15 Years of Great Wedding Ideas
Winter 2008, Jessica and Cody Get Married on the "Today" Show
Guests toss petals as newlyweds Jessica and Cody Helgeson, the featured couple on "'Today' Throws a Martha Stewart Wedding," walk up the white aisle. The bride is resplendent in her Reem Acra gown. With bentwood chairs from Party Rental Ltd., the ceremony was held in a pink-carpeted Rockefeller Plaza under boxwood swags topped with handcrafted flowers.
Summer 2009, A Dramatic Yellow Centerpiece
Yellow flowers for a summer affair might sound trite, but when they're in a dramatic centerpiece of phalaenopsis orchids, mimosa blossoms, and gold and white French tulips that arc and bend perfectly, the effect is wholly original. To make a real splash, pair with an ombre tablecloth and set with our watercolor-style place cards that require no artistic talent -- just a printer.
Spring 2004, Silhouette Favors
Matchbooks, disposable cameras, and clear boxes with sugarcoated citrus candy were customized with silhouettes of the couple and given to guests as favors.
Winter 2004, Monogram Details
There is, perhaps, no more definitive statement of your impending union than the one you make with your own initials. Whether you design a custom duogram from the first letters of your and your groom's first names to adorn your stationery suite, or silk screen your own personal insignia onto a pretty parasol (like the one shown here), the effect is romantic and grand all at once -- and the look is, well, letter-perfect.
Winter/Spring 1997, Floral Letter Door Decoration
Since decorations can't be nailed anywhere in this historic church, a daisy garland is hung over each doorway, and a daisy initial is suspended from each door.
Summer/Fall 1998, Monogrammed Ribbon Bouquet
A perfumed burst of about 80 sweet peas, an old-fashioned favorite for early-summer brides, is dotted by something blue, tweedia, and bound by a ribbon embroidered with the bride and groom's initial and wedding date.
Winter 2008, Hand-Engraved Stationery Suite
Fall 2008, Wedding Decorations with the Golden Touch
These ornamental initials -- his and hers -- were formed out of camellia leaves sprayed with gold paint and attached to a wire frame. Blueberry clusters, similarly gilded, and generous lengths of aquamarine ribbon dress up the chairs. Gold-plated candlesticks by Ted Muehling.
Fall 2007, Silhouette Artist
Katie and Ian hired Karl Johnson, a silhouette artist, to create black-and-white replicas of each guest's profile. Working in less than three minutes, Johnson made two copies of each likeness at once; one, pasted on paper, was given to each guest and one to the couple as a surprise.
Winter 2008, Silhouette Cookies
If you want to truly personalize your after-dinner sweets, try serving cookies in your own likeness. The Victor Trading Co. will create custom cookie cutters using silhouettes of you and your groom (send them drawings to use by tracing the outline of your profile from a photograph). To yield the best results, use the cutters on a firm dough that holds its shape while baking, such as our orange molasses cookies. Offer the treats with coffee or tea for a high-profile way to end your reception.
Summer 2008, China with Varying Patterns
Each dining table, covered with the Finks' Madeira linens, is set with plates in a different pattern from the mother of the bride's large china collection.
Winter 2008, Wedding Bouquet with an Antique Locket
If you're as big on nostalgia as we are, you know that infusing your wedding with family treasures not only enhances its meaning -- after all, by taking part in an age-old tradition, you're following in the footsteps of many brides before you -- but it adds an extra layer of romance, too. Unique items that have been passed down for generations lend a sentimental vibe that can't be duplicated anywhere else. And let's not forget how perfectly they fulfill that all-important tradition of wearing something borrowed, too, such as this bouquet affixed with an antique locket, like this one from Jessica Thomas Jewelry.
