• Allison Foley

Eat. Sip. Rehearse. Climb... Climb?

Updated: Jan 21, 2020

This gorgeous table is made from the trunk of a loved family tree that could not be saved. It's beauty was augmented by eight cross-back chairs, the couples' own top rope as garland, various climbing gear, a bouquet I had so much fun making in a faux mercury glass vase, and utensils wrapped in a napkin tied with a climbing knot.

When I get a client who allows me to get creative and curate the feel, flow, and function of an event, saying that I get excited would be an understatement. My favorite place to pull inspiration for an event is the personal passions of the celebrants. For this event the Mother of the Groom was hosting and wanted the event to have a casual feel with all details focused on Ryan and Grace and their wedding the following day. The Mother of the Groom told me she wanted the decor to flow naturally with the scenery and have an understated look but with some funky pops, she also wanted to ensure that Ryan and Grace's love for rock climbing was incorporated into the event. Now this is an event that sounds right up my ally, I get to be funky and classy???... in five days time.

Putting together a vision board for a client and getting to talk through with them how each picture made its way onto the board is so much fun! This step in the process is a great help on bringing an overall vision together.

Being on a time crunch, we expedited the vision stage of the planning process. We started out by agreeing that navy, white, and green made sense for the evening's primary colors, but I wanted to make sure I added that "pop" the Mother of the Groom wanted, so I decided we would mix some fuchsia into the mix!

With some nice plywood, some gunstock stain, and a little patience with a paintbrush, you can make this sign yourself!

From the very entrance to the property, everything was about Ryan and Grace and and the exciting day ahead. For those of you interested, the stain of the board is "gunstock" and the lettering is hand pained to really give it that inviting, personal feel.

The couples' bikes tied together with fairy lights and another custom sign.

To keep the focus centered on the couple as guests entered through the front door I tied their bikes together with fairy lights as a way of making guests feel relaxed and allowing them another "aww" moment before entering the party. It's called mindset people! Use your decor to influence and guide the flow and feel of your next event!

Turning these whisky barrels into serving tables by adding glass tops added a rustic yet element to the party.

Wanting to keep the social, laid-back feel going, we skipped out on the traditional sit-down dinner and instead opted for heavy hors d'oeuvres and a light buffet. The shrimp came from Flanders Fish Market in East Lyme, CT and was served with their famous cocktail sauce. The rest of the scrumptious options were made, beautifully plated, and served by the talented staff of Coffees Country Market in Old Lyme, CT.

A professional shucker was in attendance to shuck and answer guests' questions about oysters.

A definite hit of the event was having Niantic Bay Shellfish Farm of Niantic, CT in attendance with their freshly shucked, premium oysters. Their event setup could not be more in line with the overall vibe we sought. I absolutely love the nautical fisherman, yet sophisticated look they are able to pull off. There were a few guests who commented these may have been the best oysters they have ever tasted, so next time you are on the East Coast, seek them out!

Who says a paper napkin isn't allowed to be classy?

Due to the capacity of the home's kitchen, we opted for disposable plates and cutlery, but that does not mean I was going to cut back on my attention to detail. Each set of utensils were wrapped in a navy napkin, encircled by a strip of metallic grey cardstock, and tied off with a figure eight knot. Not pictured here, we used bamboo plates in both dinner size and cocktail size for the food. These plates not only looked and functioned great, but also decompose at a much quicker rate than plastic, basically a win-win!

There were a total of seven cocktail tables, each with a unique floral arrangement for a centerpiece.

As guests filled their plates with food they naturally processed to gather and eat around the cocktail tables I had scattered throughout the grass section fo the yard. Standing room only cocktail tables give an event that relaxed yet elegant vibe, which was exactly what we were going for. I immediately knew that some rope tied with climbing knots would make the perfect tablecloth tie (keep scrolling for pictures)!

It's the little details that make memories unforgettable.

Previously pictured, we also made sure we had a table that guests were welcome to sit at if they could not or did not want to stand at the cocktail tables or climb to steps to the other seating. This table was a focal point of the party with a big, funky bouquet, climbing gear, and cross back chairs rented from Arrow Paper in New London, CT.

A double figure eight knot with a carabiners attached to highlight the effect.

As hinted at previously, one of my favorite details were the cocktail table ties. The rope was just simple rope purchased from Amazon to fit the theme colors, but each rope was tied with multiple climbing knots and adorned with carabiners from the couples' own collection.

Glassware is all repurposed!

Not going to lie, with only five days to plan the event I was a little panicked about floral, my go-to place was unable to accommodate such short notice, and going to another florist would have cost a fortune to have center pieces for all seven cocktail tables, and five other planned locations. Instead, I drove to two grocery stores, purchased all the flowers I felt fit our vibe, purchased some tree fern from a florist, and visited Michael's for willow branches. In total I spent about $120 on the floral arrangements and created 12 spunky yet classy bouquets of varying size. Now that's a deal. The vases were made of a collection of old glassware that I turned into faux mercury glass, giving the overall look an eclectic yet unified feel.

Quick! Put something pretty at the front so nobody looks under the bar!

The groom's parents provided a fully stocked bar complete with a bartender for the evening's festivities. Guests enjoyed trying local brews, signature drinks, and even a wine with the same name as the groom! Creating a wine list and specialty cocktail menu specific to the night's events was just one more detail to pull the event together.

Mocktail Table Left to Right: iced tea with lemon ice-cubes, freshly squeezed lemonade with jumbo lemon ice-cubes, lime and melon punch, and a rosemary infused grapefruit spritzer.

An old fashioned desk with mason jars as glasses and paper straws drew people's interest in this table.

While having a fully stocked bar is awesome to have at an event, if your event is going to be out in the sun It's always good to have non-alcoholic drinks available to guests. You'll want to make these beverages look enticing to guests, so no, a few sodas in a cooler won't cut it. Make this look like a fun spot to visit by using a funky serving table, eclectic glass beverage dispensers, large ice cubes with frozen fruit or herbs, and fun glassware. You may be surprised to see what a hit it is!

That's right... she beat him to the top.

A minor detail that may first be overlooked, this display was super fun to pull together! In the no longer living, beloved family tree that has been a focal point of the yard for generations, I placed one last custom sign with a figurine that was meant to represent the bride as her groom climbs to meet her at the peak she has already summited.

The evening was amazing and beautiful. The bride and groom were relaxed and comfortable throughout the event and there was hardly a hitch in the agenda. Seeing the joy, gratitude, and love expressed by this couple is an inspiration to their family and friends and I am so happy to have been able to help make this a magical night for them!

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Palisade, CO

Tel: 860-287-6477


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