Decorating weddings and special events over the years, I've often helped clients with other aspects of their events besides the decorating. I want to share that information and advice with you. I also want to highlight other event vendors whose work I like and different local venues. I invite you to ask questions as well.

Thursday, April 9, 2009


An updated historical home or mansion is a popular venue for weddings and special events. You have the charm of old architecture, often with beautiful grounds, enhanced with current day amenities. To accommodate larger parties there is usually either an existing ballroom or a completely new addition. Sometimes this larger meeting area can be as simple as a tent over a patio, which can be really lovely when the weather is pleasant. Just remember to have on hold a company to set up any necessary portable A/C or heating units!

Unfortunately, in some venues the transition from old architecture to new is not so seamless and can create some decorating angst. But decorated thoughtfully the transition can be less noticeable. You can either choose one viewpoint and run with it or exaggerate differences for an interesting juxtaposition. Whichever path you choose I say commit fully! In other words...

Don't be inconsistent even in an inconsistent site.
Do be consistent in seemingly (but not) inconsistent ways.

Say that five times fast! As visually jarring as it is when there is no connection between architectural styles, the same can be said about the decorating. The key is a thread of continuity throughout your event. If you decide on a classic/modern theme, perhaps linking the two concepts by using the same colors throughout, or the same flowers – just presented in dramatically different ways. Or introduce other decorative elements, like the same linens throughout, to support the idea of it all still being one party. And don't be afraid to push the envelope. You want the differences to be bold and apparent, not wishy-washy and questioned.

Recently we decorated a site that is successful in its integration of old and new, The Manor House at Commonwealth. It is an 18th century stone farmhouse where the ballroom was added just a few years ago. It is situated next to the Commonwealth National Golf Club. So there are wonderful views of the course, particularly from the attractive veranda, which is right off the ballroom. The veranda is also a nice spot for some of your less mobile guests to look down upon your wedding, if you choose the bordered lawn below for your ceremony site.

The Bride asked us to decorate in a clean, classic style with bold reds. Since the Manor House is decorated in a fairly neutral palette this was not a problem at all. Always remember to consider how the color palette you are inclined to will work in the venue you choose.

I worked with another bride who loved the combination of hot pink and turquoise. This can be a really rich and pleasing combination, but not when your venue has light yellow walls and red carpets and Royal blue accents! Luckily, she heeded my advice and was very happy with the decoration of white flowers with hot pink accents, like the chair cushions, in some areas and full throttle hot pink in other areas where it could work. Turquoise made no appearance at the party and I believe everyone was better for it.