{Inspiration} Art Deco Decor: Balancing Geometry and Romance

Coco Chanel’s mirrored staircase

To continue my discussion on Art Deco inspired colour schemes, today’s post will focus on the elements and details you can incorporate to continue the Art Deco theme in your wedding decor.

Based on my research, Art Deco themed weddings have the potential to take on a costume-y, even Halloween, effect. Designers might over-emphasize the kitschy and obvious, such as tall vases with huge feathers and pearls hanging off or peacock colours everywhere…and it becomes too much…at least for my taste. I am more a fan of the “inspired” look and not the “obvious” look—if that even makes sense. (e.g., pic on the left: not for me.)

For a successful Art Deco look, I think it’s important to emphasize two elements: geometry and romance. Both balance each other out: romantic elements soften harsh geometric lines, and geometry anchors the romance.

How does this translate into real life? Geometric elements include the more “masculine” aspect of Art Deco: architectural inspirations; strong patterns; sharp, repetitive shapes and lines; mirrors; chrome; and black lacquer. In contract, romantic elements include feminine touches, such as light colours, brushed gold, bronze, curves, texture, pearls, and flowers.

For example, the following tables have a fine balance of masculine and feminine materials:

The Queen Mary Ballroom

Art Deco Collection by Ralph Lauren Home

New York apartment from Architectural DigestRed, black lacquer, bold pattern, and golden light

Centrepieces can also represent the style in many ways. You could take inspiration from the NYC skyline that is peppered with Art Deco buildings (think Empire State, Chrysler, Rockefeller Centre) and incorporate architectural elements into your centrepiece by using different sized vases with soft floral arrangements. Maintaining a strong pattern via geometric table cloths/runners or contrasting colour combinations are additional means of subtly infusing art deco.

The following centrepiece examples are quite modern, but I find they have a good balance of masculine and feminine aspects, along with architectural interest. Architecture doesn’t mean “HUGE”; smaller, textured arrangements could actually have more impact. Moreover, replacing the white vases in the below examples with brushed gold or bronze could infuse a vintage feel; possibly even more striking would be to combine brushed gold or bronze with black lacquer or mirrors (a la Coco Chanel’s staircase). Very sexy. Also, roses, calla lillies, and hydrangeas are ideal flowers–they are very soft and romantic. {Click on the following pictures to be redirected to original site.}

Additionally interesting would be to use art deco vases or vases with patterns influenced by art deco style. {Image credits: Clockwise starting from top left: Crackled vase; Skyscraper vase; White & purple vase; Red, white turquoise vase}

{Image credits: L-R: White vase; chrome vase}

And, if you’re feeling fancy, la piece de resistance:

A vintage photo booth!

Typography, fashion, and beauty inspirations to follow (soon)!




{Inspiration} Colour me Art Deco!

Continuing my Art Deco Inspiration series, I’ll focus this and the next post on wedding decor.  Decor, in my opinion, is essential to establishing your wedding’s mood. Art Deco design is definitely for the bride and groom who like glamour, are looking for a perfect mix of vintage and modern, and want something a little sexy. There’s also a masculine and industrial feel to the style that might appeal to some grooms–at least when compared to a frilly pink princess theme!

Regarding South Asian and fusion weddings, recall that Art Deco has many influences, including art from ancient Egyptians and Mayans. (I also wonder if imperialism, still the rage in the 1900s, impacted Art Deco style?) Due to its multiple influences, gold, silver, and bronze are elements common to Art Deco, which lend themselves easily to South Asian wedding decor. Contrasting metallics  in South Asian fashion and design, though, metallics in Art Deco are noticeable, but somewhat subdued; they often have a brushed look with a slight sheen.

The patterns, geometry, and colour combinations in Art Deco offer loads of inspiration for colour schemes, linens, table settings, and so on! I created some colour inspirations boards below. When creating the boards, Art Deco posters and textiles served as my jumping off points, almost similar to the interior design process when you choose a painting you love and then design a room around the painting. Along with inspiration from posters and textiles, the colour boards are also influenced by my personal preference for creating a warm and cozy setting amidst glamourous and grand details.