Fall 2008, Displaying Childhood Photos at the Reception
Here's a surefire tearjerker and chortle-inducer -- a gallery of childhood snapshots. Let the world see the braces, the bathtub moments, the eighties fashion. (Of course, no one will blame you for sandwiching in recent, more attractive pics.) A thin layer of foam board is attached to a folding screen with spray-adhesive, and mint green cloth is affixed the same way inside the border. We crisscrossed white satin ribbons across the board (gluing them along the border), placed map tacks at intersections, and tucked photos behind them. Guests searching for their table numbers will surely walk away from this display with smiles on their faces.
Summer 2006, Red and Aqua Peekaboo Favors
Framed windows allow a look-see into these fanciful paper packets filled with jelly beans. The envelopes are inexpensive and easy to customize; all you need is a craft punch and a rubber stamp. Look for narrow ribbons in a variety of patterns to tie the tops; as long as the colors coordinate, they'll go nicely together. Set out the favors on a table for guests to help themselves -- they will form a colorful and inviting display.
Special Issue, 2007: The Magic of Color
The key to working color's magic is knowing when -- and how -- to use it. For maximum impact, take one color and run with it for a monochromatic effect. It's a chic, pared-down way to express your style. Either showcase many different shades of the same color, drench your decor with a singular hue, or mix in bright white for a modern look. Here, vessels wrapped in silk dupioni and overflowing with tulips, carnations, and roses are scattered across a crepe-paper runner; a flurry of paper lanterns float overhead.
Spring 2001, Variegated Bridal Party
Trusting her friends' sense of style, Jodi asked her bridesmaids to dress as they liked in shades of red, orange, and fuchsia.
Winter 2002, Calligraphed Wedding Invitations
It used to be that invitations were overwhelmingly white (unless you call ivory a color). Now that they've become a unique expression of a couple's individuality, the options are endless. In fact, we've featured stationery suites in just about every single color of the rainbow -- proof that staying within the lines isn't really worth writing home about. Assorted envelopes from Kate's Paperie.
Summer 2009, Wedding Stationery with Unexpected Touches
Different printing techniques (including engraving and letterpress), unexpected touches (the origami chart of Saint Louis attractions), and fanciful details (the bee on the reply card) give a richly layered feel. The bride, Cheree Berry, deeming a palette of reds, oranges, and pinks "too perfect," laced it with robin's-egg blue.
Summer 2006, Colorful Wedding Table Linens and Plates
Bold accents pop against white table linens, chairs, and plates. The inspiration for this table setting -- a beautiful sheet of wrapping paper -- is showcased at the center; we wrapped its edges with cotton ribbon (secured with double-sided tape) to give it a finished look. Around the napkins, strips of aqua paper emblazoned with red calligraphy form place cards. Millinery birds, reminiscent of the birds on the paper, perch on top (their feet are secured to the paper band with adhesive dots). In the centerpiece, vibrant red carnations, arranged in a tight dome, float above a porcelain compote tied with a crimson silk dupioni bow.
Summer 2006, Wedding Centerpieces with Tea Tins as Vases
No one expects you to be Martha Stewart -- really; we know you have a life outside of planning for your wedding. But taking on a project (no matter how simple or involved) is a sweet sentiment that will resonate with your guests. Ultimately, the care you put into the things you create is a reflection of the love you have for your family and friends, as well as the life you're creating with your new husband. With that in mind, we've filled each issue in our 15 years with crafts that are as easy to make as they are stunning to admire, like these centerpieces created from collected tins.
Winter 2009, Butterfly Wedding Accessories
Bride Laura Normandin fashioned her breathtakingly beautiful butterfly bouquet from silk and feather creatures secured on thin wires so that they float and flutter realistically.
Summer 2009, DIY Fabric Dahlia Wedding Accessories
Summer 2009, DIY Paper Streamer Wedding Decorations
Simple streamers may have looked delightful at your prom, but for your wedding you'll want to upgrade to these buoyant, intricately designed versions. Hang them en masse and you've got a chic way to decorate a Champagne bar -- or any focal point that needs more oomph. Garlands from bulkpartysupplies.com.
