If Instagram-worthy lobster rolls, beach trips and the perfect straw fedora are always on your summer must-have list, consider bringing a few elements from the Hamptons to your wedding!
By Ivy Jacobson
Photo by KT Merry Photography; Joshua Zuckerman Photography
The Long Island, New York, beach towns are known for their beautiful waterfront views, minimal-chic decor and roadside farmer’s markets bearing fresh goods, so if the rustic, nautical style appeals to you, check out our favorite East End-inspired wedding essentials:
Lobster Roll Appetizers
A Chic Navy and White Table Runner
From the album: An At-Home Wedding in Southampton, New York
A Waterfront Venue
From the album: A Waterfront Wedding in Montauk, NY
Refreshing Cucumber Margarita Signature Cocktails
From the album: An Elegant Ranch Style Wedding in Austin, TX
Summery Straw Hat Favors
From the album: A Vintage Wedding in Palmetto, GA
A Long Island-Made Pie Dessert Option
From the album: A Ram’s Head Inn Wedding in Shelter Island, New York
A Bouquet of White Peonies
From the album: An Airy Wedding in East Hampton, NY
Beachy Rock Escort Cards
From the album: A Waterfront Wedding in Montauk, NY
Mingling at your summer reception will be a breeze with one of these eight cool drinks in hand.
By Maggie Seaver
Photo by CARRIE PATTERSON PHOTOGRAPHY
Summer drinks call for fresh fruit, rosé spritzers and a whole lot of lemonade. Infuse your wedding cocktails with muddled berries, aromatic herbs or a bright squeeze of citrus for a refreshing signature drink. Below, some of our favorite swizzled sips to inspire your guests’ preceremony fun or cocktail hour (and keep them cool).
Boozy Arnold Palmer
Iced tea and lemonade marry beautifully—we all know it. But a splash (or two) of vodka makes this the perfect cocktail hour sip.
Mixed Berry Mojito
Crushed berries stain this classic rum-based cocktail a beautiful ruddy ombre, while fresh mint leaves add an earthy finish.
Lavender Lemonade with Pear Vodka
Nostalgia never tasted so chic. Not only is this drink lovely to look at, but lavender and pear add that “something extra” to the iconic, summertime favorite.
Sangria and summer go together like, well, rosé and summer. Dress up your favorite fruity rosé with a mixture of berries (the classic), kiwi (the unexpected) and even a splash of rum or brandy if you’re feeling extra naughty.
Grilled Peach and Bourbon
Grilled fruit means it’s finally summer. Bourbon gets a bright pick-me-up from grilled peaches and lemon juice for a drink that’s both vibrant and sophisticated.
Mix citrusy, spicy Pimm’s with either lemonade or ginger ale, then add a healthy dose of fresh garnishes (think: cucumbers, apples, strawberries, oranges and mint) to recreate this English delight. Tip: Substitute lemonade or ginger ale for champagne and you’ve got yourself a “Pimm’s Royal Cup.” Cheerio!
Champagne Lemonade Spritzer
This spritzer is tart, boozy and fizzy! Stick a cute straw in your champagne lemonade for endless refreshment, then add raspberries or blackberries for garnish and a bottom-of-the-glass treat.
Blushing White Sangria
Seasonal fruit like grapefruit, oranges, raspberries and strawberries make white wine blush with color and burst with flavor. Served over ice, there’s nothing better on a hot summer day.
If you incorporate these thoughtful touches into your wedding, your guests may never want to leave the party!
By Bridget Clegg
Photo by One Love Photography
Guests will undoubtedly gush over your gown, be amazed by your centerpieces and snap photos of the wedding cake. But give them a charging station for when their phones hit 3 percent battery power or blister Band-Aids in the bathroom for when their heels start hurting, and your wedding will go down in history with the greats. So our advice: Think about the small things that’ll really allow guests to enjoy and celebrate the day with you. Use these 13 ideas below to impress them with that extra little touch.
Pamper Them With a Welcome Bag
From the album: A Sophisticated, At-Home Wedding With Garden-Inspired Flair At A Private Residence In New Canaan, Connecticut
Quench Their Thirst With Pre-Ceremony Refreshments
From the album: A Chic, Garden-Style Wedding At The Addison In Boca Raton, Florida
Warm Them Up With Blankets
From the album: A Winter Wedding At Sundance Mountain Resort In Sundance, Utah
Shield Their Eyes With Sunglasses
From the album: An Elegant Waterfront Wedding At A Private Estate In Easton, Maryland
Give Their Feet a Break from Dress Shoes
From the album: A Lakefront Backyard Wedding At A Private Residence In Tahoma, California
Wrap Them in Pashminas
From the album: An International, Garden-Inspired Wedding At The Old Mill In Rose Valley, Pennsylvania
Send Them Home With a Treat
From the album: An Elegant, Bohemian Wedding At A Private Residence In Greenwich, CT
Thank Them With a Note at Their Seat
From the album: A Romantic Bohemian Wedding At Whispering Tree Ranch In Laveen, Arizona
Feed Them Late Night Treats
From the album: A Creative, Movie-Inspired Wedding In Durham, NC
15 (Easy!) Ways to Decorate Your Wedding Reception
Style your soiree with these fresh ideas.
