Does the story of Wonderland seem unusually familiar to you? Like Alice, brides and grooms can sometimes feel like they’re entering a completely new and strange world. Fun, but a bit overwhelming at times, the world is inhabited by odd characters like professional caterers, emcees, and stranger still: family members.
Take a lesson from Alice, however, and remember to keep your sense of wonder alive. After all, you’re about to embark on the story of a lifetime.
“Curiouser and Curiouser” Décor
Alice went “through the looking glass” on her adventures, and you can, too! If you can find, create, or commission a large enough antique-style picture frame, you can invite guests to step through it as they enter your reception area. (You may want to leave out the bottom part of the frame to avoid creating a tripping hazard.)
Use plenty of mirrors while decorating–the older and more scratched, the better. If you want to create a dark patina on a new mirror, you can purchase patina solution to instantly give any surface the illusion of history.
Wonderland’s classic appeal is sure to entice the imaginations of guests of all ages. Black and white checkered floor tiles can evoke the book’s classic illustrations. Take it a step further and create optical illusions with the tiles. This can be done by slightly skewing the shape of each square to create a “ripple” effect, or by having the tiles diminish in size as they approach the far corner of the room.
Interview local artists until you find someone who can create portable, lightweight tiles for your venue’s floor. This approach can be expensive, however. If you want to create a similar look on a budget, you can use black and white checkered wallpaper or contact paper to line surfaces such as tables and chairs.
Are you celebrating outside? A Wonderland theme lends itself well to outdoor reception locations like forest clearings and gardens. Mix and match outdoor and indoor elements, such as filling antique-style dressers with garden soil and planted flowers or succulent plants.
Hang framed mirrors and paintings from trees and drape each one with moss. The more “proper indoor” elements you can add, such as carpets, couches, dressers, and tea tables, the more of a surreal atmosphere you can create.
Don’t forget to incorporate the classic illustrations from the Alice books into your décor. Finding vintage frames for them will give them three-dimensionality, and if the frames are mismatched, so much the better.
You can always spray paint picture frames of different sizes the same color. Hang them around your indoor venue, or from trees and lighting fixtures to spice up your outdoor venue. Don’t worry if you hang them crookedly.
Want to really amaze your guests? Add whimsical elements like life-sized chess pieces or a portable hedge maze. Ask local event rental companies what options are available in your area.
A Mad Tea Party
What better way to celebrate your Wonderland wedding than with a tea party? Serve your reception with crumpets, scones, finger sandwiches, chocolate-dipped strawberries, honey cakes, and other classic dainties. Don’t forget to label hors d’oeuvres with “eat me” and “drink me” signs!
Wonderland is the perfect place for a “topsy turvy” wedding cake. The tilted layers will provide the same sense of skewed fun you love from Alice’s adventures. Consider a white cake with rabbit ears, or cupcakes in the shapes of colorful mushrooms. Flamingo croquet mallets make excellent shapes for iced sugar cookies.
Evoke Lewis Carroll’s imagination with a menu paying homage to his most beloved characters. Ask your caterer about creating succulent dishes such as Mock Turtle soup, Lobster Quadrille croquettes, and the Caterpillar’s favorite mushrooms.
Play the Part
Love Alice’s outfit? Your Wonderland theme is the perfect excuse for a light blue wedding dress. Not only do you get to depart from ho-hum white, but your dress itself can be your “something blue!” If you want a more traditional wedding-day outfit, keep the white wedding dress and accent it with some blue-striped stockings or shoes. Don’t forget the bow for your hair!
Want to explore more Wonderland fashion? Wear a tiara that’s covered with hearts so you can be “Queen of Hearts” for the day. You’re certain to do a much better job than the queen in the book!
While a fanciful wedding theme is a good excuse to ask your guests to come dressed in costume, you don’t have to hold an all-out costume wedding. Keep an “accessories chest” by the entrance so you can hand out “Mad Hatter” hats, white petticoats, or rabbit ears to encourage your guests to jump into the fun of your theme.
Your wedding festivities begin well before the big day. Stage a picture-perfect engagement photo session while dressed like Alice and the Mad Hatter–or any of your favorite characters! If you want to involve two small children or pets, they can play the parts of Tweedledum and Tweedledee. Setting up a perfect tea table in the middle of the woods provides you with ample opportunities to pose and play in front of a photographer who can catch the whimsy of it all.
Wonder-Full Wedding Details
The small details are what really make the theme. Borrow the White Rabbit for use on your wedding invitations. After all, who could be better to announce a “very important date”?
Looking for an eye-catching centerpiece? Build a house of playing cards. (Hint: you can glue them in place if you’re worried about someone bumping the table.) You can also use playing cards as the inspiration for your themed table place cards.
Decorate your walls or your Save the Date cards with a painting of the Cheshire Cat in glow-in-the-dark paint. When the lights go off, just the smile will remain.
No matter which parts of Wonderland you make your focus, the silliness and whimsy of Wonderland will charm your gathered family and friends.
Lisa is a special needs teacher and a hugger. She always makes time for everyone and lightens up everybody’s lives with her presence. When she is not chasing her students around the yard, she finds time to write about what she truly loves, and you guessed it, its people and relationships.