordinate wedding decor for a dear friend, family member or darling client! This weekend was one such production! And, what a production it was.

Wedding design is full of detail — delightful and immaculate detail. It takes months of preparation and work to implement your very personal vision for the bride. The process of designing and ordering flowers is just the beginning! When the whole thing comes off as planned, and the bride and groom are satisfied with the event of a lifetime, that’s when you can say mission accomplished!

An outdoor wedding should always include the plan for a tent! In this case, the tent became a primary focal point for decor. We hung a 12 arm chandelier, dozens of paper lanterns and strings of patio lights to create the charm needed. Susan Tip: go prepared with a 12 foot ladder and a good sport who will use it to install your fixture!

The aisle chairs in the tent were each detailed with fresh flowers, an assortment of greens and beautiful layers of various widths of double-faced satin ribbon. I love the high gloss finish on these “Reserved” signs. Repeat the Black-eyed Susan mantra after me: perfectly placed details!

Here’s an overall photo of the tent design, including chandelier, chairs and paper lanterns. I’ll show you a shot of the tent after dark towards the end of the post!

A trio of floating candle hurricanes dotted the aisle chairs and created a magical path. I saved one of my favorite exotic roses to use as rose petals to lead the way.

And now, for the wedding arch! Oh. My. When D-day comes, let me tell you, it takes a dedicated team to pull it off! We filled the urns with playground sand (heavy filled with heavy!), and a few layers of 2″ styrofoam. Then, with some (very much appreciated) manpower, I had the thick stems of the curly willow shaved to a point to make them easier to insert into the foam. We added enough stems (about 7 per side, and it will largely depend on the diameter of your stems), to each urn and then began to weave the willows together in layers. Using wired twine is the secret tool. It makes the job so much easier! After getting the basic form of an arch, we began to add various species of eucalyptus into the form. Seeded, Silver Dollar and Willow eucalyptus are great varieties to consider. To complete the look, I added lively green Springeri Fern (asparagus fern) to give motion and texture. Layers of texture is one of the secrets to creating beauty here.

The last step was to add about three dozen selected roses from our floral order! We let the roses get to the fully opened stage (about 4 days out of the cooler) in order to get this fully bloomed drama. Love.

This arch created the stage for the marriage ceremony itself and gave drama to the tent design for the rest of the party. Simply beautiful. Be sure to give yourself plenty of time to create this masterpiece. It took about 3 hours. Really.

Here’s a closeup of the mix, texture and roses!

We created long “boats” from silver containers. Carnations, Trick Dianthus, and silver stone beads acted as fillers to create an unusual and sophisticated arrangement. I had designed them for several deep window sills in the main dining room, but when we surveyed the outside patio seating, we decided these were perfectly placed right here. They were well viewed during the after dinner dancing and cocktails. I’ll definitely use this design again.

The head table was adorned with three tall vases of perfect Calla Lilies and multiple arrangements of mainly white blooms in mercury containers of assorted sizes and heights. White tablecloths are always a classic. Dotted with as many votives as we could possibly fit, leaving only enough room for plates and flatware, we created this fully packed and gorgeous head table. 15″ and 18″ tapers added the final touch. Our bride was in heaven.

Another view of the head table shows the beauty of a fully packed table for a design statement that speaks volumes.

Beautiful deep windowsills were appointed with taller vases, Phalaenopsis orchids and more Cala lilies, plus smaller arrangements and loads and loads of votive candles, along with multiple sets of the 15″ and 18″ tapers. This white on white design is an exceptional wedding formula.

Individual tables were filled with mercury glass compotes and 8-10 votive candles to create the magic. (Note the windowsills in the background which added the perfect frame around the room for dozens and dozens of votive candles — 300 to be exact!)

So….the party is winding down and many of the arrangements have been given away to the guests!  A bit of a sad sight, but still magical.

As designers, the end of a grand wedding design is a bit of a sad affair. The bride and groom are off to a fabulous honeymoon. The guests have gone home. The candles are extinguished. The linens piled for laundry. And a large budget for beautifully crafted arrangements sees a quick end when these beauties are disassembled and tossed in a giant black extra heavy duty trash bag. *Sigh*

The evening is over. One more beautiful wedding plan perfectly designed and documented.