Wedding: Flowers on a Budget
I love weddings… I really do. They are a wonderful event, usually joining family and friends with one big party. But, my most favorite parts of weddings are the invitations and the flowers. When Katie approached Libby and I to help, I was thrilled that she asked us to help her with both of these aspects. I did the calligraphy for the invitations, and Libby and I were in charge of the reception centerpieces and flowers.
We knew going into this that there were two things we needed to keep in mind. One, bride Katie asked for the reception to be colorful, despite having a cornflower blue theme for the ceremony. Secondly, we knew we were on a tight budget. Thankfully for Katie, Libby and I are great in our yards, and after the purchase of a few seed packets from Target and a lot of rain from our rain barrels, my garden looked like this…. perfect for wedding centerpieces! (I learned later that these 3-to-4 foot zinnias are called State Fair Zinnias.)
Unfortunately for us, Libby’s house (and yard) flooded, and we were not able to use her pretty flowers, especially her knockout roses. So, we knew we had to supplement with bought flowers. Also, our friend Liz was able to provide some of her hydrangeas from her yard, which was a big relief since they are very expensive wholesale.
So after months of nurturing my sweet garden, I woke up bright and early on the Saturday morning of the wedding and started cutting zinnias out of my garden.
Funny side story: it was about 7 a.m. when I went out to cut the flowers, and a sweet middle-aged lady during her morning walk looks over, sees me cutting the flowers, and says, “Oh no! What are you doing? They are so beautiful!” I laughed and told her they were for a wedding today, and she said, “Ohhh!! That’s lovely.” I seemed to have satisfied her greatly, especially after her initial horror of me cutting them.
Then, we supplemented what we had with tall flowers, including gladiolas and larkspurs. The florist actually doubled up on the glads for us, even though we didn’t need that many. It was very nice to have though. These store-bought ones were actually purchased from a wholesaler, and they were great for adding height to the arrangements.
We also needed something green and a filler of sorts, so we initially asked for herb bunches, a recommendation from a coworker. Unfortunately, the herb bunches looked dried out on the day of the wedding, so the wholesaler offered us eucalyptus, which was a great alternative. It actually worked perfectly and smelled amazing.
Below is the morning-of set up. The weeks before, Libby and I had collected lots of jars… all shapes and sizes– from our mayonnaise, jelly, olives, hot sauce. (We even had a Bulleit Bourbon bottle!) We then wrapped raffia around the lips of all the jars, and on the night before the wedding, we set up all the jars and added water to them so that on the morning of the wedding we would be set! Here you can see the progress of the arranging.
Libby sweetly let me do all of the arranging. We had 8 large tables that needed something big in the middle, and then we surrounded the bigger arrangement with three smaller jars, two votives, and cute pictures of the couple.
I know I didn’t do it very professionally, but I tried to keep a few things in mind while arranging. First of all, odd numbers seem to look better. I have no idea why, but 1, 3, and 5 looked so much better than even numbers. Secondly, the arrangement needed to look good from all directions. When I first began arranging, I realized I was only looking at one side, and I missed out on the details of the other sides. Finally, take a break. I went to the bathroom, checked my phone, etc, during the process and it was much easier to see what I needed to fix or rearrange. After you stare at the arrangement for five minutes, you need an “eye break” before finishing the final product.
Also, a huge help that day came from our friend Kristen who we had asked to do the main centerpiece for the food table. I knew I was not capable of putting something like that together, so Libby and I enlisted the help of knowledgeable Kristen. We were more than thrilled with the result.
Kristen actually used a mix of fake flowers and some real flowers that we had that morning, including the hydrangeas, larkspurs and zinnias. Then, we all collaborated and made a eucalyptus “wreath” around the bottom, which I think was the icing on an otherwise delicious cake.
The eucalyptus really gave everything unity. It was an excellent filler and the perfect greenery.
Overall, I truly enjoyed doing this, and it was a challenge I welcomed. And, tomorrow… making things even more colorful, signs and other fun details!