A boho color palette, statement head table, and wine on tap? Yes please. From the incredible design-to-reality moments to the plethora of personal details, I had so much fun pulling together this pink & terracotta virtual wedding design case study.
Virtual Design couples work with me for approximately 2 months at the beginning of their planning journey to develop a thorough and personalized design plan they can use to clearly communicate their vision to their wedding day team. This service is perfect for organized couples who want the creative direction of a designer, but are willing to take on the work of actually booking all their vendors themselves. This case study breaks down the side-by-side of what went into their design plan and how it came to life on their wedding day.
Let me introduce you to today’s case study couple:
Lauren & Jamie met as co-workers at an internship. Though fast friends, they didn’t officially begin dating for two more years. Through the first two years together they balanced Lauren’s rotating job, keeping their relationship interesting and lives bustling. They share deep family values, a love for international travel, and a close-knit friend group. Whether it’s hanging with their families, day drinking at a local brewery, or trying out a new recipe, Jamie & Lauren are all about good food, good drinks, and good times with the ones they love.
These brides have gathered those most dear to them for an all out celebration. Surrounded by delicious food and intentional details, guests feel like they’ve entered a wonderland that encapsulates all that Jamie and Lauren are as a couple. When making your designs, think about how to transform their farmhouse venue into a more eclectic, bohemian backdrop. Let warm earth tones found in nature drive the palette, but keep enough brightness to reflect the early summer season. This couple does not dream of a classic, cookie-cutter wedding. Unique, quirky details that speak to who they are as a couple should be the focus of design decisions.
Invitations & Paper Goods
Two of the easiest ways to create a cohesive look across your wedding day is through the color palette & paper goods.
I found this gorgeous semi-custom suite from Fine Day Press, an Austin-based stationery studio by Ashley Austin. Lauren & Jamie worked with Ashley’s team to customize the colors of this suite to work within their champagne, blush, peach, and terracotta palette.
Along with their invitation & RSVP card, L&J also purchased the rehearsal dinner invitation, menu cards, table numbers, and ceremony programs to match the suite. The use of this modern deco paper good throughout the day subtly create a feeling of cohesiveness for guests.
For the signage & paper good items they couldn’t create through the suite, Lauren & Jamie took my advice to use arched or circular shapes for their ceremony welcome & signature cocktail menu which mimicked the arches in the suite making all the signage feel intentional and harmonious.
Personal Flowers (i.e. bouquets)
First, big round of applause for the florist, Good Earth Flowers & Events. I’ll say it more than once in this post, but the team you curate to execute your wedding vision is just as important as the inspiration itself. Tammy and her team really brought this vision to life so beautifully. Her attention to detail shows through the entire gallery of images.
Whenever we put together the personal flowers section of a design plan, it’s surprisingly the notes we put to the inspiration images that are the most important. Flowers are natural products which means no florist can perfectly replicate a specific image you provide them (and honestly – why should they? Florists are artists who deserve to put their own spin on the florals while keeping within the vision and overall vibe of your wedding day.)
Here some of our notes pointed out what aspects of each image we wanted to recreate or avoid in the final bouquets such as size, shape, and color balance. For the bridesmaids, we wanted posy bouquets in bright tones softened by neutrals. Lauren wanted her bouquet to be the brightest, a loose organic shape of bright peaches, corals, and oranges with trailing greenery. Jamie’s ideal bouquet was more subdued with less trailing greenery than Lauren’s and consisting of more neutral whites & champagnes with small pops of blushes and/or peaches and a few strategically placed succulents.
Wow Moment: Wine Bar Welcome
If you’ve already seen Lauren & Jamie’s wedding feature, then you’ve heard me talk about the rise in popularity of pre-ceremony drinks.
Originally we’d discussed having a bar on wheels near the ceremony site for guests to get their wine on tap. While planning, L&J ultimately decided to go with a stationary option for guests to interact with. This white & gold set-up still worked with their slightly modern aesthetic and provided a wow-moment for guests upon arrival. I also love that L&J went the extra mile selecting bubbles & rosé to visually fit their pre-ceremony drinks in with the rest of the day’s palette. Talk about setting a tone.
Pro-Tip: If you’re dreaming about something like this for your own wedding be sure to research local liquor laws to ensure you can offer self-serve drinks. These laws vary state-to-state and are often related to the type of property your event is taking place on (i.e. private property vs. commercial venue). If your situation requires a licensed bartender, consider a stylish trailer bar or performative mixologist to create a pre-ceremony experience for guests.
If this side-by-side doesn’t make you giddy, I’m going to need you to schedule a doctor’s appointment because it sends my serotonin through the roof.
My virtual design clients typically get at least one sketch (of my choosing) that illustrates a design idea that may be harder to visualize with only the inspiration images. For this venue, there weren’t a lot of existing images of the space with white chiavari chairs and the backdrops we were seeing didn’t represent L&J’s style very well. I created this sketch to show Lauren & Jamie what their ceremony space could look like in real life.
