Thursday, November 6, 2008

How '70s architecture will affect our reception

Our reception venue is the Vimy Officers' Mess. I've never been to any event held there and (when we booked the venue) I only knew of one wedding held there (my cousin's older half-brother). Since booking it, four friends (two couples) have had weddings there. I'm no longer close friends with either of these couples so, not surprisingly, I was not invited to wedding. I did manage to look at the pictures on facebook!

The Vimy Officers' Mess is, just that, an officers' mess on the base in Kingston (Canadian Forces Base). To have a wedding there, you need to be sponsored by an officer. The majority of the venue was constructed at the start of the 20th century (at least, that's what I recall from the mini-tour when we booked it). Here's the view from the front:

I don't have any pictures from the inside, but picture appropriate period décor, crown molding, solid wood dining tables (in the dining room) and rich furniture (in the private rooms). Everything one would expect in a century officers' mess.

However, there's an addition that was built sometime in the late '60s or '70s.

... and my relationship with '70s architecture recommences. I feel like I've been in a battle like Peter versus The Chicken.

Here's what I have to work with for the dancing:

The wood panelling can cast an odd glare, which can be tricky for photographers (as demonstrated in this picture). The room is also difficult to decorate, with fairly standard rules - no stapling or affixing items to the walls, no balloons, everything must be removable, etc. The dining room is in the older part, and will require little to no additional decorations - just centrepieces. Hoewver, the main ballroom (where the dancing will take place) is entirely in this '60/'70s addition.

I swear, the venue looks better in real life than in the lower picture! This is just a corner of the ballroom to give you an idea of the impact the wood panelling can have, both on the ambiance and on creating glare/reflections. In reality, the ballroom opens into a large area with stunning high ceilings, albeit with wood panelling up the tall walls. And - and about a third of the room is a set of windows with a picturesque view of Lake Ontario.

I'm thinking of decorating with a bit of white/ivory tulle or ivory tablecloths on the tables (though if I use tulle, I wouldn't use too much - I don't like swaths of tulle) to soften the room just a bit. If I throw in soft candlelight and some centrally and appropriately placed dramatic centrepieces on tables, I think I can change the focus of the room from wood panelling to to a dance reception.

So ... What do you think of my decorating ideas? How would you decorate to reduce the impact of the wood panelling?


Cyd said...

I just mulled this over for a bit and I would definitely say bringing the focus lower and more to the human scale will keep too much attention from being paid to the 70s architecture. I like the idea of white/ivory excess. I think I would actually nix the tulle idea and take a different approach. I would try to work with the colors of the room and go with centerpieces that include a lot of earth tones and woodsy elements while still being very romantic. And then, I'd cut out any overhead lighting you didn't need and literally cover that room in candles.

P.S. If you're in Kingston we are nothing but a short hop over a bridge a little drive up the 401 from each other!

Cyd said...

P.P.S. I actually think we're going to be taking the ferry over from Cape Vincent and having my bachelorette in Kingston!

Krista said...

Yep - kingston's pretty close! and some very fun bars, too!

Carly said...

I agree with Cyd. I think that woodsy centerpieces would help to blend with the wood paneling. And I like the idea of lots of candles, too. I can't really make out much detail from the picture, but I think the reception room looks lovely. I'm not super turned off by '70s architecture (although I know some people don't like it). In fact, some style/design of the 60s and 70s is very much "in" right it a funky vibe. :)

Krista said...

I never thought of using woodsy centrepieces. Hm, definitely a different approach. I'll have to think about how to do that!

Carly said...

You'd be the best judge of this (given your personal taste and the actual reception room), but instantly when cyd said "woodsy" I thought of the look of branches. Here's one pretty picture I found as an inspiration shot: You could add a pop of color with your choice of flowers (since you are having a summer wedding, right?)

Again, this might not interest you, but maybe it will help you with inspiration.

Krista said...

That's actually not far off from what I had imagined for the dining area. Maybe I'll extend the dining room decorations to the other areas! I have a number of eiffel vases that I was going to fill with either carnations or peonies, then have branches protrude, and hang stems of orchids from the branches.
Oh - fun!
And yep - it's a June 6th wedding, which is technically spring, but is often so warm that it's more like summer.