Archive for February, 2012

A Gasp-Guaranteed Vintage Wedding Reception: 7 Tips Formal-Style

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

Vintage Weddings Part 2:  Formal

Earlier this month we ruminated on the difference between eclectic and formal

Tussie-mussies were common flower holders during the Victorian era.

vintage-styled wedding receptions.  Both have their charm, for sure.  Eclectic allows for a more laid-back, mix-n-match style that can showcase your individual interests and creativity.  Scouring antique shops and attics adds to the treasure-hunt fun of this look!  But preparing a more formal vintage reception can truly recreate the height of Victorian elegance.  If you have family heirlooms, this is the time to show them off.

Starting with our white and cream base colors, picture adding a metallic touch – either silver or gold.  Anchor your table with a stunning centerpiece like the 24”  or 40” Nikki Candelabra.  Or the silver 20” stand with glass votive holders.  Take that look farther by using the Willow Tree line for your aisle candelabras and hanging crystal votive holders in the trees surrounding your reception.  Enchanting!

Some other elegant vintage touches could include:

  1. Metallic plate chargers.
  2. Metallic chair sashes.
  3. Lace or silk-look pintuck table cloth covers in honey, gold, ivory or pewter.
  4. Mix-and-match antique napkin rings.
  5. Old linen napkins in white and ecru.  Use a mixture of plain ones with those trimmed with hand-tatting and lace.
  6. Vintage-look wedding cake stands.  Not to be overlooked for the traditional Victorian wedding, which would have featured three cakes:  an elaborately decorated fruitcake, a white bride’s cake, and a dark groom’s cake.  Consider some old-fashioned-looking boxes to send home slices with your guests as they would have done in yester-year.
  7. Place card holders like our “work of art” line.

If you feel compelled to add a color to your formal winter whites, there’s nothing quite so bold as deep red – especially for that amazing Valentine wedding!  Picture pops of burgandy among your roses with the “imperial” exquisite glass photo coasters!  Your guests will always remember the contrast of whites and reds.

Another option for spring or summer? The royal touch of flow blue.

Whether you choose eclectic or elegant, we hope our tips get you going!  Have fun planning your vintage reception!  Have a tip to share?  Please leave it along with your “calling card” right here!

Delight guests with antique silver service and grandmother's china!


Cultural Wedding Series: The Muslim/Sikh Indian Wedding

Friday, February 17th, 2012

India: a land of mystery, beauty, and long-standing traditions. Marriage in India is greatly influenced by the religious culture, and that’s why we’ll be dividing our discussion into two parts: Muslim/Sikh and Hindu.

There are a few similarities between the types of unions. Engagements in India were traditionally accompanied by a bridal dowry, which has since been outlawed. Still, sometimes the bride and groom initially meet each other at their engagement party, where gifts are given and sweets are served! Being of the same caste (social standing and function) is of utmost importance. Weddings are often held in a tent, courtyard or garden of the home of one of the pair. And sometimes in India, as well as Iran, Syria and Turkey, the couple may try to step on each other’s toes during the ceremony because it’s said the one who succeeds will be the boss of the new union!

In the Shiite Muslim culture of India, it’s not uncommon for cousins to marry. The guardian of the man proposes to the girl’s guardian. The groom’s mother and female friends will then bring sweets to the bride. Sometimes the bride will show her face to the groom and his family. The groom’s mother ties the traditional Imam Zamin (coin wrapped in silk) on the bride’s right arm.

In Sikh Indian families, the groom’s family often gives a thread with five knots tied in it to the bride’s parents, five days before the wedding. Each day one knot is untied. On the wedding day, guests arrive at the bride’s home with coconuts, sugar, money and jewelry. Muslim and Sikh brides wear a kameeze (long, embroidered tunic) over shalwar (baggy trousers). Men wear a white jacket with a stand-up collar and white trousers. The bride’s father provides a long scarf which is held between the bride and groom as a symbol of unity. With a granthi officiating, the couple walks four times around the Granth Sahib holy book.

After the ceremony, the men go to a banquet hall for a meal of curried vegetables and salad, rice, yogurt and chappatis prepared by the bride’s family. The father of the bride goes home to bid her farewell before she leaves with her groom in a decorated getaway car.

Did you or a friend have an Indian wedding?  Share your memories!  And check back soon to learn more about Hindu Indian brides and grooms.

A Gasp-Guaranteed Vintage Wedding Reception: 7 Tips Eclectic-Style

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

Vintage Weddings Part 1: Eclectic

Planning a winter or spring vintage wedding? Don’t be overwhelmed by the myriad ideas and facts online! It’s easy to organize your planning to create a stunning reception for your guests, whether you’re a purist Victorian with a morning wedding and breakfast reception (don’t forget to create a special corner where the bridal couple can welcome guests – perhaps using a colonnade or arches) or a later, more traditional afternoon wedding with finger foods or seated dinner.

Really there are two ways you can go: eclectic (think worn patinas on furniture and decorations, whimsical, shabby chic – with the occasional glitter of crystal or the muted shine of a silver service) or elegant (picture formal candelabras and centerpieces in silver or gold with organza chair sashes or pintuck table overlays reminiscent of a Victorian gentleman’s waistcoat). Either way there’s a common starting point: the fresh palette of whites and creams that echo the purity of a formal vintage wedding.

