Big news in case you missed it, our daughter Jenna is getting married next year. Since the proposal, we as a family have been focused on all the details of the wedding because the ceremony and reception will be held on the top portion of our property, overlooking the expansive lake view.

Almost 34 years ago, I got married. As expected, I am finding that some things are very much the same, and some things definitely are not.

White flowers in vases in front of a gold mirror

The one factor that I would say that is the most different is the cost. We have been utterly in shock at the prices we are receiving for catering, flowers, rentals, etc. It has caused both myself and my daughter to have many sleepless nights but we are finding ways to cut costs and I am sure it will turn out beautifully.

The Virtual Book Club banner

This angst we are experiencing regarding the cost of a wedding ties nicely in with the Virtual Book Club’s selection this month being “Father of the Bride” by Edward Streeter. This book follows the story of Stanley Banks as he navigates his daughter’s upcoming wedding. Stanley thinks that the wedding should be simple, however, his wife and daughter think otherwise. It turns into an elaborate backyard wedding with flowers galore and even swans.

Novel "Father of the Bride"

This book has been made into a movie a few times first with legendary greats such as Elizabeth Taylor and Spencer Tracey and then in the 1990’s with Steve Martin, Diane Keaton and Martin Short. Martin Short plays the very flamboyant wedding planner who brings the wedding to a whole new level. The movies are very close to the book, so if you don’t have time to read, just watch the movie. The names for the characters are different. In the book the father’s name is Stanley and in the movie it is George. As well, the daughter’s name has been changed from Kay to Annie. Other than that, the changes are minimal.

Scene from Father of the Bride

As with most weddings, the plans are mostly left to the women, however, in the case of the book/movie, Stanley/George wants more input. He feels very left out and has a tough time losing his little girl as evidenced by the quote below. This part of the movie brought me to tears because I could relate so much to it. We too will be losing our little Jenna and I am hanging on to every second I can of having her at home.

George: Who presents this woman? This woman? But she’s not a woman. She’s just a kid. And she’s leaving us. I realized at that moment that I was never going to come home again and see Annie at the top of the stairs. Never going to see her again at our breakfast table in her nightgown and socks. I suddenly realized what was happening. Annie was all grown up and was leaving us, and something inside began to hurt.

from “Father of the Bride”
Scene from Father of the Bride

What’s new for weddings?

With so much changing in the world of weddings, I thought it would be fun to share with you what I have learned. 

Engagement parties

Engagement parties are now the norm.  They weren’t when I got married but we had one for Jenna and Scott.  It was wonderful to bring the two families together to meet and celebrate the upcoming nuptuals.

Engagement party with tables covered in white table cloths, gold candlesticks and white flowers with pool and lake in back ground.

Personalized Wedding Website

Websites weren’t even a thing when I got married (yes I am aging myself) let along wedding websites but they are a thing now.  Jenna has set one up and it provides all the information needed and is updated regularly.

Save the Date invitations

Back in our day, we allowed word of mouth to spread the happy news and invitations went out three months before.  I guess people just weren’t as busy back then or weren’t pre-planning as much as they are now.  Today a “Save the Date” postcard, invitation, newsletter, etc. are all common.  Some share details about the couple and of course include info like the date and time and anything else of importance such as whether the wedding is a non-child event to let the invitees prepare in advance.

Caterer Tastings

Jenna and I attended many wedding expos and were able to sample a lot of dishes.  For those caterers who did not attend the wedding fairs, some offer tastings.  This ensures that you know what you are getting and also gives you time to meet one-on-one time with the caterer to see if they will be a good fit.  Recommendations are great, but it is really good to know if this caterer is perfect for you.

First Look

For couples who want to do their photos prior to the wedding but do not want to miss out on the groom’s expression when he first sees his bride, there is now the option for the first look.  For this the photographer, bride and groom meet just ahead of the group photos at a beautiful spot.  The groom stands facing away until the bride is in place and then he can turn around.  Of course, the photographer catches his look and all the emotions between the happy couple.  It is a great way to still get the intimacy of this special time while not leaving your guests looking for something to do while ALL the photos are being taken.  

Sweetheart Table

My piece of new wedding decor that I have decided to create and share with you is a “Sweetheart table.”

Two years ago we attended an outdoor wedding reception of a family friend and this was the first time I saw a “Sweetheart Table”.  To be honest, I didn’t even know it was a sweetheart table, I just thought that the bride and groom had chosen to be the only ones at the traditional head table.  It wasn’t a surprise because each part of this particular wedding departed from what I have known as traditional weddings.  I put it down to “times are changing” and obviously weddings would too.

It was very recently that I learned that what this couple had was a “sweetheart table” and they are only for the bride and groom.  The rest of the bridal party sits with their partners, families, etc. and this allows them to be more comfortable and not separated from loved ones.  

It also allows the bride and groom to just focus on each other and gaze out into the room filled with family and friends and enjoy the evening.  The bride and groom alone are the focal point.  This is also a great opportunity for the bride and groom to have a little quality time just the two of them in what is mostly a large group day.  

The Design

The first thing to do is to choose your color palette.  For this inspiration, I chose an all white color palette.  For the wedding theme, I went with clean lines and elegant decor to place all the attention on the happy couple on their special day.

