Jul 19, 2012

Shabby Chic Wedding Reception

My blog as been shy of posts lately, and for good reason.  We just finished back-to-back weddings for my son and my daughter.  They were held a week apart!  Needless to say, I'm exhausted!  But I would be more exhausted if it weren't for the help of wonderful family and friends.  It would be hard to name everyone that had a part in these events, but I hope they each know how truly grateful I am to them for their willingness to help make both of these weddings a huge success.  Thanks!!  Now, onto the pictures.  My son and his bride chose a reception that would have a shabby chic, eclectic, vintage feel.  Okay, maybe my son didn't actually choose that (what guy would?), but he went along with it anyway!  It's always a challenge to make a church cultural hall (basically, a gym) look good with basketball hoops and all, but since the price is right...free...you do what you can!  We created a false ceiling with alternating strands of white lights and paper buntings.  My husband wired me up a great custom extension cord that stretched from one basketball hoop to the other.  He spliced in an outlet every five feet so it was easy to power all the light strands.  We were fortunate to be able to borrow chair covers to hide the metal chairs.  The blue satin tablecloths I picked up years ago at Goodwill for $2 a piece.  They have come in VERY handy over the years.  The paper lanterns were battery operated, although, they could have easily plugged into the custom extension cord if necessary.  The garden gazebo in the middle of the room was decorated with white globe lights and large paper butterflies purchased at a local home and garden center.

The guest table gave the guests an opportunity to "send" the bride and groom a postcard of advice.  A friend, who is an avid quilter, graciously loaned us some quilt tops to use for decorating.

Their postcards were printed on cream colored parchment card stock.  We printed four to a page and cut them accordingly.

After the guests wrote down their words of wisdom, they placed the postcards in the white mailbox.  Real letters written over the years to each other by the bride and groom were tucked into the small vintage mailbox. 

The gift table was set up in the overflow area of the gym.  We used two roll around chalkboards, about 7 1/2' apart and connected them with an 8' long 2x2 board.  Then we gathered white sheets onto pvc pipes (using the original sheet hem as a casing) to create a white curtain backdrop.  We attached these to the tops of the chalkboards.  The beautiful quilt was handmade by the bride's grandmother.  White picket fencing flanked the gift table and was adorned with paper butterflies and paper accordion medallions.  White table skirting for the whole event was made from sheets collected from local hotels.  Can I just say that a ruffler foot for the sewing machine was one of my best investments ever?!  (And, I didn't pay an arm and a leg for it...just about $16 from Amazon.)  A vintage suitcase holds the cards.

A corner of the gym was dedicated to photos of the bride and groom.  The backdrop was an old door with louvered bi-fold doors attached to each side.  The cute bench was made by the bride's late father.  Old vintage suitcases were collected from thrift stores to display photos of the happy couple.  A digital photo frame played a slideshow of their bridal shoot a few days earlier and their day at the temple.

The centerpieces were an eclectic grouping of planted tin cans covered with patterned paper and embellishments, made by the bride and her mom.  They also painted mason jars to hold a bouquet of flowers.  Blue Milk of Magnesia bottles that I picked up at a garage sale held a single sunflower.  Little LED lights that are made to put in jack-o-lanterns lit up an upside-down pint-sized mason jar covered with swirls of hot glue and brushed with the same blue transparent paint as the other jars.  All of this sat atop a white-on-white polka dot center cloth hemmed with a scalloped edge.

The food tables all had white icicle lights attached to them before the table skirting was put on.  They were covered with vinyl lace fabric purchased from JoAnn's and cut to size.  Paper buntings and medallions were used to adorn them.  Various plates and bowls were collected and stacked to use for serving.  We used heavy duty glue dots to keep the stacked plates secure.

The drink table was decorated the same as the other food tables.  Beverage containers were purchased from Costco.  Green ferns were used for added color.  You can see that the paper medallions had a paper doily as one of the layers.

The dessert table had several eclectic dishes stacked to serve mini cookies, brownies, cream puffs, etc.

All of the food tables had these decorative card holders made from wooden salt and pepper shakers, candlesticks, wooden balls, and curly paperclips.  I cut a couple of the salt and pepper shakers in half and glued a wooden ball atop the cutoff part of the shaker and also to the candlesticks.  I then cut a groove along the top of each with the band saw.  The curly paper clips fit snugly into the groove.

