Throw Your Own: Weddings At Home

View Ross’s recipes, and more photos from this article at our Online Magazine.

Your wedding is supposed to be a celebration, not a devastation.  When Andy approached me about doing a spread for Lavender showing how I would throw a wedding, I was immediately inspired by the four seasons and how we often forget to let the world around us contribute to the celebration of commitment.   Throw away the thought of needing to insert a rainbow icon or a lavender-themed splashes, in fact throw away any preconceived idea of what you are expected to do.

The ideas set forth within here is meant to inspire, use them as is or as a springboard and personalize them to your tastes.  I sought to provide you the reader with relatable things that even a novice can do.   I also wanted to cover various lifestyles in the following pages, understanding that different tastes and budgets exist.  I tried to keep those tastes together, yet juxtapose various elements to show how you can splurge on select things and still have a grand presentation.   You will note a few similarities with my style, the first being the use of clear glassware.  I prefer clear so it can showcase the beverage.  You will also note a use of faux bois, which means false wood in French.  I am an avid collector of this and actually have my own private label dinnerware collection made for me in England, which I use for the Autumn inspiration.

Floral pieces were all done by Michelle Pham, who owns Whimsy in Bloom.  I believe the direction she went off from the season inspiration was spot on, using uncommon elements such as driftwood and succulents for Spring, moss for Autumn and gilded eucalyptus for Winter.

Invitations were found at Papyrus all using their Chequerboard collections.  The breadth of products available in each design was mind blowing and I frankly was impressed by the level of detail and personal service I received.

In an effort to go one step further, I found some amazing beverage inspirations where I thought the visual of the product was cohesive with the color palate of the season.  I chose Risata Sparkling Moscato d’Asti for Spring and Risata Il Rosso for Winter.  Risata means laughter in Italian, the price point is within everyone’s reach and frankly an amazing value not to mention how they taste.  I thought the Moscato blue bottle brought cohesion to the Spring color palate and the Il Rosso red brought elegance to the Winter inspiration.  The Il Rosso is actually very unique as it is a sweet, sparkling red.  For Summer and Autumn I chose baby bottles of Astoria Moscato and Prosecco.  Moscato for Summer since the golden packaging mirrored the bright, yellow tones of the season.  The Astoria Processo brown bottle brought a gentle, luxe element to the Autumn table.  Both come in full-size as well, I thought the baby bottles were an interesting take on how to serve your sparkling wine.

Placed on each setting is a bar of seasonal soap from my LUX handmade soap collection.  Using these as favors is a useful way of reminding those of your wedding, personalized with your names and date makes it all that more special.

Spring was inspired by my Grandmother’s collection of Lu-Ray dishes in pastels of yellow, blue and green.  I love having her collection now and was so happy to find that Crate & Barrel now carries a collection in the same tones called Marin, yet in amazing array of durable pieces.   As with Lu-Ray, you can opt to choose one color or throw caution to the wind by mixing and matching.  Crate & Barrel became my muse for Spring.  Since we were mixing and matching dishes, I chose to keep the look eclectic by mixing and matching glassware from Crate & Barrel as well.  Many folks go in together to purchase wedding gifts for couples these days, so I wanted to show how one might surprise the couple by giving them their tabletop registry pieces fashioned into the shape of a wedding cake.  Displayed on a cake stand the couple can use as well, elevates the grand gesture all the more.

To continue with the theme of Spring I was reminded of my garden and the tender  vegetable that begin to grow.  Spring peas and tender carrots were the inspiration for the cake.  A ginger-spiced carrot cake decorated with a vanilla-bean infused cream, cheese frosting I then tinted green to continue on the Spring theme.  Piped carrots laying in graham cracker dirt and Spring peas piped in their shells provide guests with an idea of what lie beneath without being overly literal.

The Smörgåstårta, or Sandwich Cake you see in the photos is like a family-style tea sandwich.  What is nice about this sandwich is it’s completely customizable.  Sandwiched between the layers of the boule are a salami-infused cream spread, cucumber, ham, parsley, beef and Parmesan.  Iced with a cream and goat cheese ‘frosting’, then decorated with chopped romaine, it adds drama yet providing a light meal which we tend to eat come Spring.

To feed my personal obsession with faux bois (French for false wood), I found these amazing Spring green invitations at Papyrus with an amazing faux bois embossed background which added some texture detail without being overly loud.  Spring to me is a gentle season; it is a time of tender growth and calm.  Think of tender foods, delicate patterns and muted hues here.

