As a floral designer, I have been involved with weddings all my life. Not long ago I calculated that I have done the flowers for over 4,000 weddings during my career. Yet no matter how many I have done, the creativity that is often exhibited in the planning of a wedding never ceases to impress me. I have the opportunity to do freelance work for Amaryllis, Inc., a floral and event design studio in the Washington, D.C., area, where I have experienced many “over the top” weddings.


One reception that really impressed me was this past May when they set up a tent in a college basketball arena. Who came up with such an original idea, I don’t know, but it was genius. An exquisite environment was created for the wedding reception without having to worry about the weather.

As you can see in the photo, we climbed up into the stands and photographed the top of the tent from inside the arena. I figured that without this shot no one would believe the actual location. As you continue on and look at the photos from inside the tent, I think you can understand why we photographed the outside of the tent. Without the photo you would have never believed you were on the floor of a basketball court.


As a guest, you entered the building into a lovely cocktail setting, which was designed with custom furniture and gorgeous florals. Large amounts of natural light came through the large windows giving the space a very welcoming appeal.


At the end of the cocktail hour, the guests were directed to a tented tunnel accented with lush bouquets of lilacs and phaleanopsis orchids. The guests exited the tunnel into a stunning reception space draped with white fabric and white AstroTurf flooring. The neutral background allowed the elegant bouquets of lavender and purple flowers to steal the show. Lilac, orchids hydrangea and roses were gathered together in luscious elevated designs and opulent table runners creating a truly magnificent effect.


The guest tables were a collection of different styles of tables and chairs. This has become a very popular trend in higher end weddings and events. It allows the host to create a custom designed room that truly reflects the personality and style of the newly married couple. There were round tables, banquette tables and long banquet tables at this event, professionally arranged throughout the tent to give a very elegant yet welcoming ambiance.

Each table had accenting chairs in different styles for each table type. Some of the tables had linens and others showed the beauty of a mirrored surface. It takes some skill to mix and match chairs, tables, linens and florals to look interesting and creative while at the same time harmonious and fluid.


In this case I think the simple but elegant color palette really helped achieve the desired effect. As I firmly believe that your color palette is one of your most important selections when it comes to making decisions on wedding décor. This is a perfect example how the right choice allowed each design element to stand out without overshadowing or overwhelming. Custom furnishings given the proper space can make a huge difference when creating décor of this size.

One aspect of a very special event such as this one that really makes the difference is lighting. No matter how beautiful all the individual elements might be, the lighting creates the finishing touch. My photos are just taken with my cell phone but you can see how the lighting adds drama and dimension. It sets the mood and in many ways makes the space come alive.

Whether we are discussing the location, the tent, the furnishings, the flowers or the lighting, you can see how each element works with the others. A truly spectacular event makes everything work together for the desired effect. Not everyone has a budget like this one but it’s so interesting to see what can be done.

Inspiration comes from many directions, and I am always inspired by creativity such as this. An unusual location with a new twist sets the planning in motion and anything is possible.