Ask Abby
April 29, 2008

It's Dear Abby day and I am so excited to share this first question with you. One of my dearest friends, Cat of Cat Seto and Paper Studio in San Francisco, sent me this dilemma that her clients Tien and David are going through. Here's the story...


Tien and David met in grade school and wanted to get married in their

schoolyard. They recently discovered that the school denied permission to be

married there because the school did not meet earthquake

requirements. To make a long story short, they are having to move their ceremony

to the ballroom where they are having their reception. They are looking for a

few ways to incorporate their schoolroom love story into their affair, in a

ballroom setting. They don’t want it to be too themed, but they do want to

infuse their wedding with a few fun details.

Cat has enlisted the help of SMP and our readers, along with Minhee of Paper + Cup designs whose recent school themed wedding was featured in Martha Stewart, to help.

You can read Tien and David's whole story over at Cat's blog Shop Friends. I know that the couple would love ANY and ALL ideas that you guys have!


I thought it would be fun to ask my favorite event designer, Lisa Vorce of Oh How Charming! to help out with some ideas and suggestions for this cute couple. And I am beyond thrilled with the tips that Lisa has come up with...classic details that would add a touch of whimsy and a huge handful of charm!

From Lisa...

What a fun design challenge! I'm sitting here sipping my morning coffee

reminiscing about grade school. Bringing back such great memories! For Tien and

David - if they can't have their ceremony at their grammar school -- let's bring

the grammar school to them! Here are some quick ideas for them....

  • Escort card display: Would be so great to hang their escort cards

    from monkey bars! (Quick tip...scour ebay for a set of monkey bars...after your wedding, donate them to an area school or day care center)

  • Table Numbers: Each table can represent one of the classrooms from

    their grammar school (i.e. "Room 2"). Can even add the teacher's name as well!

    Table numbers can be hand written on mini chalkboards or on that fabulous lined

    that we all had to use when we were practicing our cursive.

  • Grammar school trivia: Would be fun to list quintessential grammar

    school trivia on cocktail napkins (i.e. Who was the 5th president of the United


  • Menus: Use phonetic spelling on the key elements of the menu to give

    the look / feel of a dictionary entry.

  • Guest sign in: Create an attendance chart! As guests sign in - have

    an attendant place a gold star next to their name.

  • Lounge area decor: If they're having any lounge vignettes - use

    grammar school text books as cocktail table decor instead of coffee table books.

  • Popsicles: Popsicles always remind me of grammar school. Have the

    caterer tray pass popsicles as a late night snack.

  • Favors: If budget permits - collect vintage lunch boxes and have them

    lined up on a table as guests exit. The lunch boxes can be filled with a snack

    size carton of milk & homemade cookies. As alternative packaging - use brown

    paper sacks which are just as cute!

  • Bake sale!: As a dessert display - set up an old school Bake Sale

    table with yummy grade school treats (brownies, rice crispy treats, chocolate

    chip cookies, etc).

  • Groom's cake: If having a groom's cake - make it in the shape of a

    back pack, a globle, or a ruler.

  • Ceremony programs: Use old Pee-Gee folders as the cover of the

    ceremony program.

  • Transportation: If providing transportation - use old yellow school


  • Cigar Lounge: If budget permits -- park one of the school buses just

    outside the dinner reception and use it as a cigar lounge.

  • Grand entrance for the wedding party: If doing a grand entrance -- do

    a "roll call" for the wedding party where they have to state "Present!" when

    they enter the room.

These ideas are brilliant, Lisa!! Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing some of your genius with us! I am also loving all of our reader ideas...keep them coming! Too cute!