Category Archives: Floral

The Post In Which I Bitch A Lot

So, there WERE actually some minor details that went wrong on our wedding day, which I alluded to briefly here.  While we had a beautiful, wonderful day and I wouldn’t change a thing about the events that transpired, there were two aesthetic issues that left me feeling…not so happy.  In the interest of full disclosure, I’m going to talk about them here so I can put them to bed once and for all.

We’ll start with the minor issue:  the chargers for our dinner tables.  Remember when we had our tasting and decided what our tablescape would look like?  We decided to go with gold runners and gold chargers to bring out the gold aspects of our color scheme, as the flowers were going to be red.  It was going to look something like this:

ChargersPhoto by me

When we arrived at the venue, I was pretty much in a whirlwind…so it wasn’t until dinner that I sat down and noticed this:

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Um, yeah.  There’s no chargers there.  No chargers…that we had paid extra money to rent.

I previously mentioned that on the day before our wedding, my sister and I had gone to the venue to do some set-up of our family wedding photo display.  When we left, I felt really…harried, because the venue coordinator wasn’t there when we were, the room was a mess, and no one seemed to know what was going on.  As it turns out, no one did.  My mom spoke to our coordinator after we realized the chargers weren’t there, and she was so apologetic and actually, downright horrified that her staff had forgotten the chargers.  She spoke to the head set-up guy right away (who was also there to assist her at our actual reception), and he said that he had seen the chargers on the event order but had forgotten to put them out.  Our coordinator had taken a VACATION DAY* the day before our wedding, so the event order had never been double-checked.

Honestly, I wasn’t too upset about it.  They gave us our money back for the rented chargers PLUS gave us  several gift certificates for their local restaurants to make up for it, and Maria, our coordinator, was so apologetic.   While I LOVED the aesthetics of the chargers and was disappointed they weren’t there, no one really noticed so in the end, it wasn’t that big of a deal.

The flowers, however, are a different story.

Let me first preface this by saying that YES, our flowers were beautiful and YES, the room looked great, and NO, no one noticed or knew about any of the problems with them. 

You’ll remember that I had previously raved about how much I loved our florist…and that fact remains true.  She was a charming woman who I felt got our vision through and through. We reviewed what I wanted several times and she took copious notes, plus copies of the inspiration pictures I had printed out to give to her.  I should have listened to those tiny alarm bells going off in my head when she took her notes on scrap paper, though…as later, it was a clear indication that maybe she wasn’t paying as close attention as I thought she was.   Hold on to your hats, kids, because I’m not sure you’ll believe the stark differences in what I thought I was getting and what we ended up with.

First up, my bouquet…

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…was supposed to be RED.

As in, all of the flowers in my bouquet were supposed to be red.  RED.  Like my bridesmaids bouquets, just bigger with more roses and the like. 

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Secondly, the flower girl…

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…was supposed to be carrying a pomander.  Like this one—only in ivory/gold tones—which is the inspiration picture I gave to my florist.  She even confirmed the size with me several times!

pomander
(Source)

You’ll notice she’s carry a mini-bouquet.  To which she, as a 6 year old, was like, “What the hell**, Aunt Amy?  I thought I was having a ball like my sucker ball I practiced with last night?”

ring-bearer-flower-girl1Photo by family friend

Lastly, and the biggest error…the one that made me make a beeline straight for my mom as soon as we arrived at the reception and tell her “I hate the flowers!”

Our centerpieces.

The low ones were beautiful, and EXACTLY what I pictured.  So, there’s that, at least.

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The tall ones, though?  Well, let’s just say there’s a STARK difference between this:

centerpiece4(Source)

And this:

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THREE MEASLEY STICKS.  I WAS SO PISSED ABOUT THIS.

Hello, fall wedding?  HUGE branches?  Hello, hello, hello?!  What about the first picture evokes ANYTHING in the second picture?

