Archive for November, 2011

A Vintage Shabby Chic Wedding (Cottage Style Inspired Wedding)

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

Following the previous wedding post, here’s a similar wedding style for you.

In western countries, the shabby chic style is gaining popularity at outdoor wedding scenes. This wedding style is best suited for the outdoor, under natural sunlight.

Rachel (bride), likes cottage style and wooden decorative items with a touch of vintage. As her wedding stylist, I think shabby chic theme sans those romantic Victorian elements would be suitable. I removed the romantic Victorian influence because those would be too girly frilly for Rachel. Rachel is naturally pretty; her wedding should be the same way.

Now, the challenging part: the wedding venue was the ballroom of Rasa Sayang, Penang. We know ballroom lighting cast a yellow hue onto objects. Can we work this theme like how they are usually done at the outdoor? Let’s take a look. :)

Here are some of the items made/ purchased for Rachel and Kah Wei’s wedding. These pictures (pictures #1-#7) were taken under natural lighting. The main elements used for this wedding were twine strings, distressed objects, and white baskets. Twine strings were used instead of ribbons to give the decorations a rustic country-style look.

Picture #1

Picture #2

The shades of grey and pink (picture #3). The grey fabric below the candle and the card is the table runner used on the Table-of-Honour.

Picture #3

These cards/ tags (picture #4) were distressed to give them an aged look. These thick papers were selected because 1) the pink was “right” 2) they had some faint writing pattern that fitted the theme.

Picture #4

Twine strings of lighter shades were used (picture #5) instead of ribbons to decorate the card.

Picture #5

Picture #6

Picture #7

And here’s how the theme looked in the ballroom:

Picture #8

Picture #9

Credit: The stage (both design and setup) was done by Phillip, a friend of Rachel and Kah Wei.

Notice the grey table runner (picture #3) shown in the earlier part? It’s underneath the plate (picture #10), that’s how it looked under the yellow ballroom lighting. Choosing the right shades of grey always give the wedding a subtle and delicate soft touch.

Picture #10

Picture #11

Picture #12

I am not a fan of gigantic decorative bird cages. For this theme, I used small ones as highlight pieces.

Picture #13

Voila! So that was the completed setup. And then…

Twenty minutes before the dinner starts, I did a final check. I noticed the candle on the left most position was burning “abnormally”. Notice that the flame was “flat” or stuck in that horizontal position most of the time (picture #14)? That caused the wax at the front part to melt in an accelerated rate. Occasionally it burned in the “proper upright” position (like in picture #16), but most of the time, it was burning with this “horizontal flat flame”. It could be due to the air from the air- conditioner outlet at the ceiling, we did felt that the air flow is stronger at that position.

Picture #14

The air-conditioning is centralized, so turning off the air-con was not an option. It’s a shabby chic theme, so even with the wax flowing, it looked somewhat “fitting to the theme”. The issue was this: the candle on the right position was burning normally and didn’t have a slanted flame that melts the wax like the one on the left. No leaking-wax issue for the one on the most right position. If we place a new candle at where the wax- leaking one was, the same thing would happen. So I decided to remove the candle on the most left and did some re-arrangement:

Voila! Solved. Wedding decoration item has to look pretty, if it no longer does that, it is best to remove it.

Picture #15

At the guest registration area:

Picture #16

Picture #17

There you have it. Rachel and Kah Wei, it was an enjoyable experience working with both of you. :)


Below are some after-thoughts and tips sharing (in general, not directed at any specific weddings unless mentioned otherwise).

These are my personal opinion, I understand that other individuals might apply different creative process and methods in the design phase. Also, aesthetic and style are subjective matters. I am merely sharing my thoughts. It’s ok if anyone disagrees.

For this theme, this shade of pink (picture #18) was chosen. And the color pink was used in moderation (only on the decorative tag /cards, a little bit on the candles and on approximately 30 % of the flowers).

Picture #18

If you are not into the overly romantic girly frilly type of wedding, I would suggest confining the use of feminine colors like pink to only certain areas/ items of the decoration. Each wedding theme has its own character. Use the right shade of color, in the right amount and at the right place for your wedding.

It’s always good to start with a concept, or a specific style. After defining a concept for my client, I help them to decide on a color (or a few colors) to use for the concept.

Sometimes we might hear recommendations of good intention from others. For example, you have decided to use pale pink for your wedding, and you received suggestions from others to add some hot pink so that you have some “good contrast” to the look. Or some might suggest that you add certain cute or elegant items as part of wedding decoration. Situation like this call for us to evaluate if those suggested items/ colors are suitable for the theme you want.

When explaining this theme concept to Bryan (the florist who provided those lovely flowers), I specified the shades of pink for the flowers, the percentage of pink flowers to use and what other colors (of flowers) to go with the pink flowers. And I told Bryan, the flowers have to be arranged onto those white baskets that I brought to him- glass vases won’t work as well for this theme. Bryan arranged the flowers according to the theme and gave me the loveliest shade of pink roses. He is an experienced florist, as long as you can convey your concept to him; you can trust him to do wonders with flowers.

And on these white baskets: (picture #19).

Picture #19

It took me a long time (after visiting countless number of shops) to find 5 baskets that are of desirable material, shade and sizes. Baskets are everywhere, we all know that. But white ones like these are pretty hard to find lately. Some good hearted soul suggested that I can use brown baskets (which can be found everywhere). Thanks, but NO. What’s the problem with brown? Do take a look at the picture below (picture #20): you can see that the ballroom has quite a bit of brown/ yellow tone going on (the pillars, on the 4 walls plus the lighting). To let the table-of-honor stand out and to make things “less yellow/ brown than it already is, we should use cream or white baskets, not brown ones. For this same reason, I did not use brown wooden objects as decorative items, and used light colored twine strings instead for the rustic look.

Picture #20

You can replace the white baskets with brown ones by imagination, and see if you understand what I mean. For outdoor wedding, brown baskets are good; they will look pretty with the flowers.

So, if you are working on your wedding decoration, start with a concept/ theme. And then decide on the items and colors. It’s nice to receive ideas and suggestions from friends and family, or even your florist, just remember that some ideas might be helpful, whereas some might change or alter your theme. May we have the discipline and judgment to decide what to keep and what to keep out. :)

That’s all for this post. Outdoor shabby chic theme wedding, anyone? :)