A caveat to start…there’s a lot of black!

Red, gold, & black
{Image credit: Paramount Hotel; Art Deco wallpaper; Parisian poster}

Olive, gold, and black
{Image credit: Vogue cover; Ralph Lauren Art Deco Collection; Art Deco Wallpaper}

Purple, black, and ivory{Image credit: Art Deco wedding; Art Deco cake; Purple textile}

Red, silver, and black

{Image credit: Peninsula Restaurant in Shanghai; Art Deco Fabric}

Some more pretty images for inspiration…

{The Salon by Erte}

{Sampson & Delilah by Erte}

The following prints are by Frank Mcintosh, who designed many covers for Asia magazine through the 1920s and 30s. His work has an interesting combination of Asian and Art Deco styles; granted, some of his work has an air of Orientalism…but, the images are pretty….(ooh, how the 22-year-old-anti-establishment-undergraduate-LBB looks at me from the past with disgust).

{In Agra and On One of the Seven Seas}

{Indian Dance and Winged Guests}

In the next post, I’ll share some pretty table settings!



Lemon Truffle Designs {Decor Highlight}

Lemon Truffle Designs is a relatively recent event design & decor company to join the South Asian wedding industry. Amna Rather, founder of Lemon Truffle, started her design career in creative gift baskets and interior design. She fell into event design almost by accident when a corporate gift basket client asked her to decorate a holiday party –and she hasn’t looked back since! Amna took on her first wedding project last March and has  quickly developed an impressive portfolio.

Amna describes her style as “modern, chic, elegant and not overly traditional”. She loves playing with colours and textiles through the use of rich fabrics; she’s also a fan of shimmer and all things pretty. In her wedding designs, she tries to incorporate custom touches to give each wedding its unique and personal feel. When it comes to working with clients, Amna enjoys collaborating with couples who are involved in all aspects of the decor process.

Currently, Lemon Truffle’s services include the following: Design/Décor Consultation; Backdrop Design; Stage Décor; Chair covers; Linens; Centrepieces; Tablescapes; and Floral Design. Amna is planning to collaborate with photographers to provide styling and props for engagement shoots (an AWESOME idea!). She’s also aiming to expand on creative shoots this upcoming year. She collaborated in a spectacular vintage Alice in Wonderland creative shoot last year. Please check it out! If that shoot is any indication of her awesomeness, I cannot wait to see what else she has in store!

Below are images from Lemon Truffle Designs’ recent projects. What I appreciate about each project are the layers and details. I can definitely see the play of textures and colours; there is also an element of familiarity with the use of traditional colours coupled with elegant, glamorous, and sometimes unexpected details.

What a spectacular ceiling!! I love the cystal lanterns!!

For more decor goodness, please check out Lemon Truffle Designs’ website and Facebook page. And if you haven’t already, check out the beautiful Alice in Wonderland shoot.



{all images courtesy of Lemon Truffle Designs}

Bridalicious Vendor Spotlight: Decor

If you’ve been reading my blog, you know that I love wedding decor. It is one of my top priorities for wedding planning, and I pity the fool who dismisses decor as irrelevant. Attention to detail is what makes your wedding memorable, and decor is the way to show that attention and a way to represent you and your fiance.

The decor at Bridalicious was stunning! It was amazing to see the different ways the decorators interpreted the theme “Secret Garden”, and you definitely got a sense of their individual aesthetic and and artistic nature. My highlights are below!

