In December, I had a Saturday off and got to help my friend, Ashley Fox, set up a wedding at The Depot.
I truly enjoy floral design, but am happy to leave it to the professionals…and I love watching professionals work. Ashley’s eye for detail, high quality standards, and creativity produce lovely events. At the Depot, she had brought some extra pieces along as a surprise to the couple and was debating on where to set them up. The discussion we had about this has inspired a blog entry because it dealt with focal points.
We were in a large space with a high ceiling. Since it was snowing quite a bit outside and the client wanted romantic candlelight, the ceiling and unlit portions of the hall were fading to black. If we had spread out the extra candles and lit trees, they would have been spread out too thin. The decor would have been swallowed up visually. So to give the most bang for the buck with this decor, Ashley decided to group everything in one spot. That way, it would draw your eye and really create an impact. Ashley also decided to place the decor high up on a half wall, framed by the glass elevator and behind the head table. Since all the guests would be looking at the head table throughout dinner, it filled up an otherwise empty space and cast warm light on the couple.
From a photographer’s standpoint, it also gave a gorgeous backdrop to any pictures of the couple during the meal and also, the photographer could make sure to place it in the background of the dance images. When photographed out of focus in the background of images, the decor just looked like floating soft balls of light, adding instant romance. If the candles and trees had been spread out evenly over the room, there wouldn’t have been this backdrop to play with in pictures, or something this lovely for the guests to see while they were dining.
The beauty of creating focal points is that not only will it give your photographer something creative to use in images, it is also economical. 1000 candles spread throughout a large space will not have nearly the impact of 200 candles grouped together, set at different heights. A bunting in your wedding colors or paper lanterns hanging across a ceiling, will not attract the eye as much as a large cluster of them hanging over the dance floor. Instead of spending money on floral for the church pews and side windows, put your entire floral budget into a couple pieces flanking the altar, where they can still be seen when the wedding party is standing up there. When we renewed our vows, we didn’t have a huge budget, so instead of dressing up our entire backyard, we created one focal point with the food table by hanging orange parasols upside down at various heights (this also covered up our neighbors backyard, so even better!).
So where should you create focal points with your wedding decor? Think of where your guests will be looking the most, and where your photographer will be shooting the most. After the wedding day, all you’ll have is the photographs, so you want to make sure all of the details you put your time and money into are visible in them! The altar where you are getting married, the dessert table, the guest book/escort card table, the head table, the bar, and a location near the dance floor (or the dance floor itself) are all areas that your guests will be looking most of the day. Depending on your budget, you can dress one up, or all. Use your venue’s style and your wedding colors and theme to dictate what the decor will look like, and if you need extra help, hire a wedding designer to help you streamline things and come up with creative ideas.