If you know me and are familiar with my work, you know I never shy away from dramatic and memorable details. In fact, my number one priority for all of my brides and their weddings is wow factor: I work hard to give them that unique signature "something extra" that will make their weddings stand apart.
As such, I'm always looking for striking new elements I can incorporate into my designs, and people are always asking me where I get my inspiration. The truth is that almost anything can inspire me. I might get an idea from the wallpaper in a hotel room, my neighbor's window boxes, or even my entrée at a restaurant!
Lately, though, I've been especially inspired by Mother Nature. Maybe that's because the seasons here in New York City are changing, and there is the promise of cooler, fall temperatures in the air. My cozy instincts are kicking in, and I've been playing around with lots of feathers of all different shapes, sizes and shades.
And I'm not the only one inspired by feathers. Fashion week both stateside and abroad has been full of feathered details. I loved the brightly-colored feather fringe dresses at the Falguni & Shane Spring/Summer 2012 show, and Jean Paul Gaultier's feathered headpieces were out of this world. And if it works on the runway, there's no reason it can't work down the aisle!
One of the things that first drew me to feathers is that they're almost as versatile as my beloved flowers. Some feathers, like those designed for helping birds fly, are long and strong, while others, like those designed for keeping birds warm, are short and fuzzy.
And the colors! Feathers' striking colors are iridescent and are created by bending light. From different angles, iridescent objects look like different colors. So from one angle, your feather may look deep blue but from another angle it might look green with a gold sheen. There's something so mysterious and alluring about these soft iridescent feathers plucked straight from nature. Talk about wow factor!
Feathers, because they are lightweight and slim, are also easy to work with and even easier to incorporate into lots of different decorative wedding elements:
- Tuck several feathers into your bridal and bridesmaid bouquets, and use the same feathers in your groom and groomsmen boutonnieres. Go for either brightly colored feathers that match your wedding color palette or stick to soft romantic hues like cream, silver, and light pink.
- Add a few feathers to your hair or veil. If you're wearing your hair up, secure a few feathers at the top or side of your updo. If you're wearing your hair loose, try a crown of feathers or tie a small cluster of flowers and feathers together to wear behind your ear. (And don't hesitate to ask one of your more artistic bridesmaids to help you if you're feeling unsure!)
- Give your flower girl a basket of soft and fuzzy feathers to toss as she walks down the aisle. I like to mix in glitter or shimmery confetti for extra flair; it looks beautiful, and your flower girl will have so much fun throwing the glitter and feature mixture in the air.
- Have your ring bearer carry your rings on a bed of feathers. I first tried this idea for a wedding that had a bird theme; I made a nest out of branches, which I painted gold, and then I put a little bed of feathers inside to protect the rings.
- Use slightly larger feathers to decorate the chairs at your wedding ceremony. I like using feathers to mark the reserved seats in the first two or three rows. But you can also hang a cluster of feathers at the end of each row. They look especially good combined with flowers, ribbon or even branches.
- Wrap small, delicate feathers around strands of tiny white lights and hang them from the ceiling for a romantic canopy or, if your ceremony is outside, hang them from the branches of a nearby tree.
- At your reception, use long and strong flight feathers as guest seating cards. Tie a little card with the guest's name and table number on it to the end of each feather. Or, if you're using particularly strong and thick feathers, paint the name and table number directly on each feather.
- For a bigger, more elaborate impact, use ostrich or peacock feathers in your centerpieces and floral arrangements. Think of the feathers as the backdrop for your flowers. Pick colors that will complement your flowers and display your flora and fauna in front of an array of oversized feathers. You want feathers that will make your flowers stand out, not the other way around.
- Send guests home with a favor feather: attach a decadent chocolate truffle to a small feather.
You could also create a signature feather design and incorporate it throughout your wedding:
- Include the feather motif on your save-the-date cards, wedding website, invitations and programs.
- Have your baker use your motif to decorate your wedding cake.
- Create signs with the motif to direct guests to the ceremony, the reception, bar and restrooms.
The possibilities are endless!
Of course, for a true piece of my signature wow factor, what you'd really need is a bigger than life-size floral bird sculpture. Check out some of my most recent floral designs including both beautiful birds and other stunning creations.