A DIY affair doesn’t have to be rough and rustic, it can be refined and elegant or anything you want it to be. Drawing on inspiration from the understated elegance of French provincial styling, we've created an informal setting filled with charm, romance and interesting details that all seamlessly mesh to produce a relaxed environment to gather and celebrate your day.
Creating a comfortable space that combines natural, earthy and sophisticated components with harmonising decorative details, lays the foundation for a beautiful, peaceful atmosphere. Accentuate the visual appeal with the use of textured fabrics, flowers, herbs, timber, stone, pewter, old silverware, food and, of course, champagne.
A muted colour palette has been selected using shades of lavender, burgundy, brown and soft greens against crisp white paintwork. This natural, earthy palette produces a feeling of being in the French countryside, a perfect backdrop for a casual kitchen tea.
To create the tablescape we began with a strip of lavender linen extending the length of the table. The edges have been frayed and a transfer from Graphics Fairy has been added to each end. Pewter candelabras are placed amongst metal containers casually filled with soft cascading greenery and blooms creating a focal point at the table.
Handwritten place cards in a feminine and classic calligraphy style have been embellished with a lavender sprig. Serviettes are dressed up with a stamped motif and tied with a pretty ribbon and vintage tag.
Delightful lavender accents, both fresh and dried, have been utilised throughout the décor not only for the colour but for their distinctive fragrance which adds a heady, romantic scent to the air. Culinary lavender is used to make a sweet, aromatic syrup for the champagne toast, served later with a selection of gourmet cheeses. The stationery design is simple and uncluttered reflecting the French theme and style. Linen cushions have been made to make the bench seating more comfortable for guests.
When pairing wild plants and herbs with cultivated blooms, the arrangements take on an organic charm as if just picked from the garden which is so typically French. We have mixed perennials such as white astilbe with wild weeds like Queen Anne’s lace, the fragrant herb lavender and blousy colourful carnations to create a soft romantic display. A wreath made from thick grape vine branches has been hung over the table and decorated with bunches of Thryptomene attached with floral wire. Before wiring the greenery to the wreath, tie lengths of sturdy string in several places so when completed it can be tied to a beam and suspended over the table.
The flower arrangements which add colour, depth and texture to the table, are unpretentious and have a soft hand-made look to them. A pre-cut circular French illustration printed on lavender paper was inserted into each lid of the small metal clear-lidded bomboniere tins. Metal tins and illustration were purchased online. Continue the styling through to the powder room by having a selection of French soaps and creams for the ladies to select when they go to freshen up.
Presentation of the cheese display is important, so add a little theatre by adorning it with fresh fruit, flowers and raffia and present it on a beautiful platter such as an antique tray. Depending on your theme, you may want to vary the presentation, for example by placing the tower on top of a weathered wooden box for a rustic theme or a silver cake stand for a more contemporary style. Organise other decorative details for the buffet such as wire racks of fruit and vegetables, condiments, cutting boards, napery and silver ware. However, let the food be the main decoration and present it so that it is eye catching.
An increasingly popular alternative to a traditional cake is an artfully prepared cheese tower. It can substitute for the dessert and can be used to extend the celebratory meal by using the cheese to complement fine wines and act as an alternative focus normally served by the dessert. Leftover cheese can be portioned and wrapped in muslin cloth or butchers paper with twine as an extra take-away gift.
C'est manifique! Wouldn't it be beautiful to celebrate your upcoming wedding with an afternoon of wine and cheese with your best ladies! And a setting this pretty would make it all the more divine! For inspiration on how to add a touch of French to your bridal fashion look, check out this French Provincial Bridal editorial shot by the talented Milenko Weddings.
Location Martha's Castlecrag Candelabras The Hire End Calligraphy Written by Hand Mini Vintage Tags Stamp In Up Soaps Bonne Mère and Pur Végétal from L'Occitane en Provence Amber Medicine Jars Homeworks, Chatswood Chase (02) 9410 2214 Cheese Tower Formaggi Ocello Dried Lavendar Aus Lavendar Stationery Discount Wedding Papers, with DIY printing