Placement of the table is important.  It should be in a very visible location for everyone to be able to view the couple.  It should also be in a spot which provides the couple with the ability to see everyone.  A small stage or riser is a good option.  As well, consider this from a photography standpoint.  What is in the background?  What is going to make the photos amazing?  Typically the reception venue is set up in a way for a natural spot for the sweetheart table or wedding head table so the background and lighting should already be in place to provide the newlywed couple with the most beautiful photos to remember their big day.

The Surrounding Structure or Backdrop

For my inspiration, I located the table under our beautiful new white pergola gifted to us from Tojagrid.  

White pergola with lounge chairs under it

Then I looked around for something I could use as a piece of inspiration to transform this pergola from an outdoor structure into something romantic. I remembered my old chandelier I had picked up from a garage sale about 20 years ago and thought it would be perfect hanging above the sweetheart table.

Old black and red metal chandelier

Look how much better it looks with a fresh coat of white spray paint!

Large white chandelier hanging from white pergola

Then I added faux white wisteria branches interwoven with fairy lights to finish it off.  All of this is set against the backdrop of the beautiful lake view.

Chandelier with wisteria

Dressing up the Pergola

The trend today in many outdoor weddings is to drape sheer material from the interior peak of the tent down to the posts.  For my setting, I ordered 66 inch wide by 33 feet long white tule along the beams of the pergola and down the posts, puddling on the floor.  

Tulle on pergola with sweetheart table under  a white chandelier

The Table

A sweetheart table uses a small table rather than what we are used to with regard to the head table.  Make it spacious enough for the bride and groom to be comfortable.  Also make sure there is space for the bride to lay her bouquet.  While I chose a rectangle smaller table, you could always use a large round table to provide them with ample room to have more elaborate decor such as floral arrangements, garlands of greenery running down the sides of the table, table runners, string lights, lots of candles, etc.

Sweetheart table with white linens, gold accent decor and large white chandelier with white wisteria hanging from it

The Seating

Only two seats are required, so try to maybe a lot some extra money to get beautiful comfortable seats for them.  Also, don’t forget that you can decorate the backs of your chairs with “Mr.” and “Mrs.” signs or flowers or a garland of greenery.

For the sake of this demonstration, I took some chairs with beautiful back designs and sprayed them gold and added thick cushions in white for extra comfort. Here is how they looked before and the paint I used which went on perfectly smooth.

Brown outdoor chairs
Fusion Metallic gold spray paint
Outdoor chair now spray painted gold
Gold chairs with white cushions beside a pool with the sun setting

The Decor

When it came to table linens,  I first draped the table in a solid white table cloth with a pretty scalloped edge.  Next I layered it with a very delicate white lace vintage embroidered tablecloth.

Still keeping it simple and elegant for this wedding sweetheart table, I chose a gold charger, Mikasa white silk china, gold cutlery, crystal champagne flutes edged in gold, white cotton napkins with embroidered edges with a simple gold satin ribbon as a napkin ring.

Gold charger with white china on top with white napkin held with a gold satin ribbon

Lastly, rather than using a traditional centerpiece, a few crystal single-stem vases with white roses were sprinkled around the table with gold candlesticks.  A vase of long-stemmed white roses in front of the table and white lanterns on either side complete the simple but stunning sweetheart table.

Sweetheart table set with white linens, and white and gold decor

Simple but elegant sweetheart table

Here is the finished sweetheart table!  This certainly will ensure that the wedded couple is the center of attention.  

The overall design ideas I incorporated are an easy way and also affordable way yet still with big impact!  

​With the flowers gently blowing in the breeze it is a magical atmosphere.

Time to check out the rest of the Virtual Book Club members

Virtual book club bloggers

Make sure to check out all the fantastic home decor that Lynn and Cindy were inspired to create by clicking the titles of their projects under the photos.

Lynn, Living Large in a Small House

Cindy, Reinvented Delaware

Erin, Erin Evolving

Gold charger with white china plate, vintage small plate and small dish of ice cream with the name Lynn inserted
Simple window planter painted black with white flowers in it
White wedding cake with Adirondack chairs on top

Thank you!

As always thank you very much for opening the email and clicking through to see the post! I greatly appreciate it.

Did you see?

My gorgeous wall mural post? If not, click here.

Blue Wild Meadow garden wallpaper wall mural by Photowall in a powder room

Or my post about my raised flower beds? Just click here.

Pretty flowers in raised garden bed with lake in background

What do you think?

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  • Erin Harman
    July 1, 2023

    Every detail of this sweetheart table is beautiful, Crystal! I especially love the gold chairs and the chandelier adorned with wisteria. I know the wedding is going to be gorgeous!!

    • Crystal
      July 1, 2023

      Thanks Erin! I sure hope it all turns out well.

  • Cindy
    July 18, 2023

    Omgoodness, this is stunning Crystal! Even though I don’t have a wedding planned, I want to make this chandelier for our back patio! Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Crystal
      July 18, 2023

      Thanks so much Cindy! Can’t wait to see your version – I bet it will be amazing!

  • Wedding Structures
    December 1, 2023

    Great table ideas. I love these ideas. Thanks for sharing.

    • Crystal
      December 8, 2023

      Thank you very much!