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Magic details distinguish a designer’s wedding

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It all started when I took a job that would move me to Chicago. I was about to embark on a new adventure with a new position. I did not know that this would lead me to a new romance, foreign lands I never traveled to before and into a life filled with challenges, laughter, love and, yes, more wallpaper.

I was nicknamed the Queen of Wallpaper by my peers. By now you have probably guessed I am a designer, a designer of wallpaper and fabrics.

Planning a wedding is all about details. I wanted to create surroundings that would make our wedding distinctly ours and rich with references that we and family and friends would recall with fondness for the rest of our lives. Who knew that my passion for wallpaper would become a focal point in planning my own wedding?

Pattern became my magic ingredient. Probably because of my English heritage, I selected a beautiful rose floral wallpaper and matching fabric I designed to be the central theme. It became very important to me to include color and pattern on my dress. I had the rose pattern custom-replicated in beading on my waistband and train to make it truly unique.

With the rose pattern as a central focus, here are some of the unique decorative elements I tied together around this theme:

• The invitations were custom designed with the rose floral, mixed with vellum and satin ribbons, tucked beautifully inside sage translucent envelopes that allowed the pattern to show through.

• Upon arrival, guests were greeted with custom tote bags, made of the rose fabric and lined with a lattice fabric. A string of beads embellished each bag, and all of them contained a sample of local goodies along with literature about features of interest in our county.

• A vase of barely opening fresh roses was also set in each guest room along with our note thanking friends for coming to help us celebrate.

• For children, there was a special candy bag made of clear cellophane lined with wallpaper that coordinated with the rose. We mixed shredded wallpaper in with the candies.

• For an evening dinner cruise the night before the wedding, we banded straw bowler hats with the companion rose wallpaper border. It set just the right tone for an evening of fun and dancing to a local Dixieland band.

• Rice is outdated, and bubbles are messy. As our guests left the church, each was given a cone, made of the now-familiar coordinating mini rose wallpaper with a sheer ribbon bow, filled with pink and white rose petals, which they showered on us with joyful abandon.

• For the reception, a once-ordinary white tent was transformed into a profusion of pattern and color. Abundant swags of a lattice design fabric, the same one that lined the custom tote bags, covered and disguised each tent pole. Long folds of the floral rose fabric stretched overhead, from the edges of the tent into the center. The edge itself was surrounded in the coordinating rose wallpaper border. These finishing details created a beautifully decorated environment to rival any hotel ballroom.

• To create a distinctive twist for showing guests where they’d be seated, we covered an ordinary room screen with a coordinating subtle damask wallpaper pattern. Sheer sage ribbon was stretched horizontally across the screen which held the custom rose place cards. To the surprise and delight of many guests, we attached informal snapshots interspersed with the name cards. These snapshots turned out to be great conversation starters.

• A custom scrapbook was created from scraps of all the wallpapers and ribbons we used throughout. It doubled as a guest book — a great keepsake of memories and good times shared.

• The tables themselves were layered in custom rose fabric tablecloths topped with a coordinating wide-checked fabric. Two lengths of the die-cut rose border ran back to back along the center of the table. At each place setting was a small, wallpaper-wrapped package containing a CD of our favorite songs. Naturally, the original CD cover was replaced with a square of the rose floral, printed with our names and the date. We re-used the tablecloths the following day on the deck of our country house where everyone gathered for a long, leisurely brunch.

Later, we gave the tablecloths to bridesmaids, ushers and other special guests — another thank you to them and a remembrance of the occasion we all shared. It was our way of lavishing them with the same good wishes

A wedding is the world’s most joyous celebration of romance. It is, at the same time, public and intimate. Therefore, all the decorative objects that surround such an occasion should reflect both the bride’s and groom’s own taste and style.

Jaima Brown is director of design for S.A. Maxwell Co. and is the designer of a line of wallpaper called Jaima Brown Home.

— Courtesy of ARA Content

Posted 7:02 pm, October 10, 2011
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