Luxurious textures, bright colors, glittering details and hand-painted touches are just a few of the things that have made New York City's Magnolias Linens so popular with discerning brides and event planners. As couples become more savvy about wedding decor, white-topped tables are all but a thing of the past. "People don't want plain anymore," says Anjum Ahmed (left), founder of the company. "The trend seems to be embroidery with delicate silk threads, pearls and beading, or big leaves and feathers on netting. When you walk into a reception now, people are saying, 'Oh my God' because of the shimmering, shining, colorful silk fabrics on the tables."
Ahmed started the firm two years ago while planning the wedding of her daughter Asema Asghar (right). "We couldn't find linens that complemented her personality, so Asema, my other daughter, Talaiya [Mughal], and I went to India and had the fabrics made." When the amazing New York wedding was featured in a national magazine, demand for similar work followed, and the three women went into business.
The Magnolias philosophy—"The sky's the limit," says Ahmed—is what attracts Hollywood execs, socialites, and royal families. For one client's tented Palm Beach, FL, wedding, they drew upon their impressive inventory of props, which includes everything from candelabras to silk banquettes, to hang 500 glass-and–wrought iron lanterns from the ceiling. Then they dressed the tables in luminous white organza with white silk tassels to create a soft, glowing atmosphere.
To fulfill their clients' desire to personalize their wedding receptions, the Magnolias ladies will create padded picture frames in sizes large (for the table numbers) or small (for place-card holders and favors) in the same fabric as the table linens. They also make cloth napkin rings, like the sage-green ones they adorned with ivory seashells in subtle heart and fish shapes for a beach wedding. "Brides have even had stuffed animals made from their table linens," Asghar says. "Anything can be customized."
Magnolias' Best Linens for a…
Country reception: Beige silk taffeta embroidered with pine sprigs in brown velvet and green silk thread as an overlay on burlap tablecloth.
Garden affair: Silk organza linens with hand-painted flowers and vine embroidery customized in the couple's color scheme.
Museum soirée: Gold silk organza cloth with peacock feathers and hand-painted details and embroidery.