I’m getting married next year and I am planning now. When it comes to decorations, I find weddings a bit bland — white table cloths, white cloth napkins, white flowers. I adore colour and texture. How can I avoid wedding whitewash?
Who on this good green earth wants a white wedding? The term originates from the colour of the traditional dress, which first became popular with Victorian-era elites after Queen Victoria wore a white lace dress at her wedding to Prince Albert in 1840.
Luckily, it seems to me that wedding decorations are gradually becoming less delicate, more playful and a whole lot more colourful. Praise be.
But why? Perhaps Instagram has something to do with it (it usually does these days). When everything we do is splattered across social media, a white napkin on a white tablecloth just ain’t gonna cut it. I am happy to hear you are a fellow lover of colour; your wedding guests are in for a visual treat.
Let us start with the venue. If you need to hire a marquee, why would you opt for a boring white sheet? The West Sussex-based Arabian Tent Company supplies a variety of designs, including a saffron-coloured cotton tent with green, red and blue printed decoration.
There are ways to enliven more standard offerings. I saw an image recently of a plain tent decorated by the designer Willow Crossley. She had hung multicoloured ribbons from the middle of the tent, draping them across the ceiling and down the walls. Simple and marvellous.
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A word of caution: tread delicately here. Whimsy is a good thing, I believe, and ribbons (in good colours) hung in a tent are on the right side of the line. Tying ribbons to the backs of chairs, on the other hand, is firmly on the wrong side. Ditto floral arches. As for “floral photo backdrops”, they are so far, far beyond the wrong side of the line they are almost on the right side again.
Now, your tables. I am not averse to a plain white tablecloth — think of it as a clean, fresh backdrop for your splashes of vivid colour. But I am also an enormous fan of Summerill & Bishop’s rainbow designs. Its block-colour Full Field linen tablecloths are hand-painted in Italy and have a slightly crushed and soft texture, which gives them a brilliantly imperfect, faintly rustic look.
Flowers should be an absolute riot, of course. Naturally it depends on what time of year you are throwing your party, but I love bright and generous bunches of roses, sweet peas, peonies. Mix with coloured dinner candles in mismatched holders for maximum cheer.
I love colourful glassware, such as Villeroy & Boch’s green faceted Boston wine glasses. Even more fun are Milan-based La DoubleJ’s handmade glasses, which have an opaque appearance, delightful moulded glass feet and contrasting rims. A bunch of these in different colours would look wonderful lined up along a trestle table.
Do not worry about things matching too well or enforcing a wedding colour scheme. I much prefer the nonchalant approach. For the hautest of haute tablescapes, look to event designer Fiona Leahy’s dreamlike creations: her sumptuous, decadent displays are guaranteed to inspire. (Leahy has worked with everyone from Fendi to Louis Vuitton.)
Last but not least — and something to think about well before any of the above — stationery. Go bespoke. My friend Fee Greening designs and illustrates glorious wedding stationery, for example. With her trusty pen and ink, Fee will create invitations, maps, menus and anything else you could dream up, all in her graphic style. So go for it — embrace your love of the colourful and just remember the golden rule: no ribbons on chairs.
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