Friday morning I got up EARLY (4:30 am early) in order to get everything done and still be able to attend the big rehearsal dinner that night. It’s a whole different monster to do flowers for a wedding where you also want to partake in the activities. I hadn’t realized just how tricky this might be. I did type up a very detailed event “to do list” ahead of time but in reality it was rather difficult to juggle the flower work, attending and enjoying and really being present for all the incredible events, and trying not to look too terrible next to all these people who had spent hours getting ready in front of mirrors. I’m not sure I ever had more than 8 minutes (yes that was my maximum dressing time that I had all weekend) to get myself into clean clothes and throw back my hair. As the weekend wore on, let me tell you the pictures of me got worse and worse!!! But I didn’t care. This weekend was about Brodie and Jake. They were the ones who had to look good!
I didn’t yet know all of this as I drove over the hills to my aunt’s in the dark. Fog had settled all around, and I actually did pull over at a particularly spectacular view on my drive just as the faintest light of dawn came over the sky. If you can’t take 5 minutes to soak it all in and appreciate the quiet of the fog, then life has taken over. This was such a special weekend that I really did make myself stop and breathe it all in on various occasions. This was one such moment, and I am so glad I took it because the day went into fastforward after that.
I arrived at the house before anyone was up and started in making the huge buffet arrangement and two ceremony urns. I added in the grapes to spill over the edges and packed these designs full of all the local leaves and incredible flowers from the growers. WOW, were those urns beautiful. Here I am on my Aunt’s porch putting them together.
It was such fun as my Aunt and my Mom popped in and out to appreciate them as they were created. It’s always fun to have cheerleaders! As the morning came into full swing, the groom’s mother Kim arrived and began working on flower centerpieces for the rehearsal (which she and her husband would be hosting that night). Kim did an amazing job arranging her flowers, and I am still thinking she has floral design training but isn’t telling me! I was so impressed. At one point her son (the groom) Jake came down and helped arrange flowers. I think this is my first groom to ever participate in the flower arranging, and it was the best! He is artistic and has a great eye for color. I loved watching the two of them taking a little time together amidst the flowers and immersed in a few moments of creativity. My cousin got so lucky with this family she has married into. I love all of them, especially Kim who I got to know well as we worked side-by-side in our little flower lair throughout the weekend.
As I began working away on the bouquets, a team of flower fairies arrived (friends of my Aunt who were selected for their flower abilities). They filled all of the bottles with flowers and grasses that would be going on log slices as centerpieces for the wedding. They also made boutonnieres and corsages and created a few other floral arrangements to scatter around the reception. I could never have done it all without them! The rooms were crammed with people, and we spilled out onto the pool table and into the backyard on folding tables. I think at one point we had more than 13 people working on various projects! I didn’t move quite as fast on my bouquets as I was directing the “orchestra” but they got so much done that it didn’t matter.
A highlight of the day was when my 94 year old grandma stopped by and came down to watch what we were doing. She is the matriarch of our family, and she gave all of us a love of flowers, beauty, entertaining, cooking, and creating. She says she always told me I should have a career in flowers, and she is one of my biggest supporters on this flower journey. I often send her pictures of what I am making, and she watches our little flower shop and all that it is becoming with eager excitement. This was the first time, though, that she has ever been able to watch me work and design in person. I gave her a tour of all the flowers, and she watched me make the bridesmaids bouquets. We oohed and ahhed over everything together and loved every minute.
My daughter, Everly, set up a flower crown station outside and listened to a book on tape while creating her eucalyptus crowns for the flower girls. She finished each one off with a hand written name tag in her calligraphy (one of her recently acquired skills!). She also finished off two cute little flower girl baskets that would be filled with hydrangea florets the following day.
Eventually the crowd finished their tasks and headed home. I found the peace of the basement the perfect time to make the bridal bouquet. I always save the best flowers for the bride and put the most effort and time into her bouquet. A bride’s bouquet is a gift of beauty that accompanies them all through their big day, and I want her to LOVE it….to love the flowers in it, the colors of it, the shape of it, the smell of it, the ribbons on it. I want them to remember their bouquet when they think back on their wedding. This bouquet was even more important to me, if that is even possible. I was going to give it to my dearest “summertime sister” for her to be married with. I was going to watch her walk down the aisle with it and see photos of it for years to come. Yep, no pressure right?! So I set in to make it. Amazingly, it seemed to come together easily and in just the right size for her. When it was done I asked her to come down so I could present it to her and make sure she liked it (this was a special treat because I don’t usually have my Bride onsite while I am designing). It looked great in her hands, and, thankfully, she loved it. What a relief! From there I finished all the rest of the bouquets. I didn’t have a cooler to put them all in, so (after I photographed them quickly), I turned off the lights to keep it as cool as possible, said a quiet goodnight to them, and did another 5 minute change for the rehearsal dinner.
Here is a picture of the bouquets sitting on the log slices, which her brother cut for the centerpieces. The bouquets turned out having a lot more purple and not as much blue as originally planned, but those were the flowers the growers had at the time, and so that is what we created. It turned out that the groom loved purple, so everyone was happy with the final output. Thank goodness Brodie was such a gracious and relaxed Bride!
The rehearsal dinner was held under the wedding tent but with an entirely different décor courtesy of the Groom’s family. They created these amazing hanging lantern clusters suspended from the top of the tent. It was an artistic feat, and the colors looked amazing with all of their flower arrangements. There were so many special touches from the seating chart to the table names to the family trees they created, and of course the meal was delicious. To top it all off, it was a beautiful evening, and the full moon rose again over the tent to create the most magical setting one could imagine.