OUR WEDDING PHOTOS (SERIES 4/9): DECORATIONS, DESIGN & STATIONARY
Can you believe we’re just two weeks away from our 1-year wedding anniversary already! Holy cow! Not even finished posting our wedding photos and our anniversary is sneaking up on us… haha!
So this post is all about the decorations, design, and stationary for our wedding. Our design theme was all about transparency (to reflect how transparent we are about our relationship to family and friends, and how we wanted to confirm our love on our wedding day to them) and texture. Our colours were ivory, champagne, and chartreuse (which is a pompous way of saying light green-ish).
One of the craziest, harrowing, and most awesome aspects of planning and executing our wedding was transporting all the insanity all the way to Tofino in a giant, giant truck across Vancouver, then on a ferry and through a treacherous winding road across Vancouver Island. Why did we need a giant truck you ask? Well, to transport our huge-ass wedding arch, 105 chairs, 3 leather benches, 3 cocktail tables, glassware/place settings, and all of our custom/homemade decorations. Oh, and some trees.
Once I had my heart on a transparent theme, I quickly realized that a) there were absolutely no transparent decor options available on Vancouver Island and b) there actually wasn’t much in Vancouver at all. Fortunately, we managed to source a large number of clear acrylic ghost chairs from just outside Vancouver and were able to transport them to Tofino. We re-used our chairs at our ceremony and reception, so there was the added fun of crazily transporting them all quickly in half an hour (thanks amazing Groomsmen and Mat for that miracle!). All-in-all, the chairs were one of my favourite things about the wedding and I personally felt they really added a lot to the decor without taking anything away from it. Plus they looked pretty cool against the deep blue sky and deep blue Pacific Ocean!
The other part of the craziness was transporting and assembling our giant transparent acrylic wedding arch for the ceremony and reception. The wedding arch was a collaboration between my design, my dad and Allan’s handiwork, and a Surrey plastics company who sourced the right sized and thickness pieces of acrylic for us. The arch was a huge 8 feet high by 10 feet wide and consisted of two base pillars, a large trough across that could hold flowers, and bases that were filled with water to keep them grounded in case of high winds (luckily, we didn’t have any!). The best thing about doing it all custom made and yourself is that no one else will have our wedding arch and chandeliers in their wedding and when I look at the photos it feels really great that it was a unique expression of us!
In addition to the flowers on the arch, I also spent many hours measuring fishing wire and tying thousands of glass balls to a multi-tiered chandelier.
It’s funny, the end result actually doesn’t look like much, but the chandeliers (we built 3 multi-tiered ones total) were a labour of love… all the way from importing a custom order of a thousand glass balls from China… sending my money halfway across the world without actually knowing if it was a scam, eventually receiving after many months the shipment of the balls, then dealing with customs and warehouse fees, driving out to the warehouse, packing Allan’s tiny ’97 VW Golf with 10 giant boxes of glass balls… and storing them in our small apartment for months. Was it worth it? LOL. I’m still not sure.
We spent many late nights hanging the balls on the chandeliers at specific intervals and specific heights (to get that cascading effect) and yep, there were many casualties. It was also tricky to get the ribbons perfectly weighted with the two levels of acrylic rings so it didn’t slant over unevenly. Not to mention packing and unpacking the chandeliers (we had to pack each glass ball individually) for transport was… uhh… tricky. Lastly, the balls were filled with beautiful fresh orchids from our florist.
All that being said, when I finally stepped out onto the patio overlooking the ocean staring into Allan’s eyes when I walked down the aisle… it was a beautiful sight to see it all come together. While we said our vows, the glass lightly clinked together almost like wind chimes (a happy unexpected effect!) as the breeze ruffled through them, and strangely enough, it’s one of the sounds that is most lucid and memorable to me from that day.
One of the other aspects of our wedding that we really wanted to have was to make our guests feel special and unique. Aside from putting lots of thought into our invitations and thank you cards (see end of post), we created custom wedding programs for each guest.
Each program had the guest’s name, what table they were going to be seated at, some details for the day, and a section that listed our favourite memory of all time with that guest. As with all of our logos/branding/stationary, I custom designed these myself in Illustrator. It took several hours to write the memories and list out all the guest names, but it was important to me that our guests remembered as we were walking down the aisle that although they were there for us, we were there for them just as much and really valued their presence and effort to come all the way out to Tofino for us.
Here’s another shot of the flowers for our ceremony. We built custom acrylic pillars for the flowers. Beautiful flowers from Crab Apple Floral…. see my previous post on flowers!
We also brought in two large trees from Vancouver for the reception. We set them up in the room and hung a glass ball chandelier off each of them. The chandeliers for the reception were filled with hundreds of ivory silk flowers that myself and my cousin/bridesmaid Loi spent many hours sewing by hand.
Unfortunately the candles didn’t really work out, we found that once we lit them over time the heat of the ball touching the other fishing wires would melt them and cause them to fall. Yikes! Haha. So we didn’t end up lighting any candles in them, but the flowers still looked quite nice.
We also showed a collection of family photos near the “guestbook” signing area just outside the reception room. We also used old frames that were around my parents’ house growing up to house the photos.
In hindsight I wish we had collected more! I really loved having them on display.