Nisha Chandra Events

Nisha and I have been emailing back and forth for a few months, and it was such a pleasure meeting her at Bridalicious. She is an absolute delight, and I would love to work with her! I’ve got to be honest–I’m not a huge fan of green and yellow (don’t know why that is), but she converted me with her  table design!! It was romantic and unique, and I can totally imagine myself enjoying a lovely meal, good conversation, and (several) glasses of wine at the table. Incorporating a garden into the table and covering it with a glass top was magnifique! The only problem with me sitting at that table would be inhibiting my tactile-seeking behaviours–I love to TOUCH things, and I can imagine myself touching the flowers and moss under the tabletop all night. I actually wish I could touch the yellow flowers in the pictures right now!!

Sara Baig Designs

I LOVED Sara’s blue and white take on the garden theme. Maybe it was the blue/white combo, I just remember feeling serene while standing next to her table. The attention to detail was phenomenal, and I felt like a bit of a stalker because I couldn’t stop taking pictures! She had a hand-painted cookie, for goodness sake! I also had a long chat with Sara and I fell instantly for her warm disposition and approachable energy. She would be awesome to collaborate with!

Karma Design Studio

I didn’t really get a chance to speak Piyush, the Event Designer from Karma Design. The table setting was ELABORATE with the incredibly tall and detailed centrepiece. The table is not one that I would naturally gravitate towards, but I think that’s because I have an innate aversion to tall centrepieces. Maybe it’s because I’m short, and I’m traumatized by the many weddings I’ve attended where my view was blocked by a huge plant. Who knows? However, I can certainly appreciate the layers of thought and design that went into this table’s art.

Berries & Blooms

I unfortunately did not get to meet Natasha from Berries & Blooms, which is a full service floral and decor company. Natasha decorated two small round tables and had a special giveaway for a lucky raffle winner at Bridalicious. Based on her table designs, I didn’t get a good sense of her aesthetic and style–not to say that I didn’t like what she had. In fact, her centrepieces were pretty, but I guess compared to the other full tables, I left feeling a little underwhelmed.

The Perfect Setting

Naphisha provided the decor for my wedding, which I’ve raved about. She also provided the wider decor and set up for Bridalicious, and it was so great to run into her. I haven’t seen her since before the wedding! As usual, her work was pretty amazing. The centrepiece for this table is a great statement piece; it’s obviously not meant for a dinner table, but definitely great in the entrance or in the centre of a round, levelled buffet or dessert table.

More Bridalicious pics to come!



The Details: Reception Decor

I loved how our reception hall looked–it was absolutely exhilarating to see  our abstract design ideas and vision morph into reality. We worked closely with Naphisha from The Perfect Setting, who is an absolute dream to work with. I highly recommend her to anyone and everyone!! She understood our vision and ran with it.

The Room

Picture of room taken from above. We had a mix of round and rectangular tables and dark backdrop with crystal drops

We held our reception at the Grand Victorian in Mississauga, which is a pretty venue. It’s a bit too traditional for my taste, and we knew we’d need some great decor to personalize it. We wanted a glamorous yet warm room that incorporated typical, strong Indian colour combinations, but balanced with modern neutrals. We decided on a dark purple and fuschia pink colour theme, with gun metal grey and damask to balance the strong accent colours. We had a room divider, which I despise. Room dividers ruin the overall decor, look drab and depressing, and remind you that you’re in a banquet hall in the suburbs! We decided to fork out the extra bucks to cover it with draping  all the way across. It was worth it. The room looked complete, the backdrop added drama, and it was a great  for pictures.

Lighting is key to a room’s feel and atmosphere and we used the hall’s updated lighting system to its full extent! We had pink lighting in the ceiling, plus pin spot lighting at each table. It made the room feel warm and modern, which contrasted the room’s “natural” state, which is cavernous and traditional.

The amazing ceiling and lighting!

The Tables

We had a mix of round and rectangular tables, a trend I had seen in wedding magazines and totally loved. We didn’t want the room to look monotonous, and so chose two different tablecloths to add variety, but mostly to incorporate my obsession with damask print. I do love damask! The round tables had crush silk-like gun metal grey cloths and the rectangular tables had monochromatic grey damask cloths.

