In a letter to her lover Catherine the Great once wrote, “my heart is loath to be without love even for a single hour.” I suffer from the same affliction, as I am the most hopeless of hopeless romantics. My immediately tough exterior prevents (actually, assures) most from knowing this about me, but I am one of those sentimental idealists who wears her heart on her sleeve and is shamelessly in love with love. Truth be told, as cliched as it may be, I live for that intoxicating, reckless, irrational, drive you mad, can’t get enough, no holds barred, utterly consuming kind of love.
Too often people settle for less than, perhaps because they are at a point in their lives where they are ready to settle down, maybe want to have children, are dealing with inherent relationship issues from their parents, or are simply afraid. And no wonder, when the fairy tale notions that we’ve had since childhood seem somehow less than glittering, and certainly not about any real couple. But every once in a while a couple comes along who handily defies this unfortunate state of affairs, and makes the very notion of love believable. This couple for me is Michelle and Jody.
Michelle and Jody’s love is unmistakably authentic. Charles Dickens, himself a painstaking realist, knew quite a bit about this when he opened his best known epic love story with “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” This couple is without pretenses, they know everything about one another – the good, the bad, the in-between. And yet (or maybe because of this), they unwaveringly love each other more than anyone I’ve ever known. I once asked Michelle how she knew that Jody was the one for her, and she replied “I’d rather fight with him than be content with anyone else.”
When Michelle called me the week before her wedding and asked me to make the placecards for her 70-person rehearsal dinner, I accepted without hesitation. For inspiration, I called the wedding coordinator and asked what else was set for the seven tables. The coordinator informed me that nothing else was planned. Instantly I knew that I had to take the evening up several heartfelt notches by outfitting the space with complete décor in honor of the couple who inspires me every day.
Playing off the color scheme of the venue (Catherine the Great might’ve delighted in the olive-hued velvet drapery just as fervently as I did), I chose a palette of green and gold. The floral arrangements were without question white hydrangea, green verbena, white snapdragons, and leafy white roses. For the placecards, I did my signature letter-stamped cream tags wrapped around each napkin with rustic twine. But I needed that something extra to take the tablescapes to the next level.
After a little research on Style Me Pretty and Pinterest, I decided to place a green apple in front of each setting with a hand-cut gold leaf inscribed with “M + J.” (I was tempted to use an “H” for the couple’s soon-to-be last name, but apparently Emily Post frowns upon this pre-nuptial presumption). The result was incredible because beyond the aesthetic appeal, it showed the couple just how much their friends love and support them.
Like Michelle and Jody, who unwittingly met on a fateful November evening at the Balboa Cafe, you never know when someone is going to come along, love you for exactly who you are, and change your life forever. But what you should know is that the unwavering belief in love is a worthwhile venture. This romantic is absolutely certain: “Fairy tales can come true, it can happen to you…” xx tt
How to Make: Placecards
- White Hanging Tags from Paper Source
- Sisal Twine
- Vintage Font Alphabet Stamp Set
- Happily Ever After Stamp
- Gold Ink
- Black Ink
1. Stamp each tag using the Happily Ever After stamp and the gold ink
2. Using the alphabet letters and black ink, stamp each tag with your guest’s name underneath Happily Ever After (I don’t mind if my lettering is slightly sloppy, but you can use a ruler if you prefer each letter to be the same height)
3. Cut the twine into two-foot sections for each guest
4. Loop the twine through the tag’s hole, and tie it into a knot
5. Place the tag at the center of a dinner napkin folded in a rectangle, and wrap the twine around each side
6. Tie twine into a bow
How to Make: Bouquets
- Wrapping paper that compliments the colors in your floral arrangement. I used chartreuse dotted paper to mimic the green and white flowers
- Mix of flowers. For seven arrangements, I bought the following from the San Francisco Flower Market: white hydrangea (3 bunches), green verbena (3 bunches), white roses (24-count bunch), white snapdragons (2 bunches)
1. Cut wrapping paper to the circumference of your vase, and wrap it around securing with tape to join the sides and on the bottom of the vase so that the paper is anchored
2. Trim excess paper from the top of the vase
3. Cut the stems and remove excess leaves (they cause bacteria to form in the water and kill your flowers)
4. Starting with your largest flower, in this case the white hydrangea, place flowers into the vase. Keep adding flowers by size - I added in the following order: green verbena, white roses, white snap dragons
5. If you can, do this the evening before your event so that the flowers have several hours to bloom. For example, the snap dragons will perk up and curl, and the roses will open into the hydrangea
How to Make: Gold Leaf Monogrammed Apples
- Small Green Apples
- Sheet of Gold Wrapping Paper (I bought this from Paper Source)
- Black Ink
- Vintage Font Alphabet Stamp Set
- Escutcheon Brass-Plated ½-inch Pins
1. Cut gold wrapping paper into 2-inch by 2-inch squares for the number of leaves you need. I needed 70, which meant that I used the entire sheet
2. Cut squares into leaf-shape by starting at a corner and creating two curved-edges with your scissors
3. Create your desired monogram using the black ink and rubber stamps (let the ink dry for several hours before handling)
4. Take a pin and push it through one end of the leaf
5. Insert pin into center of apple
t+tSTYLE: Michelle is a die-hard monogrammer, and as such she has the chicest in embroidered accessories. Taking cue from one of my favorite fashion blogs, Daily Cup of Couture, I highly recommend this carry-all from C Wonder. If you can’t have Goyard this will do just fine, darlings.
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