Lisa + Spencer: Inspired by the Heritage Willow

Inspiration can be found in almost anything around us. As a designer, finding what your clients LOVE and using it as an inspirational piece for their entire event is what exceptional service is about. And this is EXACTLY what we did when Lisa fell in love with our Heritage Willow china. From the florals to the cake, we merged her love of this willow pattern with her wedding day as they celebrated with family and friends at our luxury event venue, The Watson House and Gardens, Emerald Isle, NC.

The Heritage Willow china is exclusive to our venue; The Watson House, but carries a long history. The Willow pattern itself is unique and intricate chinoiserie pattern dating back to the 18th century. Commonly seen in blue and white, this particular replica takes on more pinks and reds, which blended seamlessly into Lisa’s design. The Willow pattern has many different Chinese inspired themes, and still holds true to being one of the most popular designs to present day. Although it is believed that the story behind the pattern was created to help with “sales” of the plate, we find it an interesting story and thought we would share. Some may consider this fable tragic, but we believe that the ending symbolized love, peace, and unity. All important components to any love story!

The Romantic Fable as taken from “The Story of the Common Willow Pattern Plate”, The Family Friends Magazine. 1849

Once there was a wealthy Mandarin, who had a beautiful daughter (Koong-se). She had fallen in love with her father’s humble accounting assistant (Chang), angering her father. (It was inappropriate for them to marry due to their difference in social class.) He dismissed the young man and built a high fence around his house to keep the lovers apart. The Mandarin was planning for his daughter to marry a powerful Duke. The Duke arrived by boat to claim his bride, bearing a box of jewels as a gift. The wedding was to take place on the day the blossom fell from the willow tree.

On the eve of the daughter’s wedding to the Duke, the young accountant, disguised as a servant, slipped into the palace unnoticed. As the lovers escaped with the jewels, the alarm was raised. They ran over a bridge, chased by the Mandarin, whip in hand. They eventually escaped on the Duke’s ship to the safety of a secluded island, where they lived happily for years. But one day, the Duke learned of their refuge. Hungry for revenge, he sent soldiers, who captured the lovers and put them to death. The gods, moved by their plight, transformed the lovers into a pair of doves (possibly a later addition to the tale, since the birds do not appear on the earliest willow pattern plates).

We adore these plates and the unique color palettes they express! We were thrilled to help Lisa and Spencer create their wedding day Dream at the luxurious Watson House and Gardens, Emerald Isle, NC. To see more of this wedding from Common Dove, check out her blog here

Image provided by Common Dove Photography

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To check out more images of this luxury real wedding, visit Common Dove’s portfolio gallery here