If you want your wedding to be a truly glam affair, you need more than a posh dress and sparkly tiara. We asked Rachael Charmbury, managing director at Ambience Venue Styling, what it takes to create an utterly glamorous wedding reception.
According to Rachael, a glamorous wedding reception has "an understated co-ordinated look that exudes elegance. Remember that you’re creating an overall look and feel, so spend time on planning,” she says. “The venue itself is a factor - but not the determining one. Some brides prefer traditional English manor houses, others like contemporary venues; both can be styled to look glamorous. The essential thing is choosing somewhere that feels right and styling it to bring out the best of the venue."
"A well thought-out theme is important to avoid appearing uncoordinated," Rachael advises. "Fabrics can range from taffeta to silk but white chair covers always look pristine. They must be hand-pressed, quality fabric and fit chairs correctly; one size does not fit all!
"Choosing one main colour is best for glamour, combined with non competing colours such as ivory, white or black. Champagne colours or classy platinum never go out of fashion. For higher impact, choose hot pink taffeta, royal purple or navy.
"Fresh flowers cannot be beaten in terms of creating an opulent look and roses are the ultimate glamorous flower. Remember to co-ordinate the flowers with your chosen key colour or use a neutral shade.
"Your finishing touches round-off your theme; decorations such as diamante chair sash buckles and matching diamante favours look fantastically glamorous. Lighting also creates ambience and sets the tone. Candles or up-lighters create soft elegant effects, highlighting the venue’s features; high quality starlight backdrops are the ultimate finishing touch and look amazing behind the top table."
Breaking the bank?
Surprisingly, a glamorous wedding reception doesn’t have to cost the earth. If you can only afford to add glamour to one aspect of your reception, Rachael advises couples to focus on the wedding breakfast room. "Money spent on chair covers tied with beautiful taffeta sashes will be one of the most cost-effective ways to create glamour in the wedding breakfast room," she says.
"You can also save costs by reusing as many items as possible; flowers and decorations from the ceremony table or church can be moved to the top table; candles or flower arrangements can be moved from window sills and aisles to be used for centre pieces. Candelabra might be the ultimate in table glamour, but crystal tea lights and table runners bring colour and sparkle to a table at a reasonable cost. And try simple, inexpensive favour boxes or bags in a neutral colour, glammed-up with accessories to match your main colour or styling element."
Rachael agrees that there is a fine line between glamour and tackiness. "Glamour can easily be overworked," she admits. "Less is more to achieve a glamorous look. If too much is going on, or too many different aspects being brought in, it can start to look tacky. Think quality not quantity."
If you want the outside of the venue to reflect your glamorous theme tastefully, Rachael rates decorating topiary trees with romantic lights and adorning taller trees with hanging hurricane lanterns. And for entertainment with lashings of glamour and not a hint of cheesiness, Rachael advises couples to forget about magicians: "You can’t beat a live band with a glamorous lead singer – think Rat Pack and Hollywood."
Choosing your glamorous venue
Gillian Beattie from BDL Hotels shares her top five tips for choosing a glamorous venue:
Think seasonally: Spring and summer weddings are ideal for a venue with glamorous gardens; winter weddings are better suited to venues with dramatic indoor features such as sweeping staircases and real fires.
Glamorous photography: Consider a venue with glamorous photo opportunities nearby, such as a sandy beach or cobbled streets.
The wedding date: Select a venue that can accommodate the date of your dreams; New Year’s Eve weddings are becoming increasingly popular and 31st December is the ultimate glamorous wedding date.
Your wedding theme: Venues that can provide a marquee are ideal for a glam wedding; it’s a blank canvas you can transform.
Food and drinks: To ensure a glamorous wedding, select a venue that can accommodate requirements such as vintage champagne, dainty canapés and a wedding breakfast with the wow factor; look for venues with AA Rosettes or Michelin Stars to guarantee top quality.