September 16, 2015

Flowers for a Coastal Wedding

I knew the day would come when my niece Katie and her (then) boyfriend, Chris, would marry. They were perfect together and matched each other in so many ways. Katie laughed with Chris and he, the same with her. Everyone knew it would be the sweetest wedding! And it simply was. This picture was taken the night before; the arbor waiting to be decorated over a full moon sky.
So, when they asked me to do the flowers for their big day, I was touched and honored. And given Katie's sense of humor and natural style, I knew it would be SO fabulous!
With a small guest list of only 40, there was a lot of freedom to include special touches. Katie and her mom and I talked a lot about the style they wanted - rustic chic, nautical, and then we finally came up with our own rustic-nautical! Both families love boating, fishing and everything to do with the water, so Katie's backyard was a no-brainer. And it just so happens to be next to mine which meant that delivering flowers would be oh-so-easy!
Katie and Chris chose yellow, blue with a little pink thrown in for the color theme. And I found this great chevron ribbon to tie around the napkins to add some zip. 
For the containers, and to complement the rustic elements, we chose two sizes of French galvanized buckets along with mercury glass votive candles and plenty of satin ribbon for the bouquets. (Don't you love my Charlie Brown lunchbox? It was a present from my brother and holds all my floral tools!)
So once the elements were decided and I had figured out the amounts of flowers to order, off I went to the flower market to see my favorite guy, Fernando. This looks like a lot of flowers for forty guests, and trust me, we used every single stem!
 Though I had asked for "yellow garden roses" when I should have specified "spray roses", this INCREDIBLE David Austin "Beatrice" rose was what came with the order, and it was perfect! I guess Fernando knew what I wanted all along!
 This time of the year presented some challenges in getting some of Katie's favorite flowers, but I assured her that she would love the pop of color from these pink dahlias.
 These white ranunculus were Katie's favorite and she would've had even more of them until I explained the price - yikes!
 The size and strength of these incredible white roses were amazing. I planned to pick what looked good the morning of my market visit and these jumped out.
 Another David Austin rose, the incredibly fragrant, "Patience" rose, was used only for Katie's bouquet. I also used other flowers, but these were too special to share with the other arrangements.
 White stock was perfect for textural variation and fragrance. Between the stock and the "patience" roses, I was in scent-heaven!
 A really bad picture of dusty miller, but this was a great "green" for the arrangements and echoed the galvanized color. I also used lamb's ears too.
 Feverfew is so pretty and was really hard to get at this time of year. I'm lucky the owner of my favorite shop at the market likes me because she was able to snag me some. I wished I had ordered double the amount!
 "Naked" eucalyptus! I love eucalyptus and the naked version is extra seedy and neat for arrangements because there aren't leaves in the way. But between "patience" and "naked", I don't know if I have some subliminal message to Katie and Chris, or not. :)
This pretty blue delphinium did it's job perfectly, bringing in the color of the ocean and helping ground the arrangements from the yellow and pink.
 Having gone to the market, I had to condition the flowers. All that means is that I cut the stems at an angle and put them all into fresh water for a day to soak it all up. The flowers opened up quite a bit after being free from their cooler. I love it when my front hall looks like a flower shop!
And to make sure I didn't run out of flowers for the bouquet, I separated what I needed just to be safe. Here was what I was planning for the bridal bouquet and you can also see the lamb's ears.
 Once I soaked the oasis, I shoved it (literally) into the galvanized buckets. Here they sat, all lined up like soldiers preparing for battle…with me.
After adding the dusty miller and naked (ooh!) eucalyptus, they almost look pretty enough as is. But don't be silly!
I next added the delphinium for height so I could see what I was working with. I didn't use all the delphinium at first. I saved a bunch to add at the end to fill in holes and gaps, because I am definitely not perfect.
Then I added the yellow roses for contrast and peppered the arrangements with feverfew to add a fairy-like quality without using (I can barely say it) baby's breath! I really don't like baby's breath unless that is the ONLY flower and it's used in such great amounts you can't deny it's beauty.
Then, for a slight splash of color, since Katie only wanted a hint of pink, in came the dahlias. My house smelled so great during this! Ahhhhh!
With the final addition of ranunculus, and the few extra delphinium, the larger arrangements were ready for the table.
Next up, the smaller galvanized buckets to surround the bigger buckets. I planned three per table. To make sure that I had enough ranunculus, I laid them out in bunches and needed 21 groupings.
Working around them all, I made sure that I had enough big, little and whimsical flowers in each to make a statement. I kept them all white so the eye had a break from the color of the big arrangements and the bright napkins.
simple and sweet - just like Katie and Chris
As the clock was ticking faster than I could remotely comprehend, I went to work on the wedding party flowers. Luckily it was a small wedding!
First I made Katie's bouquet. The "patience" roses were used all around the base and mixed in with the large white roses. Some feverfew and lamb's ears completed the look.
I finished the bouquet by wrapping the clustered stems with this beautiful wide white satin ribbon and detailed it with pearl-tipped pins.
And keeping with the theme of Katie in white but wanting to show a little bit of color, I made this simple yet fun bouquet for the matron-of-honor, my other niece, Emily, who is 7 months pregnant. Yes, my in-laws have a LOT to celebrate this year!

