Happy New Year! I hope that everyone had delightful holidays, and maybe some left-over treats to make this Monday back at work a bit sweeter. I thought I’d pick up where we left off in December, with inspiration boards that take a less-is-more approach to wedding planning…

I absolutely adore this beautiful dress by Elizabeth Dye, and when I noticed the “nosegay” of raw cotton* in the model’s hand, I was inspired to create this quaint winter wedding board. This would have been pretty in just brown and white, but a small amount of the faintest Tiffany blue adds a bit of visual interest, and allows this look to work as well in early spring as in winter. The tea-length dress, birdcage veil, locket, and champagne coupes are the perfect touch of vintage – sweet, not theme-y. Glassine envelopes filled with rice look pretty either plain or embellished with a custom rubber stamp. And how about this for a twist on DIY? Write out your wedding invitations by hand. It doesn’t require craftiness or creativity, just nice enough hand-writing, pretty ivory paper, and good black ink. Not only is it traditional, it will also be a delightfully unexpected surprise for your invitees. Depending on the tone you’re trying to set, you can either use traditional wording or you can write a personalized note to each guest.

(*Raw cotton is a wonderful decorative element during winter months when fresh flowers are either unavailable or frighteningly expensive, and it makes for unusual bouquets and boutonnieres, as well as beautifully rustic wreaths and centerpieces. You can order it online, or if you live in an area that grows cotton, see if a local farmer might let you have some on the cheap.)

Mood: sweet and quaint
Palette: cotton boll white, chocolate truffle, barely-there blue

{click image to enlarge}


Top row from left: custom Beatrix dress by Elizabeth Dye, twine-bound letters photo by Elizabeth Messina, miniature bundt cake and wooden cake stand by Herriott Grace via Darling Dexter, birdcage veil by Twigs & Honey
Row 2: cotton branch wreath from Blue Moon Events, glassine packets of rice from Martha Stewart Weddings, chocolate truffles photo by Elizabeth Messina
Row 3: vintage locket from Deanna Littell’s Charm School (published in Martha Stewart Weddings), champagne coupe photo via Kiss the Groom, country chapel photo by HH Fine Arts via {frolic!}, cotton boll bouquet from New York Magazine

I’m still totally smitten with the idea of a simple ceremony followed by a reception of champagne and dessert. It works with any number of guests – champagne and dessert makes for a perfectly lovely gathering of just a few close friends and family, but it’s also not going to break the bank if your guest list is considerably bigger. Also, this type of reception doesn’t require professional event planning experience. Don’t get me wrong – I absolutely admire the beautiful work that event designers do, and have so much respect for the skill of planners and coordinators. But not everyone can afford (or wants) to hire one of these professionals, and for those who are planning a wedding without one, a dessert and champagne reception is manageable with help from a few friends and family members. Bake or purchase some pretty cakes and treats, pick up some chocolates from your favorite local shop (if you’re in San Francisco, the caramel truffles at XOX are my personal favorite), buy some nice champagne in bulk, and borrow pretty cake plates and candy dishes from aunts and godmothers. Plus, there’s something charming in a wedding that doesn’t seem “produced.”

18 comments posted +add a comment SEE MORE: Inspiration Boards
  1. Anonymous

    Kathryn,This past autumn I visited North Carolina and drove by large fields of cotton. At one point I stopped the car and walked out into a field to get some photos. I'd never really seen the plant up close. So..it was fun seeing your board today with the cotton details. :)Martha B.

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  2. Camille @ STYLE NOTES

    What a breath of fresh air to start a new week and a new year. And coming from an event planner/designer myself, I absolutely love your less-is-more philosophy to planning a wedding. If a couple finds a super simple way to reflect their personal relationship & celebrate with those they care about, then it's the most beautiful wedding I can imagine!

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  3. A Bun Can Dance

    the mood board is beautiful and just up my street! I adore the dress – I wonder how many times we could get married, as I'm sure I'd love to do it all again!Happy new year to you – it looks as though it's going to be great if your first two posts are anything to go by!Denise x

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  4. Apt. #34

    hmmm, is that Tiffany's blue I spy? Beautiful way to start out the new year. Gives me great bridal shower inspiration!

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  5. Kathryn

    Apt. #34 – Why yes! I think I would call that Tiffany blue, albeit faded. Just added that description to the post. :)

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  6. Biz

    great minds think alike, pretty girl! seems like we had the same color on the brain yesterday during our phone tete-a-tete. :)

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  7. Jaime

    Beautiful collage to start the new year! Love the cotton ball bouquet- how cute!

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  8. miss fancy pants (the bride)

    Really beautiful inspiration board. I love the more subtle nature of this blue as opposed to teal. Thanks for sharing.

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  9. Michele

    So beautiful and subdued. I love this one (well I love most of them but this one is amazing)!

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  10. Cyd

    Oh so so gorgeous – love the raw cotton!

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  11. Leila Khalil |Wedding Publicist| Be Inspired PR

    this is so soothing. Im loving the cool/powder blue and the church photo too. fabulous once again Kathryn!

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  12. kristi wright

    Cotton wedding bouquets!! Love. Plus it will last forever.

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  13. Myra – twigs and honey

    pretty, pretty! I like the idea of a simple wedding! There is much beauty in such a thing. :)

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  14. Michael and Anna Costa

    We love the way her soft colored blue shoes match with the delicate dress!

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  15. {The Perfect Palette}

    definitely a fun palette. i like this a lot.

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  16. bridal registry

    Did you know wedding dresses were originally blue? Crazy!!

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  17. Pillsbury

    I am dating, and hopefully will soon be engaged to a cotton farmer in Texas. This board made me completely aw struck. SO gorgeous. I am wanting to incorporate cotton white roses and white daisies in my flowers for our wedding. As well as a pair of light blue dress boots to match my colors and to wear under my dress. You should do a texas board. I would love to see what you could find to incorporate the elements of farm life, elegance, and romantic vintage together. I am now a follower of yours for sure. : D

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  18. Kathryn

    Oh my – thank you Pillsbury! I'm so glad that you're a new reader, and yes, I will definitely keep a Texas board in mind. I'm moving away from Austin in less than two weeks, so I'll probably want to do a Texas-inspired board when I start to miss it. ;)xoxoKathryn

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