Caitie and Curt were looking for help in evoking pirate lore more subtly, so we worked with them on a design that would emphasize the things they treasure. With two degrees in English literature between them, books had to top that list.
Inspired by the centerpiece at left, and loving the combination of silver goblets, vivid fresh flowers and beautifully bound volumes, we set out to translate that concept for this particular couple.
First things first: No books by the yard. Each title had to mean something to at least one of them. Eventually we settled on a stack of three per table, each one representing a different category: pirates and/or princesses, classic literature, and childhood favorites. From Captain Blood to The Princess Bride, Geoffrey Chaucer to Jane Austen, Harry Potter to The Phantom Tollbooth, we put together a list big enough to supply our projected 15 tables. And we were ridiculously pleased with ourselves for working in a nod to Disney through many of the original stories — Arabian Nights, Alice in Wonderland and Andersen’s Mermaid and Other Stories among others.
Of course, the books needed to be visually interesting as well, with gilt-embossed leather our first choice and well-loved antique editions a close second. We plundered Curt and Caitie’s shelves first, their families’ second, and then — when Curt’s parents offered to complete the collection as a wedding gift — turned to eBay and aLibris.
For sparkle, we looked again to family and eBay for silver bud vases and compotes, cut-glass creamers and cruets — anything that would hold a few stems of fresh flowers, a fistful of chocolate doubloons or a cascade of gems.
When we started worrying about being too subtle, we added a few more overt touches to help guests connect the dots.
• We printed the invitations on parchment and closed each one with a wax seal (more on those later!).
• Instead of being assigned numbers, tables were named for pirate ships both real and fictional, and we ordered hundreds of acrylic gems and even more chocolate doubloons to scatter like confetti.
• A big glass jar wrapped in raffia was designated for messages in a bottle, in lieu of a guest book.
• We commissioned a custom treasure map to give guests the lay of the land, chose a rum-based signature cocktail and supplemented the standard photo booth props with cutlasses, bandannas and eye patches.
• Finally, we tracked down cufflinks made from sterling silver pieces of eight for Curt and his groomsmen.
Pirate-y enough? Stay tuned!
Next up: How color choices informed everything