It really is true what they say. Elegance never goes out of style.
Brides often tell me that they want an elegant wedding when describing how they want their wedding to look and feel. But what exactly does it mean for a wedding to be elegant? What does elegance look and feel like?
Elegance is at the very heart of my approach to Wedding design and styling. It’s a subject I’m passionate about, so I thought I’d write this blog post about it. So grab yourself a coffee, or if it’s after five, a glass of wine.
“Elegance is when the inside is as beautiful as the outside” – Coco Chanel
There’s lots of ways to define elegance, and I believe it means something a little different to everyone. But according to the literal meaning, the dictionary tells us that elegance is defined as:
” Refinement, grace and beauty in movement, appearance or manners. Tasteful opulence in form, decoration, or presentation. Restraint and grace of style”.
So there’s certainly beauty involved, and some degree of opulence and yet, there is also restraint and grace.
Elegance is not total opulence. It’s not excessiveness or necessarily extravagant. There can be elegance in a simple, single rose for instance. For me, elegance is all about having an appreciation for the details and allowing each individual element the chance to shine.
By the same token, elegance is not necessarily minimalistic or simplistic. Striking the right balance is a true art and a skill which is often overlooked.
If you’re reading this and wondering why it matters, then you’re probably in the wrong place. For many couples, elegance won’t be something they strive for when it comes to the look and feel of their wedding. Their unique tastes and styles may call for a completely different approach, and that’s the beauty of throwing your wedding day! It can be whatever you want it to be. Just because a wedding isn’t elegant, doesn’t mean to say it’s any less beautiful or any less special for the wedding couple and their guests. It’s really just a preference, and a very personal one at that.
But for me, elegance is important when it comes to designing and styling my couples special day. It’s what makes my signature approach what it is. For me, an elegant wedding never goes out of style, and stands the test of time so that when my couples come to look back at their wedding gallery images in ten, fifteen, even twenty years time, they will love them all the same.
After all, I’ve never seen elegance go out of style.
Fashion-led trends, yes.
It’s completely possibly to have an elegant wedding in most types of wedding venue, because ultimately, it’s all about what you choose to do with it that counts. With that being said, it does make the job a lot harder when working with more rustic and rural venues. For instance, farms, fields and the more ‘natural’ style barns are more suited for weddings with a focus on rustic, country, festival style weddings where elegance is not necessarily at the focus of the design. Those barns with a more ‘polished’ feel will inherently feel more elegant from the outset.
Typically though, country estates, manor houses and elaborate marquees make for the best setting when setting out to create an elegant day.
I absolutely love receiving a paper invitation in the post. Whilst electronic invites may be more practical and costs effective, particularly for those guests overseas, there’s something more formal and proper about sending an invitation in the post. I love seeing unique details and little hints as to the colour scheme of the day. It sets the tone and gives your guests a glimpse of what they can expect. For an added touch of elegance, monograms and personalised details such as illustrations, ribbons, hand-torn edges and textured card will make your invitations truly stand out.
Flowers are a key part of the design when it comes to my couples weddings. My heart sinks a little when I speak to couple who tell me they won’t be having any real flowers on the day. Whilst it is entirely possible to source realistic looking silk flowers, you really can’t beat the scent and authenticity that fresh flowers bring on the day. Flowers can be one of the largest expenses, but it is important to remember that elegance is not necessarily about excessiveness or extravagance. It’s entirely possible to have a simple, understated bouquet that is truly elegant.
Flower walls and faux floral decorations may be having their moment, but they most likely will not stand the test of time. Whilst it is true that various flower varieties will go in and out of ‘fashion’, there are some which will always be timeless. The classic English Rose is always a winner in my eyes.
One of first things that I get my couples to think about when designing their wedding is their colour palette. It’s important to choose colours which work well together and compliment each other, without being too overpowering. Whites, neutrals and muted, dusky tones will help create an elegant colour palette. With that being said, I have seen many elegant weddings which use brighter hues but the important thing here is that the colour doesn’t distract from the overall design and allows the other elements to shine. Metallic’s also play a big part in creating an elegant design and are often incorporated as an accent colour.
There’s certainly room for a little ‘DIY’ in every wedding, but I always remain cautious. Whilst I love when couples put their own stamp on their day, often the time, cost and complexity of the project in question is overlooked and the outcome is rarely as they hoped. More often than not, things look much easier than they seem, but the reality is, the professionals who charge for their work are skilled and experienced which is why they make it look so easy!
My final word of advice when it comes to decoration and creating an elegant wedding would be to steer well clear of gimmicky props, particularly those which are more trend-led. This is a path which I see lots of couples go down particularly when having a ‘themed’ wedding. Again, I’ve been to some incredibly beautiful themed weddings as a guest and have thoroughly enjoyed them, but it can be all to easy to end up with life-sized cardboard cut outs and theatre props which are probably better placed at a birthday party or something alike.
I used to think that all photographers were the same, but how wrong I was. There are so many different styles of photography out there. Some are heavily edited, and other’s are barely edited at all. If you’re looking for an elegant representation of your day, choose a photographer who is detail orientated, and who doesn’t overly edit your images. It used to be on trend to make an entire photograph black and white, except for the couples eyes or perhaps their bouquet which would stand out in colour. Now, no photographers edit their photos like this, but that’s no consolation for the couples who now have an album filled with them. Choose a photographer whose style isn’t led by trends and will produce graceful and timeless memories for you to cherish forever.
I’ve seen some weddings with a single tiered cake, and other’s with seven. I don’t think elegance has anything to do with the number of tiers on your wedding cake. There are so many other ways to incorporate elegance into this element of your day, and a lot of it has to do with the way the cake is styled and presented. For me, where the cake is positioned on the day is really quite important. There’s nothing worse than seeing a beautiful cake put into the dark corner of a room with a fire extinguisher next to it. I always consider what will be in the background of my couples pictures during key parts of their day. Cutting the cake is one of those moments which is likely to be heavily photographed by both the professional photographer and your guests, so it’s important to check that it’s positioned somewhere with a beautiful backdrop.
For more elegant wedding inspiration, follow me on Pinterest.
Leanna Elizabeth Weddings offers luxury and bespoke design, sourcing and styling to passionate souls dreaming of an elegant, romantic and whimsical wedding. From elaborate marquees to historic castles and country estates, Leanna approaches each wedding with the utmost attention to detail and creative flair.