At your wedding, you'll want your guests to feel comfortable and personally welcome, as if you've invited them to a party at your home. In a setting that feels inviting, they can relax and have a good time.
Homespun materials, such as yarn and tweed, are instantly familiar and nostalgic. Use them in details throughout your wedding -- in favors, centerpieces, ceremony programs, and so on. They're perfect for a wedding in winter, but they come in cheerful colors that can work well any time of year.
Candlelight is an important element, and it's the easiest way to set an intimate and romantic mood. Scatter candles in various sizes all around the reception space. And bring the soft, flattering light of votive candles to dinner tables in attractive holders.
There are many other ways to add warm and cozy elements. You can use velvet ribbon to cover your bouquet handle or make a ring pillow out of fuzzy felt. When it's cold outside, serve mulled cider at your cocktail hour or hot chocolate after dinner. It's all about heartfelt gestures!
Favor boxes can look playful or sophisticated with yarn. Many of these ideas use the same technique: Attach end of yarn to bottom of box with a clear round mailing seal; wind yarn around box several times, cut off, and affix other end to bottom with a second seal. Precut all of your yarn before wrapping. Below, from left: A pink box is wrapped with a band cut from mesh paper; wind yarn in one direction, then the other, weaving it through. A paper band covers a pink box; it's tied with a fuzzy orange mohair bow. Wavy white yarn binds a green-lidded box; slip extra yarn behind strands at each side, and tie in a bow.
Middle row, above: For the double bow on this box, tie a regular bow, making loops twice your desired length; next make a bow with the right loop (pull loop open, flatten it, cross one end over the other and pull through); repeat with left loop. Tape scalloped card to box, wind yarn between scallops, knot at middle with a short piece, print names on sticker paper, and cut out with craft punch. This long box is covered in tweed-print paper and nubby yarn.
Bottom row, above: Wind variegated yarn around a box in an asymmetrical design; slip tag under strands. Knot yarns around a matchbox- style box; splay ends for fringe. A band of houndstooth card stock and an off-center bow wrap a box.
Nothing conveys a sense of comfort and warmth like candlelight. Place candles everywhere -- not just on tables but on ledges and in little nooks and crannies. (Check with the site manager about any restrictions.) The printed patterns on these candles glow when lit. They would make a pretty centerpiece on their own.
Set out scented candles in safe spots at the ceremony or cocktail hour, near the entrance or on a terrace (do not place near food; strong scents can overwhelm).
Flickering votive candles in glass holders cast amazing patterns and colors on white or ivory tablecloths.
A Warm Welcome
Leaving a small gift in guests' hotel rooms before they arrive is a personable way to greet them.Tea -- presented with wonderful accessories or just a note -- will be appreciated when the air is chilly. Give gifts to all out-of-town guests, or to special friends or relatives.
This basket is filled with ginger-tangerine loose tea, porcelain teacups, and rock-candy swizzle sticks; we tucked six or so filters inside a coin envelope.
Below: You can also buy loose tea in bulk -- -- this is a green chai variety -- and fill filter bags; slip some into cellophane bags, and tie with yarn.
Tea comes in beautiful packages and pleasing flavors. These come in vibrant tins -- you pick the colors.
These teacups are small and compact, so they travel well. Why not give guests a pair? They can use them during their stay and then easily pack them up and enjoy them at home.
Honey, Sugar and Spoons
Don't forget to include some fun extras: a tiny jar of honey, rock candy swizzle sticks, heart-shape sugars, a wide wooden scoop for measuring loose tea, a wooden spoon, and raw sugar cubes.
Fashionable tweeds and monochromatic flowers form a fresh, friendly centerpiece. Just wrap fabric around inexpensive glass or plastic cylinders (rectangular vases look nice, too). Mix different tweeds in coordinating colors. The flowers play off the texture of the material.
A pink-and-orange table setting is contemporary and cheery; it works equally well for a shower or summer wedding. Skinny tweed bands are wrapped around the napkins (cut fabric along the grain using a rotary cutter; pull away a few loose strands for fringed edges); computer-made place cards have a border that looks like stitching. The flowers are chosen for their texture and color: carnations, spiky gerbera daisies, tulips, and dahlias.
This idea also works nicely in other colors with the same off-white linens: Try green tweeds with green and white flowers for a lush feeling; pair taupe tweeds with white and ivory blooms for a sophisticated, minimalist table.