Home | Contact | Blog


Wedding Design Notes, Hints, Tips


Flowers on a Budget.  There is a right way to save money on flowers.  Check your priorities.  Do you really need flowers at the ceremony?  Forego the pew markers and opt instead for a clean, young-sophisticate look.  Think maximum impact, maximum visibility:  Invest in fewer, larger arrangements and place these amazing works of art  where they will be appreciated the most -- in areas of high visibility where they will be viewed for the longest period of time.


Good Gracious!  I have been to some wonderful home-spun weddings where the key element was the care to which the design was implemented (I was totally delighted!!) with guest comfort given the ultimate consideration.



An-ti-ci-pa-tion is the key to a successful, smashing party and it costs, absolutely, NOTHING!  Select all of the elements of your wedding with anticipation in mind -- tease your guests as you unveil each additional element. 


Consider the effect of anticipation when planning your party.  It begins with your Save-the-Dates (not required) and invitation.  Order stationery in line with the style of your event:  Simple or formal, custom or traditional.  In a quandary and need to get those invites out?  You can't go wrong with a simple ecru invitation/black ink.  While embossed is perfectly acceptable, people DO notice an engraved/letter-pressed invitation--necessary for the most formal of events.  Receiving an invitation in the mail elicits an immediate response from receiver and whether he realizes it or not, has already started to anticipate the event and will prepare/dress for the event in line with the invitation selected and the venues chosen. 


Consider your wedding ceremony an introduction to what lies ahead, and build your guests anticipation accordingly throughout the evening to your grand finale.  Start with a location that is in line with your theme such as a simple country church for a sylvan reception or a grand cathedral for a formal event.  Without realizing it, guests' anticipation builds upon visualization of the ceremony site and further upon entrance.  Once the guest is seated, he/she immediately begins to absorb the atmosphere of the venue.  They will muse on the design of your program or perhaps subconsciously note the lack of one.  Ceremony music might consist of an organist/strings/vocalist or may be something as simple as a rendition from a talented cousin (talented being the operative word here).  All of these details build the anticipation in your guest who has already began to think about the reception.  If the venue is ornate, flowers are optional.  If within budget, perhaps a few altar arrangements will suffice.  Think of the bridesmaids as flowers; add color by selecting beautiful bridesmaids dresses.  Flower girls are especially endearing--like little walking flower arrangements bedecked in flower finery.  Again, start with fewer quality arrangements and "build" the anticipation of your event.


You've teased and cajoled and teased some more.  Now the the time to knock their socks off! 


Shock and Awe--Part 1. be continued.


Shock and Awe--Part 2. be continued.


Shock and Awe--Part 3. be continued.





Pick a pretty venue.  You already have the barn?  While a country barn is perfect for a hill country soiree, it is costly to transform it into a ballroom; instead, work with the rustic ambiance engendered by the location and consider a elegant Tuscan or vineyard theme.



Check out the amenities.  Do they provide tables?  High tops?  Linens?  What do the chairs look?  Do they require covers?  Does your venue provide votives or candle arrangements?  Are extra rooms included in the price?  Are any extra props included?  Sometimes what might seem to be a great deal isn't one when you have to provide all the rentals. 

When scheduling your tasting...ask the venue to set place settings as they will appear at your wedding.  Review all items that go on the table making sure that the salt/pepper shakers are glass, crystal or silver.  Request that sugar packets not be placed on the table.  Have the venue pour tea on request or have a refreshment table.  Inform your venue that photographer cards are not allowed on the tables.  These tips will keep your tables looking professionally decorated and your reception pictures beautiful.

Keep your exquisitely planned event, exquisite. 

You're in the final stretch and have scheduled the final walk through with your venue.  This is a wonderful time to get together with the in laws and have a fun dinner going through the details.  Perhaps a nice dinner afterwards?  Perhaps not.  This is a business meeting and you should approach it as such.  Bring your design details, questions, timeline, contracts and your planner.  Leaving your professional out at this juncture is not a good idea.  While most wedding venues are reputable, details might be overlooked.  Maintaining a business attitude with your venue and vendors will help keep your exquisitely planned event, exquisite.

