Saturday, September 29, 2012

Theme vs. Design Scheme

Despite what your 3rd Grade english teacher may have told you, "Theme" is a four letter word.

I can't tell you how many times I hear a bride and groom talk down their own fabulous ideas for their wedding celebration because they are worried that it is too "themey".  In general, I agree.  Themes are great for kid's birthday parties, hell, even adult birthday parties, but you'll never catch me endorsing a "My Little Pony" or "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle" themed wedding.  Well, at least not yet.

Let's make a critical differentiation, shall we?  Yep, a theme can be tacky, trendy, and otherwise distracting from the celebration of two people committing to spend the rest of their lives together.  But a Design Scheme...hints of personality running throughout your event, sharing with your guests your story, your favorite things, what makes you love each other so, actually adds to any wedding.

Now, onto Carrie and Nick.

When I met with Carrie and Nick, they were excited to be getting married, but the planning process had fallen a bit flat.  Within a few minutes, I heard about Nick's proposal at the State Fair, and how he'd like to integrate a Griffin (his family name, and a really cool-looking mythical creature found in many heraldic crests) into the stationery somehow.  They wanted to keep a classic look to the wedding in all elements, but also wanted their guests to cut loose and have a good time.  For favours, they absolutely required Sweet Martha's cookies...their very favorite tradition at the Fair (I'd like to meet someone who hasn't walked around with one of those buckets of cookies at least once). 

So, how do you incorporate the fun, casual, even somewhat bumpkin (yes, people, there is a Swine Barn) aspects of The Great Minnesota Get Together, with an elegant formal country club wedding?

Easy.  As they were talking, I could see them working it through.  While the Griffin that Nick pulled up on his smart phone is one ugly creature (Sorry Nick), the Heraldic Crest for the Griffin Family that he pulled up a few minutes later was beautiful.  But more importantly, it reminded us of a vintage carnival know, the kind of thing you'd see painted on the side of the traveling circus trains.  We just incorporate the crest with a circus stripe background pattern, keep everything in their beautiful color scheme of pale blue and slate grey, and run with it. 
And run with it, they did!!  By the time they left, we had decided to name the guest tables (rather than number them) after different rides at the fair.  Carrie had a photo of place cards shaped like tickets that entitled each guest to a seat "on the tilt-a-whirl", "tunnel of love" etc.  She loved the concept, but the cards were solid bright colors and far too informal for their venue.  We can fix that!
And the biggest hold out of all, was that Nick wanted to do an old-fashioned ring-toss instead of letting the guests simply clink their fork against their glasses to get the bride and groom to kiss.  Sounds like he had a lot of Coke to drink in the coming months to put this all together!

For the cake, we kept it classic.  Don't forget, we're dealing with a formal event in a beautiful venue.  We copied the bride's lace pattern from her dress, and incorporated details from her jewelry and the Griffin Crest.  Topped it with an enormous Gum Paste Dahlia and called it done (until a few weeks later, when they emailed to tell me that their Doberman Pinscher, Capone really wanted to be on the cake, so I sculpted him out of chocolate paste, and gave him the best seat in the house).  By the way...we miss seeing you around the shop Cappy, come by for a visit, sweet boy!

We got our hands on Sweet Martha's Cookie Dough, and baked up the little sweeties the day before the wedding.  Coupled with little pints of milk, tied with the most adorable paper straws that Carrie found, we put them out for guests to take home at the end of the night. 

Here's the best part.  What Nick and Carrie did, was to take the often daunting, stressful job of planning a wedding, and embraced it.  Each idea led to the next, and their wedding was filled with all of the things they love.  It was natural, relaxed, beautiful and fun...just like them.

Many thanks to Fine Exposures Photography for these lovely photos. And to Ambiente Wedding Coordinating and Minikahda club for taking the reigns on the wedding day and letting the Bride and Groom just enjoy themselves.  Got to love the floral, as well, so hat's off to Zinnia Designs Floral.

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