Wedding Planning Winter Workshops: Event planning and dressing the venue

The second workshop in the 2010 winter series was, if that’s even possible, better than the first!

I adore watching what happens when you get a bunch of passionate professionals in the same room, working together to help couples create the day they’re dreaming of! You really had to be there. But, because I know you can’t be everywhere at once, here are a few soundbites from this week’s expert panel:

Debbie Cooper, Sun City Cakes; on “finding your theme”

A theme doesn’t mean ‘mediaeval’ or ’70’s Disco’. But your wedding will have something that is the key component around which the rest of the event will be built. That may be the time of day you are able to hire the veune you’re set on – if you can only be there at 10am, then your theme will build around a morning wedding. If you choose a historic house or a castle as your venue, then your theme might build around a fairytale [or steam punk] wedding.
The key can be anything – at a recent wedding, the bride wanted her sister as matron of honour. The sister lived in another country, and was 22 weeks pregnant. So, the bride asked her sister to go shopping for a dress to wear to the wedding, and tell her what she’d brought. The dress her sister found was purple. And so, the colour theme for the wedding was… yep, purple.
Sometimes the theme will be dictated by your own choices, sometimes by constraints put on you by the venue, time of year, your budget – whatever. But once you become aware of those key things that you can’t [or won’t] change – those are the things that shape your theme, and if you build your celebration on those things, your event will come together beautifully.

Sue and Leah, Got It Covered; on “delegating the setup”

Often, brides will see a setup in a bridal magazine, and want to replicate it. You have to remember that most of the time, those are artificial set-ups – with no indication of how much time or money went into creating that look. They are perfectly lit, and often totally impractical for actual use! For example, you’ll almost always see a full set of plates set on the tables, which look good, but in reality, plates aren’t even part of the table setting – they’re part of the food service. So copying those table set ups just won’t work, no matter how beautiful they are.
It can be hard to find the balance between having too many different components, which will look messy and cluttered, or too few, which can look bare and stark, but it’s often not until you see it all set out that you can make that call. On the morning of your event is far too late to be changing your mind! It’s a good idea to go somewhere like ‘Got It Covered’ and try out lots of variations of your setup until you’re satisfied that you’ve got it right.

Sarah Lilla, Willow Floral Design; “on flowers for the venue”

Don’t be scared to ask your florist for advice – they will know what is in season around your wedding date, and may be able to suggest a look-alike to substitute for an expensive or out of season bloom.
Give them plenty to work with – a photo of your gown, a sample of the fabric colours, and so on, so that they can create an arrangement that really complements your style.
Different kinds of bouquets and posies are designed to be carried in different ways. Practice with your bouquet, in front of a mirror, so that you know exactly how to carry your bouquet for greatest effect. And get your bridal party to practice too – it looks better in the photos if they’re all holding their flowers at the same height and angle!
Your guests will spend most of their time sitting at their tables, so give careful thought to the decoration.  Any flowers on the tables should either be very low, or very tall in thin vases, so that your guests can see and hear each other across the table.  If you’re on a limited budget, it doesn’t really make sense to have your wedding florist making up table decorations – that’s a bit like paying an artist to paint your hallway!  That’s a task that can be delegated to a willing Auntie or friend.

Felicity, Flossie Balloons; on “uncommon spaces”

Balloons are a really effective way to add impact to a room. Because they are light and relatively inexpensive, you can create dramatic effects that draw the eye away from any less desirable aspects of your venue, filling in bare ceiling space or dim corners, or defining entrances and focal points in the room. Balloon sculptures can be made in almost any colour, to complement the flowers and other decor you’ve chosen. They can be fun and frivolous, or formal, with sweeping arches, and towers.

Note from Ang: “Flossie the Balloon Lady” is also a great choice for children’s entertainment that doesn’t wind the kids up and have them running around screaming boodeley-boodeley-boodeley until they throw up. You’d be amazed at what passes as children’s entertainment in SOME circles. But as I say, Flossie doesn’t do THAT!

Matthew Kenyon, Flaming Hot Catering also served up some absolutely stunning nibbles which included the cutest miniature cheeseburgers I’ve ever seen, and bite sized blueberry cheesecake to die for! So many different options, that I don’t think I managed to try them all [though I promise, I did try!]

I keep hearing such great reports about Flaming Hot Catering, and based on the samples Matthew served up, I can completely understand why!

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