Ultimately they decided on a more modern altar piece, but they used my notes (asymmetrical design with soft touches of pampas and the darker colors of the palette (used sparingly)) to guide the overall floral design for the piece.
This was the first image Jamie & Lauren sent me when they got their photos back to represent how well the design plan translated into real life.
Wow-Moment: Seating Chart Display
This seating chart is a great example of collaborative design.
I saw some real weddings on Pinterest using these white wire stands for seating chart displays – I’ve used them a time of two myself, but not quite like this. I had an idea for how we could create another “wow” moment for guests while still being functional and created the digital mock-up you see on the left. Lauren & Jamie took this to their stationer who took the design to the next level – making it even more cohesive with the other signage & paper goods while still keeping the overall vibe I’d shared.
I’m under no delusions that my design plan is the end-all-be-all. In fact, I love when couples choose a wedding day team who can take this design plan and elevate it to the next level (after all, two heads are better than one, right?). While I do create all my design plans so you can simply follow it to the letter and have a beautiful wedding day, don’t be afraid of deviating from the plan if your selected vendors pitch an idea that gets you excited.
Wow-Moment: Head Table Design
Another set of side-by-sides that make my heart flutter! Doesn’t the headtable feel as if it was ripped right from the design plan??
It is imperative to me that my couple’s design plans be something they can actually recreate. I don’t simple share a deck of sketches & mock-ups and send them on their way with a simple “good luck.” Along with the design plan, my couples get a detailed floral needs list, rentals & decor needs list, and a purchasing list. Everything they see in their virtual wedding design plan is either directly linked or put into a written format with vendor recommendations. For example, for their headtable, they received links for exactly what to order for the following:
- 6′ or 8′ tables, if their venue wasn’t providing
- Blush Base Linens
- Terracotta Napkins
- Peach Dinner Plates
- Green Vintage Glassware
- Silverware Sets, if their caterer wasn’t providing
- Water Goblets, if their caterer wasn’t providing
- Sage Glass Place Cards
- Table Numbers
One logistical decision that was made that impacted the final design was the decision to pre-set salads. As I shared in their wedding feature, pre-setting salads is a strategic catering decision that can be key for maximizing dance floor time or allowing couples to finish up their sunset photos while guests begin the reception. With that decision, we needed to free up space on the charger to place the salad. In this case, L&J chose to put the napkin in a loose, gathered “fold” to the left of the plate under the forks. The sage glass place card was moved to the top of the charger to mimic the natural curve and allow space for the salad beneath.
For the rest of the guest tables we devised two floral styles, one a compote arrangement with votives and the other an eclectic cluster of bud vases, terracotta containers, and candles.
My rule of thumb for centerpieces is to have three styles:
- Central Design (often a compote, for me)
The goal of having three centerpiece styles is to create variety through the space and to fill the often forgotten “middle third” of a room.
Imagine your reception space as a blank piece of paper with the bottom edge being the floor and the top edge begin the ceiling at its highest point. Now fold your piece of paper into thirds with the fold lines running horizontally. The bottom third consists of the floor all the way up to a few inches above the tabletop. The top third includes the ceiling and, nowadays, much of the venue’s in-house lighting. This middle third area is often blank naturally with nothing commonly occurring in this portion of the room unless intentionally designed.
However, just because we want to fill this space doesn’t mean you have to have tall centerpieces if they don’t appeal to you.
In Jamie & Lauren’s case we had two floral styles which sat in the bottom third. Then the venue’s draping & chandeliers occupied the top third. So it was the babies breath clouds above the head table that fulfilled the goal of creating height and filled the “middle third.” This simple addition guides the guests eyes through the space vertically and allows for a more composed design.
Pro-Tip: Want to inform guests of the dinner menu without placing a menu at each seat? Whether your choice is aesthetic or budget-based, you can utilize 1-2 menus per table with a stand to communicate the dinner plans with guests without having the obtain enough menus for your entire guest count.
Shout out to the coordinator!
I want to point out that a design plan is not a replacement for a wedding coordinator. The team you hire to bring your design to life on your wedding day is just as important as the inspiration itself. Lauren & Jamie’s day wouldn’t have been half the amazing experience it was for them & their guests without their incredible wedding day team including their coordinator, Alyssa of Glorious Weddings & Events, pictured with our couple here.
Want a personalized design plan for your wedding?
At Skylar Caitlin Events we focus on personal wedding design, meaning we take the time to get to know the people we are designing for through questionnaires, collaborative inspiration gathering, and the time we spend together during the design process. We learn YOU so we can infuse your wedding day with touches that reflect who you are as a couple. Our virtual wedding design plans are meant to help you clearly communicate your vision & needs to your local wedding day team to ensure a cohesive, beautiful wedding day. Connect with us today to discuss how our virtual design offering may work for your wedding planning needs.