Estate house venues such as Alkaff Mansion, CHIJMEs and Emily Hill are gorgeous and picturesque as wedding backdrops. However they also present a unique challenge for the soon-to-wedded couple. The bride and groom are given exclusive use of several rooms, so they have to plan how they want to decorate every room. Here are a few smart ideas to help you fix up those empty rooms.
Photo by Kent Wong Photography
Host an Indoor Reception
An estate venue has both indoor and outdoor spaces, and quite frankly, these old houses have lovely gardens. You can plan a splendid outdoor ceremony followed by an indoor reception. Doing this allows your guests to get a chance to cool off after spending a large part of the afternoon in the hot tropical sun. Even evenings are warm here in Singapore, so it is still a good idea to invite your guests inside.
Create a Lounge Area
A lounge area provides your guests with a place where they can sit around and enjoy a couple of drinks before or after the reception. They can also retreat to this room for a short breather. You may wish to create two separate lounges for the smokers and non-smokers, so that no one will be affected by those who wish to take a puff while drinking. However you may want to consult the venue coordinator first, because some places don’t allow people to smoke indoors.
Use the Foyer as a Receiving Area
Elegant foyers with high ceilings make great receiving areas. Adding some antique décor and installing the appropriate lightning creates the perfect intimate old-world atmosphere from the moment they step through the doors. Dressing up the welcoming party in period clothes gives additional theatrical flair which your guests will love.
Find the Perfect Ballroom
With so many rooms to spare, you choose to have a separate ballroom so you won’t need to clear away the tables and chairs in the reception area. All you need is a room which is relatively sound proof on the outside but wouldn’t dampen the music on the inside. Trying to figure out the floor plans can be confusing if you have limited knowledge about historical architecture. Thankfully you can always ask your venue coordinator to help you find the room with the best acoustics.
Photo by Kinici Photo
Enjoy Your Canapés Outdoors
Instead of exchanging vows in the garden, you can use it as a pre-ceremony reception area. The beautiful landscaped lawns are a great setting for afternoon drinks and canapés. You can even consider using the area as an outdoor cocktail lounge. Setup a tent or arrange to have the food served in a room that opens into the garden. Place a couple of chairs, some tables and maybe a sofa and you’re good to go.
Create a Playroom
Having a playroom filled with toys, crayons, drawing paper and story books will keep the children entertained throughout the ceremony and the reception. Your guests would appreciate the facilities as they won’t have to worry about keeping their little ones out of the way. Make sure to setup a nursing room adjacent to the playroom so mothers can have some privacy as they tend to their babies. You may want to have a quiet room as well if you intend to have your reception end late. Providing the kids with a comfortable place to sleep reduces the usual bedtime tantrums.
Simple Ways to Decorate Large Spaces
Photo by Chris Ling Photography
Disguise the High Ceilings: High ceilings make the room feel empty. You can the room more inviting by furnishing the area with décor of the appropriate height. Some examples include placing tall centrepieces on the dining tables, installing hanging chandeliers or simply adding ceiling balloons.
Combine Different Décor Styles: Combining décor with different styles is dramatic. Some methods include pairing modern décor with vintage pieces, mixing formal pieces with a few casual ones or putting décor with nice feminine curves against those with clean-cut masculine lines. Smart decorators use the eye-catching impact to draw your guests’ attention away from the unattractive areas in the room such as those tiny brown stains on the wallpaper.
Use Lighting to Your Advantage: Lighting does much more than merely illuminating a dark entrance or gloomy foyer. Flooding the walls with warm coloured lights makes the room appear more intimate. Toggle between warm and cool light using a light change function to vary the mood at throughout the evening.
Photo by Livesnapps
Keep the Furniture to Scale: Furnish the rooms with appropriately sized tables and chairs. You need to select large tables and tablecloths with larger prints to fill up the huge room in the estate venue. The floral display should consist of large bouquets instead of a few flower in a slender crystal vase.
Dark Colours: By adding dark coloured decorations to a huge room, you can make the entire area appear smaller. The décor may include drapes, seat covers, tablecloths and rugs. Putting brightly coloured cushions against the dark coloured seat covers or tying up the dark coloured curtains with colourful ribbons helps to make the room cosy and vibrant.
Photo by Annabel Law Productions
Estate houses can be challenging to decorate as the couple have access to the sprawling lawns outside and the spacious rooms inside. By keeping the wedding theme in mind and the types of activities planned for the day, you will be able to make full use of the rented space. Leaving no room empty is the best way to make up for renting such an expensive venue.
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