Summer to me is the season of mature growth, everything is alive and blooming.   Summer manifests itself with big, bold colors which is why I chose yellow as the theme.  Yet you can go overboard with yellow since it is such an aggressive color which is why I used it as an accent, coupled with white since it reminds me of linens hanging out to dry.   I found this wonderful, new beaded tabletop collection from Target which is within anyone’s price point – and it’s porcelain!  I chose the beaded pieces to bring cohesion to the beaded flatware from Williams-Sonoma.

I chose Perigord pressed glassware from Williams-Sonoma since it imbues a sense of history and age.  Here you see the baby bottles of Moscato and the full-sized bottles with their golden color bringing more hues of yellow in.

The hers & hers yellow bouquets in matching tones, yet different flowers hints at the differences of two people involved in this celebration of commitment.  I chose to make an ombre cake in yellow to pull in all the tones of the season.   The layers of cake are also ombred to match the vanilla-bean buttercream exterior.  The simple daffodil-hued invitation with black bring the look full circle.  Summer is a season of plenty, everything is flourishing and growing.  Think of bright colors, light dishes and bold patterns.

Autumn is a season of harvest, a time when we reap and begin to store up for the winter months.  Deep colors like browns and plums, think texture such as mohair and tweed.   I chose my faux bois tabletop collection for Autumn due to the deep, brown color and texture of the pattern.   The earthenware is handmade in England and evokes a sense of tradition.  The Dorset crystal is from Williams-Sonoma, chosen as the hand cut bevels hinted at the ridges of a tree trunk without being literal.

I chose a cutting board by J.K. Adams and a wooden pedestal as serving pieces to bring more cohesion of this season together.  On the cutting board is a fig & olive tapenade that is served family style.  The cake is a brown sugar & bourbon cake that is iced with a brown sugar & bourbon buttercream.  Nestled in between the cake layers is a bourbon-infused ganache and also drizzled on top.  Full, rich flavors paired with deep, intense colors – autumn is a season of luxe.  The woodland boutannier’s for him & him are made of found items from the forest.

The look is finished off with a pumpkin-colored invitation with berry ribbon, baby bottle of Processo in a beautiful, brown hue which I envision infusing with a dose of Crème Yvette.  I fashioned a sculptural wedding cake out of faux bois pieces to show another variation of how you can present your registry gift to the happy couple.

Winter is the season of rest.  It is also a season of Christmas, New Year’s & Valentines.  I specifically chose red for this season, yet wanted to not be overly literal to the point of being corny.   Red in all it’s many hues is a vibrant and warm color.  The eclectic dinnerware from Williams-Sonoma with its many textures is literally called Eclectique.  What I love about this collection is it’s durability, yet refined appearance.   One would never know it goes from the freezer to the oven to the table, or that you can throw it in the microwave and then the dishwasher.   These porcelain pieces are true investments into your entertaining repertoire.  You will truly own these forever (unless of course you throw one across the room, then not so much…)  The dinnerware cake is a set atop a vintage-inspired cake stand from Williams-Sonoma.

I believe the Holidays are a time of shimmer and sparkle, I wanted to bring silver in.  Here you see silver-rimmed saucer champagnes/martini glasses and drink glasses from Riedel, available at Williams-Sonoma along with the hammered flatware which reflects light much like the moon off fallen snow.

Here you see the luxurious, red Il Rosso sparkling in the saucer champagne glass alongside the red bottle it was poured from.  The ‘Save the Date’ correspondence is a snow-white parchment paper embossed with a faux bois design, paired with a champagne colored invitation with snow-white bow.  This elegant setting with its silver, red and glass pairings is accented by a bouquet of champagne and snow tones atop silvery-gilt eucalyptus.  The vessel they sit within is hand-wrapped in burgundy-colored ribbon.  I elevated the floral centerpiece on a glass cake stand from Crate & Barrel so as not to detract from it.

Any pieces not mentioned in the article are from my own personal collection that I have obtained over the years.  Thank you Kevin at Baker, Knapp & Tubbs for the use of their beautiful showroom as well as the vendors that supplied product for this spread, this would have never been achieved without you:  Crate & Barrel, Johnson Brothers, Papyrus, Target and Williams-Sonoma.

The appetizer suggestions I created for the article are meant to be created for affairs of 24 or less, truly anything larger than that and you should really consider having someone else do that on your behalf.  I wanted to inspire your event with ideas that can be made a week, few days or the day of so you can pace yourself without getting too stressed out.  Maybe even have your friends/family pitch in by making some of the recipes for you and bringing them with – after all, your wedding truly is about a coming together of all your loved ones.

In ending, I want to thank Andy and Lavender Magazine for asking me to inspire their readers on what I would do if/when I get married (should Mitch ever ask me).  It has been meant to be relatable and aspirational to you all.  I would love to see photos and hear from you all who use this as a guide as that is what continues to inspire me.  Wishing you all a year filled with fantastic opportunities and love.


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