We also filled the reception room with hundreds of candles. Candles are such a fantastic inexpensive way to make a room look romantic, and they were definitely worth the fire hazard!
Our reception was a mix of long tables for big groups of friends, plus round tables for family and friends. We also had our long head table facing the dance floor and the room. We used two different linens for the room, this one was an ivory linen called “Confetti”. Each table in the reception hall varied between high and low centerpieces and flowers, and we re-used the ghost chairs.
This was our table of “welcome drinks” for the reception. We brought in a small rosemary herb plant to add some fragrance to the hallway as well as it be something we could have and use after the wedding. See this blog post for more info on our food and drinks for the wedding.
Here’s a shot of the head table with the bridesmaids’ bouquets alongside the places settings.
Things sounds crazy, but I really wanted nice linens. The room was pretty bare and since we weren’t allowed to hang things on the ceilings or the walls, I figured linens were the only way to really bring any texture or elegance to the room. Both Allan and my family thought I was actually insane for express flying up linens from California and then having them transported across the border by our amazing DJ Austin Beaver (thanks Austin sooooo much!) but yep, I did. This linen is a beautiful unique antique ivory silk linen called “Monique” from La Tavola Linens in Beverly Hills. Vancouver doesn’t actually have that much selection for linens (and you kind of see the same ones over and over again in local weddings), and I fell in love with their linens. The “Monique” linen is actually inspired by Monique Lhuillier dresses, so it felt sort of fitting and I just looooooved the texture. La Tavola has one of the best linens selections of pretty much anywhere in the world, so I definitely recommend taking a look if you want something different. Yes, it was a totally OCD move.
Here’s a better shot of how the linens look underneath our transparent theme. We used gold beaded glass chargers, gold flatware, rimmed glasses, and ivory napkins. We also custom designed and printed our menu on thin acrylic pieces. We also used the glass balls at each placesetting with a round name card cutout as placecards.
We wanted some fun pieces to add to the room as well as be functional, so we custom design and constructed acrylic cocktail tables that we also used as our podium. We had two of these around the dance floor and one for the podium. Each had a fitted lid so you could put stuff inside it, and we filled it with orchids, greenery, and west coast driftwood. Also in the corner of the photo you’ll see the custom acrylic candlelabras! These were laser cut by an artist in the states, and we used them to hold flowers and candles on all the guest tables.
Another fun piece was the custom wedding logo gobo that I designed and ordered from the States for the light projection on the dance floor. We had to rent the stand and light for the projection, but it actually turned out really well and was quite bright! For those of you thinking about wedding gobos, I recommend ordering your own gobo glass with your custom design, and then renting the light. A lot of the wedding gobo lights are really dim that come packaged, so it’s nice to get a professional light from your local A/V shop. It ends up being cheaper, too!
Here’s a shot of the room with some of the decorations… the wedding arch (from the ceremony), the trees, the chandeliers, the high tiered display boxes with flowers for the parents’ table (featured in the Flowers post), the warm uplighting (thanks Austin!), and the flowers and candles.
We also got custom engraved table numbers on acrylic from another artist which we placed on each table.
Here’s a shot of how we did signage at the wedding for notes to guests — our wedding logo plus our fonts in a gold frame.
Here’s a quick reminder of the DIY wooden wedding invitations we did, printed on thin birch wood with a wedding directions map (that we designed and illustrated ourselves!).
We wanted to keep the same theme for our “thank you” cards, using the same golden seal with our wedding logo, keeping the same fonts and theme etc. For our wedding registry we actually did a “honeyfund” which is a honeymoon gift registry. One of the big reasons people usually think this is a bad idea, is because you give money to the bride and groom and then you just assume it goes into their pockets. What we did was have guests purchase specific items for our honeymoon, such as “A dinner out in Barcelona” or “Surf rentals in Portugal” or “champagne on your first night” as we did a month-long honeymoon cruise trip around Northern Europe and the Mediterranean. To make sure that guests knew we used their gifts for their intended honeymoon purchase, we took photos all throughout our trip and sent custom cards to each guest with photos of their purchase on it.
Here’s a shot of some of the final custom “thank you” cards. We used Moo.com to create individual thank you cards for our 100+ guests, and I also got a bunch of our official wedding photos printed up on little mini cards. So, each guest received photos of their specific gift to us, as well as relevant cards of them at our wedding plus a photo of Allan and I. We really enjoyed putting these together and it made us super grateful that each of our guests were so generous and were able to gift us with such a lovely honeymoon!
All our decorations, design and stationary took quite a bit of time, but it was also the most fun part of our wedding (at least for me!) was planning and being crafty/DIY with all of it. Not only did it save us a lot of money, but it ended up looking a lot more unique and was super FUN! Here’s a before-shot of our wedding reception venue. A big empty hall!
And here’s the after shot. There’s a lot of time and effort that went into this from all our family, friends, and vendors… so THANK YOU to everyone for all your help and love and look what you were able to help us pull off!
All photos copyright by our amazing Vancouver wedding photographers JONETSU Studios unless otherwise specified.
Tags: acrylic, arch, ceremony, chairs, clear, cocktail tables, decor, decorations, design, flowers, ghost, gobo, guests, hall, light, linens, place settings, podium, projection, reception, stationary, Tofino, Ucluelet, vases, wedding