Spring 2006, Wedding Photo-Booth Ideas
What's not to love about photo-booth pictures? A cheerful swatch of fabric and a shutter-happy photographer are all you need for snapshots you and your guests will treasure for years. But don't take our word for it; just ask our brides. This is the one wedding reception trend we see the most, as shown by Lena and Joshua here.
Spring 2006, Tissue Paper Wedding Bouquet
The luscious blooms in this bouquet are always in season. We chose shades of pink, but a bride could fashion them in any color. What's more, you can make these paper flowers, suitable for formal or casual weddings, in advance. They're easy: A bouquet takes only an afternoon; all you need are a few supplies and your own loving hands.
Spring 2001, Wedding Cake with Fondant and Crepe-Paper Petals
This six-tier fondant-covered wedding cake is decorated with crepe-paper flowers and a skirt of crepe paper, pleats stitched in place.
Spring 2004, Garland Puffs for Your Wedding Car
Guests will cheer you on when you zip away after the ceremony in a car covered with pom-pom garlands. These decorations are easy to make with tissue paper and twine, and they stay on the car with suction cups, which won't damage the auto's exterior.
Spring 2000, Bird's-Nest Wedding Favors
The old standby wedding favor got a brand-new bag thanks to more than just wishful thinking. Bypassing the classic gauzy tulle pouches, we surprised brides with unexpected ways to showcase them: like masquerading as tiny blue robins' eggs in delicate faux nests, shown here.
Winter 20054, Maritime-Inspired Wedding Cake
The couple selected a towering four-tier chocolate cake by Sandee Martensen covered with buttercream frosting and decorated with colorful white-chocolate flags.
Winter 2003, Calligraphed Seating Cards
Calligraphed seating cards seem to sprout from moss and ferns in a weathered-stone urn from the bride's family's garden (each card has a wire "stem" that's been tucked into the moss).
Fall 2006, Blackboard-Chalk Reception Table
Each guest's place is outlined in chalk on a roll of black paper (red artist's tape secures the corners to the tablecloth); single-flower arrangements rest in milk bottles, latte bowls, and ceramic tumblers; votive candles illuminate paper bags trimmed down with scalloping shears.
Winter 2006, Novelty Favorites Wedding Favors
For as long as we can remember, the chances of leaving a wedding without a box of chocolates in your hand were about as slim as the bride choosing to wear black. Clearly, times have changed, and so have wedding favors. Today they're just another extension of what makes the bride and groom unique. We've shown you that no gift is off limits, from charitable donations to eco-friendly finds to an accessory that can be worn at the wedding, and again and again. No matter what you choose, let your imagination run wild -- like Robin and Matt did with their favors: goody bags like those that were once found in old-fashioned novelty stores.
Summer 2009, His-and-Hers Goody-Bag Wedding Favors
The bride and groom collected the contents of the favor bags for months, amassing in their living room a pile of hand buzzers, Slinkys, and other five-and-dime treats to create these his-and-hers goody bags.
Summer 2005, Ballpark Vendor Wedding Favors
After dinner, as a surprise for the groom who is a baseball fan, this bride had waiters walk around with trays like ballpark vendors, giving out chocolate baseballs, iced sugar cookies, and old-fashioned candies.
Winter 2008, Homemade Peach Preserves Wedding Favors
This little jar of homemade peach preserves relies on nothing more than peaches, sugar, and a squeeze of lemon for its orchard-fresh flavor. We created our own printed stick-on label, added it to a Weck jar from Glashaus, and tied a linen ribbon around the top.
Spring 2000, Jasperware Wedding Cake
The tiered confection that usually comes at the end of the night's festivities has never been an afterthought for us. We've always believed that your cake should be the ultimate reflection of your personal taste -- and that cutting it should be your wedding reception's "ta-da!" moment. That's why we've made it our mission to bring you inventive flavor pairings, inspired trimmings, and artful touches in a completely unexpected package. What will we come up with next?
