Susquehanna Style - Chinoiserie Chic

January 2016

Text by Hannah Wigton
Styling by Susan Moran
Photos by Lauren Fisher

Reprinted with the kind permission of Susquehanna Style

Are you adventurous? Love to travel? Intrigued by different cultures? Take a trip to the Orient with this inspirational wedding, organized by Susan Moran of That’s It! Wedding Concepts. Industry experts say Chinoiserie (pronounced sheen-waz-ree), the imitation of Chinese motifs and techniques in western décor, will be one of this year’s top wedding trends. Moran gathered a group of talented local wedding pros from throughout the Susquehanna Valley, and together they created a complete Chinoiserie celebration.

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The Muse: Moran gave each of the chosen vendors the same item to inspire their creativity: a piece of antique Wedgwood china in the Devon Rose pattern. This bone china features intricate flowers, twisting branches and fluttering birds, all encircled by a gold bamboo border. Not only does the china speak to the Chinoiserie style, it also incorporates the idea of using a treasured object or heirloom as a starting point for the event design. “The whole point is that this is one day to bring in what defines them as a couple and incorporate the traditions of their family,” Moran says, speaking of the true focus of a wedding.

The Hues: “In typical Chinoiserie, the colors are bright,” says Moran. “Rich cobalt blue, white pottery, red lacquer.” But muted variations of those colors are also used, as seen in the Wedgwood china. This led Moran to utilize a sliding color palette, or one that incorporates a spectrum of hues. At its brightest we see fuchsia, gold and sapphire; at its lightest, pale pink, buttercream and sky blue.

The Place: Tucked away in Bowmansdale is Venue Chilton, the location for this concept wedding. A historic Georgian residence-turned-venue, Chilton features both intricate architecture and natural surroundings, making it the ideal estate for an escape to another land. Think hidden gardens, stately arches and tranquil pools of water.

The Décor: “Local interior designer George Case has a beautiful personal collection of Chinoiserie that allowed us to make [the theme] real,” says Moran. With incredible attention to detail, Case designed each set for the photo shoot, pulling in furnishings from Susie Mumma that already existed at the venue, rentals from Channon Allen at Event Central, and linens from Claudia Himes of Special Occasions and Queen Street Linens. Some of the most memorable items include a gorgeous Oriental carpet, temple jar painted in an inky blue, and white lacquered Chippendale chair.

A tip from Moran: don’t neglect linens at your celebration. “It really is the wardrobe of the event.”

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The Blooms:This concept wedding used three floral designers to create distinct looks for the different parts of the celebration. Jeffrey Winand of Jeffrey’s Flowers created the ceremony’s arrangements: a flowing bridal bouquet; tall vases featuring palm leaves and wispy greenery; and a floral door of hydrangea and orchid sprays to mimic the pattern of the Wedgwood china. During the cocktail hour, Debbie Keys of Pealer’s Flowers displayed a cascading bouquet of yellow orchids, as well as full arrangements of golden, hot pink and indigo blooms. For the reception, Mark Vickrey of Blooms by Vickrey arranged a tight bouquet of pink roses and orchids, calla lilies and hypericum berry, and, for the table, a shallow bowl filled with lush bunches of maroon and white blossoms.

The Sweets: Jasmine Clouser of The Couture Cakery expertly crafted an Asian-inspired cake that looked almost too beautiful to eat. On white fondant she hand-painted two kissing birds in jade green, accented with strokes of metallic gold. Sculpted sugar flowers adorned each layer, and more confectionery blooms sat atop cupcakes nearby.

The Style: Both bride and groom displayed fashions of every style, with wardrobe changes throughout the event. Janell Berte of Posh Bridal showcased gowns with top trends ranging from sweetheart necklines and asymmetrical layers to lace backs and pleated bodices. Sideswept, wavy locks were seen in both updos and down styles created by Marla Gibson at Changes Salon & Day Spa. Ron Kaplan of Top Line Tuxedos provided chic gray and classic black tuxedos for both traditional and modern options.

The Ceremony: Rows of Chiavari chairs lined the flagstone patio for guests to look on as the bride and groom would say “I do” in front of Winand’s floral door backdrop. On each seat waited a perforated wooden fan and ceremony program designed by Melissa Weiler of Persnickety Invitation Studio, custom printed on gold brocade paper.

The Check-In: In lieu of a guest book, Weiler created notecards for well wishes, bordered in fuchsia and featuring a navy logo that combines the happy couple’s initials. Guests would place them in the temple jar, and go on to find their place card, each of which created a portion of a portrait from the couple’s engagement session. Meanwhile, the new Mr. and Mrs. sipped bubbly from champagne flutes tied with bright pink and yellow ribbon, a “fun and unexpected” pop of the color palette, according to Moran.

The Cocktail Hour: A crystal-clear pool provided the setting for an elegant cocktail hour, floating orbs bobbing on top of the water. The main event of this portion of the day was a bubbly bar—a big trend this year—staged in front of a larger-than-life fan. For DIY champagne additions, fruit and liqueurs were available. In gold embossed lettering, cocktail napkins read “eat, drink and be married!” Personalized cocktail napkins are highly recommended by Moran. “That’s one touch that is a really cost-effective way to customize a wedding,” she says.

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The Reception: For dinner, the team created a romantic, intimate tablescape within Venue Chilton’s secret garden. Gold silk linens covered the long, family-style table. Black Chiavari chairs contrasted with a white Chippendale armchair. To add height to the table, Case incorporated large, mirrored obelisks. For the place setting, gold bamboo flatware was paired with none other than the Wedgwood inspiration china, set atop brass chargers and a bed of elegant pearls.

The Images: Like many summer weddings, the Chinoiserie photo shoot took place on a bright, sweltering day. Full sun can make photography difficult, yet Lauren Fisher worked with the light to create memorable images that capture both detail and romance. She caught real couple Maggie and Alex looking oh-so-in-love during their portraits, which is, after all, the greater theme of any wedding celebration.

Vendors: Wedding Designer: Susan Moran with Jessica Parisi, Heather Snyder and Allison Warner, That’s It! Wedding Concepts,

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