Let's talk flowers.
Being a DIY bride, I had grand aspirations of doing my own flowers. My mom did her own flowers (with the help of her sisters and aunt), and several of my friends had done their own flowers too. It sounded doable enough. I'm also a bit of a greenie, so I had this great plan to scour the neighborhood public trees and bushes for local foliage - not enough to cause notice of missing branches, mind you, but just enough to make our bouquets and boutonnières look like home. It would also save us money and lower our carbon footprint. I planned to buy succulents (from a locally-owned business) as the focal points of the bouquets. I had visions of eucalyptus, plum tree leaves, maybe some herbs or vegetables from the grocery store... I was even planning to go to the flower market before dawn in the days preceding our wedding if I wasn't able to find enough greenery to fill everything out (being cautious, of course, to buy locally grown flowers).
This all came to a screeching halt when my Aunt offered to pay for our flowers to be professionally done as her and my Uncle's wedding gift to us. At first I was reluctant. I hemmed and I hawed. After all, I had a Plan. It was a Project; it was my Project. My aunt, however, has impeccable taste. She gave me the name of her florist, Monica at Verde SF Floral Design. I looked at her portfolio. Gorgeous. But, being just a little headstrong, I was still dragging my feet at the thought of giving up My Project. What finally convinced me that I was crazy to turn down such a generous offer was the realization that I know zero, zilch, nada about flowers: how long they keep, how to cut them, how to keep them looking fresh... all that stuff that a professional knows in and out. I suddenly realized just how much I was stressing out about whether the bouquets would be wilted and how to keep them in an already crowded fridge.
I said yes, and I am so glad I did. Not only did I not have a giant, time-sensitive project to complete in the busy days before our wedding, but our flowers turned out far more beautiful than anything I could have possibly imagined. I'm so grateful to my aunt and uncle - and my grandparents, who also contributed - for giving us the gift of beautiful, stress-free flowers.
My aunt and I met with the florist once, a few weeks before the wedding. I had fallen in love with one of the bouquets in her portfolio (this one), so I mentioned that. I told her about my ideas about incorporating green and purple succulents, with kind of a wild, romantic look. I brought up the idea of including a culinary element, since I'm a foodie. I told her I really loved papery multi-layered flowers like ranunculas. And of course I expressed how important it was to me to have flowers that are locally grown. She completely agreed and generally runs her business that way anyway.
We tried a few different combinations and eventually settled on dusty miller, for its muted velvety softness, purple and green succulent rosettes, papery white country roses, rosemary, and viburnum berries. I trusted her to make beautiful arrangements for our wedding. That was the correct decision because boy did she ever deliver! What I received on my wedding day was the single most beautiful bouquet I have ever seen - along with five smaller versions for my bridesmaids (and groomsmaid), and coordinating corsages and boutonnières for the men and the mothers. In addition to my original requests, Monica had also included a delightful little flower called "Blushing Bride" - a soft pink protea with papery exterior petals and a furry interior.
I was so enamored with my bouquet that I didn't want to throw it! One of my bridesmaids, my husband's sister, was a sweetheart and let me use hers in the bouquet toss. After the reception was over, I brought my bouquet with me up to our wedding night hotel room: a stunning room on the 42nd floor of the Mandarin Oriental, with views of the Golden Gate and Bay Bridges. Views be damned, I wanted to look at my bouquet! I was glad I had brought it with me because the morning after, with its soft grey rainy light, provided the perfect setting for me to immortalize my bouquet in photographs.
Enough of the talking, onto the flower porn!
Prettier than champagne
Close up of "Blushing Bride" - a soft pink protea with papery exterior petals and a furry interior
My husband Ed's boutonnière, a little worse for the wear but still quite lovely.
The night after our wedding, I deconstructed the bouquet in order to preserve it. I pulled out the succulents and repotted them. I hung the remaining bouquet upside down to dry it. I was sad to do this at the time, but we were to be leaving the following morning for our honeymoon, so we wouldn't have been able to enjoy it much longer anyway. Three weeks later, I'm happy to report that the dried bouquet looks lovely. While some of the purple succulents didn't make it, everything else is still thriving. I hope to have these succulents and their offspring for the rest of my life - what a wonderful way to remember such a beautiful day!