A Glamorous Woodland Wedding Inspired by Marie Antoinette
Imagine Marie Antoinette having a woodland wedding at Versailles. It would no doubt be a melding of gold and moss, opulence and nature. Wedding designer Kate Parker took that vision and created it in exquisite, enchanting detail in the middle of Lake Winnipesaukee on Sandy Island.
Design: Kate Parker
Photography: Mark Davidson
Cakes & Cupcakes: Wild Orchid Baking Company
Dresses: Madeleine’s Daughter
Food: Flavor Concepts
Invitations: Gus & Ruby Letterpress
Hair: Hair That Moves
Makeup: Joya Beauty
Rentals: Be Our Guest
Models: New England Models Group
Thanks to Sandy Island Family Camp
A Queenly Setting
“The neutral green and gray tones of the pine trees were the perfect backdrop for the pops of gold gilding throughout the décor elements,” Kate says. “Gold-rimmed china, cut crystal glassware and ornate gold flatware provide a severe juxtaposition against the natural moss ‘tablecloth.’”
To create the feeling of extravagance you would expect from a centerpiece at Versailles, gold urns and containers were filled with figs and Rainier cherries. A trio of ornate gold candelabras, gold bark-imprinted pillar candles and a clock provided the finishing touches. Natural ferns were added to surround each of the items, creating a runner of foliage down the entire table.
Kate’s favorite part of the table — the use of four natural stumps covered with moss: “We created seating right out of the woods.” Dark fruitwood chairs were used to create another textural difference in the table.
The Queen and her Court
Fit for royalty this ball gown by Christos has hand-embroidered flowers and scalloped detail along the hem. The bridesmaids’ dresses are Amsale silk chiffon. Models are (l. to r.) Lindsay Link, Becky Kendall, Genevieve Glenn and Stephanie Hansen. No smiles for them — after all, Marie Antoinette and her court would feel quite superior.
Setting the Table
“We added gold tassels to each of the place settings and used a brown and copper glitter piece of card stock as the charger underneath everything, giving a bit of modern glamour to the table design,” Kate says.
The tables were set with chipboard menus with graphic calligraphed fonts printed with dark espresso brown ink, melding natural elements and colors with a modern and opulent typeface and layout.
Louis Would Love It
“We chose this amazing Christos gown specifically for its full ball gown skirt and the scalloped detail along the bottom of the dress,” Kate says “It reminded me of the stone architecture at Versailles and also of garlands of greens you might see decorating its balconies.”
The belt, from Maria Elena, was made from Swarovski crystals crushed to almost a powder, then applied to fabric, creating crystal fabric. From there the designer cut the flower petals and belt accented with some solid crystals.
The Christos “Primrose” dress from Madeleine’s Daughter is silk organza with hand-embroidered flowers on the skirts. The bridesmaids’ dresses are Amsale silk chiffon. To blend them into the flora, neutral tones similar to the bark of the pine trees were chosen.
Each of the bridesmaids held bouquets of all flora — moss, pine cones, lichen and other natural ferns — and wrapped with different types of gold ribbons. The bride held a similarly styled bouquet but with a large gold-gilded mushroom and gold-gilded pinecones that came from Sandy Island.
Kate says, “We told the models to exude a Marie Antoinette-like superiority at all times — no smiles allowed!”
Let Them Eat Beautiful Cake
The gardens of Versailles were the inspiration for the all-white wedding cakes. “I imagined them being like alabaster statues in an overgrown garden,” says Erin Gardner, pastry chef/owner of Wild Orchid Baking Company.
A closer look reveals the exquisite hand-sculpted fondant appliqués. Tucked into the sculpted pieces are a tiny hummingbird and butterflies. The winding circular branches were inspired by carvings on a massive staircase found at Bethesda Terrace in New York City’s Central Park. Both that location and the Versailles gardens represent for Erin the idea of manmade stone sculptures in a natural environment.
“In keeping with the actual location,” Erin says, “I used plants that would be found locally like lady slipper orchids, ferns and local flowers.”
The cake buffet — which could serve more than 100 guests — sat on a high-gloss wooden table, also covered in moss, but here bits of gold leaf were added to the moss. Three gold-gilded frames were elevated and filled with natural ferns to surround each of the cakes.
The hair stylist, Lena Hartford of Hair That Moves, was inspired by photos of hairstyles from the 1700s. For the bride’s hair, Hartford modernized a voluminous bouffant with wefts and grand curls. She says the bridesmaids’ looks were inspired by the venue and the surroundings of woods and romance: “Again, I created high volume and romantic braids for this look. I also added some gold accents where I could.” The headpiece with Swarovski crystals and feathers is from Maria Elena.
The makeup design was inspired by the face of the 18th-century woman, says Joanne McDonough of Joya Beauty: “Washes of golden color, minimalist eyeliner and perfect skin evoked a truly romantic vibe. The shadows mimicked the golden sunlight, greens and verdant browns of the New Hampshire woods.”
Vous Êtes Invitée
An invitation elegant enough for Versailles — a custom suite and wedding day paper letterpress-printed by hand on luxurious cotton paper. To evoke both the glamour of the tablescape and the rustic nature of the woodsy setting, it features calligraphy-inspired fonts, a rich, earth-tone palette and a textural tree-bark pattern. The Juliet Suite by Alee & Press for Gus & Ruby Letterpress.
For the guests — plated appetizers that are not only beautiful but very petite in scale: Coffee-spiced lamb loin with pistachio powder, compressed rhubarb, garlic scapes and fennel Brebis du Pays Basque cheese, red beets, compressed strawberries, whipped honey and basil By Chef Evan Hennessey at Flavor Concepts.
Edible gold gilds the handmade chocolate frame that tops this diminutive cupcake, which was baked in a fluted brown wrapper with a gold wrap. Inside the frame are chocolate ferns and leaves, also gilded in gold — the kind of cake Marie Antoinette would give to her guests! From Wild Orchid Baking Company.