Creative people - teach me how to make my wedding magical.
August 17, 2009 6:48 PM   Subscribe

Design our "First Summer's Night Eve" wedding, creative people!

Ok, so I think we figured out where to hold our wedding (on a lawn in MA, by a lake). And when to hold it: Memorial Day weekend.

So now we're looking for some inspiration to make the night feel magical, special, romantic in a breezy flowing fabrics and candles and flowers sort of way. We're thinking we'd like to loosely use "Midsummer Night's Eve" (or in this case, "First Summer's Night Eve") as our theme (not the play, the ancient celebration). We're thinking this would involve lots of flickering candles, maybe something woodsy, mossy. Possibly lanterns. Possibly things our guests could float off into the lake bearing wishes (and candles) [I've done this as a grade schooler on Midsummer Night's Eve using handmade little boats and candles, and in India using flowers on the Ganges]. We're trying to evoke the headiness, magic of the first summer's night. I'm thinking maybe Art Nouveau style maybe could be integrated, or a Where the Wild Things Are sentiment for a bit of playfulness.

Can you think of anything we can do that could subtly suggest that theme: the magic of the first summer's night? What would our centerpieces look like (in a rather austere series of function-rooms, unfortunately, but adjoining the lake with huge glass windows everywhere)? How can we incorporate the lake and the lawn? There's a beautiful teensy stone bridge just around the corner too. What cool things can we do with candles? Would our save the dates and/or invitations have this element included? Would our wedding website? If so, how? Anything else we should be thinking of? (Band? Transportation? Attire? After party? Other events? Beverages? Appetizers? Food? Cake? Late night snack? Table names? Place cards?) What would our flowers look like, and would we use them in any unique ways? Gifts to bridal party?) Anything else?

I'm not very creative but I can take a spark of an idea and run with it, and I can execute directions. Help me out! We don't have unlimited funds, but we have a decent budget to work with.

The location is fairly fancy. There will be a band, open bar, decent food, etc.

Bonus points for links for where we can buy design elements/create our own design elements/examples of pictures for inspiration?

Bonus points for ideas that would surive a cold, rainy Boston Memorial Day evening.

Also, oh crap - is Memorial Day weekend in the Boston area too early for this fantasy?
posted by semacd to Media & Arts (17 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Memorial Day weekend should be fine. It might get a little chilly late in the evening, but otherwise (unless it rains) the temperature should be pretty nice.

I think it would be really cool to create a bower under the trees (I assume there will be trees). Cover the ground with some nice thick rugs, put divans and pillows all over the place, and hang lanterns from the tree branches.
posted by ocherdraco at 6:56 PM on August 17, 2009

Tasha Tudor wrote and illustrated a children's book called A Time To Keep in which she describes a number of totally magical holidays. There is a section on Midsummer's Night (or something similar), including floating candles, and the illustrations and scenery are just gorgeous. Maybe, if you go to a library, you could get some ideas from her book?? There is a picture on the Amazon page under "look inside" so you can see what I mean. I don't have the book anymore, but if memory serves, it's FULL of great ideas of the type you'd like.
posted by Cygnet at 7:29 PM on August 17, 2009

Oh wow, given the user submitted pictures on Amazon, it looks like somebody else had the same idea for their wedding (summer, by a pond, nice floaty fabrics and flowers) and was inspired by that very book :)
posted by Cygnet at 7:31 PM on August 17, 2009

For inside:

Rather than lots of white roses and the like, consider garlands of ivy (real or silk) with forget-me-nots and other trailing flowers and foliage, perhaps over arches at the entry doors. You can string white lights in these (candles=fire hazard here).

I'd use grapevine wreaths decorated with faux moss and silk flowers around flickering white candles in hurricane glasses (pretty and functional) for centerpieces. You can have friends help you make a centerpiece for each table and save money, similar to this, but with summer colors to match your wedding colors.

You could use any leftover silk flowers and faux moss to decorate the little bridge for the photographer to photograph your guests in a natural area. If you can do this without getting in trouble because of fire regs or sacrificing safety, you might line tealight candles in a path leading to the bridge, or on the railings. If it will be a problem, consider a luminaria type of solution--use candles in a container that surrounds them with sand to hold them up.

