04 October 2011

Wedding style: taking the inside outdoors

Mr. P and I attended a fabulous wedding this past weekend, that of a friend of Mr. P’s – well, Mr. P’s former roommates’ coworker’s younger brother, but it’s all in the circle of friends, right? And when I say “fabulous”, it was in so many ways! First of all, the couple is absolutely darling, and I couldn’t be happier for them and their new lives together. Secondly, the wedding was held in the backyard – more like back field – of a very posh residence in a tony part of Nashville. The dinner was actually held on top of a swimming pool, causing Mr. P to imagine a re-creation of It’s a Wonderful Life should the crowd get too lively.

But for the purposes of this blog, the wedding was fabulous because of the couples’ style! I’m not close enough to the couple to know about all the behind-the-scenes planning, but my guess is that the bride had a philosophy similar to mine and anyone else who avidly follows Style Me Pretty: Forget the old “wedding” mold and instead, focus on creating a beautiful, stylish space to entertain your guests. And she definitely succeeded!

The happy couple was blessed with beautiful, crisp weather for their outdoor Fall wedding. The ceremony space was definitely evocative of the season, with grasses, reclaimed wood, and apples (which were definitely real, as Mr. P’s friend ate several on the dance floor – yes, we’re friends with that guy. The guy that eats the decorations).

One of my favorite parts of their ceremony space was the backdrop they built with windows, a theme they continued throughout other parts of their wedding. Using windows and portions of walls in such a large scale made the space feel homey, even though the entire event was held in a spacious outdoor setting. I also adored those refinished white church pews they scattered among the typical rental chairs. Again, bringing the indoors out, and just beautiful!

These days it seems the guestbook is making fewer and fewer appearances at weddings. Instead of a guestbook, this wedding had a mock photo booth. After the ceremony, the officiant instructed us to have our photos taken during the cocktail hour. Technically we were supposed to have our photo taken with “our party that we came with”, but our friend who ate the décor managed to make a few new friends and get in a few extra photos.

I missed getting photos of it, but I actually took the above photo while seated in one of many little “conversation” seating areas, made of outdoor loveseats and chairs around coffee tables with snacks. You can barely make out the kettle chips in the corner of the photo! But the best part was the cheese. Mmmm. Grooms from Wisconsin are the best.

In addition to getting our own photos taken during cocktail hour, we could look at photos of the couple and their family. I absolutely adore displays of the wedding photos from the bride’s and groom’s families. We didn’t do this at ours because Mr. P thought it was “cheesy”, but gosh, I sure do love it. So romantic!

The bulletin board paid homage to the couple's home states (Wisconsin for him, Florida for her, and now Tennessee) with vintage maps. The display used burlap and other textures, which was another repetitive element in their décor, and another way to make a fancy event feel down-to-earth. Also down-to-earth? The cardboard (yes, cardboard) ceremony program and mason jar of sweet tea that Mr. P is holding.

The window theme mentioned above continued with the seating chart. They used a giant window with burlap behind it, and wrote everyone’s name on the glass in alphabetical order with the table number beside the name. So neat! It wasn’t so hard to find out that we were at Table 3:

And did I mention that Mr. P’s friends are all in the music industry? Meaning that there was a celebrity on the guest list?

And at our table too. Actually, literally next to me. Which was, really, not for the best. A friend of ours serving as a groomsman told me he purposely put Gretchen there because he “knew I would be cool”, but clearly he doesn’t understand that I am still stupidly star-struck even after six years in Nashville.

I distracted myself from the OMGCELEBRITYAPPROACHINGBRAINFREEZEBZZZZZZ by checking out the dessert table. The couple followed the trend of eschewing a traditional wedding cake in favor of a variety of desserts:

I know there was at least a strawberry cake and mini spice cupcakes and banana pudding... not that I, uh, ate all of them. No way. Ahem.

After passing the cake table during cocktail hour, we made our way into the main dining area. Again, the décor brought the indoors-outdoors with curtains around the tent poles and an amazing wood chandelier at the top of the tent, complementing the chandelier over the dessert table. Just look at that thing! I know chandeliers have nearly become cliché wedding décor now, but that wooden one is really something special.

I also loved the “tablescape”, which used wooden boxes for table numbers, burlap table runners, tons of tea lights and collected milk glass vases:

As a bride who really didn’t give a flip about flowers, I adored how the couple used just stems and still had high impact. Also note the stemless glasses, which seem to be trendy nowadays. They used stemless glasses for both white and red wine, as well as just water. Again, a nod to low-key elegance.

As I briefly mentioned, in a totally daring move, all the couple’s paper products – the save-the-date, the invitation, and the program – were made of cardboard. I admit, I was a little weirded out at first. How fancy can an event be with a cardboard invitation? Answer: very. People, I am here to say that cardboard can be classy.

It’s bold, but it ties in so perfectly with the repeated themes of texture, natural elements, and making formal (note the white linen napkin) feel homey and down-to-earth.

And by the by, this table setting went unused for the evening. Not because she doesn't know the couple well, no no. Probably more like she wasn't interested in facing the gaping idiots like me.

Which fortunately meant that I was able to keep my cool, if not in the way the groomsman predicted. Thank goodness, because we had a really fantastic time on the adjacent dance floor with the live band after the sun went down!

So cheers to the happy couple, for a fantastically stylish start to a happy marriage!