Brides are bombarded by images through magazines, sales clerks, friends, family and television programming. Everyone is selling the dream, the wedding fantasy. Magazines show even the simplest wedding perfect in décor and location; nothing is overlooked except the details of how it all comes together. Who would not want their wedding to be as beautiful and flawless as one seen in a magazine? One magazine in particular has the most fantastic favors, bouquets and hors d’oeuvres and the pages are filled with pictures so natural looking, so simple you are sure any fool could do the same thing with very little effort. Unfortunately, all the wonderful favors, bouquets and hors d’oeuvres can be very expensive to purchase and extremely time consuming, complicated and costly to make.
Recently, there was a great photo spread of a beautifully decorated wedding and reception along with a “how-to” article on dressing up the chairs. Large bows had been placed on the back of chairs, adding to the elegant look of the wedding. The “how-to” part of the article however, was unclear to say the least and the yardage needed for the bows was left out completely. After doing a quite a bit of research, it turned out the ribbon used to make the bows was an expensive French silk that had to be special ordered because of the extreme width. The ribbon in question sold in ten-yard bolts and retailed for $76. Each chair bow required five to six yards bringing the cost per chair for just the bow to $38. According to statistics the average number of guests attending a wedding is 178; the cost of bows based on that number would be $6,764.
Of course, you can use substitutes but you have to be careful. If you go too cheap or sway very far from the size and style of the design, the look is lost. Your attempt at an elegant look will end up cheap, an obvious failed attempt to create a look you can not afford.
Several party and event supply sites on the internet specialize in extra wide ribbon and wedding décor fabrics. One site features a beautiful selection of satin and shimmering organza in finished sized bows and table toppers. A package of five organza bows sells for $4.95. The same fabric is also available in forty-yard bolts. It is worth the time to do a few internet searches before buying at a local craft or fabric store.
Remember that the pictures seen in bridal magazines are staged. The pictures found in magazines are not necessarily practical. They do not have to be functional or safe because there is no actual wedding. However, you can often achieve the same mood or look you see in magazines if you are willing to think outside of the box and keep at least one foot planted in reality.
Once a bride requested that her cake and buffet tables, aisles and pathways be decorated in the same fashion shown in a wedding magazine. The bottom of the cake and buffet tables were outlined with votive candles, as were the walkways. The photograph, taken at twilight gave the setting a very beautiful and romantic look. It was simply dazzling.
Unfortunately, there was one small drawback; it was not safe or practical. It was in fact a fire hazard. Anyone who got too close or table linens moved by a breeze could catch on fire. We compromised, creating small florets of light by using mini electrical cluster lights. Each cluster was secured to gutter nails with electrical ties and the nails were pushed into the ground to keep the lights in place. The clusters where then covered with small glass floral bowls to prevent them from being stepped on. The effect was lovely and we achieved the same romantic feeling without creating a fire hazard.
You can achieve just about anything if you keep an open mind. Being flexible and looking outside of the box are your biggest assets when it comes to getting what you want. Magazines and television shows are great resources as long as you keep in mind the image you see is not always possible to achieve exactly but you can usually get the same feel and look if you are flexible. When you are ridged and unwilling to see or listen to other ideas, to look outside the box, you limit the possibilities available. So, stay open, stay healthy and smile, you are getting married!
Mary Spies has written numerous articles on wedding planning, drawing on her 30 years as a wedding professional. writes a weekly blog, What Every Bride Should Know When Planning a Wedding and is producing a series of wedding planning DVD’s. Mary has recently completed her first book on wedding planning.