Creating an Atmosphere

April 25, 2010

So, lately, Paul and I have been talking about the kind of atmosphere we want to create at our reception. Our venue looks a lot like most other venues inside, except for the fact that it has nice big windows overlooking the Hudson River. There are certain things we don’t love about the space. The carpet for one, but we’re hoping to dress up the room and make it look pretty amazing.

One of Paul’s key jobs for the wedding is lighting. Paul has worked as a lighting tech and really knows how to light a space and make it look beautiful. When I come home, I turn on the overhead light in our apartment. When Paul comes home, he usually scolds me for just turning on the overhead light, then turns that down, and turns on the china ball light, the lamp on his desk, the lamp higher up on his desk pointing up towards the ceiling and sometimes, the lamp over the china cabinet that reflects off the glass and mirror and cast a really interesting glow. Turning out all the lights at the end of the night can be a task. But I appreciate it, because I know he’ll take the same amount of care making our reception really special.

We’ve talking a lot about we want to do to create and atmosphere. One of the reasons we ended up booking the venue we did was that the owner really understood what Paul wants to do in terms of lighting. He followed Paul when he was talking about volts and electrical outlets, while I stood there waiting to ask about vendor meals (never got a chance, whoops). And he also pointed out to us that when renovating the space, he put in drop ceilings, so it’s possible to hang things from the ceiling.

That really stuck with us, so we’ve been talking about the possibility of hanging china balls aroun

d the room to light the space and possibly drape tulle to mute the lighting. One of Paul’s goals is to eliminate the need for flash photography, while still creating a mood. One of the reasons I’m excited to have our ceremony outside is so we can avoid having a beautiful, romantic space and moment ruined by dozens of flashes! I really hate that. Paul wants to carry that over to the reception. I think we also want to do that, because I have seen so many pictures during wedding receptions, taken by the professional photographer, of dancing where everyone is full lit and clearly seen and you know that the photo was taken with flash and you have zero sense of the atmosphere of the space.

The picture here is sort of an idea of what we’re thinking of. I know Paul wants to make the space a little bit brighter, and the recessed lighting will probably help with that. And also the fact that we’ll actually have lit up china balls.

But the other thing I was considering is maybe centering the china balls over the table and dropping them down, to essentially use the china ball as a centerpiece. I’ve been wracking my brain about centerpieces. There are so many things that you can do to decorate the table, ranging from elegant to really really tacky. I know I definitely don’t want to do tacky, but figuring out elegant is hard.

I don’t think I want to do big floral displays. First off, big floral displays cost money. The other thing to consider is that if you do a big floral display, you need to do it up high, so people can see each other around the centerpieces. I also considered doing something with pillar candles, but on their own, it’s not enough. My sister-in-law did a feather thing with a candle, I think, for their wedding.

I also wanted to incorporate our colors into the centerpieces. So, I thought that maybe I could do tall clear cylinders with flowers in water with floating candles on top. But if we do the china ball, we probably don’t want to do something too tall. So, then I started thinking about doing something lower. I really like the way floating candles look. I was thinking about doing something similar to the picture here, except with a white or ivory candle, or maybe multiple candles, and red and orange berries instead of the crabapples here. I was also thinking about using cranberries in the dish as well, especially since cranberries float. I was also considering incorporating leaves into the centerpieces, but I don’t know if using real leaves is a good idea and I don’t know if I could get realistic looking fake leaves or preserved leaves for a decent amount of money.

I definitely have plenty of time to figure out what I want to do and I’m looking forward to the two weddings I have coming up this year. I just found my friend Sasha’s wedding invitations and I realized that I had basically stolen their idea when I was looking at invitation ideas! I look at dozens of magazines and websites, but I think the best place and way to get ideas is to see them in person. Not that I’m going to stop looking at magazines and websites though!

I think the real thing we need to do is figure out what we really want to say with our wedding. As I’ve mentioned before, we’re trying to do a destination in the Hudson Valley wedding. Far enough from home to be a destination, but close enough to get there in a day. We want people to spend the whole weekend with us! So, maybe what I really need to do is spend some time in the area and really get a feel for what it’s like during the Fall. Find things that stand out and incorporate those into the whole celebration.