I got over it quickly and went about enjoying the evening.  I didn’t want to let this ruin it, and most if not all of our guests never noticed my displeasure. But honestly, for a few weeks afterwards, it was one of the only things about the wedding I could think about.   So stupid, right?  I mean, we had such a wonderful day, and here I was concentrating on the dumb flowers…something that I, admittedly, had said I didn’t really care about it.  But the truth is…

You care.  You do.  When you’ve put months into planning an event and then expect it to have a certain aesthetic, and that aesthetic falls short, you care. 

I’m over it now and I am able to look back at the pictures and think, it doesn’t matter, because our wedding was beautiful and gorgeous regardless and I know how amazing it looked and was.    But I wanted to blog about this to let you unmarried gals know—no matter how prepared you are, no matter how well your plans have gone—something will go wrong and it is OK to be upset about it for a hot minute.  Try not to let it ruin your night (I was really good about moving right along), but it IS ok to dwell a little bit after the fact.

And since we’re being truthful here:  I’ve never had the guts to confront my florist about this.  I know I should, because we paid a lot of money, but I don’t know how to tell a woman who I really do LIKE so much that her work was sub-par.***

So, that’s that.  It feels good to get it off my chest and be done with it.  I love how beautiful our wedding turned out, but I think it’s important to be a realist about what really went down. Now it’s your turn:  anything go wrong like this at your nuptials?

*Listen, everyone’s entitled to a vacation now and then.  But the day before an event like a wedding?  I don’t know…if it was me, I probably wouldn’t plan a day off the day before an event that I’d been working on with the bride and groom for TWO YEARS.
**She didn’t say hell.  She’s 6, people.  But you catch my drift.
***And we’re not the only ones.  Brad’s barber—er, barbette?—actually used the same florist for her wedding and had not so great results, also.

All photos by Sarah Immel Photography unless otherwise noted.

P.S.  Did you notice my new button at the top of the page?  Now you can click on “Wedding Recaps” to find links to every recap I wrote! 

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Flower Power: The Post In Which I Reveal Our Florist!

If you missed the beginning of the Flower Power series, catch up here:
Centerpieces
Bouquets
Bouts

So today is the day I finally reveal to you our florist!  First though, I want to take a quick minute to tell you how I felt about the process. 

If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll know that I found deciding a flower budget to be very difficult.  What do flowers cost?  How do you know how much to spend?  Thankfully, Em over at Burning River Bride totally helped me out—she sent me a super great email with tips about what to think about (ie in-season flowers?  all one color? etc.) , what our floral needs might be (ie this many bouts, this many bouquets,etc)…AND she prepared me for the costs.  Hello, flowers are expensive!!!  Dang.  At least I didn’t go in and get shell-shocked.  Thanks lady!

centerpiece 4  (Source)
We’ll have 1/3 of our centerpieces like this…

I only interviewed two florists.  I say only because I think my mom wanted me to interview one more, but I was sort of done with it—at this point in my planning, I am pretty good at narrowing down the options and the workload.   I knew that interviewing another florist was going to cause me to feel confused about who to choose and that the quotes wouldn’t be that different from those I already had, because I went in to the interviews with a budget number in mind.  There’s my first “find a florist” tip, kids:  figure out how much you want to spend, even if you have no clue.  Ballpark it, and your florist will usually try to stay within that range.  It helped that Florist B gave me two separate quotes, so even though I only interviewed two florists, I ended up with three quotes to prepare. 

Bee centerpieces 3  (Source)
And 2/3 like this…

“Find a florist” Tip 2:  Go with your gut.  I decided to meet with Florist A after she did the flowers for a friend’s wedding.  She came highly recommended, not only by my friend, but also by another bridal blogger.  I was fully expecting to love this florist and go with her, because I was told her prices would be great and she was great to work with.  I walked away from the meeting feeling a little differently:

Florist A was very nice, but she was very boisterous (bordering on super loud—and I am a loud person, so for me to say that?  Wow.) and easily excited.  That’s great, but I left the meeting feeling very overwhelmed.  I brought many inspiration pictures to show her, including shots of centerpieces, bouquets, etc. that I liked, as well as pictures of my shoes and my dress.  She didn’t even look at them.  NOT ONCE.  What?!  She sat me down at her workbench, took out a piece of paper, and said, “Let’s design your bouquet.”  Well, that’s great, but I have no idea about flowers and as she was suggesting them left and right, I had no idea what she was talking about—and she didn’t show me any pictures of them.  I was in and out in about half an hour, and when I left, I had no idea what the bouquet we had just “designed” would even look like.  And I still had all my pictures in hand, not glanced through or kept by the florist at all.  I knew, almost right away, that unless her quote came in super low, I probably wouldn’t be going with her.

