Brides who follow fashion know that the textures, colors and styles that debut on the runway today will not only turn up in their closets tomorrow, but they will also make an appearance at their weddings. Linens, serving ware, place settings and even menus are affected by what’s hot in fashion. Right now, runways predict a winter season full of high drama. Scintillating menus and haute tables are the staples you’ll need to create the most fashionable winter wedding wardrobe around.
The return of opulence on the runways can only mean one thing on the dinner plate: French food. But today’s French fare is not the heavy, over- sauced affair of yesterday; it’s a tribute to fresh and simple gourmet cuisine. To incorporate French style into your wedding menu, consider a multi-course meal starting with a rustic pâté, followed by seasonal seafood dressed simply in a beurre blancsauce. Consider a salad for your third course, as the French do, followed by a cheese plate. As cheese undergoes a renaissance in restaurants, the cheese plate has appeared increasingly at the wedding table.
If you want to add luxury to your wedding feast but budget is an issue, opt to include just a few well-placed, high-end items on your menu. A small slice of tenderloin or a dollop of caviar on tray-passed hors d’oeuvres can go a long way in setting a dramatic, elegant tone. And for a closing act, choose a dessert that is over-the-top in style (but not in cost).
Finally, consider adding an element of the exotic. Just as in fashion, mixing and matching opposing styles can turn a good meal into an enviable one. Consider blending the seasonings of Asia with the stews of France; the pasta of Italy with the lemongrass and peanuts of Thailand; or even the olives of the Mediterranean with the seafood of New England. Playing with our food is not only acceptable, but it is also important to create a wedding menu in step with the times.
Talk about drama: Wedding cakes have become an art form all their own. Whether they are whimsical and colorful, full reproductions of a meaningful item, or dramatic, artistic expressions in sugar and flower, cakes are stealing the show. One recent couple even had its cake delivered into the reception by stilt walkers!
In lieu of a theatrical cake display, consider the dramatic aftertaste of creating a signature take-home item. One couple that was married in a barn gave its guests an apple pie served in a special box from a country store. Another bride sent her guests home with caramel apples wrapped in cellophane and bags of gourmet popcorn custom-made in her wedding colors and monogram.
Finally, just as wedding dresses are becoming more daring in color, texture and cut, so is table décor. New tabletop linens this season feature saturated colors like rich crimsons, chocolate browns and bright tangerines. They are beaded, corseted, tufted and even spiked with grommets. Faux suede linen adds a new texture to the winter table, while whites in varying shades add a fashionable touch to a wintry set-up.
To complement stylish linens, consider new, unusual tabletop pieces from abroad that are now available from domestic rental companies. Glass base plates, colored wine glasses in contemporary shapes, and hammered copper and silver flatware are just a few exotic items that give tables a fashionable touch. And if you are really fashion forward, consider covering the entire tabletop (either the head table or a buffet) in something unexpected –like the tops of roses–for a look that will put your wedding reception on this season’s best-dressed list.
Opening photograph by Danny Weiss