If You Give a Moose a Top Hat…(or ‘What to do with the Massive Moose in the center of your design space.’)

If You Give a Moose a Top Hat…You Invite Him to the Party!


The Rockford Wed Event at Orchard Ridge Farms-The Pavilion The Definition of Ensemble, “A unit or group of complementary parts that contribute to a single effect.” I hope to help and inspire you to gather and combine unexpected elements, textures, colors and pieces in order to achieve a look that is impressive, unexpected, can stand the test of time and most importantly is YOU. I packed this post with LOTS of my Behind The Scenes Ideas and Inspiration, some How’s To Wow’s, some of my Best Tips&Tricks and some Good $en$e without Sacrificing Style Suggestions. You may be wondering why I would give so much valuable Inside Info away for free? Well wonder no more—>It is simply because Backyard Soiree LOVES to Idea-Inspire and will happily do all the creating, designing and planning for your special day or event as a gift when she–>me wins the lottery. True That! Backyard Soiree knows that a Moose and a Zebra  don’t  scream ‘Bridal Event’ and would not appear to be the wisest choices when trying to attract brides for the only Bridal Event it chooses to be part of for the last two years. But a Moose and a Zebra are what Backyard Soiree was given to begin with—GOOD THING  Backyard Soiree LOVES a challenge and thrives when required to produce an ‘out-of-the-box’ ‘unexpected-done-well’ design. So, let’s start at the very beginning (a very good place to start–go ahead and let The Song from The Sound of Music start playing in your head so that I am not alone :O).  Backyard Soiree was given the massive space in front of the massive, stone fireplace, which boasts a massive moose for it’s design space at Rockford Wed | A Wedding Event Created to Inspire at The Pavilion at Orchard Ridge Farms. My partner, Al of Giovanni’s, released me to all aspects of the design-but offers a Zebra rug and an over sized table if I’d like them…again, I think: these are the beginning elements I have to create this space for the only Bridal Show I do (have I mentioned this yet?!?!) YIKES! It’s risky–but time is running out…so, since we are at The Pavilion (which has that upscale lodge-y feel), I decide that the inspiration for this ‘out-of-the-box’ ‘unexpected-done-well’ design will be, perhaps, the couple this is designed for are World Travelers, or met on a Safari, or a Mission Trip to Africa and for today, their wedding day, this design at The Pavilion represents where they fell in love…


First order of business, deal with Massive Mr. Moose who is Smack-Dab in the middle of the Massive Mantle. I decided it best to ‘Embrace The Moose’–and by ‘donning’ him with a TopHat, I invited him to the party (or into the space). I even placed a couple of birds in his antlers to keep him company…”Birds of a Feather….”


One of my ‘How’s to Wow’s’ is to pick your focal points. Your Head Table is one of your focal points. ‘WOW’ IT and the surrounding tables can quietly compliment. The idea Good $en$e without Sacrificing Style Suggestion for decorating this Head Table is to think of pieces you could borrow from your Mom, Gramma, Aunt or Friend-maybe they are pieces that are sentimental as they were always set at the holiday table. Another idea is to ask for or purchase pieces that you would like in your home–this way they become Forever Momentos Of The Day—>a great way to be purposeful with the money you are spending on your wedding day.


Another ‘How’s to Wow’s’ is in your centerpieces. By Choosing only One Color or Two Colors, you can’t help but ‘POP&WOW’-it demands attention–>they are going to be noticed–>they make a statement. In a big, open space like the Pavilion, it will help the HeadTable rise to the occasion; be a focal point and have the WOW-Factor. The ideas I had for centerpieces for this design were many and fun…but, I wanted to show Brides that this is one area where you can spend less without affecting the ‘WOW’. From My Best Tips&Tricks—>think like this: with stripes on the table, the centerpieces needed to be BOLD not busy. Any bold, bright color would have worked, (&all Cream or White would have been gorgeous and taken this look up a notch in elegance-LOVE!)-I decided on Orange since it was in the same Bold Family as the Citron, Espresso and Teal of the Mirror Image Staggered High Tops framing this space, but was not matchy-matchy and it would POP and bring a summery feeling. I wanted to stand out from the surrounding bold colors of the linen on the staggered highboys framing this space. The Orange Protea was affordable, another interesting shape and texture and it was the right size, jungle type bloom. The green filler for this arrangement is Green Tree Fern. The green is bold and I liked the ‘healthier’ look and texture with the Protea…and it is very inexpensive. A few carnations in the same color orange were slipped in…and that’s it. Both arrangements were placed in ice buckets-think containers that you might have around or that could be sprayed with metallic paint-another inexpensive option. These flora choices fall into the Good $en$e without Sacrificing Style Category. Thank you to Aubrey of Bride Meets Wedding for this photo…:O)!


Absolutely Affordable Arrangements. Green Tree Fern, Protea & Carnations in ice buckets borrowed from Gramma. Flowers, decor and the menu are easy places to trim back without sacrificing overall ‘look’ or quality. This photo also gives a sneak-peek at the Espresso, Citron and Teal Linened HighTops for hosting appetizers and signature drinks, chosen instead of the expected round or banquet table. The two groupings of three staggered high top tables added color, interest, dimension and were the perfect colors to compliment the zebra which was amazing atop the crisp white with the silver pieces and the pop of orange.


