This contemporary ‘White Wedding’ took a spin on the traditional to feature creative designs by a do-it-yourself bride. The goal was to create an atmosphere that captured a whimsical and romantic feel within the clean look of a contemporary celebration. The dreamy backyard venue featured an ideal garden setting and 360-degree view of the Pacific Ocean, rolling meadows and brilliantly green vineyards of northern California.
We had to really kick the design strategies into high gear in order to come up with classy, creative, and outdoor-friendly décor on a budget for a party of over 250 guests!
With bridesmaids wearing a deep shade of red wine and the natural setting of the garden and sea in vibrant shades of green and blue, it seemed most natural to compliment the wedding with creams, golds and soft shades in between.
Pale pink satin tablecloths were adorned with three different types of white floral arrangements for fanciful and contrasting centerpieces:
1. a single, large vase filled with rock salt held Manzanita branches tied with dendrobium orchids and hanging votive candles
2. a set of three square and rectangular vases showed off monochromatic varieties of single bunch and mixed flowers (including peonies, sweet peas, roses and tulips) set in sand
3. ...and a large urn became the home of hanging garden hydrangea buried in black rocks.
Additionally, each table was scattered with sets of 3” square vases that held single buds, as well as candles galore!
Table numbers displayed a picture of the bride and groom at the corresponding age (a modern alternative to the slideshow) and personalized drink charms were handmade with each guests name to creatively cut down on the need for excessive glassware due to abandoned cocktail glasses!
Floral arrangements wandered farther than just the centerpieces to adorn the welcome table, coffee station, dessert buffet, DJ booth and wine bars – you can never overdo on flowers and the unexpected bunch can make a note-worthy difference!
The natural setting and views created a casual ‘garden party’, so to spice up the formality and intimacy of the event, tall garden hooks draped with globe lights surrounded the seating area to provide that intimate indoor/outdoor ambience, and a wooden dance floor propped on a deck just above the lawn enabled everyone to take part in the celebration throughout the night.
Delicious appetizers featuring local ingredients were passed throughout the cocktail hour, which was held on an adjoining deck, and dinner was served ‘family style’ at the tables.
The dessert bar was a tribute to heritage as each Grandma’s favorite recipe was displayed amongst white swags of fabric and large apothecary jars full of M&Ms, jelly beans and hard candy. Home-brewed beer by the groom (his favorite hobby) was offered as a treat for the connoisseurs and the cake was handmade by the bride as a celebration and gift to her guests, many of which travelled from out of state to share in the event.
Additional venue perks included a beautiful pool house which was strung with paper lanterns and floral spheres and set above a pool of floating gardenias and a candle island, which was anchored in the center.
Inspiring details included a delicious lemonade stand complete with sliced lemons below glass created by the caterer (how crafty!) and the coffee table was designed to present a variety of do-it-yourself flavorings and mixes propped in shallow vases full of coffee beans.
Another idea to steal: the ladies room hosted a basket of treats for those guests in need: hairspray, lotion, bobby pins as well as Advil, band-aids and foam flip-flops (for the dancing divas whose mile-high pumps just weren’t cutting it -- we’ve all been there!)
Tips for other DIY brides:
When it comes to entertaining, let your imagination run wild. Don’t settle for the ordinary when crafty and inexpensive ideas can create an elegant and unique setting for your big day--because the best part of this featured wedding is that the entire event was created hands-on by the bride and her family and friends!