I'd wear a flower garland rather than a strict veil if I were you, and have your bridesmaids have flowers in their hair (again, either real or silk). I'd have lots of baby's breath and trailing flowers in my bouquet, as well.
posted by misha at 7:31 PM on August 17, 2009

Oh, and for the lake, you could go with floating candles, which would be lovely!
posted by misha at 7:36 PM on August 17, 2009

If I were to design the menu, it would involve lots of foods that herald the summer: squash, corn, green beans, with dessert featuring berries and peaches and other fruits of summer, possibly with a reference to how the sweetest fruit of the summer is love. The other day I had a fantastic grilled peach and bacon salad, with roasted corn kernels and cilantro. damn.

n-thing the idea of floating tea lights in the lake. Also, while I love the concept, I'd be careful how you phrase 'first summer's night eve' because people might subliminally think about being a douche.
posted by Jon_Evil at 7:44 PM on August 17, 2009

'n-thing' should have been rendered 'nth-ing'
posted by Jon_Evil at 7:45 PM on August 17, 2009

I love this theme, can you tell? : )

Any of these wedding cakes, depending on your personal taste, seem like they would fit your bill (just search for "garden wedding cake" on Google images).

Maybe invitations with a butterfly theme? And butterflies have lovely names, so perhaps each wedding table could be a different butterfly?
posted by misha at 7:57 PM on August 17, 2009

If you want to add a more personal touch to the floating candle idea, use the "tea light in paper boats" type of tea light, and have wedding guests write their wishes for you and your mate on a boat, and then set the candle alight and put it out in the water themselves. Sort of a faux tibetan prayer concept, putting down the thoughts and letting them go off into the universe.

You and yours will likely never read these wishes, but that's not really the point with something like this sort of ritual.
posted by hippybear at 8:59 PM on August 17, 2009

What about little fairies instead of flower girls?

And fireflies in a jar, like this, or this, or even this. Or wait, this one is the best.
posted by tamitang at 9:04 PM on August 17, 2009

Also, while I love the concept, I'd be careful how you phrase 'first summer's night eve' because people might subliminally think about being a douche.

I have to say, that the first thing I thought of when I saw your title was, "Ew, a douche question". Sorry.

posted by artychoke at 10:44 PM on August 17, 2009

Try to bring the outside in as much as you can and make it as personal as possible. Lots of candles in lots of jars. Use the trees around you for surprising touches like flowers in hanging votives. DesignSponge has some truly gorgeous outdoor weddings -- especially ideas for simple, elegant flowers and invitations here. (My favorite.) Some other woodsy backyard weddings. Check out this butterfly bouquet and these table cards.
posted by mochapickle at 3:40 AM on August 18, 2009 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks, all. These are great ideas! Love the fireflies in the jar idea, and the paper boats floating into the lake (and the floating candles, decorating the bridge with candelaria, butterfly names for tables, "fairy" flower girls, etc.) I'm finally starting to get excited about this shindig!

Also, while I love the concept, I'd be careful how you phrase 'first summer's night eve' because people might subliminally think about being a douche.

Never would have occured to me in a million years. Not sure we would ever verbalize the theme - it's more that we want to evoke the concept - but if we do actually describe it, how should we phrase it?
posted by semacd at 6:19 AM on August 18, 2009

I can't really help you with ideas, but as for describing it: "Summer's Eve" is the name of the douche, and "night eve" is redundant, so I'd go with a "First Summer's Night" theme.
posted by yawper at 7:11 AM on August 18, 2009

I think you should set off some fire lanterns over the lake.

I got one for Christmas and set it off with my family, it was so nice to have the project of assembling and launching it and then watching them float off with surprising speed.

You can get 50 of them for 60 dollars - see here

I think the idea of distributing them to guests and having everyone set them off around the lake would be really nice. So much more classy and in keeping with the theme than fireworks.

Bonus points if there are UFO sightings in the area reported the next day!

Here is a video of lots being set off at a Thai lantern festival.
posted by multivalent at 7:29 AM on August 18, 2009 [2 favorites]

Waverly Fitzgerald's website is all about traditions (ancient and modern) related to different seasons, solstice celebrations, etc. You might check out the archives for all the stuff she has related to early summer festivals and see if there are any traditional foods or decorations that charm you.
posted by np312 at 10:48 AM on August 18, 2009

Well I thought of this and this.
posted by sweetmarie at 3:33 PM on September 25, 2009

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