Another Element in This Ensemble–Two Leather Chairs borrowed from my Dining Room. Placed Side-By-Side in front of the fireplace and at the Head of this Head Table for the Bride&Groom. This handsome pair were smartly-sash’d in Citron for a fun pop of color on the black leather and great with the orange protea in the centerpieces.


Sashed to make them Special! and Such-a-Smart Sash for this style of chair and overall look – it’s these little details that make this “Eventful!” Thank YOU Anna of Beautiful Day Linens. LOVE it!!!!


Instead of the more familiar and expected parallel placement for the Head Table, I placed this King-Style Head Table perpendicular to the Stone Fireplace in order to add interest and bring it into the room more. The Bride&Groom are placed at the Head of this table (in front of the fire) and the Cake for Cutting and serving the Bridal Party is placed at the Opposite End of this table. A reminder from the first photo’s description that the definition of Ensemble is ‘a unit or group of complimentary parts that contribute to a single effect.’ Backyard Soiree thinks that this is Bravissimo!


The White Vases with Metal Flowers on the Mantle were borrowed for the day from The Martin Estate Wedding Backyard Soiree designed and coordinated in June. They ended up pulling in the Crisp White Head Table Linen and the Metal Flowers worked well with the Silver Ice Buckets and Candelabras. This maybe the only photo where you can see the “Birds of a Feather” placed in Massive Mr. Moose’s antlers – as long as we were ‘Top-Hatting’ him and invited him to the party, we gave him some friends to keep him company.


This photo added to show the mirror image groups of staggered high top tables in three bold colors; Espresso, Citron & Teal, framing this space and making it the Focal Point of the room. These two groupings of staggered high top tables were for Signature Drinks and Hors d’oeuvres—they could also be used for framed photos or the guest book or the desserts on pedestals or… This ‘look’ is fun, sophisticated and embraces the space. Done aaaaaaand DONE!


I placed the Bride&Grooms Cake for Cutting at the opposite end of this King-Style Head Table. The idea here is that this cake would serve the Bridal Party at the Head Table. And then, instead of purchasing a large wedding cake-why not a sheet cake for your guests, which could be sliced and plated on a table or served by wait staff as soon as the Bride&Groom partake.


Bride&Groom’s Cake for Cutting-placed at the Head Table for the Bridal Party. This cake was $12 from a local grocer-then adorned with extra greens and such. See previous photo’s description for more ideas on Good $en$e $aving with Style for the Bride&Groom Cake for Cutting.


This black bandanna lined wire basket was holding dessert forks-it could also be used for bread. Or black bandannas could have been used as napkins at each place setting–if one desired, utensils could have been placed in the napkin and tied with raffia or ribbon and finished with a bloom.


Though not a great quality photo, I wanted to show how smart the sashes looked for this design. (just imagine the one on the left has been adjusted and pulled up a little to where it began :O) details…details… :O) AND-Instead of the more familiar parallel placement for the Head Table, I placed this King-Style Head Table perpendicular to the Stone Fireplace in order to add interest and bring it into the room more.


These fantastic pewter chargers are perfect for this look and courtesy of our Caterer, Giovanni’s. The faux daisies caught my eye in a clearance crate outside a Craft Store months ago—they have a tiny sparkle around the center and were less than 50cents each–just the right touch to soften the chargers. The black ribbon helps them stand out and adds the sophistication needed to accompany the crisp white linen and silver for this important focal point.


For this table, I went every other setting wrapping the utensils in solid black ribbon and a sheer, sparkly, black tulle. The fantastic pewter chargers are perfect for this look and courtesy of our Caterer, Giovanni’s. The faux daisies caught my eye in a clearance crate at a Craft Store months ago—they have a tiny sparkle around the center and were less than 50cents each–just the right touch to soften the chargers. The black ribbon helps them stand out and adds the sophistication needed to accompany the crisp white linen and silver for this important focal point.


Instead of the assumed or typically expected Round Table or a Banquet Table for Signature Drinks and Appetizers, to frame this space, I grouped and staggered three high top tables and draped them in Espresso, Citron & Teal linen then placed them as mirror images on each side of the fireplace.  Although the sash colors could have been alternated, I wanted a bolder statement in this space, at The Pavilion and… I thought it would best compliment my Head Table in Zebra, Crisp White and Silver with the Pop of Orange. For the room full of surrounding guest tables: if white linens are offered with your venue or are the more affordable choice, drape tables in white linen and white napkins with a solid bold color centerpiece, or pull in the Espresso, Citron and Teal for napkins on the white linen tables alternating by table not place setting…ex. one table-all espresso napkins, the next-all citron, the next-all teal then, continue to group high tops for the food or around the dance floor for drink-resting and people watching.

