Chemical Highs: a Medical Chic Theme Wedding

A Merry Heart Doeth Good Like Medicine.

It goes by so many names. Clinical, pharmacy or medical chic, lab fashion, what have you.

The point is, there’s a lot of people out there — nurses, doctors, EMTs, pharmacists or just-plain-scientists — who love their vocations, and want them reflected in their wedding.

And these days, that’s easy, since high-tech has made huge inroads into fashion and design. So here’s how to get the stylistic all-clear when it comes to your big day.

Making a First Impression

Let’s start with the stationary. A cross is fail-safe. But it doesn’t have to be red, white, blue or pastel green — this is your wedding, so choose your own colors. You could embed your cross in a double heart. Or skip the heart motif and go for total chemical chic instead, designing your invites around stylish designs representing the molecular structures for love. Try serotonin, phenylethylamine, or one your favorite endorphins.

Dressing the Part

Now, let’s talk attire. An over-the-top approach: dress your flower girl and ring bearer in costume. Think Shirley Temple in adorable nursewear, or an officious little doctor stalking down the aisle with a stethoscope dangling from his neck. And consider putting the best men in lab coats.

But if you want subtler touch, dress your bridesmaids in simple, elegant gowns reminiscent of hospital shades (see David’s Bridal above). Suggest they keep their makeup simple and clean (no screaming red lips), and hand out elegant headbands for a sleek, softly medical style. And you could splurge on a molecular necklace for them, too. How about “caffeine” to honor all those late nights they’ve spent keeping you sane?

Setting the Stage

If any wedding ever called for white, this is it. Stark white: not a problem. But you need more than that to get across that clinical feel. You need props. Think large, and don’t be afraid to chat up your local medical rental supply or prop shop if you live in a largish city. If not, see what you can get online. A few items, strategically placed, can make a huge impression: rolling privacy screens, stainless steel utility cards, gooseneck floor lamps (note: this site may not be worksafe). Aluminum instrument trays can stylishly store all kinds of items.

Dolling Up the Tables

Get yourself a great supply of medical beakers and volumetric flasks. Some look classic and vintage, and some ultra-modern: just choose according to the overall feel you’re going for. You can dress them up so many ways: fill beakers with tea lights and group them for centerpieces.

Or, Orange Magazine offers a must-see article for lab lovers that suggests you set up 150mm test tubes for shot glasses — a hot idea for cocktail hour. (Choose a striking liqueur: blue or hot pink.)

But what about the flowers? If you’ve got a pro florist on the payroll, suggest she start with carnation “snowballs” (also known as kissing balls or pomanders). On this beautiful backdrop of easy-going blooms, it’s a simple matter to work in a contrasting cross.

Clever Little Touches

flower flaskOh, there’s so many options. How about tongue depressor paddle fans? Keep the cleverness front and center by hewing to an industrial look. And don’t forget the value of navigation: direct guests to the shindig with a big “ADMISSIONS” sign.

Then, there’s the candy buffet. Store all the treats in matching apothecary jars, and tart up the setting with some gauze and rose petals, latex gloves, and a few businesslike forceps. Even your sweets can look positively medicinal.

Try candy buttons, pink Sweet Tarts, Altoids mints, Hot Tamales, or any number of retro candies (Necco wafers). Go crazy and have your bridesmaids help you whip up some white chocolate “aspirin” tablets.

Want to raise a giggle while indulging your guests? Have a small fry pass out alcohol-moistened prep pads from a basket between courses in lieu of finger towels.

And if you’ve set up a lounge for cocktail hour or guests who are skipping the dance floor, give it some industrial style by covering the tables with paper drape sheets and setting up a few comfy pillows in paper cases.

As for favors, why not go back to the test tubes? Fill them with anything your heart desires: medicinal candy, alluring spices, cocoa mix, vanilla beans — anything. Or if you expect the drinks to flow freely, individual Tylenol packs might be just what the doctor ordered.