When we first met with Rebecca + Ben at one of Château Rigaud’s planning weekends in November, she was full of ideas. Like lots and lots and lots of ideas. Like all of the ideas. For all of the things.
So the challenge was of course to narrow those down to something a bit more cohesive, and to sort of tease out the connecting threads of what seemed (by Rebecca’s own admission!) a little bit all over the place in terms of style. It’s certainly not a bad place to start – by just pulling images of all of the things you love/that make you happy – but obviously for the sake of design (and keeping to a reasonable human budget!) a bit of editing down was a must!
One of the earliest recurring ideas/themes that emerged as a sort of ‘secret garden’ vibe – but of course having chosen a venue smack in the middle of bordeaux wine country, she also wanted some wine-themed elements. Those two were pretty easy to ‘marry’ together. A bit more difficult to connect were two of her other ‘must-haves’ which were polaroid elements and a “Pimp Your Prosecco” station!
Let’s have a look at how we brought it all together…
Rebecca was first recommended to us because she wanted a bespoke poster for their home, based around the idea of a wine label. When they decided to have a Jereboam of Champagne as their guestbook (to be signed by all their guests on the wedding day) I suggested we also replace the label on the bottle with their bespoke poster art. The artwork, the font, and the monogram we created for the poster and wine-bottle label then formed the basis for many other design elements during the day.
As mentioned, one of R+B’s “must-haves” was a “Pimp Your Prosecco” station. But being in Bordeaux wine country, imported Italian Prosecco seemed a bit of sacrilege, so this quickly became Crémant de Bordeaux – and therefore a “Pimp Your Fizz” station.
This was before “Prosecco Pimping” was a full-on wedding trend, but I’d seen it on Pinterest enough to know that it was usually being done in quite a rustic/kitschy style (think hessian/burlap banners etc.) So I wanted to find a way to keep it cohesive with the overgrown garden/vineyard vibe. Moss-covered logs, potted herbs and ivy wound throughout did the trick. And the florist brought in a little victorian style mini greenhouse to display berries kept on ice in the late July heat.
The centrepiece of R+B’s design was the entrance to the dining barn and the bespoke ‘garden gate display we created for her there. I always advise design/styling clients to focus their energies and budget on a few key “wow moments” that will either a) really make an impression on guests or b) be heavily photographed – or both!
And for Rebecca, she wanted this entrance to dinner, and the dining barn itself to be *THE* “wow moment” of the day – as she wanted her guests to feel as though they were ducking into an abandoned secret garden.
We’d looked into the possibility of renting an actual iron garden gate for them to pass through – but quickly found that that would be cost prohibitive. Sticking to a budget can of course be incredibly frustrating – but it can also be a fantastic catalyst for creativity. If we couldn’t bring in a real garden gate, we’d just have to make one! Further, we wouldn’t have been able to incorporate R+B’s bespoke monogram into a rented gate!
So we got to work creating a ‘gate’ with some heavy gauge wire, moss and ivy! We propped the menu and tableplan display (handwritten on weathered fabric pennants) with an old wooden wheelbarrow, vintage garden tools and watering can, antique resin pots and old wooden wine crates.
On the opposite barn door we brought in Rebecca’s other “must-have” – a polaroid photo display, which we styled up to look like a “memory lane” themed garden arch.
(The final detail (and one of my favourites) were the garden gate place names. I designed and cut these on my silhouette machine – using 3 layers of translucent vellum and silver ink (which tied in to the way I designed/wrote their place names.) Again, I brought in R+B’s bespoke monogram to the gate design, and tables were named for a selection of ‘grands vins’ de Bordeaux.
Even a midsummer rainshower during dinner just added to the intimate feeling of being enclosed in a secret walled garden, and didn’t dampen anyone’s spirits!
Thanks so much, Rebecca and Ben for allowing us to be a part of your #BestDayEver!