beyond the big day: a french country celebration

Over at Once Wed, we are just smitten over Rachel and Michael’s simply modern wedding, shot by the fabulous Jose Villa. Rachel, an upcoming Associate Art Director for Cooking light magazine, exudes top notch creativity, so when she had the idea to put together this tablescape based off her own wedding, we knew it would be the perfect event for today’s column. What I love about the farm-to-table aesthetic is that it is so easy to create at home using simple elements such as a basket of eggs and simple fresh flowers. We hope that you will be able to draw inspiration from this sweet celebration and create your very own bucolic paradise! Here are some more words from Rachel herself…

The French have a legendary sense of style—it’s clean, rustic, warm and welcoming yet unique and sophisticated. France—it’s lifestyle, climate, arts and countryside—was our initial inspiration. Designing a tablescape for a dinner party can seem like a daunting task, but when you take a step back and find inspiration from the life you and your fiancé are building, it can also be a fun and rewarding process.

{Inspiration Board – Light fixture, Blackberries, all other images c/o Jose Villa}

When we started working on the project we really wanted to focus on creating a table that was not only visually appealing but also reflected a little bit of ourselves in it as well. We strive to be simple people and this was definitely taken into consideration as we sat down and looked at our surroundings for ideas. Something as simple as the color palate that we used in designing our house gave us a great starting point and led us to finding other things around us that we could incorporate.

The chandelier we used is the same one that hangs in our living room and the gold vase we used is also the centerpiece for our table at home. The design we printed on the placemats was based on combination of a wire frame that Rachel keeps one of her favorite Picasso drawings in and from the tatting on one of Rachel’s grandmother’s antique table runners. Download the template for Rachel’s placemats right here and here.

CLICK HERE for more beautiful pictures and flower arranging tips from rachel after the jump!

The egg idea came as both a symbolic piece for the beginning of a marriage as well as reflecting the beauty of something so simple it is often overlooked. I take pride in buying cage-free organic eggs every week and enjoy bringing them home and admiring the wonderful designs of nature.

Another element we took into consideration was height and texture. Our focus was to create contrast not only with color, but also with varying the height of our different objects as well introducing multiple textures in each element we added. This can be seen in the glass candleholders, the gold vase, the wood table, the low lying flowers arranged from a wholesaler, and the metal chandelier that hung from above. We feel this creates intrigue and results in a more interesting dining environment for your

Next we have a little DIY goodness from Rachel on how to assemble your own flower arrangements. Whether or not you use these ideas, the true beauty of any do-it-yourself project is in the nature that you created it and it is a reflection of yourself. If you keep this in mind when you are pulling your ideas together and finally executing them, the entire project will not only be rewarding to you both, but also a lot of fun to share with your guests/friends!

1. Find a Vase. I usually start with the container, because that is something you can get ahead of time to go along with your look/concept and it determines the height of the arrangement. If the vase is wide and shallow, like the ones I used, then you need fuller blooms and more greenery for filler. On the other hand, if you start with a tall vase, blooms with leggy stems or branches may be best.

2. Gather Ideas. Look through magazines and blogs and save images that move you. This will help you develop ideas for your design concept. Itis also a good idea to go to the market a few days before you actually buy so that you’ll know what’s in season and in stock. However, I prefer to go the day that I plan to create my arrangement and just pick what I can find! Sometimes a snap decision can yield the most beautiful results.

3. Gather Materials. You really don’t need a lot of supplies to throw together an arrangement: a good set of shears (do not use scissors; they tend to mash the stems), a large bucket with water and ample working space. A lot of wholesale shops will wrap the flowers in craft paper, which is great when working on the go or in small spaces. When I work on photo shoots, I just unwrap the flowers and then lay out the craft paper as my working area.

4. Arrange. I love working with flowers because there isn’t really a formula you must stick to; it’s just about finding the right balance of color, texture and height to make a nice composition. For our centerpiece, we used a nice mix of peonies, blackberries, purple cabbage, black pussy willow branches and leucadendron. I usually start by making the arrangement in my hand with the largest blooms and then keep adding to get an idea of how they look together before I add them to a vase. It is helpful to remove the leaves and stems that are not visible on top.

