Monday, May 12, 2008


I LOOOOOOOVE flowers. I used to work at a florist in college, and it was by far the best job I ever had. Of course, getting to work in the Annapolis ER was very cool as well, and it made for some awesome stories and amazing medical experience that has worked out well for me in medical school, but seriously, if this whole medical thing ever fails, I'm going to become a florist/wedding planner.

The nice thing about having worked in a flower shop is that I learned a lot about working with flowers. By the time I left, I had learned the basics of doing a vase or foam arrangement, the basics of making hand-tied bouquets (hand-tied = the kind that are very popular now, a round bunch of flowers that you hold by the bunch of stems), and how to make boutonnieres. Plus lots of other tips and tricks like bow making (very handy!), garland making, and probably most importantly, how to care for fresh flowers and get them to open the way you want them to.

So naturally I have grand ideas about doing a lot of my own flowers for the wedding. It's possible, believe me. But I'm still realistic. I don't want to make boutonnieres, and probably not my own bouquet (depends on what I want to get, but more on that later), so I'll get a florist for those. But bridesmaids bouquets, aisle decorations, centerpieces, and possibly even arch flowers, I (with help) can totally do. The first step is to order tons of flowers wholesale from the internet. At prices like those, I can afford to splurge and order lots and lots of everything I love.

But here's the problem: there are tooooooo many options, and I love them all. (Note: in the following pictures, if there isn't a visible hyperlink in the text to the source, then the photo itself is hyperlinked to the source.)

1. Ceremony arch. I don't have an arch yet, but there are lots of viable options out there. Black wrought iron is probably the cheapest, and then there are the gorgeous-but-expensive wood ones. Making a wooden one would NOT be hard (that's what strong fiances and guy friends are for, but as I don't have a yard, finding workspace is the biggest problem). In any case, I would love to have it be overflowing with flowers, like this one:
So pretty! Each chunk of flowers is arranged on its own piece of foam, then attached to the arch. Totally do-able.
Or this one, which just looks so pretty.

2. Bridesmaids' bouquets. These are going to be hand-tied, and therefore very easy to make. But what kind of color palette? I'm initially drawn to multi-colored bouquets, like the flowers on the first arch above -- various shades of pinks, as well as purples and greens. Like this:
Or I really like the funky, wild look of these (from The Knot):

But then I saw these bouquets and I really liked them, too:
They're actually Mrs. Onion's bridesmaids' bouquets from Weddingbee, and her florist featured them on her website. The white and purple is so clean looking, and the purple really pops against the white. On the other hand, if my bridesmaids are already going to be wearing purple, then it might not pop as much, and the white is what would be seen. And I do love the look of the first bouquets with the multiple shades of pinks and purples.

Either way, I like a loose, organic feeling to bouquets; nothing too stiff, manicured, or formal. "Lush" is a good word.

3. Aisle decorations. Floral pomanders on shepherd's hooks?
Paper lanterns hung from the chairs?
Or pomanders hung from the chairs or lanterns hung from shepherd's hooks? I like the look of shepherd's hooks, but since the roof of Glassworks is a deck, attaching them to the deck might be rather difficult, so hanging things from the chairs is probably a better idea. Lanterns would bring in the Asian feel that I'm having difficulty incorporating otherwise...

Or how about flowers in buckets hanging from the chairs?
I think they moved those buckets into the reception area to decorate the bar after the ceremony. Or we could put buckets directly on the ground. It's too bad tulips aren't in season at the end of May, or else I would have tons of them at the wedding. Oh well.

If I can make the arch and the aisle interesting enough, then I don't want to have to bother trying to decorate the fence that goes around the perimeter of the roof. I've seen some nice pictures from past weddings where they decorated with things like tulle or Christmas lights, but if I can avoid it, I think I'd like to.

4. Centerpieces. This is where there are just TOO many options. I intend to just make vase arrangements for the tables, with lots of colors and flower types. If you have enough flowers, then it doesn't matter if they're not professionally arranged, because they will just look amazing on their own (that's my opinion, anyway). But what kind of vases? There's the short round or square vase that holds a short arrangement:

This is from a wedding my bridesmaid and former roommate Marjorie went to back in 2005 (yes, I've been collecting pictures from weddings for many years now).

This is from my bridesmaid Paula's wedding last year. If you go short, you should make sure that the centerpiece won't block the sight line for guests seated across from each other. I think I read somewhere that they should be no taller than 12-14".

Or you can alternate short and tall arrangements on the tables to add some visual interest:
This is one of the tall arrangements that was on some of the tables at Paula's reception. It's VERY tall. The clear glass vase, although it's tall, still allows for people to see each other through it, thus not halting conversation.

Or, you can mix and match things on a single table: 3-4 vases each with its own bunch of flowers in it (sorry, can't find a picture right now).

I have lots of random little vases hanging around, and I know I can always find a ton more at Goodwill, and I know I don't want everything to be completely matchy-matchy, so I think I might just start collecting vessels and then fill them all with flowers when the time comes and have them go wherever they look good. Tuesday Morning and Big Lots both have lots of vases as well -- in fact, I was at Tuesday Morning this week by chance and they have lots of really tall vases -- like at least 20" tall. They're a little pricey, but I'm pretty sure I could sell them after the wedding. If I'm going to do tall at all, then I probably need a full 50% of the tables to be tall, so things don't look odd. But if I go all short/medium, then I can definitely make every table completely different. I could also start looking for colored or otherwise more interesting glass, to play off the fact that we're having the reception at Glassworks.

And again, the paper lanterns come into play. We can hang things from the ceiling of the reception room, which I think is a good idea, because otherwise it's a little too industrial-looking:

I've seen pictures where they hung fabric/draping from the ceiling, which looked gorgeous, but I'm going to admit it's probably a little beyond my capabilities. But here's another opportunity for those paper lanterns to come in... we could hang them from the ceiling. There's so many pretty ones, too...

Here are some inspirational pictures:
Pictures Miss Penguin from Weddingbee collected
Another picture from Weddingbee

All these lanterns are from Luna Bazaar.

I could hang them all over, or if I did some tall centerpieces, then the lanterns could just go over the tables with short centerpieces. Plus some over the dance floor as well. There are lots of options for lighting them -- I already bought some battery-operated tea lights from Target months ago because they were on clearance. I figured that even if I didn't use them, I could re-sell them. Plus, there is a new craze sweeping Weddingbee: LED throwies. If I go this route, then this is a DIY job for the groomsmen to help with, as I can think of at least two of them who will find this amazingly cool, and the girls are already going to be apprentice florists.

So anyway, those are my decorating dilemmas. Any thoughts?


Crissy said...

Your posts make me want to get married again, so I can plan another wedding ...


Enjoy every moment of it!!! :)

Jackers said...

Do you know how to make the tall centerpieces withOUT the stems showing? I've tried but can't figure it out. The foam always shows.

hwong14 said...

The way the florists usually do it (and the way it was done for my friend Paula's wedding, which was pictured) is to make an arrangement in foam in a container that sits on top of the opening of the tall vase. Make the greenery/flowers hang down below the bottom edge of the foam to achieve the look of things falling down from the top of the vase. Does that answer your question?

Gronny Waston said...

My mom truly loves flowers. On weekends, she prepares flower bouquets and baskets. She does flower arrangements as a hobby. For flower delivery, she depends on a Flowers NYC service. She is very happy with their beautiful and fresh flowers.