I made a couple of boutonnieres for Chris and his best man, Larry. I swear they could be brothers. The flowers were the perfect lapel-size. But they needed help after getting so many hugs. The poor ranunculus drooped and I had to do some triage on the silly things.
 Because of Katie's joyous outlook on life, she didn't want the formality of a veil. I suggested a flower crown and she loved the idea. I had made plenty of these things when I was goofing around, and actually wore one on my own wedding day. But the pressure of providing the sole hairpiece actually stressed me out more than making all the other flowers combined. I kind of winged it. First, I wrapped a circle of wire with floral tape so no pieces of wire would jab poor Katie in the head.
Then I made a bunch of small individual bouquets, using some of the large white roses at the top. When I attached all of this to the crown and tried it on, I died. I looked like some freak with giant blobs on top, like some weird Frida Kahlo painting, and had to start all over. Now the sweat was pouring down my back. I think I was like two hours from the wedding at this point. No prob! Ha!
Anyway, in this picture (hastily taken so you can't actually see much), I ditched the giant roses and cut the wire in back and added ribbon so it tied around Katie's head. And in the end, it was (if I say so myself) G.OR.GEOUS!!!
Aren't they the cutest couple?
And if you EVER need an amazing photographer for outdoor weddings, use Victoria Dosch! She is adorable but most importantly, takes photos that capture literally every nuance of every emotion! 
 Still running around like a crazy woman, I think at this point, I had 45 minutes until the wedding guests arrived! My mother-in-law, an amazingly talented floral arranger in her own right, and I scrambled together to make a floral spray to wire into the top of my arbor. First, we wove smilax vines in and around the grapevines and then attached the spray at the top. Katie chose to get married between two white Rose of Sharon bushes so that when she planted them at her home, she could always remember that she got married in-between them. Cue the "awwwwws"!
It was just so pretty against the backdrop of the sea!
My mother-in-law made these stunning large arrangements and placed them on my favorite plant stands. I cannot tell you how many weddings I've used these for. They belonged to my husband's grandmother and were in her Palm Beach home. I think she'd be proud to know the number of brides and grooms who've been blessed by these. My stainless steel fish were a quick fix to the yard because the day before, the landscapers, who should have just weeded, literally ripped out all the vegetation leaving a big pile of dirt. Can you imagine?! The fish ended up being perfect!

My sister-in-law and mother of the bride, sewed all the groovy navy and white lobster runners. It was time to get this party started!
One of my daughters had to work (she works at a prep-school and the kids were all arriving this day) and we missed her terribly, but another became my much-appreciated helper. She cleans up well, doesn't she? Ha ha. My husband is in the background attending to some kind of detail…
I LOVE this picture of the "Bro-crew". My term only. My son officiated! Yet again, Katie and Chris expressed their love of family and tradition and asked my son if he would marry them! Using a neat leather album stamped with a sailing ship that we grabbed in London, it seemed perfect for this event and from which to recite the sermon.
Ohhh! That bittersweet moment when you say goodbye to your parents and join your (soon-to-be) husband. Gets me every time! And this time, I didn't have any Kleenex with me!
 My wedding present from my husband to me at our wedding was used as the drink boat. I named it "Raw Bar" because it was our raw bar at our wedding. This sweet little cat boat has also seen it's fair share of weddings!
It's gonna be a FUN reception!
Don't worry, we still DID have a raw bar. You can't have a coastal wedding without one. Obviously! 
 My niece, the matron of honor, came up with this adorable idea of using an OAR for the guestbook! 
Monogram and all!
 As the party progressed, it was another jaw-dropping night, replete with a few cruise ships sailing by! (I always think of that Gilligan's Island episode when I see far-off cruise ships, but I digress)
 With stars lining the ceiling of the tent...
 …to a spectacular fireworks show, this wedding ticked all the boxes and more that Katie and Chris had asked for. It was such an honor to be part of it. And now there's nothing more to say but...

(look carefully and you can see the "just married" banner on their boat during their honeymoon - they were even kind enough to take along our Booty Rum