Florist B, on the contrary, was a cheerful, quiet woman who welcomed me right into her workshop.  We sat down on stools and she looked through all the pictures I had brought, asking questions about why I liked certain bouquets and showing me pictures of flowers that I could use to achieve those looks.  She took color photocopies of most of my photos so she could keep them and let me browse through a million “flip books” of different florals in different color groups.  If I saw something I liked, she checked its seasonality and wrote it down for me.  We chit-chatted for nearly an hour and a half, and the entire time I felt like I was in the company of an older, wiser friend.  I left the meeting feeling really excited, but knew she was a very popular and well-known florist in Milwaukee, so I was afraid that her quotes might not fall within my budget.

bouquets4
(Source)
And some lush bouquets like this!

When the quotes came in, I was shocked.  Florist A sent me one quote that was well over the budget I had set.  Florist B sent me not one, but TWO quotes that fell right at my budget.  Hooray!  I knew I had found my florist.

I am excited to tell you that we will be working with Debrah at Petaluna Floral, whose shop is right in our neighborhood.  I am so excited to be working with Debrah—I feel like she really understood my vision, yet respected my budget.  And their floral process is very cool:  they only book one wedding per day, and we can add, change, or delete items all the way until a month before the wedding.  As a bonus, they will hand-paint color drawings of what our bouquets, bouts, and centerpieces will look like, so we can fully see them before they purchase all the flowers.  How amazing is that?  So “finding a florist” is crossed off the list, and I feel really happy about our decision.

How did you decide on your florist?  Was it an easy decision for you?

And because you made it through this really long wordy post…how about another engagement picture to ogle?  🙂

Amy&Brad1(Photo by Sarah Immel Photography)

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Flower Power: Boutonnieres

Boutonnieres, to be honest, aren’t something I really think about when I think “wedding flowers.”  Yes, they are integral part of the groom’s look, but much like his tux, it’s not something I really know a lot about!

I am pretty classic in my flower views…I like traditional.  Here are three bouts I think fit that bill!

Bout 1
Hypericum berries!  Classic, classic, classic.  Did you know they come in different colors aside from greens and reds?  You can get them in a wide variety of colors to match many color schemes.  I prefer a bit more of a tailored look for the berries than the one above, but at least you know what they look like now.

Bout 2 
Roses.  I’m pretty sure these have been used as bouts for ages.  And why not?  They hold up well all day long, come in a wide variety of colors, and look pretty nice, too.Bout 3                                                                           (Source for all of the above photos)
Calla lilies.  Yup, I hate ‘em for bouquets and centerpieces but I love them as boutonnieres.  They look so chic, I think!

To be honest, I don’t really feel the need to discuss wrist corsages or pomander balls (to me, they’re like boutonnieres—a dime a dozen!).  We are thisclose to selecting a florist, so stay tuned for the final installment of the Flower Power series—the big reveal on our florist, plus my thoughts and tips on selecting your floral vendor!

Are you a classic floral gal like me, or are you incorporating more interesting floral ideas into your wedding decor?  Please share!

See the rest of the Flower Power series here:
Centerpieces
Bouquets

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Flower Power: Bouquets!

Yesterday, we discussed centerpiecesToday, let’s talk about bouquets!