The Table Settings & Details

In wedding mags, I saw cute pictures of framed table numbers, and I wanted to do the same. Originally, I wanted either bling-y or ornate frames. But, when we realized how much they would cost, J convinced me to go with simple silver frames from the Dollar Store. They looked great and only cost us $25 in total! We borrowed the table numbers from our planner. Because we had a buffet, we didn’t have charger plates for table settings. Instead, each person was met with a fuschia pink satin napkin folded into a square and topped with a white orchid. Each setting also had a silver noisemaker–which people had to use if they wanted J and I to kiss!! It was noisy, but a fun(ny) alternative to glass tinkling!

We incorporated a bit more drama at the head table–which was, according to our plans, supposed to be a large King’s table, but was instead ended up being long single table (still haven’t figured out why). We had large crystal candelabras, low floral bouquets with hydrangeas and orchids, and large blingy votives. To be honest, I was so overwhelmed that day, I couldn’t properly take in everything at the table–I just remember it looking pretty!

Table details: fuschia, silver, and sparkle!

The Centrepieces

J and I have always despised huge, useless centrepieces at receptions, but we despise the who-will-win-the-centrepice games even more. Honestly, I never win anything, but I always mange to win some  4 foot vase filled with ugly feathers or  that I will never use again at every wedding I go to. Usually, I leave the centrepiece exactly where it is and happily permit any overzealous Aunty to take my “prize”. We didn’t want to subject our guests to a similar experience and thought hard about a functional centrepiece that everyone could take a small piece of home. We  were overjoyed when we saw an awesome idea in a Martha Stewart mag (love Martha!). Being creative with our centrepieces allowed us to add personal touches (literally–we made them ourselves) to the beautiful decor. We ended up with two different centrepieces, both which incoporated  favour boxes filled with tea–all made by J, me, our sisters, J’s brothers, and our friends!!! (THANK YOU!)


We topped a cystal cake stand with our favour boxes, which were interspersed with orchids and surrounded by candles and orchids on the table.



For the second centerpiece, we filled a tall cylindrical vase with the favour boxes, partnered with a bouque of hydrangeas, surrounded by candles and additional favour boxes on the table.

We were able to incorporate design elements we loved all within a reasonable budget. Totally loved the room and I wish I could step back in time to just take it in.

I’ll post pics of our outfits soon!!



The Perfect Decor

We decided on our decorator a while ago, but didn’t get the contract confirmed till a couple weeks ago, so I’ve delayed posting about our decor.

For our decorator search, we met with two companies recommended by our wedding planner.

We first met with Gagan from Wedding Decor at his home/studio, which is a pretty yellow house on a wide lot. Gagan runs Wedding Decor with his wife, and he has become the main contact for the business since his wife gave birth to their daughter.  The meeting was lengthy, and probably unnecessarily so. Wedding Decor has done some great work, but J and I didn’t click with the company’s style. We had a vision that strayed somewhat from Wedding Decor’s vision, and rather than acknowledging the difference in our visions, Gagan came across as slightly condescending throughout the meeting. I’m not sure if it was simply his communication style or my (mis) perception, but to say the least, I left the meeting feeling frustrated and drained.

We met with Naphisha from The Perfect Setting the following week at her studio in Scarborough. It completely contrasted our meeting from the week prior. (I should have known–I liked her website a lot better!!) Naphisha listened, asked questions, and got it. She understood our vision and suggested ideas to enhance it. I fell in love with her right away. We’ve met with her twice since, and I’ve left each meeting feeling inspired and excited. Naphisha is incredibly creative and skilled. She shares her ideas in layman’s terms and provides feedback in a gentle, helpful way–so if you suggest something that she thinks won’t work, rather than saying “umm..your idea sucks”, she’ll pose questions that make you reflect and consider alternatives. She’s incredibly collaborative and welcomes the couple’s input. Oh, and she is incredibly well-priced!!!

