I’m getting married in January in Chicago (I know, but we don’t have a lot of out of town guests, so I’m not worried about the weather). I’m on a tight budget but most of the DIY advice I see for flowers and decorations assume you’re getting married in the spring or summer. What are some ideas for festive, whimsical decorations my friends and I can do ourselves? We’re having an evening reception with wedding cake and drinks, but no dinner and I’d like a fun feel.
Winter Budget Bride
From Thea of Rose of Sharon
Assuming you want a winter feel and not a holiday feel, I'd keep to white and crystal. A Winter Wonderland can be created with a mix of fresh florals, “crystal” Christmas ornaments, and lots of candles. Cut the stems off of several bunches of Baby's Breath and cluster it around white candles of various sizes. (If fire is a hazard, use the battery operated pillar candles.) Wrap sheets of velum in winter patterns around glass cylinder vases holding more candles. Accent the Baby's Breath with various crystal Christmas ornaments--snowflakes, icicles, etc. Draw eyes upwards by hanging more crystal ornaments from the ceiling over focal areas like the cake table. For a lighter, more festive feel, add 'snowmen' created from white Styrofoam balls from your local craft store. By keeping a clean white pallet and adding touches of sparkle, you should be able to easily create and afford the look you're going for.
From Larissa of Weddings Costa Rica
Winter always makes me think of silvery snow reflecting off of blue skies and ice. Simple but elegant ideas for an evening reception could include glass vases filled with blue and silver glass ornaments (which are plentiful at this time of year) and lots of white candles. You could have glass cylinders with blue and white marbles in the bottom, with a white pillar perched on top (all these items are available at dollar stores). Head over to HomeDepot and pick up some mirror tiles and use these as bases for your cluster of pillar candles in different heights with a few glass balls loosely placed. The mirrors will not only continue the silver theme but will reflect the soft glow of the candles and shimmer of the ornaments, adding more bang for the buck and creating an elegant atmosphere by candlelight.
From Tyne of Wild Expressions Florist
A great centerpiece for a winter in Chicago wedding would be one with some candle light and warmth. I would suggest getting tall clear glass containers (tall enough so that your guests can see each other across the table) and fill them with clear gems. Willow branches can be sprayed in white or black depending on the colors for the wedding and then add lots and lots of crystals dripping off of the branches. Votive candles in clear glass holders can be placed on the table and the candle light will reflect off of the gems and crystals and add warmth and romance to the entire room.
From Arti of ZoyaCouture
Since you're not serving dinner, consider setting up a "dessert lounge". Gather a set of fun and unique serving dishes from your closest friends and family and fill them with home made treats such as cookies, muffins, brownies, fruit tarts, etc. Your guests will appreciate the thought and personal touch - and your friends will love having their serving dishes and homemade specialties become a part of your big day!
About our Experts
Arti Anand works with ZOYA Couture, a boutique design and print studio in Washington, D.C. that creates wedding invitations and marketing collateral. The company incorporates work of numerous in-house and freelance designers, offering clients fresh new designs, layouts, and materials.
Larissa Banting of Weddings Costa Rica has planned over 300 weddings in this beautiful tropical Paradise. She is also the force behind Lazy Bride, the blog for the energetically-challenged bride.
Tyyne' Catapan, owner of Wild Expressions Florist in Milford, Ct specializes in "wildly romantic bridal flowers."
Thea Daniel, owner of Rose of Sharon Event Florist in Fayeteville, Arkansas, has been designing floral arrangements for events for 15 years.