Incredibly delicious samplings offered by Al of Giovanni’s & Big Al’s Bar
A Collection of Pieces from some of the weddings designed&planned by Backyard Soiree this past season. Metal Heart commissioned by Backyard Soiree, executed by Metalscapes and free handed by The One&Only Lindsay Letters, in sync with the invitations, programs and all signage she designed for the wedding.
A Collection of Pieces commissioned by Backyard Soiree from some of the weddings designed&planned by Backyard Soiree Weddings and Events. Metal Heart executed by Metalscapes and free handed by The One&Only Lindsay Letters instep with the invitations, programs and all signage she designed for the wedding. Framed “Sign-A-Leaf” in place of a Guest Book executed by Sweet Sarah Axelson. Burlap Overlay&Runner cut&sewn by MoB with design executed by Buttercup Runways with assistance from Life Verse Design.
The uses for these darling frames are endless. They could be placed at the Entrance near the Guestbook, or ribbon’d around the back of the Bride&Groom’s Chairs at the reception, or part of a photo gallery of the Bride&Groom.

I found these letters for $1 at a Craft Store – they are covered in an antique-y, champagne glitter and could fly solo in a number of places throughout the ceremony and reception. I placed them in these photo frames purchased from another craft store. These photo frames could be placed at the Entrance with the Guest Book, or be part of the photo gallery where The ‘B’ Frame would announce the Bride’s photos growing up and with her family & friends and the other side the groom, or placed at the Head Table where the Bride and Groom are seated, or attached to the back of their chairs, or at the Gift Table or Cake Table or…   (Thank You to Aubrey of Bride Meets Wedding for this photo)


An idea for Welcome or Thank You Gifts or Favors for the  21&Under Guests or Attendants. They can, of course, be filled with anything–>these: ‘Kelly Kelly’ Jar is filled with Epsom Salts and ‘Tommy D’ Jar with Hot Chocolate Fixin’s. What you can’t see in this photo is the little bottle of Bailey’s hanging from the ‘Tommy D’ Jar. Special Thanks to Dear Darling for making and gifting. xo


This “Welcome” to Backyard Soiree & Giovanni’s space for The Rockford Wed | A Wedding Event Created to Inspire, is giving a glimpse of the many decorative and purposeful pieces in Backyard Soiree’s Inventory.  Seen here:  Garden Chair with Bride&Groom Ducks standing on the seat, one of several standing hooks and various hanging and table top lanterns, one of many styles&sizes of frames and easels, one of various sizes&styles of trays…(a front&closer look at the “Bride-To-Be” Perch is in the next photo.) A more complete display of items will be posted in an upcoming album titled “Free-With-Me” which will include Iron Trellis’, Planters, Natural&Metallic Branches&Willows, Iron&Wicker Baskets, Votives, Hurricanes, Decorative Tiered Serving Pieces…

The Bride-To-Be (B2B) Perch (has a white, satin bow on the back side and layers of white tulle draping atop the white skirt), with Bride-To-Be Tiara, ‘Whatever I Say’ Wand and Boa. My favorite use for the B2B Perch is The All About ______(fill in the B2B’s name) Personal Shower – terrific for the Groom’s side to host. The Bride-To-Be perches here, wearing her Tiara&Boa(which can be in her wedding color(s). Her Maid of Honor and Brides Maids are invited and instead of playing games, the Bride comes prepared to tell a little story about how she, the B2B, met each Brides Maid, the Brides Maids come prepared to tell a story or memory with the Bride then the Bride opens that person’s gift. This gives the Groom’s Mother, Friends&Family a Crash Course on getting to know the B2B aaaand it’s more fun for this group of the MoG’s friends&family at the wedding as they recognize and remember the Bride Maids as they walk down the isle. This fun ‘All About’ Shower brings everyone feeling a little closer and connected, which can’t help but serve up more fun later on the dance floor.
Easy Shower Favors: Bling’d-Up Wine Glasses with the Bride Maids’ first initial and ribbon’d in the wedding colors…are then part of the decor for the reception at the Head Table. Also seen here is a tiny taste of Backyard Soiree’s Inventory of decorative and purposeful pieces: Garden Chair, Standing Hook&Lantern, Silver Tray&Frame. Look for a more complete album of Backyard Soiree decorative & purposeful pieces being posted in an album titled, ‘Free-With-Me’
So, If you give a Moose a Top Hat (&place a couple of birds in his antlers to keep him company) you are inviting him to the party” a.k.a. embracing the space; making him ‘Eventful’–>therefore memorable–>which leads to your wedding or event being unforgettable.  Any questions? Backyard Soiree!
Sony Artist, Singer-SongWriter, Rockford Native and my son, Clark Richard, performing many of his original songs LIVE at  Rockford Wed | A Wedding Event Created to Inspire. Clark is able to write a song just for the Bride&Groom to be played for the surprise Proposal, Ceremony or for the First Dance. To hear a small handful of Clark Richard’s work go to http://www.myspace.com/clarkrichard To hear Clark Richard’s original song, “Red Robin” a popular Father/Daughter Dance choice, which has over 1.5million views on YouTube go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=87aaRf_twdk

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