For current samples of her work, check out this Sangeet Naphisha decorated! I love the Moroccan theme!! The sangeet was shot by the one and only Kumari Photography, of course!

So what have we come up with? We wanted to incorporate the bold colour common to Indian weddings, but with a contemporary, chic twist. Indian wedding decor is usually about pinks, reds, oranges, and golds–which ends up being very warm and maybe more appropriate for a summer wedding. We wanted bright, but with a cool undertone.

We decided to rebel and are incorporating dark colours (faux pas according to my mother) into the scheme, complimented by brighter colours, and some bling of course!!!

Our colour scheme is gun metal grey, eggplant purple, and fuschia pink, with touches of black and bling! I don’t want to give too much away, but thought I’d create an inspiration board to represent our theme. To be honest, it’s my meager attempt–this is really a post-hoc inspiration board that I created using the collage function in Picasa. I really don’t know what I’m doing!

Thoughts? Suggestions?



Feature: A Night of Romance

Imagine this.  You’ve been with your fiancé for a few years now and you’ve spent many nights together. You might live together; you might not (as in my case). The weeks before the wedding are hectic and you rarely spend non-wedding time with your fiancé. On the wedding day, you see your new husband or wife during the ceremony and for a few bites during dinner. Months of planning have culminated into one final day, and after a long and exciting, but tiring, day, you spend your first night together as husband and wife in…a generic hotel room.

A regular hotel room, before being romanticized by A Night of Romance

You stand in the room and realize that so much detail and thought have gone into setting the ambience for the ceremony and reception, but your first night together has been more of an afterthought. Isn’t your wedding night just as special as your wedding day? Wouldn’t your night be more memorable if the room looked like this?

The above hotel room, after being transformed into a "Tropical Oasis" by Nirmala & Monika. Doesn't that just you want to roll around in the bed...the petals on the floor are also pretty tempting.

This is the question that Nirmala and Monika, two friends who also happen to be sisters-in-law (their husbands are twin brothers!!) asked themselves during a road trip to the U.S. while reflecting on their wedding experiences. Armed with this “eureka!” moment, Nirmala and Monika combined their creative juices together to form A Night of Romance.

A Night of Romance is currently, to the best of our knowledge, the only wedding vendor that focuses solely on creating a romantic ambience for newlyweds. They take an ordinary bedroom or hotel room and transform it into a romantic oasis for the couple. They take their cues from the couple and make efforts to personalize it to them. For example, they decorated one couple’s room in the reception colours; for another couple they created a picnic basket filled with the couple’s favourite foods to enjoy after the reception. Moreover, they understand the value that women place on romance, and they have tapped into an aspect of the market that has been ignored. For Nirmala and Monika, who both have full-time corporate jobs, the abilities to be creative and to facilitate a romantic evening for newlyweds are the most rewarding aspects of A Night of Romance.

Regarding romantic options, A Night of Romance has several. Their most popular packages are a “Room for Romance” and “A Bollywood Night to Remember”. The former packages appeals to couples who prefer a contemporary approach to romance; the latter package appeals to couples inspired by Bollywood movies and want to feel like Indian royalty.

A room fit for a maharaja and a maharani

As two South Asian-Canadian entrepreneurs, Nirmala and Monika have received great response from the public. They were accepted as exhibitors at the exclusive, upscale wedding show at The Carlu this past January. They were also asked by wedding planner extraordinaire Jane Deyus-Hinch from Wedding SOS to decorate a couple’s honeymoon suite, as requested in a “wish”. They were also featured in The Globe & Mail as one of the top wedding trends for 2010 (which I’ve also blogged about).

A Night of Romance offers a wonderful opportunity for newlyweds to mark their first night together in a romantic, special, and affordable way. Wouldn’t it be the sweetest gift to your new hubby or wife or even a thoughtful gift from a family member or friend?? LOVE IT!

Make sure to check out their website: www.anightofromance.ca



p.s. Lots of updates–will make time to post this week!!