When a Bride comes along with such an engaging style, a unique vision for her wedding and a decor-driven budget, she becomes what we call a Signature Bride. Daron was such a bride. Sifting through the hundreds of pictures she had collected, we began to see a pattern emerge even within such an eclectic scope of ideas. Daron loves all things romantic, playful, vintage and au naturel---all with a touch of class. Since some of her favorite things would have seemed contradictory if designed in one space, it became our goal to make sense of it all.
For a girl who loves the outdoors, all things vintage and lots of surprises, we designed five Garden Rooms to mimic the interior of one of Atlanta's award-winning special event venues, Flint Hill, an 1835 historic home-turned-wedding venue. From the parking lot, guests enter this fanciful setting through an antique door into Daron's custom designed Playhouse. As a catering and décor company, we met with Daron getting to know her and discovering her likes and dislikes in order to customize her wedding. We catered the seated dinner, designed, produced and installed all of the floral and non-floral décor and served as her wedding planner throughout the process.
Between Q & A sessions with Daron, our design team would brainstorm and bring back options to explore with our receptive Bride. In order to transition from whimsical to rustic to vintage to elegant, we hit upon the idea of a series of Garden Rooms to be incorporated into the landscape surrounding this grand home built in 1835. By enhancing these areas with actual pieces of furniture, floral designs and touches of whimsy, we designed five "Garden Rooms" to mimic the home's interior. Before the wedding, during the cocktail hour and even after the wedding, guests explored these areas following signage and maps placed throughout the venue. From the parking lot, guests first encountered an unexpected front door set across the pathway suggesting what is to come.
After a search for just the right antique door with romantic, fairy tale appeal, we built a freestanding frame for it with a pitched roof thatched with moss. The vine-covered doorway appears timeless as if it had been there forever. A mailbox fashioned in the same style as the door, holds the wedding programs for arriving guests.
Next to the front door, an arbor-covered walkway doubles as a hall leading to the ceremony area. Laced between three existing arbors, poles on either side support pictures of the Bride and Groom creating a whimsical portrait gallery. As if a long, narrow area rug running the length of the hall, colored glass rocks in Daron's colors form a playful pattern in the pea gravel leading the eye to a welcoming garden bench at the end of the path before entering the courtyard.
With its formality and park-like setting, the courtyard provides the ideal setting to convert into the Living Room. The tall shrub border filled with twinkle lights serves as a wall to define the space between the back porch and gazebo. Enhanced with lace curtains and stained glass panels, the gazebo is transformed into a Victorian bay window at the end of a grand parlor. Down either side of the aisle, candle stands topped with lampshades double as clever floor lamps. Overhead, strands of Tivoli lights provide a ceiling to enclose the space for a more intimate ambience. Often used design features take on new meaning.
As guests explore the Garden Rooms during the cocktail hour, perhaps the Boudoir is the most unexpected discovery. Through a garden gate, guests come upon a secret garden, the perfect setting for the Bride's Boudoir staged for her departure. Vintage luggage packed for the Honeymoon, a mirror on a stand, dress form fitted with a fanciful go-away ensemble and vanity provide the Bride with everything she needs. During dinner on a porch overlooking this area, the Bride and Groom dine at the Sweetheart Table set in their honor. A recycled windowpane installed over the vine-covered porch rail allows this area to still claim the outside while being cooled with AC.
In a behind-the-scene space never used for events before, we carved out the perfect den---casual, comfortable, inviting and cozy---in other words, a hang out. Here guests enjoy a specialty drink enhanced with Firefly Tea Vodka, a game of beanbag toss or a swing in the hammock. Passing through a vintage screen door with an uncommon rounded top mirroring the front garden door, guests discover an unexpected seating area and share a quiet moment with a friend in this romantic outdoor setting. A discarded mantel used to create a fireplace, serves as a focal point under the magnolia canopy filled with hanging votives.
While touring Daron's Playhouse, guests stop to pick up their jar of house-made jam from either the teacart or the armoire next to the ceremony area. The personalized gift jars are alphabetized with names and table assignments. To enter the house from the front porch, guests pass by a stunning floral arrangement one would expect to see in the foyer of a grand manor home.
Inside the Ballroom, guests discover a bit more of the outdoors in this greenhouse-like setting utilizing a variety of table sizes, linens, floral arrangements and specialty lighting to create this charming ambiance. At the end of the Ballroom, double French doors lead to a small porch enclosed with tent sides, sheer fabric and strands of lights overlooking the Boudoir. With the doors opened to the Ballroom, The Bride and Groom dine with their guests at the two most romantic seats in the house while still embracing the outdoors.
Yes, there is the expected music, dancing, dining and, of course, the wedding cake, but also a bit of the unexpected. Presented in an heirloom Pie Safe on the back porch, "Sweetie Pies" (sold as a Groom's cake alternative for the Sweetie Pie in your life) offers a choice of three luscious flavors of our house-baked pies. Once the evening turns to night, guests can have a cigar in the gazebo-turned-gentlemen's parlor or watch a slide show of the Bride and Groom on a big screen set in place after the ceremony in front of the hedge wall in the Living Room. In September, a beautiful day for a wedding, 225 wedding guests filled this historic venue, but to their surprise, discovered Garden Rooms as varied and intriguing as our Bride.
Photos by Nadia D - www.nadiadphoto.com