While the use of textiles for your wedding may not be something that gets you eagerly searching Pinterest for inspiration (although you definitely could if you want to), it is the use of these textured fabrics that can add a completely unique and layered feeling to your nuptial celebrations. Depending on the time of year you may aim for a delicate lace decorating your summertime tables, or a thicker damask hanging from the chairs at your mid-winter party. Whatever you choose, it will surely have an effect on the ambiance and overall feeling of your wedding.
Textiles in cultures
In many cultures, the use of textiles holds, and has historically held, importance as a marker of cultural, economic, and symbolic significance. Jewish couples stand under a chuppah, a bridal canopy fashioned to the top of four poles, covering the couple as they say their vows. Persian weddings feature a silk scarf or shawl held over the bride and groom by unmarried female relatives who gently grind sugar above their heads and onto the shawl during the ceremony, to shower them in sweetness. The traditional red silk of a Chinese wedding dress still has its place in contemporary society, often switching roles for a white gown to be worn later on the wedding day. A delicate bridal veil is worn in countries the world over, a Scottish groom would be remiss without his traditional tartan kilt, and the list goes on and on and on. And that’s textiles!
But what are textiles?
While the word originally meant woven fabric, it has come to mean any material manufactured with fibres or yarn. And as you can see, one can’t have a wedding without using any textiles at all! Everything from your dress to your table cloths will be made of something, and you have a lot of freedom when it comes to picking out what those things are, and even more freedom when it comes to making sure that your fabrics and materials have been ethically sourced.
Choices choices choices
The textile world is really your oyster! With the option to go with luxury fabrics, aiming for a feeling of opulence with exquisite hand embroidery and golden thread hand stitched into the work, or something more rustic, with recycled paper leaf place cards, and repurposed cloth hangers, making all your textile choices ethical ones is easy to accomplish.
Once you’ve chosen the bits and pieces that work for you, you may want to do some research into taking care of these precious materials after the big day has come and gone. Staffed with experts in the field, the Victoria & Albert Museum even offers tips on caring for your textiles.
Textiles by season
Not sure what will work for you and your day? Try to let the season take the lead when it comes to coordinating your use of textiles with your wedding date. Textured materials such as burlap can be easily repurposed for a summer wedding as table runners, while a winter wedding will call for something a bit more substantial, such as velvet or faux fur. And as far as keeping things as ethical as possible-second-hand, recycled fabrics will add more emotional bang to your wedding, and save you money too!