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Today’s inspiration board is for Ashley…she is getting married this April in Orlando, at a historic estate and considers herself to be a perfect blend of classic and contemporary, traditional and fresh. As I was putting this board together, I started picturing a really intimate, family gathering with classic southern elements and warm, gorgeous spring colors. I am kind of in love with the wedding that I have dreamed up in my head, and I hope that you will be too!

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Top Row: Flowers by Ariella Chezar, Car by British Motor Coach on Junebug Weddings, Ballroom The Knot; Center Row: Ashley’s reception location, Dress by Justina McCaffrey via Brides.com, Bangles by Rebecca Norman at Neiman Marcus; Bottom Row: Cake by Hollyhock Cakes on Junebug Weddings , flowers on The Knot, dress by J Crew

When Ashley sent me her wedding details, she said that the affair wouldn’t be a formal, seated dinner but rather just a gathering of family and friends in celebration. I think that this is the absolute inspiration for the entire wedding. Intimate, celebratory and warm. Her wedding ceremony will be in a catholic church, focusing solely on the union of two people. Thus, I really don’t think that a lot of over the top decor is necessary for the ceremony. Simple, white tapered candles in every window, perhaps strands of green garland adorning the pews, and of course…the maids with their butter yellow dresses and lovely spring bouquets.

For a throw back to the true tradition of weddings, I think that tossing rice (if the city allows it…you can get glassine envelopes at impact images) would be a lovely touch. If not, delicate little bells would be nice. I love the idea of a vintage car and trolleys carting the bride/groom and the guests to the reception, where an inviting outdoor cocktail hour will begin. Jars of punch, ice cold mint juleps and sparkling champagne would be perfect…and would cut down on the cost (as opposed to having a full bar). Coral colored linens on cafe tables, with low set mixed garden flowers, all in the same warm hues, adorning the tables. If you can find chandeliers to hang from trees, this would be a GORGEOUS detail. If not, Japanese paper lanterns would be perfect. Maybe a jazz band off to the side?

I think that this easy, festive feel would transition really well into a buffet or stations type dinner. Guests can gradually move into another room for food, or if you are sticking with heavy hor’dourves, the party can just seamlessly begin! Serve really fresh, seasonal food that is suited for a gathering of family and friends…grilled scallops, gourmet pizzas, goat cheese crostini, petit filet with port sauce and mashed potatoes, a good amount of chocolate. And of course…(repeat mantra) lots and lots of candles, all sizes and heights, in every corner that they will let you put them.

I love the idea of really threading a monogram through the entire wedding. It’s classic though contemporary and personal. I would put monograms on everything (subtle, not over the top with Victorian flourishes). From cloth napkins (or antique napkin rings), to mint julep cups overflowing with coral, pink and red flowers, to menus and favors. Even though Ashley isn’t having a formal dinner, it doesn’t mean that she can’t bring in added touches to make guests feel like they are attending a very special event.

Bottom line…warm, inviting colors, abundant flowers and candles without form or structure, elegant and traditional foods, favors that tug at the heart strings. This wedding is all about the celebration…it shouldn’t be about one unique component or one detail that guests will remember. It’s about the night in it’s entirety…the experience, the ambiance. Guests should remember this wedding as they would having dinner at their best friend’s house. Simply a night filled with laughter, love and ton of fun.

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