Don't forget lighting!  If you want your guests to see your entire floral arrangement, be sure to include lighting at several levels.  Don't forget the ambiance of a natural sunset!

Keep them guessing!   I encourage my clients to have different moods when transitioning from one part of their event to another. Change up the cocktail hour!  You would be surprised at how much excitement this generates:


I encouraged one client to have a "tropical" design with large monstera leaves and bird of paradise in tall glass vases for her cocktail hour.  Maximum impact on a budget.  After cocktails, the guests went downstairs for dinner (more traditional), and then popped back upstairs for dancing (night time)--and encountered yet another surprise when they saw the monstera leaves lit up from beneath w/votives to make a pattern on the ceiling and saw the cocktail table arrangements now lit by leds (you couldn't see the lighting effects during daylight hours).  Something as simple as this adds that much more fun and excitement to the party. 


For another client, we set up a coffee bar in an adjacent room.  Since this room did not open until later in the evening, we repurposed the bridesmaid's bouquets to decorate the conversation area of this room.  Extra pop at little cost.  Another bride used silk flowers offered by the church where she married, no one was the wiser and we were able to put more money into the reception flowers.


Still another bride had a Cuban themed cocktail hour with piped in salsa music, cigars, mojitos and bright colors on an outdoor veranda.  It really got the party going!  They were further delighted when they went inside and were presented with dinner in a more formal setting. 


A very lovely bride had a very pretty signature drink w/pink one expected it and the girls LOVED it!!  The guys were totally happy w/ their mixed drinks, and were happy that the girls were happy.  :)  A very fun party that guests still rave about!  "The most beautiful wedding they had ever been to!"


Pump up your party for free? Get married in December.  Most churches/venues decorate for the holidays so you get extra decor for less.  Free fireworks?  Consider getting married on July 4.  (Warning.  Because it is a holiday, it is hard to get help and vendors may be required to raise their prices to accommodate you.)


Cluster odd numbers of votives, candles, flowers to create more eye pleasing arrangements.  If you only have a limited number of paper lanterns, for instance, group them over the dance floor for the most impact--always group like elements for the maximum punch.

Repeat, repeat, repeat design elements for a stunning presentation!                 

For chic dining, choose all rectangular tables (looks luxe), all square tables (eastern flair), or mix it up with a large rectangular head table and round guest tables (updated classic); or, combine an equal number of square and round tables for a fresh contemporary look.

For added interest, "layer" the elements of your wedding.  For example: Layer the location, refreshments, music, entertainment, and food of your reception.  If you have a budget, substitute a less expensive option instead of cutting out a layer:  For the first layer of your reception, host a cocktail hour in an auxiliary room with passed signature cocktails, iced shrimp, and a pianist.  On a budget?  Substitute piped in music (save the band for dinner & dancing) and serve light hors d'oeuvres (save the shrimp for the first course).  Keep the signature cocktail:  it is pretty, adds an element of surprise and you will likely be serving drinks anyway!  Entertainment at the cocktail hour can consist of something as simple as the escort card display--just make sure it POPS since it sets the mood for the evening and builds anticipation.

When planning a party, take advantage of all rooms offered to you.  Consider: elegant Tuscan lounge replete with wrought iron chandeliers

...a disco dripping with hot shades of Lucite! 

...A coffee lounge.

...crystal candelabra in a rustic setting.  Lavish rustic ceiling beams w/ twinkling lights.

Work with the venue.  Venues often offer linen choices, candelabra or votives as part of their package; in addition, they may have lighting experts on staff or have an account with a linen vendor and can procure their services at a discount.  Take advantage of this ...  then you'll have more money to spend on flowers!  :)


Look to these websites for more planning inspiration...,,