“Why bother decorating something no one pays any attention to?” asked my chronically negative mother upon learning I wanted to customize my wedding runner. Just like in high school, I didn’t listen. She was a contemporary L.A. designer with a very different sense of design from mine. What did she know about sustainable wedding design?
Here I am, an elated newlywed floating down the aisle in the Venetian Room at the San Francisco Fairmont Hotel, arm-in-arm with my Ken Doll – um, I mean new husband – on the runner I designed. By the way, my lace dress was a used vintage gown that I beaded. Was I ahead of my time, or what?
I was thrilled to be strutting my Emma Hope pumps on the words of a prayer I had written for our future. I had it translated into Italian by my friend, Gianfranco Savio of Biordi Art Imports in North Beach.
I simply bought about 20 feet of cotton canvas fabric at the Academy of Art Utrecht supply store. This sort of fabric has long been used by artists to paint murals and floor cloth and works well for durable runner material. It sure beat that flimsy, forgettable white polyester hotels and florists usually roll out for weddings and toss out after they fray.
I asked my friend, Suzanne, a ceramics painter, to embellish it with hand painted cherubs, roses and writing in black and gold. We used fabric paint and permanent markers so the art would last. She had to stretch the fabric down the entire length of the hall of my apartment building to paint it. If you don’t paint or have friends who are artists, Artful Celebrations, an Etsy site, will custom paint a runner for you with words and designs, charging $40 per foot with a minimum of three feet.
After the hot honeymoon in Maui (TMI?) I cut out the first section of the runner and took it to the Walter Adams frame store to have stretched as meaningful art (see below). I’m sure you have a framer who can do it for a modest price.
It now hangs over my bed, a sweet reminder of that enchanted April evening when hopes were high – almost as high as my cousin Shirley from Omaha – and romance was in the air.
My own little cherubs adore seeing the runner (including our shoe marks) and I have saved the extra fabric to pass on to them to use for upholstery, draperies or to stretch as art for their own homes, if they like.
The moral of the story: when planning a wedding, nod frequently in agreement with your mom, but follow your own heart – and imagination. I guess that could apply to raising your own little angels, as well.