By Anja Winikka
Whether your historic wedding venue won’t let you bring in a big installation, or you just want to keep the décor to a minimum, we have 15 totally doable ideas to turn your reception space into a celebration that’s all you.
1. Drape the Ceilings
Photo by onelove photography
It’s amazing what a little fabric can do. Keep it formal and elegant with white fabric, or if you’re after a fun vibe, opt for a bright color like yellow. Bonus: Take this approach and you can go light on the table décor and still get the same decked-out reception look.
From A Rustic-Glam Barn Wedding at Olympia’s Valley Estate in Petaluma, California
2. Pick Up Patterned Pillows
Photo by Meg Smith Photography
If you have a lounge area in your reception space (or made one with some rental furniture), get yourselves to a housewares department for some pillows. Find them on sale (IKEA-style) and cover them with your favorite patterned fabric for a few low-maintenance pops of festive color and pattern.
From An Elegant Barn Wedding at a Private Residence in St. Helena, California
3. Create an Escort Card Display
Photo by Meaghan Elliott Photography
Instead of the old escort card table idea, create a bulletin board of seating assignments and display it near the entrance of the reception space. Bonus: You won’t have guests squinting at tiny tented cards, trying to decipher their table number.
From A Kate Spade–Inspired Beachside Wedding at Sanderling Resort in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina
4. Hang Your Flowers
Photo by Rebekah Murray Photography
Think flowers are just for your tables? Think again. Suspending lush arrangements a few feet above your guests’ dinner plates is a fun way to create a more intimate space. (This tip is especially handy if you’re not so fond of your venue’s carpeting—just keep people looking up!)
From A Murray Hill Wedding in Leesburg, Virginia
5. Make Chalkboard Signage
Photo by Harwell Photography
Chalkboards in a photo booth are pure fun—but they’re also a great way to decorate an entrance or jazz up the cocktail bar. Personalize it by thrifting an old frame and spray-painting it to match the rest of your décor. Drape with greenery or a flower garland and chalk away!
From An Elegant Tented Wedding at Pebble Hill Plantation in Thomasville, Georgia
6. Use Table Lamps
Photo by Ira Lippke Studios
Create height on those tables using table lamps. Tip: You can skip flowers altogether if you want, but surrounding the lamps with flowers or greenery is an easy way to hide cords.
From A Modern Garden Wedding in New York, New York
7. Add a Sprig of Herbs
Photo by Troy Grover Photographers
Just because you’re having a formal wedding doesn’t mean you can’t have a little fun with your décor. Add herbs like rosemary or lavender for a fragrant touch on the place settings.
From A Rustic, Romantic Wedding at Shady Canyon Golf Club in Irvine, California
8. Rent Colored Glassware
Photo by Anna Kuperberg
Instead of pouring your entire reception décor budget into the centerpieces, consider using part of that budget to rent extras like colored glassware—it’ll make your tables pop in an instant.
From A Country-Chic Wedding in Sonoma, California
9. Order Calligraphed Menus
Photo by Ned Jackson Photography
Rather than printing out your escort cards and menus, take the design one step further with calligraphy. There are different scripts for every type of affair, like traditional copperplate for black tie formal or something more free-hand for farm-to-table chic. Your budget doesn’t allow for 200 professionally calligraphed place cards? Invest in young talent—post the job in your local college’s art department and test out a few students for the job.
From A Vintage-Style Wedding in Boston, Massachusetts
10. Use a Table Runner That Pops
Photo by Hudson Nichols Photography
Look for modern table décor inspiration, like this patterned table runner. Rather than having several big floral centerpieces, space them out in smaller bud vases to span the length of the runner (and show off the pattern). This colorful detail will make your rental china pop.
From A Buena Vista Farms Wedding in New Castle, Delaware
11. Reshape Your Table Numbers
Photo by Jen Fariello Photography
Want something original for your table labels? Think about number presentation. Display your table numbers or names on unique vessels like wine bottles, lanterns, moss topiaries or festive pennant flags.
From A Fiesta-Style Wedding in Scottsville, Virginia
12. Make a Family Photo Wall
Photo by Pure 7 Studios
For an easy conversation starter, create a wall of family wedding photos. Devote a row to his family, one to yours or just mix them all up. Alternative idea: Showcase your (new!) family tree.
From A Romantic Old-World Wedding in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida
13. Hang (a Ton of) Paper Lanterns
Photo by Armor and Martel Photography
We know—paper lanterns are nothing new. But multiply the number of lanterns you usually see hanging in a reception space by 100 and it’s a totally different story.
From A Classic Garden Wedding in Newport, Rhode Island
14. Mood Lighting En Masse
Photo by Glen Allsop / Christian Oth Studio
When paired with some dramatic uplighting and luxe fabrics, the addition of tall taper candles turns your space into a magnificent scene of dancing lights.
15. Photo Backdrops
Photo by Sarah McKenzie Photography
Create a stunning focal point that doubles as a photo backdrop. Layers of different colors and shapes give guests different elements to marvel at. Think about materials that are easily customizable like tissue paper tassles, balloons, garlands of greenery or paper flowers.
From A Colorful, Whimsical Wedding at Station 3 in Houston, Texas