Let your imagination soar, and then plan the mystical, magical wedding of your dreams. Make it special, and make it yours. Just for fun, give it a destination theme, such as Paris, France. Carry out your plan with festive and romantic designs.
The centerpiece of the reception, the wedding cake, can be in Eiffel Tower style, trimmed with roses and surrounded by ribbons. Magnifique!
Romantic ribbons used in artistic ways carry out the overall Parisian theme, while strategically placed floral arrangements add an elegant aura to the reception. In the purple-lavender-mauve scheme, wide satin ribbons create a colorful backdrop for the food tables.
Ribbons draped or attached over curtain rods cascade into various treatments for a sophisticated and showy statement. For some windows, simply gather up the wide ribbons and let their long tails gently swag at midwindow range. For alternate windows, gather tulle or other fabric, and let the ribbons fall from the center.
In a window behind a floral centerpiece or the cake table, let background ribbons highlight the scene. Hang streamers in the shades of your chosen color scheme, and cut them in varying lengths, longer to shorter and back to longer, depending on the height of the centerpiece. For a finishing touch, cut inverted V shapes in the ribbon tails.
Give your centerpieces a continental flair. Insert summer charmers such as pastel roses and intricate hydrangeas into florist's foam in tall, wide-mouth urns of various heights. Attach the unexpected, such as fresh pears, to the arrangements. At other spots around the reception area, display bunches of hydrangeas in tall garden buckets. In shorter containers, arrange the flowers in the center with pears around the edges.
In a window behind a floral centerpiece or the cake table, let background ribbons highlight the scene. Hang streamers in the shades of your chosen color scheme, and cut them in varying lengths, longer to shorter and back to longer, depending on the height of the centerpiece. For a finishing touch, cut inverted V shapes in the ribbon tails. Give your centerpieces a continental flair. Insert summer charmers such as pastel roses and intricate hydrangeas into florist's foam in tall, wide-mouth urns of various heights. Attach the unexpected, such as fresh pears, to the arrangements. At other spots around the reception area, display bunches of hydrangeas in tall garden buckets. In shorter containers, arrange the flowers in the center with pears around the edges.
When it comes to food for your reception, it really is possible for it to be elegant and economical at the same time. And with the French theme, it's quite plausible to pretend to be in Paris, even for a short while. Although you can't transport your guests to a party at the base of the Eiffel Tower or at the Louvre, you can cast the charm of the city's spell at your reception.
Easy-to-eat finger foods will lend a casual, comfortable feeling to one of the most wonderful days of your life; gathering family and friends is the special part. With a buffet meal, you and your guests will be able to mingle and converse more easily than at a sit-down dinner.
The menu doesn't have to break the budget or keep you locked away in the kitchen for hours. To carry out your Parisian theme, put out baskets of baguettes from your favorite bakery, oodles of olives, and homemade Smoked Salmon Pâté to spread on toasted baguette slices. On purchased mini-croissants (perhaps from a food club in your area), serve deli chicken salad to which you have added fresh tarragon.
For mini-hors d'oeuvres, serve Palmiers (puff pastry pinwheels filled with chopped olives), Marinated Feta Cheese and Olives, and miniquiches purchased from a food club and topped with sour cream. Wherever possible, tie a ribbon bow onto serving pieces.
Say fromage! You'll want to have a variety of French cheeses and champagnes at a Parisian wedding reception, and the choices are many. There are more than 400 local cheese varieties, and the same is true of France's famous export, wine. Myriad choices from 10 wine-producing regions include those from such areas as Bordeaux, Burgundy, Rhone, and Champagne, which have become popular worldwide.
If you can't visit a fromagerie, or French cheese shop, go to a local cheese store or a deli or supermarket specializing in cheese. There you can see beautiful wheels of cheese and get some expert advice. Choose a variety of cheese types and flavors. Order cheeses from a Web site.
There's an art to preparing cheeses for serving. The flavor of French cheese isn't always uniform, and it gets stronger the closer it is to the rind. No matter the shape -- small round or square, cylindrical, or cone-shape -- cut the slices or chunks to include a bit of rind. Label the choices with signs. Your guests will have fun exploring the subtleties of the cheeses.
Select a variety of champagnes for toasting your special day. Include a mix of brut (dry), extra dry (medium dry), sec (slightly sweet), demi-sec (fairly sweet), and doux (sweet) selections for your guests. Also offer bottled water and a nonalcoholic punch.
Elegant table settings provide the perfect addition to wedding parties. Simple touches can become simply elegant with a twist of ribbon here and a gathering of tulle there. These embellishments can be used at the wedding reception but work just as well for other parties celebrating your special day: an engagement party, shower, rehearsal dinner, or bridesmaids luncheon.
The colorful rosette, turns a fresh pear into an anchor for a place card or a tag that extols the virtues of love. To create it, use 3-inch-wide double-faced satin ribbon. Gather an 18-inch length of the ribbon along one long edge using a needle and thread; pull to form the rosette. Let the ribbon tail fall to the desired length from the center of the plate.
Select pears with long stems. Using calligraphy or selected computer fonts, create name tags or cards bearing romantic words. Attach a card to the stem of each pear. For another festive look, above right, gather a circle of tulle around a fresh pear and tie with two shades of satin ribbon. Center the fruit on a plate. Fashion more ribbon across one corner or edge of the plate to repeat the color.
To carry out the French theme, trim each plate with a paper Eiffel Tower favor, below left. Make a statement with ribbon for a delightful touch. Use 3-inch-wide double-faced satin ribbon. For contrast, add 1/2-inch seam binding in a deeper hue. Fold four loops to fill the width of the plate, allowing wide tails from top and bottom loops to hang over the edge of the plate. Snip a V shape in each ribbon end to give the ribbons a finished look.
If you are using a particularly beautiful china pattern, show it off for your party. Use a clear-glass plate on top to let the color and pattern detail show through. A simple ribbon treatment adds a bit of beauty to the table. Cut a length of 2-inch-wide satin ribbon 4 inches longer than the plate. Knot the ribbon near each end and snip the tails into a V shape. Place the ribbon between the china and the clear plate. For trim, tie a sprig of dried lavender with a twist of seam binding.
Dresses for flower girls don't always have to match. Here we've mixed light and dark lavender and given them matching silk purses. Headbands and hairspray will help keep hair neat throughout the ceremony.
Simple fabric purses can be sewn in nearly any shape or size. We've decorated this one with a row of braided trim around the top. Ribbon loops act as handles as well as a tassel hanging from the bottom point.