If you’re going eclectic, add one or at the most two colors in complimentary color families. For winter, what about the blues and silvers brought to mind by a sharp, frosty day? For spring, we like pale coral and terra cotta, with dark coral chair sashes. Consider mingling minor touches of sage green. Imagine a 45” candelabra topped with an arrangement of white and pale coral roses spilling ivy, and your table set with tiny topiary photo holder place cards!

Here are some fun, whimsical decoration ideas for your eclectic vintage reception:

  1. Mix-n-match antique chairs at your tables.
  2. Vintage tea cups filled with mini tussie-mussie guest favors, or simply with roses and baby’s breath.
  3. White bird house centerpieces (plain, filled with multi-sized white candles, or burgeoning with flowers). Bird houses hung from trees at an outdoor reception.
  4. Old buttons in the same color family filling apothecary jars.
  5. Favors of one-hued hard candy in apothecary jars and block vases.
  6. Vintage suitcases and hat boxes reminding everyone that the bride and groom are starting their first voyage together – and not just the honeymoon!
  7. Silver service with teapots crowned by white roses, surrounded by white votives.

Check back for some beautiful ideas for an elegant vintage-styled wedding!

Cultural Weddings Series: The Jewish Wedding

Friday, February 10th, 2012

How many of you have seen Fiddler on the Roof? If you have, scenes from the sacred-turns-riotous wedding are forever imprinted on your mind. The symbolism and simple beauty of the ceremony giving way to joyous celebration presented the very essence of the historic Jewish wedding. Now days, things may have changed, but Jewish weddings here and abroad often echo these same traditions, most strongly among the Orthodox Jews, but also somewhat with the Conservative or Reform congregants.

Traditionally, many Jewish matches were made when the children were quite young. There might have been a ceremonial betrothal meeting where the bride unveiled her face to the groom-to-be. Seven days before the actual marriage, the bridal dowry would have been displayed and a party given for the bride.

Currently, Western Jewish weddings take place at any time other than the Sabbath (Friday night/Saturday). Among the approximately 29% of Jews in Israel and the 45% in the U.S. and Canada – with large pockets in New York and Los Angeles (Weddings: Dating & Love Customs of Cultures Worldwide – Mordecai) – the ceremony may be held at a temple, home or outdoors. The bride wears a white or cream veil, which the groom – clad in a yarmulke (skull cap) and tallith (prayer shawl) – lifts after he tastes the wine. She then sips from the same cup (the “loving cup”). The couple stands together under the chuppah (canopy) which represents the sweet unity of their future home. The bride’s ring is a simple gold band. At the end of the ceremony, a goblet wrapped in cloth may be placed on the floor and smashed by the groom, symbolizing the destruction of the Jewish temple. Shouts of “mazel tov” (“good luck”) echo from the guests.

Orthodox Jewish couples are entertained at a reception, held at a hall or a home, by guests dancing in segregated circles to folk music. A line dance may also be performed during which the bridal pair are lifted into the air while seated on their chairs – as seen in Fiddler.

If you or your spouse-to-be claim Jewish ancestry, including some of these cultural touches can make your ceremony unique and memorable. We wish you “mazel tov!”

The Napkin That Talks

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

A napkin: just an unimportant piece of cloth in the grand scheme of your wedding reception or party. Right? Actually, this unassuming bit of fabric is a little item that, presented properly, can pack a big punch! Boldly colored amid snowy linens, folded creatively and standing tall, or offering your guest a surprising trinket to take home, the napkin can go a long way toward making the lasting impression you desire.

Basically there are two options to consider when you’re urging that limp little napkin to “talk” to your guests: beautiful folding techniques or unique embellishments. If you choose an unadorned, folded napkin, it’s easy to find a number of photo-illustrated, step-by-step instructions online for creating French or diamond pleats, goblet or opera fans, various pouches to cradle your silverware, or a plethora of stunning shapes like the rose, crown or cardinal hat.

Impressively folded napkins like this crown style can steal the show.

If you’re the type that likes a personal or themed touch, perhaps one of these suggestions will pique your interest:

  • For autumn, encircle napkins in 3” grapevine twig rings intertwined with wired mini-falls leaves. Or wrap in ribbon with acorns perched on top.
  • Christmas parties or weddings abound with fun ideas, including gluing spray-painted cedar roses with fresh boxwood sprigs to ribbon or attaching a tiny holly berry wreath to the bow of a gingham or striped ribbon around the napkin.
  • Imagine a vintage-themed reception accented by napkins wrapped in old wallpaper strips tied off with thin twine. Or try dangling a jewel from ribbon and placing the napkin atop printed antique china.
  • Beach party or wedding? Consider neutral napkin rings with a starfish glued to the top, or seashells glued atop twine.

If you’re looking for a way to present a favor to your guests, some creative napkin rings can do the trick. What about photos of the wedding couple in small silver frames attached to ribbon? Another idea that’s sure to be a hit is to wrap napkins in the leather band of a luggage tag with a classy silver nameplate!

Whatever you choose, remember that your napkins can provide the “pop” to any place setting. Explore your creative side, and feel free to share your ideas with us!