Strong enough to serve as a sail and neutral enough to make up your goes-with-everything tote bag, canvas has always been a humble workhorse. But it can also be surprisingly elegant. We teamed up with event designer David Stark to show how the versatile fabric can transform your big day in big ways.
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Linen suits and flaxen dresses are sweet picks for your smallest attendants. Amp up their adorableness by topping off his with a canvas bow tie and hers with a pleated collar.
As for the bridal ensemble? An accordion-folded bow adds drama to the walk down the aisle. We picked the fabric and had the bow and collar folds made at Harry’s Pleating & Stitch in New York (price upon request, 212-268-1378).
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“Canvas is rich with dichotomies,” says contributing editor David Stark of David Stark Design and production in New York City. “It’s refined yet rustic, simple yet fancy, old-world yet contemporary.” Plus, it can be made from linen, hemp, or cotton, which offers a broad range of weights and beautiful textures.
Here, we monogrammed a linen ribbon to make a personalized bouquet wrap. Double up on good luck by tying this sweet “something new” around a “something blue” clutch of nigellas, delphiniums, viburnum berries, and sweet peas.
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To dress up inexpensive vessels, we dip-dyed strips of cotton gauze, canvas’s looser-woven cousin. Then we sewed the ends together to create sleeves that cover the glasses while still allowing candlelight to glimmer through.
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A stretched canvas: “It’s the surface on which the world’s greatest artists have created magic,” says Stark. It’s also what we used to fashion a modern, minimalist topper for this table, by pulling the material over wooden boards and securing with nailhead trim. (No need to get fancy with the fabric; a drop cloth from the hardware store will do the trick.) We stenciled table numbers right onto the surface and, for a special touch, onto the backs of canvas chair covers.
The Details: “Roscoe” plates, $5 each; crateandbarrel.com. “Dubost” olive-wood flatware, $70 for a 5-piece setting; surlatable.com. “Everyday” napkins, $50 for 6; nonperishablegoods.com. Tumblers, $14 each; tableartonline.com.
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Menus on each plate serve as a guide to dining guests, while arrangements of thistle, scabiosa pods, rice flowers, Queen Anne’s lace, and andromeda complete the lovely, low-key scene.
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Delicious “woven” cookies mimic dip-dyed textural fabric. Present them in canvas-wrapped paper boxes, secured with twine and wax seals, for packages that are just as delightful as what’s inside.
The Details: Ombré cookies, $8 each; sweetambs.com. Self-adhesive wax seals, $99 for 100; waxseals.com. Candy boxes in white gloss, CBW1, $18 for 100; nashvillewraps.com. Mokuba New York twine, #10099, 65¢/yd, 212-869-8900.
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A basic paintbrush caddy—we stenciled ours with an illuminating slogan—gets an inventive new role as an escort-card display when you tie seat assignments to tapers stowed in its pockets.
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Creating a cake that looks enveloped in fabric couldn’t be easier: Just press burlap onto vanilla bean–flecked fondant. We gave this honey-soaked almond cake by contributing editor Jason Schreiber, a pastry chef in New York City, a perch on dip-dyed linen and finished it off with a cascade of handmade faux flowers.
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A souvenir from your ceremony becomes an heirloom in the making when you refresh the family Bible (or a small book holding your vows) with a sophisticated slipcover. We customized the one above with a monogram and fabric blooms that we attached with fabric glue. (Pro tip: Starch the flowers and brush them with gesso paint to stiffen them before adhering.)
Carry the book down the aisle, or turn it into an unconventional ring pillow by tying a ribbon around it, knotting your wedding bands in place, and letting your ring bearer take care of the rest.