Photography: Michael and Rachel Lasserre

Venue: Serenbe Inn

Styling/Flowers: Rachel Lasserre

Table: South of Market

Chairs: JCT Kitchen(similar bistro style chairs can be found at IKEA)

Light Fixture: Illuminati Antiques

  1. Cassie says:

    I LOVE IT all! Those placemats are too cute, too.

  2. Summer says:

    Simply gorgeous! Thanks so much for including the PDF of the placemats. They make my heart flutter!

  3. I love this so much. Stuff like this makes me wish I could redo my wedding reception. Ours was nice and everyone had a great time, but this is beautiful. Like something out of a dream.

  4. Stephanie says:

    I second the placemat love! Such a great idea for inexpensive (but lovely) placemats.

  5. Valerie says:

    Stunning and yet so quaint. I love the cord used to tie the silverware together. And what amazing props for the wedding photos. :)

  6. Regina says:

    Thanks for posting, beautiful pics/ beautiful wedding designs.

  7. Ali says:

    I just spent wayyyy to long drooling over jose’s images on his blog…so much for a productive day at work. I’m ready to get married NOW after seeing his beauitful work.

  8. Susan says:

    Beautiful…so effortlessly chic.

  9. The placecard/egg–how does this work? Is the egg sitting on something to keep it from rolling around?

  10. Rachel says:

    Katie, I made two small loops with twine and then tied a knot. The placecard is double-sided taped to the egg and then the egg just sits inside the twine.

  11. Shannon says:

    Cannot even put into words how much I LOVE this!!!

  12. Hanna says:

    I’m not a great fan of the traditional American wedding culture, but these photos are stunning. Such a wonderful take on what should be a celebration based on love, not money and extravagance. I love this!

  13. tanya says:

    im loving the placemats

  14. Prudence says:

    Simply stunning. I want to be there… Love it all. Pruxxx

  15. Cary says:

    oh, i just stayed there recently… it’s such a lovely place on its own, made even more beautiful by this lovely wedding.

  16. Lorajean says:

    I Love everything about this! Great color scheme, Love the eggs and bread, I love old barns, and this place-mats are genius!!

  17. Wonderful! So many sweet ideas, and such gorgeous photos. Of course it wouldn’t be a real celebration without a darling donkey – so cute. We have a herd of six, so our parties tend to get a little bit out of control. ;)

  18. Danielle says:

    You can feel how good the weather is in these shots!

  19. Very special and creative and soft and lovely. Congrats and best wishes to them!

  20. Meredith says:

    I love this table setting… absolutely fabulous! Where did you find the glassware? I love the simplicity of the shape.

  21. I “heart” weddings…I would love to see the framed favorite picasso drawing! This wedding was so inspiring to me I put a link on my blog to it! i wish them both years of love and happiness together ♥

  22. eva says:

    This table setting is very uncommon when it comes to wedding occasion.very simple but fabulous…

  23. Rachel says:

    Meredith, Thank you so much for the compliments. We found the glassware at one of our favorite stores in Atlanta, Star Provisions. I definitely recommend stopping by if you are in the area!

  24. amanda says:

    wow, so pretty! i really like that idea. its so peaceful and call in the country hey?

  25. jessica says:

    Could you please tell me how/where I can get placemats printed? I just love this idea!

  26. Samuel Burns says:

    Wow, awesome ideas, simple yet effective.


Design*Sponge reserves the right to restrict comments that do not contribute constructively to the conversation at hand, contain profanity, personal attacks, hate speech or seek to promote a personal or unrelated business. Our goal is to create a safe space where everyone (commenters, subjects of posts and moderators) feels comfortable to speak. Please treat others the way you would like to be treated and be willing to take responsibility for the impact your words may have on others. Disagreement, differences of opinion and heated discussion are welcome, but comments that do not seek to have a mature and constructive dialogue will not be published. We moderate all comments with great care and do not delete any lightly. Please note that our team (writers, moderators and guests) deserve the same right to speak and respond as you do, and your comments may be responded to or disagreed with. These guidelines help us maintain a safe space and work toward our goal of connecting with and learning from each other.