I once had a client that refused to hire me, stating that my work lacked elegance. At first I was pissed, then I was hurt. After feeling a bit sorry for myself, I took the easy way out and told myself that everyone was entitled to his or her own opinion. I personally think there is a fine line between elegance and just plain boring. Still, her reaction made me stop and think very hard about what most people think of when they use the word elegant.
Today, I would like to make a Top 10 List that highlights what I have found clients to consistently refer to as elegant (and not) over my three decades in the business.
Elegance requires not calling attention to your design. In doing so, you risk looking as though you are showing off which is not considered tasteful.
Whites and creams are often considered to be elegant. On occasion, pink can also be accepted into the palette.
A silver container holding roses is considered to be a more refined centerpiece.
Tablecloths in any color but white are considered inelegant. Most Europeans consider this a hard-and-fast rule.
Dinner-sized white linen napkins are the most tasteful. I actually agree with this rule, as I do not like wiping my mouth with satin napkins.
Lace bridal dresses are considered the most elegant choice.
Boxed invitations are considered to be sent in very poor taste. Invitations should be cream with gold or black embossed writing. The stock paper should be of high quality and calligraphy should be hand-written.
Classic cut tuxedos with a hand-tied bow tie is the look of choice for the elegant groom.
Chair covers and dining chairs are considered distasteful.
And now, the big one: The use of a lot of flowers is a big no. It’s even seen as vulgar by some (as stated above). Needless to say, I fail big time on this one.
Bottom Line: The one that exists between excellent and poor taste is a fine one and, apparently, I have been guilty of crossing it many times. Now, I do happen to agree with a few of these traditional concepts, but if I were to abide by all of them, I would simply quit.
Readers: What “traditionally elegant” rule should we gladly let go of? What do you consider to be “elegant”?
(Photo Courtesy of John Labbe)