Fall 2003, Sugar Blossoms Wedding Cake
This cake reflects springtime moments amid the cherry trees, when a breeze scatters the dainty blossoms into the air. Here they seem to drift from the top of the cake, where they are densely massed, down to the bottom, where the pink petals break apart as they would in nature. Cake by Wendy Kromer, wendykromer.com.
Winter 2001, White Wedding Candy Bar
Never mind kids in candy stores -- your guests will revel in the myriad cakes and confections that abound in a Technicolor dessert buffet. We started out small, stocking ours with candies no one could resist, then we graduated to cookies, and eventually focused on flavor. Since then, you've raised the bar with s'mores and sundaes -- yum!
Spring 2005, Cookie Bar for a Reception
Watch the kid in the guests appear when they reach for cookies made from family recipes. Ask relatives to bake their favorites, or have your caterer make them. Apothecary jars serve as oversize cookie jars; we put wrapping paper backed with glassine inside. Labels are calligraphed with the cookies' names and whose recipe it is. Set out glassine-lined stamped bags, trimmed with scalloping shears, and seals for packaging cookies to go.
Fall 2001, Darcy's Wedding Dessert Bar
"Andy is like a little kid when it comes to sweets," Darcy says. So dinner concludes with a fantasy buffet of candies, cookies, cakes, and other treats, set up in the Grill Room for guests to enjoy in between dances. The focal point is the nine-tier wedding cake.
Summer 2007, Wedding Lemon Treats
This yellow-themed dessert bar includes cheesecake squares, blended from three kinds of cheese, with a hazelnut-cookie crust. Iced poppy-seed tea cakes are extra-moist thanks to cream cheese in the batter, and the tarts are baked in black-pepper-flecked shortbread crusts and garnished with swirls of toasted meringue. Serve these treats with lemon-flavored candies and offer the buffet in addition to -- or in lieu of -- wedding cake.
Fall 2008, Pink Wedding Candy Bar
Nobody, whether they're 6 or 60, can ignore a table of eye-catching confections in bright pinks, peaches, and golds. The assortment of sweets includes pillow mints, Milkies, sugarbonen, jelly beans, malted-milk balls, taffy sticks, macaroons, and more. We adorned simple apothecary jars and the tablecloth with gold thread lace. The sign is propped up with Dresden-foil flowers. Provide glassine bags so your guests can take home a sampling.
Summer 2009, Wedding Cupcake Mania
Once considered the stuff of bake sales and 5-year-olds' birthday parties, cupcakes have exploded onto the scene as the alternative to a single triple-tier stunner. Of course, we've found clever ways to reinvent these diminutive desserts, like this staggering, buttercream-frosted cupcake cake. That said, we still love the cupcake tower that graced the cover of our Winter 2003 issue; years later, people still refer to it, making it quite the classic. Is there a better way to pass around love?
Winter 2003, Blue and White Wedding Cupcake Tower
Homespun white cupcakes are crowned with fondant hearts cut with a cookie cutter and imprinted with the bride's and groom's first initials using a new rubber stamp.
Fall 2004, Wedding Cupcake Tower
Chocolate-iced cupcakes stood in for wedding cake at Molly and David's wedding. They were made festive with little flags (created by folding paper around short skewers and securing with double-sided tape); each was printed with a monogram, a palm tree, or polka dots.
Winter 2006, Sophisticated Wedding Cupcakes
Fondant wafers, rubber-stamped with hearts, starbursts, monograms, and exclamation points, top each cupcake.
Fall 2005, Wedding Cake Slices with Cupcake Toppers
Miniature chocolate and vanilla cupcakes surround white-fondant tiers speckled with piped Swiss dots. Brown-and-ink-hued paper flags wave from piped icing swirls. Slicing the cake divulges chocolate and vanilla layers filled with chocolate cupcake icing.
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