Easy Elegance
March 22, 2007

Today's inspiration board is for my best friend, Katie. This could be the most difficult board that I have done thus far...and I say that not because we are so different (which we are), but simply because I know her so well. Katie and I met when we were 11 years old and cheerleaders in the seventh grade. I couldn't stand her. She was loud, and goofy and a bit odd. Now, 15 years later, she is the only girl that can make me spit coke out of my nose because I am laughing so hard. She is the only girl that I can call when I have absolutely nothing to say. She is my best bud, and now she's getting married.

So, here is the board that I came up with for Katie...and I know for sure, there is no way that it's good enough.


Top Row: Flowers by Dandelion Ranch, Dress by J Crew, Flowers by Dandelion Ranch; Center Row: Cake by April Reed, Butterfly by Bernard Maisner, Photo of couple by Alyssa Nicol; Bottom Row: Carafe on Brides, Gown by Vera Wang, Apps on Brides.

Okay, my Katie. Here is how I envision your wedding...

Katie and her fiance, Matt, are both Catholic. And Catholic weddings are incredibly rich in their traditions and in the ceremonial components. I believe wholeheartedly that if religion is a part of your wedding, it should be the primary focus. Just Katie in her gorgeous (one part wispy vintage, one part chic sophistication) wedding gown and Matt in his easy going, tan suit, standing together at a candle lit alter, among their closest friends and family. A gorgeous antique rosary in hand would lovely.

They are having their reception at this awesome little winery in Dallas, Texas  (can you believe that there are wineries in Texas!). Katie has been in love with this spot for so long, though avoided booking it right away because it has a few small-ish rooms and no space for a seated affair. Everyone told her that there was no way she could do it...they said that the location is perfect for a rehearsal dinner, just not so much for a wedding. But, I am happy to say that she followed her gut and is now having a really intimate, rustic chic affair at her favorite spot in Dallas.

Because the reception space is broken up into various rooms, I think that it would be great to designate each space with a particular purpose. One area (perhaps the outdoor space) for the cocktail hour...decked out in candles and chandeliers. One that will hold the gifts, guest book and the attendees that don't feel the need to be at the center of the party...simply decorated with a few potted plants and perhaps some light music. And finally, the party room...complete with a great DJ (no room for a band) and a nice little dance floor. Gobs of candles, flowers and photos of the couple. The cohesiveness to each of the rooms will come through Katie's color palette and her "little personal touches."

I see the flowers being that "picked from the garden" look, arranged in random order using both rustic, woodsy vases and matte ceramic pots. I love the idea of wrapping the top of the vases with a thick grosgrain ribbon and a knot (see first pic, in top row). A hodge podge of flowers is best, all in the same muted tones. Katie LOVES the color purple and we have been really trying to figure out a way to incorporate the color, without seeming too childish (ie...that store they used to have in the mall, where everything was purple, do you remember? it was Katie's all time favorite store). The flowers are the place to really incorporate purple...when paired with creamy whites, deep greens, and chocolate, purple can seem both sophisticated and elegant.

Since Katie's family is from New Orleans, she is a party girl at heart. I think that it's important to keep the reception completely centered around a grand celebration. Food shouldn't be stuffy, decor shouldn't be overdone or pristine, lighting should be soft and inviting. Pictures of the pair hanging from clothes pins in various corners would be really cute, a Polaroid camera next to a guest book to capture the festivities would be perfect. I love the idea of Katie's mom or dad giving a hearty welcome toast and a blessing for the couple. And a mix of old school wedding songs, Cajun music and some classic Texas tunes thrown in for good measure. At this wedding, it's all about the party.

Here are some little details that Katie could do, to really make it her own...

-I love the idea of Katie giving her mother and grandmother a handkerchief made out of the scraps from her dress alterations. Perhaps monogramming her late grandmother's initials in the corner, just so that everyone is reminded that she is very much a part of the wedding.

-I am thinking that butterflies would be a really beautiful element...paper butterflies blowing in the wind during the cocktail hour or real butterflies given to the guests to release as the couple is leaving the ceremony. So pretty, so classic.

-A great bridesmaid gift (which is kind of awkward because I am one of them!) would be a vintage gold hair pin or comb. Each could have a different one, tucked into a low bun.

-Since it's a winery, I think that serving the wine out of carafes would be a great detail. Carafe's remind me of sitting around a huge table with lots of familiar faces, drinking and eating late into the night. Perfect for this wedding.

-I really think that Katie should try to infuse her Cajun culture into some of the wedding merriment. I love the idea of serving Beignets and a cafe au lait after "dinner" or even at midnight as the guests are leaving. Her mom makes a mean beignet and I wonder if there is a way to incorporate them? Perhaps, she could get give mix from Cafe Du Monde in New Orleans as favors for the "morning after feast."

I am all of a sudden REALLY excited for Katie's wedding!!! I think that her natural sense of understated, easy elegance along with Matt's party going personality, there is no way that this wedding could be anything other than perfect. And I'm not just saying that because she's my best friend.