1/ Choose a romantic venue
Image by Amy Arrington Photography
Any wedding style should always start with your venue, since it’s far easier to build upon a beautiful and, in this case, romantic foundation than to start from scratch.
Of course, there’s no single romantic venue type. Ask yourself what epitomises romance for you – is it grandeur and elegance, cosiness and warmth, flowing florals, a setting with meaning for your relationship or something entirely different? Venues as diverse as a verdant garden or greenhouse, a ballroom, barn, vineyard or marquee all offer different - but equally valid – interpretations on romance!
2/ Create a glow
Image by Patrick Moyer
Romantic ambience is almost synonymous with warm, glowing lighting. There are a number of ways to achieve it, again taking into account your personal ideas about the style of the wedding:
Image by Acqua Photo
Café or bistro lights are a universally beautiful choice, adding heaps of Parisian-style charm and a welcoming glow to any setting. They look particularly chic strung over outdoor dance floors and reception tables, but make a pretty and festive choice in virtually any location.
Of course, the bulb colour and size (or use of decorative shades) can alter the effect. Warmer colours like warm white or amber tend to be best for ambience, while the scale of the bulb or shade can determine whether lights look delicate (smaller bulbs) or whimsical and stylised (use of larger shades).
Images by Vasia Photography
Candlelight is the original romantic light source. Whether you choose pillars, tapers or tea lights, in candlesticks, hurricane lamps or jam jars, the effect can be transformative. Candles are very versatile when it comes to location, too. Use them to line the aisle, in clusters on dining tables or to accentuate architectural features at the venue. Just remember to exercise plenty of caution with open flames (and glass)!
Chandeliers and pendant lights
Image by Jessica Burke
Chandeliers add old-world glamour and romance to décor, with the potential to serve as a dramatic focal point for the reception. Pendant lights are traditionally favoured for their spare, industrial look but when paired with flowing greenery can blend well with a softer, more romantic aesthetic.
3/ Think cosy
Cosiness generates a romantic ambience through a sense of intimacy and conviviality. Your choice of venue will, of course, have a bearing on this. It’s true that the size of the venue will depend in large part on the number of guests you’re inviting, but for maximum cosiness, you’ll want to aim for one that is large enough for everyone without also being so large that you’ll need to fill lots of space. No matter your venue, though, you can create a snug and intimate atmosphere by choosing smaller reception tables and by ensuring that there’s a consistent and organic flow to the layout of the space.
4/ The look and feel of the details
Image by Kayla Barker Fine Art Photography
As wonderful as they seem on Pinterest, smaller details are far less consequential for creating ambience than the venue, its layout and lighting. As such, try to prioritise the elements that guests will interact closely with – things like their place setting, dinnerware and stationery – and don’t assume you’ll need the most elaborate or expensive options to present the look you want. (On a per head basis, this is sure to put a large dent in your budget for minimal return.)
Mock up a place setting to determine what actually makes a difference to the overall impression guests will get before committing to each piece. You may discover that calligraphed place cards or unusual glassware are the only upgrades from a basic dinner service that are needed to bring the whole thing together.
5/ Set the mood with music
Of course, an atmosphere isn’t only about visuals. Establishing the mood with a backdrop of romantic music that will complement the surroundings you’ve created. The perfect music for achieving that entirely depends on your taste, whether jazz classics from Sinatra, modern soul from Adele or pretty piano pieces from Einaudi.