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Cocktail Hour Decor

All in, I probably put more thought and time into the cocktail hour than I did any other aspect of our event.  While the ballroom downstairs was being flipped from ceremony to reception we moved into the main level of the Atlanta Woman’s Club, which is just stunning and fit perfectly into our vintage slightly-French theme.

First up, decor.  There are several fireplaces and mantles.  Our main parlor’s mantle was very much inspired by this wedding. My mother and I scouted many many Marshall’s, Ross, Home Goods, and Tuesday Morning stores to come up with all of these items.  My dad joined in the fun by spray painting the birdcages for us.  Morgan and A. worked hard to style the mantle on the day of the event.  I could not have been more pleased with the end result.

decorated mantle wedding
{Feisty Tourist}

vintage decorated mantle
{Jessica Claire}

So what all did we include?  Two birdcages, a beautiful collectible plate, lots of mercury glass candle holders, a bookend, a cake stand, a few pitchers, a cloche, lots of votive holders and tealights, a few fresh blooms and even some books from around the venue!

gold mantle decor
{Jenna}

Along with the main parlor, there were mantles in two of the other three rooms on the main level.  Those mantles were decorated with candles and framed photos of the hubby, Charlie, and I.  Again, all of the frames and candle holders were purchased on our shopping trips!  The clear cup tealights were purchased in bulk from Candle 4 Less.

mantle with framed photos
{Feisty Tourist}

photos on mantle
{Feisty Tourist}

The room with the mantle above contained the bar.  A typical bar consists of two 6′ tables that the bartender(s) stand between.  Typically, the alcohol is displayed on the front 6′ and the glassware on the back table.  This is done so that the bartender does not have to turn his back to the guest.  However, it means that your liquor bottles take center stage.  One thing that I did to make the bar a bit more attractive was ask that the glassware be placed on the front table of the bar instead.  For my small crowd, this worked really well and in my opinion, is far more attractive.

bar glassware
{Jenna}

We had six hiboy tables with gold chivari barstools scattered around the upstairs.  We chose to let the linens on these tables take center stage and only had a few candles on the tables.  The underlay is a standard taupe classic linen, overlay is Gold Spanish Lace, and the tie is a Taupe Lamour.  All linens were rented from BBJ Linen.

gold lace cocktail table linen
{Jenna}

Another decor item I thought I should note was the curtain that we placed in the hallway leading to the ballroom.  I mentioned that we flipped the downstairs ballroom.  Well, the hallway leading from the main level to the ballroom is completely open…

womansclubhallway
{author’s personal collection}

… and flipping the room is loud, plus we didn’t want to spoil the surprise of the reception decor.  We explored having a vendor drape the area and got ridiculously high quotes.  Solution?  A tension rod and drapes from Bed Bath and Beyond.  $80.  Problem solved!  You can see the end result in this photo:
vintage-inspired-wedding
{Michael Norwood}

You’ll notice that all of the decor (non-floral) for the ceremony, lawn, porch, and main level of the house was DIY.  There are two reasons for this.  First of all, (and I think this is the big reason we all DIY, right?), I had complete control over sourcing, purchasing, and styling the end result.  I would much rather be responsible for something than turn it over to someone else – that is just my personality.  A lot of that is because I am a visual person and it’s hard for me to explain what’s in my head.  By DIYing I knew that it would reflect my vision.

Secondly, it’s cheaper.  We were quoted $70 each from our florist for each rented pillar candle placed along the aisle for the ceremony.  Our final cost?  About $20 apiece.  Our quote for lighting the lawn with rented votive holders and tealights?  $200.  We paid approximately $80.  After we decided to do it on our own, we did not price the mantle decor or the porch decor through the florist, so I can’t tell you how much we saved there.  But long story short, we beat rental prices by purchasing ourselves.  By a ton.  That doesn’t even take into account the production costs that the florist charges over and above the cost.  And, of course, purchasing means that we have them to use/sell after the fact.  Naturally, the downside was the time that we spent buying, transporting, etc.  But for that savings it was WAY worth it!

Up next in the wrapup – the cocktail hour continues: entertainment, DIY projects, and the guest book!

Previously: Choosing My Venue, Out of Town Baskets, Do Not Disturb Signs, The Welcome Party (Part 1, Part 2), Lighting the Lawn and Porch, Bathroom Baskets, DIY Coat Check Tags, Ceremony Music, Our Same Day Edit Video, Getting Pretty, Portraits, The Ceremony

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5 comments on “Cocktail Hour Decor

  1. Jan writes...

    Your vow renewal was so unbelievable!!! I am getting married this November and your wedding alone is my inspiration for decor. I was having such a hard time finding pictures of a reception I loved, and could not come up with one on my own. Thank you for sharing these pictures. They are stunning!!!

  2. Ami Elizabeth writes...

    Jan, thank you so much! That means the world to me – I’d love to see photos from your wedding!

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