The cake table actually displayed a cupcake stand.  The table was also lit with icicle lights.  The backdrop was made using very thin painter's plastic and decorated with more paper buntings.  Paper lanterns were hung from the basketball hoop.  We also added a clip-on spotlight to the basketball hoop to give some light on the cupcake display.  It gave an added bonus of lighting up the paper lanterns as well.

The cupcake stand was made from thrifted objects...various round trays, wooden bowl, salt and pepper shakers, wooden lamp, candlesticks, etc.  You can view a tutorial of how it was done here.

We opted for four different flavors of cupcakes:  Chocolate with peanut butter centers, white with raspberry filling, lemon with blueberries, and chocolate chip cookie dough.   The later ones actually had a scoop of cookie dough in the middle that stays doughy.  You can find the recipe here.  (Note:  I used a packaged yellow cake mix for the cupcakes, and reduced the amount of butter used in the frosting to two sticks instead of three.)  They were a big hit!  The cupcake wrappers were purchased through Sears, of all places, but were packaged by Oriental Trading Company.  They seemed to be the best price that I found.  We also adorned the cupcake stand with fern leaves for added color.

Ammon and Becca requested that Ammon's little brother, who is eight years-old, make their cake topper from clay.  He made Ammon as a knight who is holding a sword, and Becca as a princess. They were a hit!

A close-up of the cake topper.  

When I told my youngest son that his big brother really liked the cake topper he made, he wanted to know if Ammon thought Becca looked beautiful.  It was pretty sweet.

All in all the wedding reception was a great success!  Stay tuned for a post of the second wedding in the near future.  It was decorated with a beach theme.

I like to link to these great parties.


  1. Oh, this is so fabulous, my son gets married with the same theme in 4 months. I have been crazy busy working on the rehearsal dinner. I already have the shutters with the mail box! I would like to hang some lanterns above the buffet table, where was the best place to get lanterns, and where do you get the battery operated lights? You mentioned some for halloween pumpkins, that will work for me since the wedding is November You went way above and beyond.....Twice? Son and daughter!


  2. The decor and food looks fabulous in photos but even more so in person!! I can say that because I was fortunate to experience it first hand. Sue, you did an amazing job to provide Ammon and Becca with a beautiful and memorable reception!

  3. What a beautiful reception with so many wonderful touches. I bet you are an awesome mom in law! I'm jealous! :)

  4. Wow! This is over-the-top economical, appropriate, simple and beautiful. No wonder the bride and groom loved it!

  5. Love the lighted tablecloth!!

  6. My own DD is getting married in October, and though we're doing something a bit different for her reception, I love looking at real wedding photos for more ideas. The lighting under the tables is intriguing me, and I'll have to show these photos to my DD. Love the vintage touches, too. Congratulations on both weddings!

  7. Awww! this is almost bringing tears to my eyes!! My daughter is getting married next year and some of your ideas are what she is envisioning! LOVE the lighting Under the tables! She, too, wants a "cup cake" cake. But she wants the burlap and lace decor. I love the idea of separate little "rooms" in different areas of the locale. And that digital frame is such a good idea! So sweet!

  8. The wedding decor came out so pretty! I love the use of the old shutters and the lighting under the tables. It gives it such a nice effect. My sister just got married on 7/14 and I helped with the decorating. We had a very small budget and very little time to plan it all. I just posted about it on my blog as well. It was not as extravagant as your wedding masterpieces but it was pretty all the same. Congrats!

  9. I just saw your other post and popped over to see this one, it is lovely as well. Great job on both weddings!

  10. How wonderful the wedding reception tables looked. Stopping by to say Hi from the blog hop. Come visit sometime, tea is cold and no shoes are required. Kathy B. http://www.southernmadeintheshade.blogspot.com New follower.

  11. It’s indeed a lovely reception motif! I bet many couples would love this design! I just do wonder if this motif is already included in restaurant seo websites.

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  14. This wedding reception is wonderful ,luxurious and classic. You did a great job. Thank you.


Thanks for taking the time to comment. I appreciate the feedback and always look forward to reading what you have to say! Susan