Some brides know exactly what they want — a fishing-themed wedding — but when they try to share their vision with friends and family, they get a bunch of skeptical or disbelieving looks in return. The fact is, there doesn’t have to be anything cheesy, embarrassing or overblown about a fishing wedding — it can be a beautiful testament to your love of the outdoors, combining rusticity and elegance with equal ease.
Here’s some key ideas for turning your fishing theme reception into reality.
Create a Focal Point
Draw the eye to one end of the room by propping up a wooden canoe or kayak (rent, or ask around for a friend who’ll lend one). Fill with an elegant assortment of cattails, rushes and tall grasses. Place a “water feature” near the canoe — but instead of a classical-style Greek fountain, try an easy-to-make fountain of your own design using anything from stacked stones to copper bowls and trays … and an inexpensive submersible pump.
Bring Nature Inside
Spice up your tables with centerpieces of cattails, pussy willows, driftwood or hurricane lamps. Surround each centerpiece with a scattering of sea glass or polished pebbles. Place decoy ducks here and there throughout — stick to restrained colors or old, vintage carvings for maximal elegance. A few decoy swans or blue herons placed where you want to draw the eye will also lend some drama with their willowy forms and extra height.
Highlight Your “Statement Tables”
Use large fishing nets to frame a strategic space (like the cake table or the wedding arch you’ll migrate to the reception), but don’t just leave them plain. Instead, you’re going to decorate them with an eye-catching collection of flyfishing lures and bobbers.
Choose a striking variety of feathers, brass bodies, shimmering crankbaits and other appealing designs — buy the lures whole, or order just the parts from a specialty supplier. If you’re starting with whole lures, take a pair of wire cutters and carefully dispose of the barbs, using needle-nose pliers to turn the tips back. After all, you don’t want your favorite nephew getting hooked on the nose as you’re about to exchange “I Dos.”
Now, using the remaining wire and some extra helper wire you’ve got on hand (grab from any craft store), secure your lures to the fishing net for a one-of-a-kind screen.
Whip Up Woodsy Centerpieces
You can use the same treatment to create dramatic, bare-branch centerpieces — arrange a collection of branches in quick-drying cement (for sturdiness), place in a reed or grapevine basket, and decorate likewise with your lures and wire. Use some of that extra wire to create dramatic, silver loops and swoops around the branches, too.
And before the reception even starts, set the tone by having the flower girl walk down the aisle holding flower petals in a hand net … or ending your recessional beneath a ceremonial arch of fishing poles (or wooden paddles) held aloft by the groomsmen.
Decorating Cheat Sheet
Here’s a few more ways to add some fun fresh-water touches to your wedding:
Borrow a few adirondack chairs to tuck in your venue’s corners, then tart them up with wicker baskets or creel boxes (or even rubber waders!) filled with garden flowers. Plus, bypass the usual boring guestbook. Instead, ask your guests to pen their best wishes on a bridal-white adirondack chair with a black sharpie. After the festivities wind up, cover with a topcoat of polyurethane, and let this sweet reminder grace your porch or garden.
Use rustic wooden signs or painted paddles to direct your guests to the reception area, gift table and other important spots. You can also suspend oars from the ceiling with clear monofilament, then hang nets from the paddles for a dramatic and memorable space divider.
On the lookout for clever favors? On the simple side, tuck a few chocolate guppies, gummy worms or Swedish fish into “fish net” (tulle circles). Or, if you’re feeling crafty, treat your guests to some one-of-a-kind wine charms or wind chimes you’ve designed with pretty beads and lures.
Out-of-town guests are sure to appreciate a little pick-me-up in the form of a creel basket filled with smoked salmon and crackers, a personalized Koozie or cup cooler, and a savory snack mix of cereal, pretzels and fish crackers.
Ask your favorite bartender to design a signature drink with graduated colors, and call it a Rainbow Trout. Serve in a Collins glass with fresh springs of mint.