I love the look of lush, romantic bouquets.  Mrs. Cowboy Boot’s?  TO.  DIE.  FOR:

Cowboy Bouquet (Source)

Alas, a lot of those lush bouquets come with a pretty price, especially because they often use high-priced flowers like peonies.  However, I still want to show the florist these types of bouquets, so she gets a feel of what I like.  Here’s a few lush fall bouquets I’ve clipped:

bouquet1 
Truth be told, I am not AT ALL a fan of calla lilies, but I love this bouquet because it is monochromatic, yet not boring.

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How lovely and unexpected are these?!  I love the pop of green…somehow, it doesn’t look Christmas-y to me, which green and red so often can.  And look how lush that white bouquet is!  This is something else I am considering—carrying an ivory bouquet and having my bridesmaids carry red. 

bouquet3
I clipped this bouquet because I love the hand-tied stems.  I do not like completely wrapped stems, so I wanted to give the florist an idea of what I like.

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Gorgeous!  I love these—great way to incorporate different types of red flowers.  This is my top contender—I would love something like these.
(Source for all of the above photos)

If you follow me on Twitter, you know that yesterday I was questioning how the hell to determine a floral budget. Thankfully, a wonderful blog friend stepped in to guide me through the questions I should ask and the things I should expect.   I definitely plan to write about my own experiences, but her advice was so valuable that hopefully, she’ll be doing a fantastic blog entry for you on this soon!  🙂

Next up in the Flower Power series, we’ll talk about bouts and miscellaneous flowers…and I’ll let you know how my floral appointments went!

How did you determine your floral budget?  Share your tips and tricks to getting the most bang for your buck!

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Flower Power: Centerpieces

This week, I am meeting with some florists!  I have an appointment tomorrow at noon with a florist in our neighborhood, and another appointment Monday at noon with a separate florist (who coincidentally did the flowers for my friend Nikki’s wedding).  Now, I don’t know about you, but I am no green thumb.  In fact, I would go so far as to say I am a black thumb, which is the reason we have only fake plants in our apartment.  I’m not much of a flower girl,  but that doesn’t mean I don’t have at least some semblance of an idea for our wedding flowers!

Let’s talk centerpieces first.  If you’ll remember my inspiration board here, you’ll notice a theme.  I really love clusters of flowers, and I really love candles!  Since we will likely be having a whopping 32 tables, we’re going to have to get really creative with the centerpieces if we’d like to incorporate florals.  I’m thinking pillar candles in hurricanes at every table, and then some flowers along the lines of these:

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I love the clusters of roses here.  With 32 tables, it would probably be a bit too expensive, but I am sure we could re-create the look with different flowers.

centerpiece 3
I don’t love the centerpiece here, but I LOVE the paper flowers at each place setting.  If we could, it would be awesome to give each guest a flower at their place—what a unique idea!

centerpiece 4 
Love this centerpiece.  We went to a wedding where branches were incorporated and it was an incredible look.  I am not a big fun of the flowers WITH the branches, but something like this would definitely work with our wedding.

centerpiece 1
In a word:  A-MAZING.  Perfect color for our fall wedding!  I’m not even sure what these flowers/leaves are called, but they look fantastic.
(Source for all of the above photos)

So, I am thinking candles on every table, with short, clustered arrangements on some tables and tall, branchy arrangements on others.  Here’s the kicker, though:   my favorite centerpieces of all are the ones that incorporate carnations.  Yes, that ritzy ditzy oft-overlooked flower can look so SWANK if the florals are put together correctly.  Here’s an example from the lovely Mrs. Lime’s wedding:

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Don’t they look sharp?  I seriously LOVE this look.  I am thinking it could be really affordable too, because we would provide the vases (I am not a fan of the white, but I do like low, square, clear glass vases—we will probably hit up Ikea to source). 
(Source for above two photos)

Here’s another version from Martha Stewart:

MS via Bee centerpiece 
LOVES it.
(Source:  Martha Stewart Weddings, picture via Weddingbee)

Lastly, you’ll notice all the flowers I’ve shown you so far are red.  That’s the direction we’re leaning towards—we’ll probably do gold linens (napkins, etc). with red flowers to tie that color in.

Next up, bouquets!  Stay tuned!

Are you doing floral centerpieces?

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