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Fashion Forward: Reception Decor

Words by Kelli Donley
Photos courtesy of Pacific Aisles


We've all heard about those celebrity weddings where decorating themes take over, transforming a New York ballroom into a Russian winter night, or a Los Angeles hotel into a scene from "Breakfast at Tiffany's." How does a bride with star themed dreams but movie fan budget make her wedding look like something out of the society pages? Decor, baby. It's all in the decor.

Maggie Campolong and Christina Hassing are owners of Pacific Aisles, a full-service wedding consultation company. The pair specializes in making couple's wedding visions come to life with their "queen bee" service. Christina is known for organizing wedding logistics, such as events before and after the wedding you may want to plan for guests, the rehearsal dinner and the post-wedding brunch.
 
"Once you have settled on your wedding date, location and catering needs, Maggie steps in and guides you through the design portion of the planning process, taking care of anything that will visually impact the wedding," Hassing says. "This includes establishing a color palette, giving you recommended event layout options based on your needs, coordinating your stationery, flowers, cake, and favors, and making sure all of your equipment and lighting needs are met."

Decorating for a beach ceremony, the pair says, is like having a blank canvas to work with.
"The benefit of having a beach wedding, or a wedding at any non-traditional venue is that often you have less restrictions and more flexibility to choose all the elements of your event, rather than be forced to work with and design around elements, rules and regulations that sometimes come with indoor banquet reception venues," Hassing says. "Having that freedom and flexibility allows you to create a truly unique experience for you and your guests to enjoy. Outdoor venues allow you to have fun, express yourself making your wedding as casual or formal as you want on your own terms."

However, outdoor ceremonies aren't all rosy. "The down side to an outdoor or beach wedding is there are always variables that can make for challenging situations," Campolong reminds. "Weather is the biggest unknown factor and can be a real disaster if your coordinator has not worked out a contingency plan with you in advance. Your coordinator should know the location inside and out and how things like rain, tides and high surf can affect the location. Just because you looked at a beach in March, does not guarantee it will be the same in September, so you may need a back up plan in case there is little or no beach."

Let's pretend the weather participates and plan B isn't necessary. What creative ideas has the Pacific Aisle pair used to decorate beach weddings?

"The latest trends we've seen in outdoor ceremonies include custom made or hand painted aisle runners and various styles of bamboo chuppahs draped with beautiful flowing fabric and flowers in colors to complement the wedding," Campolong says. "For receptions, we've seen more use of color, as couples move away from white and ivory standards for linens and more towards tablecloths and napkins in colorful alternatives to really enhance the decor. Clear top tents are also popular for outdoor weddings, for dining under the stars with the 

protection of a tent."                                             


They say the most tasteful wedding's they've helped to coordinate were those where the couples were willing to think past the bouquet and color palette when designing their decor.
 
"True design will incorporate every aspect and detail of a wedding, not just flowers," Hassing says. "Our most beautiful weddings have included designs in the details, including things like custom stationery, linens and place settings all the way to the cake design and beverage presentation. Even the favors that guests take home with them at the end of the night can be selected to follow the overall look and feel. And it's amazing how much of an impact simple things like layout and lighting can have on a wedding."

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