PHOTOGRAPHS BY BARRETT DORAN
1) Midnight in the Garden
This season, dark floral patterns are in bloom. The dramatic motif is in vogue for clothing and home décor and is now a growing trend for fashion-forward weddings. "It's a sassier, edgier version of classic florals," says Ashley Lloyd of Attention 2 Detail Events. "It creates a moody environment with a romantic, sophisticated vibe." Inspired by a swatch of blooming ebony wallpaper, Lloyd set the stage for a nighttime soiree fit for a stylish, sophisticated couple using woodsy décor and rich wine and forest hues. Glimmering dishware, rose-gold flatware, and scattered candles impart a warm glow.
The setting comes alive with florist Kelli Dabling's overgrown arrangements of Café au Lait dahlias, chocolate lace, Blushing Bride protea, Pink Piano garden roses, Red Antique hydrangeas, amanranthus, agonis foliage, scabiosa, Italian ruscus, smoke bush, and nine bark. Llyod employed her own green thumb to craft moss-covered table numbers displayed in glass cloches. For a final organic flourish, she and Dabling draped seeded eucalyptus garlands on the crossbacks of the bride and groom's rustic Sonoma chairs.
This refined tablescape will wow your guests any time of year, but Lloyd says the aesthetic is a perfect match for fall and winter weddings. "The dark floral trend is a great way to transition into colder seasons and welcome a dose of the outdoors in," she explains. Stationer Nikkol Christiansen agrees; a lover of overcast days, she envisioned an event in a cozy, dimly lit bungalow when designing these paper goods. The result? An inky floral invitation suite and matching dinner menus reminiscent of vintage fabrics.
Eat, Drink & Be Married
Lloyd mixed up Blueberry Peach Mojitos for a fruity signature sip. Made with spiced rum, the cocktails are yummy sidekicks to slices of Sprinkle & Dash's "naked" browned butter spice cake layered with tangy orange-tinged cream cheese frosting and topped with fresh figs and berries. "Naked cakes have caught on like wildfire—they're very popular right now," says Sprinkle & Dash owner Amanda Anderson. She says the fuss-free confections are right in line with the current shift toward minimal wedding styles. "Couples are moving away from fondant and sugar work; cakes are trending in a more natural, simpler direction."
Blueberry Peach Mojito
1 1/4 cups blueberries, plus more for garnish
12 fresh mint sprigs, plus more for garnish
1 tbsp peach preserves
1 tbsp lime juice
1/4 cup spiced rum
1 1/2 tsp Smucker's Blueberry Syrup
2 tbsp club soda
Place blueberries, mint, peach preserves, and lime juice in a cocktail shaker and muddle. Add ice, rum, and blueberry syrup. Shake vigorously and strain into a glass. Top with club soda. Garnish with additional blueberries and a mint sprig.
Design, Table Numbers, and Drinks: Attention 2 Detail Events
Paper Goods: Peter Loves Jane
Table, Chairs, and Linens: Diamond Rental
Cake: Sprinkle & Dash
Clothing and Jewelry: Katie Waltman
2) Oh Happy Day
If you and your betrothed are more early birds than night owls, tie the knot in the a.m. and celebrate with brunch. "Couples are realizing that it's OK to move away from traditional and formal wedding themes," says Rachael Affleck of Rachael Ellen Events. "Brunch for a reception is fun! It's fresh and unexpected. And who doesn't love breakfast food?" Imagining a midmorning spring garden party, Affleck designed this cheery table using a palette of pastel and berry hues with pops of punchy citrus. The sky-blue table linen offers a refreshing alternative to to neutral styles, and the gray-washed woven-back chairs feel right at home in alfresco settings.
Florist Lizy Bowden's plucked-from-the-flower-patch centerpiece and chair décor bring the garden to the table. Once seated, guests are greeted by Le Loup Cakery's frosted cronuts, hand-painted place cards by October Ink, and pitchers of cranberry sparklers and mimosas. After a feast of eggs, pancakes, and pastries, cut the cake and send guests home with mini jars of local honey and homemade jam.
Rise & Dine
For brunch celebrations, serve bite-size versions of your favorite a.m. eats. Our picks: mini chicken and waffles, eggs Benedict sliders, and petite stacks of ricotta pancakes topped with a fresh berry and a drizzle of maple syrup. A buffet of pastries from local bakeries will delight guests young and old; we love the house-made organic croissants at Eva's Bakery and the fresh-baked sticky buns at Tulie Bakery. Toast the day with festive cranberry sparklers, mimosas, mix-your-own Bloody Marys, and specialty coffee drinks brewed with java from Charming Beard and Publik.
"Garden parties are so romantic and intimate," muses Affleck. She and Bowden selected Juliet and Romantic Antique garden roses, burgundy astilbe, veronica, and a variety of ferns for the table centerpiece and bouquet. The vintage floral illustrations on October Ink's custom invitation suite set the tone for the flower-filled fete, while Le Loup Cakery's scrumptious confections complement the brunch theme. The tiered buttercream cake is rosemary-poppy seed topped with a smaller tier of chocolate cake with basil buttercream. "Basil is such a beautifully subtle flavor that has its own sweetness—it's definitely my most popular and beloved flavor," says baker Tess Comrie. The smaller naked cake is Mexican-vanilla flavored with salted caramel buttercream, a "new classic," notes Comrie.
Designer and Favors: Rachael Ellen Events
Paper Goods: October Ink
Table Linens: Diamond Rental
Table and Chairs: Details Comforts for the Home
Flowers: Lizy Bowden Floral Design
Cakes and Cronuts: Le Loup Cakery
Dresses and Jewelry: Katie Waltman
Photographed at The Charcoal Loft
Model: Olivia Taylor