Elegance with a Twist
March 7, 2007

It's inspiration board time...this one, for Katrina (one of our loyal readers) who is having an uber-chic wedding this upcoming October in Chicago, Illinois. The wedding itself will be held at one of Chicago's most beautiful Catholic churches and the reception following, at a famed contemporary art center right along the river. She will be wearing one of my all time favorite vera wang gowns, along with her bridesmaid's who will don adorable chocolate brown dresses also by vera. Her colors are chocolate, champagne and a celedon green...stunning.

Here is what I came up with for Katrina...


Top Row: Calligraphy by Tara Jones, Gown on Brides, Cigars on iStockPhoto; Center Row: Crystals on Portovert, Cake Image by Eikon Photo; Bottom Row: Calla Lilies on Brides, Vera Wang gown on Brides, Teuscher Chocolates

Since Katrina already has her wedding fashion and wedding venue picked out, I am going to focus on the general decor and of course, the extra special details...

Okay, let's start from the beginning. Since the ceremony is going to be held in an already gorgeous church, I suggest that Katrina keep the ceremony decor minimal. I like the idea of having two very tall, crystal clear vases (on on each side of the alter) overflowing with white Calla Lillies, keeping with an elegant but modern style. Use really thick white duchess satin ribbon (4" or more) to rope off the pews that aren't being used. Let the gorgeous bride, groom and bridal party, in their impeccable attire, be the primary ceremony decor. Oh, and repeat mantra...lots and lots of candles. In this case, large white pillar candles of various sizes, in the windows and/or set in groups on the stairs of the alter. Many churches don't allow open flames (for obvious reasons), so if this is the case, I would use floating candles in tall cylindrical vases.

In Chicago, there is no better way to transport your guests from the ceremony to the reception than in a classic trolley car. If they will allow you, stock the trolley with bottled water (customized would be even cuter), snacks and perhaps printed cards that have interesting facts about the area for guests to read during the ride. You could even see if the gallery has postcards of the featured artists, and print the information on the back!

I envision the reception decor to be elegance with a twist...since Katrina and her fiance are hosting the party at an artist's venue, I feel like the ambiance should reflect just that. Classic, but with a touch of humor. Everything, from the florals to the food should reflect somewhat of an artist's perspective...shape, form and color should be infused into every detail. Think art deco-ish Calla Lilies in sleek vases, classic passed appetizers presented in a chic, minimalist way. Extra tall, tented table cards printed on chocolate paper with bold, white ink and adorned with quotes by famous artists.

For the tables, I love the idea of using chocolate linens, clear chargers and ornate silverware. Very elegant, very sophisticated. I think that alternating the tables with tall, high impact florals and smaller, more delicate arrangements surrounded by tea lights would be perfect. Even bringing in a deep red to accent the florals would be exquisite. Finally, for an over-the-top indulgence, place a box of Teuscher champagne truffles at the top of each place setting, and a box of cigars near the center of the table, letting your guests know that they are at one swell party.

For dinner, I love the idea of serving elegant, though classic foods like crab cakes and filet with roasted vegetables, but plating them in an ultra modern, sophisticated way. Check out the gorgeous-ness that is Limelight Catering to see exactly what I am talking about. Perhaps a nice jazz band in the background (or a jazz cd - hiring a band for 3 hours instead of 4 will save $$).

Bottom line, complete and unabashed luxury...with a modern, sophisticated flair. I honestly believe that if you go too far in ONE direction, chances are it will seem very themed. And unless you are an experienced coordinator, it is really difficult to pull off a themed wedding and still seem elegant (not impossible, I suppose...just tough). Focus on overall style instead.