In 2019, City Home designer Kelly Atwood got an interesting project brief from two soon-to-be-wed clients: design a magical Alice in Wonderland-themed wedding. Kelly’s response? “We’ll do this. We got this. Done.” It’s just the sort of response you’d want to hear if you were planning a destination wedding: enthusiastic, competent and comforting.

The reception table dotted with mismatched chairs, plus two special velvet seats for the bride & groom. Furniture & table decor curated/furnished by City Home. Photo by Elissa Deline.

The couple, Madelyn and Matthew Whelan, were planning their Washington wedding from their home state of Texas, and they needed the City Home team’s help to make their event-planning dreams a reality. According to Madelyn, she and her now-husband have “always been drawn to an aesthetic that pushes limits and draws attention to the odd and unconventional. We quickly learned that Kelly operates on the same out-of-the-box page as well!”

A Refined Focus

Context is key in any design job. Though Kelly knew her clients were a creative duo, she kept her design focused on context. After all, she was designing for a wedding, not a kid’s birthday party. The Whelans’ wedding was intimate, personal and perfectly suited to their unique taste, with Madelyn calling the design ”picture perfect.” Kelly’s refined creative vision resulted in the perfect balance of whimsy and elegance. 

A white-rabbit vase nods to the story with subtle sophistication. Photo by Elissa Deline.

All of the design elements Kelly and her team chose are clearly related to Alice, but in a subtle way. Each individual design element is wedding-appropriate; when put together, they communicate the theme without going over the top. Restrained sophistication (along with the City Home team’s hard work) made this wedding truly unique.

Carefully Curated Details

Taking an event from the ordinary to the extraordinary requires careful thought about every little detail. Because this wedding had such a clear theme with iconic elements, the City Home team was able to curate a collection of items that evoked Alice in Wonderland while still embodying an aesthetic that worked both for the couple and for their beautiful, woodsy venue. From live bunnies to elegantly mismatched chairs and pretty pink goblets, “it was apparent that every decor piece had been picked with special attention and meaning,” Madelyn says.

A real-life Alice with white rabbits—all arranged by Kelly and her team—was on hand to elevate the theme.

In addition to a gorgeous clock-and-sofa setup, which served as the perfect background for family photos, the dining table helped to anchor the theme. This long, lovely table arrangement recalled the famous tea party scene from the Alice story, and it also gave Kelly the opportunity to add special touches like cake stands, rabbit statues and fairy lights.

Going Above and Beyond

While marriages are fun, weddings can be stressful for the soon-to-be-wed couple. Some couples end up getting so bogged down in wedding planning that they can’t enjoy their big day. Kelly and her team worked hard to ensure the event looked just right, even though Mother Nature wasn’t exactly cooperating.

The Whelans during their romantic, rainy ceremony. Photo by Elissa Deline.

“It downpoured,” Madelyn explains. Such is life in the Pacific Northwest—we don’t let a little bit of rain stop us, and Kelly was ready to roll with the challenges presented by a heavy downpour. “She and her team came together the day before and the day of to make our wedding everything we wanted,” Madelyn says. 

In addition to making sure all the decorative elements were well protected from the rain, Kelly took the extra step of finding clear umbrellas for the couple, officiants and guests to use for the outdoor ceremony. “I went to 5 different Fred Meyers to find them,” Kelly says, showing just how important details are to her process. Mismatching umbrellas wouldn’t look good in wedding photos, so she made sure to find the exact same type of umbrella.

Kelly put the carefully chosen clear umbrellas in a galvanized metal bin that fit in perfectly with the rustic-yet-elegant setting. Photo by Elissa Deline.

If you want to plan an amazing theme wedding, Kelly’s approach is a pretty good model to follow. Think outside the box, go for the unexpected, focus on iconic elements and don’t skimp on the details. Of course, if you’d rather not worry about all this yourself, you can hire us to take care of it for you. Whether you’re working with a professional planner/coordinator or not, City Home can provide rental wedding furniture and design the wedding of your dreams.

If you like any of the items you see in these photos, get in touch with us to determine product availability, price and delivery options.

Photos by Portland-area wedding photographer Elissa Deline.

All furnishings not from City Home’s catalog were rented from Classic Vintage Rentals.