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Garden party chic - 5 steps to a ladylike wedding reception

Pinkies out, ladies... it's time to roll your white gloves up like so and fluff out your underpinning for an elegant rendition of tea for two (or 200) on the best day of your life. Intimate and formal all at once, offering up precious memories, photo ops to die for and pretty promises of what’s to come. These five fabulously fancy ideas will paint your wedding reception the hue of charming and leave your guests wishing they could stay forever!

Tea cup couture

Elegant, charming and part of every little girl’s fantasy, brilliant and eclectic tea cups set the mood for a lesson in etiquette. If you are looking for something bold and vintage, try Anthropologie, for a more sophisticated vibe try auction houses like eBay where you’ll find a little bit of everything. You’ll use these for years to come, so this purchase comes with a guilt-free reason to splurge! *Economics 101: Ask friends and family to lend you a favorite tea set for the evening. Not only is it a great way to integrate two families (his great aunt's mint green saucers mingling with your great grandmother’s serving dish) you’ll save money in the process.

Keep it seasonal

Bringing in fresh elements from the garden is a great way to make nature work for you. Play up seasonal flowers and take advantage of the natural scenery. Flowers are also way less expensive in season. Ask your florist what they are getting the most of. Local farmers often sell them to nurseries in bulk for less which, in turn, helps the florist to offer specials on in-season, locally-grown bundles of wedding chic blooms. Score!

Page turners

Vintage books add an eclectic, old world charm to your table arrangements. Use them to add texture, bursts of color and even height to tables. Place bundles of miniature roses in small teacups atop a stack of books from that estate sale in Maine. Use books to elevate table tops for guest book signing that is entirely unique. To color-coordinate your page-turning picks try Books by the Foot, a company that sells bulk vintage books at delightfully inexpensive prices.

Fanciful framing

If your wedding venue isn’t exactly giving the feel of a lush garden you’ve been craving, a little imagination is all you need to transform your space into a whimsical world between the hedges. Remember to think vertical, using old vintage frames to house blooms, sticks and other elements you’d find in natural settings.

Up, up and away

If there aren’t any natural blooms in your venue you don’t need to bail out on your contract just yet... instead, find ways to create a garden where there isn’t one. Old window panes can serve as a beautiful landscape for vertical hanging flowers when the back is stapled with garden matting and filled with dirt. Wooden pallets also offer promise, and don’t forget good old-fashioned potted plants, which can be dressed up with simple ribboning and garden stakes that read “love grows here”. Remember, think vertical!

What would you do to recreate a fanciful tea party at your reception?

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