Bouquets: The Good, Bad and yes, (flowers can be) Ugly


Sometimes knowing what you don’t want is the best starting place of all.
Which brings me to the matter of the flowers that I and my lovely maids will carry during the ceremony.
Hmmm..let me first say that when thinking of places to spend $$ this is one area always in the back of my mind.
I dunno. It just seems pointless to spend $100 plus for my bouquet and $70 each for bridesmaids’ flowers (yes, that is the going rate.
A second consideration about bridal bouquets, is the fact that, in my opinion and taste, I do not like the way a bunch of different flowers in different colors look grouped together. I tend to feel like flowers are much more striking when beautifully displayed alone or few. Same thing with bouquets.
I’ve found that I much prefer smaller, hand-tied bouquets and posies to those humongous things I’ve seen a lot of brides carry!
Here are things I definitely don’t like:

Ummm….NO

Uhhhh…NO!!


But HERE are some I love:

Notice how the above bouquet looks feminine (even
though there are a lot of flowers) and is personalized with the crystal accent and the pretty monogrammed wrap.
***

Above is the pretty carnation bouquet I posted about before. I like its simple, yet elegant look and especially how it’s tied together with that black pleated fabric and detail!

Now, the one above may be my absolute favorite! It is composed of white anemones with black-button centers. I hope anemones are in season in August because I would love to use them somewhere.

And these bridesmaid’s bouquets I like because they look petite and dainty–more like posies.
And lastly, see the below gorgeous nosegay-shaped bouquets of white spray roses,Vendela roses and anemones:

Or what about bridesmaids carrying a single Vendela rose down the aisle with a pretty fabric wrapped tied around the stem? I’ve seen large Calla Lillies done this way, but…I don’t like Calla lilies at all (don’t shoot me).

Also, what do you think about the flower girls carrying pomanders–small versions of the below? A pomander is just a foam ball (available at any craft store) into which you can stick silk flowers or fresh flowers, thereby covering the ball completely with flowers. You can then attach whatever kind of decorative handle you’d like. I’ll make one and post it later.

I have a folder on my computer where I keep photos like these of all the things I really like AND dislike so that I can take them with me to vendors. Even though we’re still inclined to DIY table flowers, I’m not adventurous enough–nor do I think there will be enough time–to try to make bouts, corsages and bouquets. These are the only thing we plan on using a florist for.

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September 20, 2007. centerpiece, decorations. 3 comments.

Engagement Party

The party Saturday went off without a hitch and was really fun! Fiance was very happy with it and had a great time in the good company of lots of his college frat brothers and friends. And I was simply ecstatic to get to hang out with some of my girlfriends from high school who I haven’t seen forever. Only one member of the BP, Miss Carmel, was at the party (because all the rest are out of town), but she really stepped up and helped me out by being a fabulous hostess. It was fiance’s first time meeting Carmel and he even commented on her awesome personality and ability to make everyone comfortable.
But then again, what do you expect?
She’s my friend!
Also, I was more than thrilled that some of the ladies at the party commented on my “floral arranging” skills!
In addition to the orchids–yes, they are still alive and lovely–I arranged some mums that turned out very pretty.

September 16, 2007. real photos. 1 comment.

The Dress


I’ve found it!
I’ve posted a photo of it below…
Yeah, right.
Of course you can’t see my dress! But I thought I should at least share that I have settled on one…seeing as though I’ve been thinking aloud here on the blog.
I will say this, it’s nothing like the photos of any of the gowns I’ve posted previously.
I’m really excited.
Now, however, I’m faced with one more hurdle.
From whom do I order the dress?
Options are:
1. online vendor
2. Full service, ‘brick-and-mortar’ bridal boutique
Pros of Online Vendor:

-Almost always cheaper
-Very reliable… as long as the online vendor has an actual, reputable store somewhere in the U.S. That means, if said boutique has had a popular bridal store, say, in North carolina for 25 years and then branched out to also sell online.

Pros of Traditonal Bridal:

-Real, live person to assist you, measure you and take care of logistics
-Real live person to answer questions, etc. that has been through this many, many times
-Usually, small (10%) discount on bridesmaids dresses if you order everything from them
-Usually do alterations on site or can refer

Cons of Online:

-Sketchy if the vendor is solely based online and doesn’t have a physical store. For all you know they can just take your $$$ and disappear.
-Sketchy just because you’re not dealing with a real person
-Alterations are on you- have to find someone to do them, and figure in that extra cost

Cons of Bridal Boutique:

-Almost always more expensive
-Almost always fairly crowded and often chaotic (at least the ones ’round here)
-Some degree of pressure from salespeople

Still not sure how I feel about the possibility of ordering something this important online.
On one hand, I feel like as long as the vendor has a reputable physical store, and if you can check them with the Better Business Bureau, then why not?
Then something says…”just be safe.”
What are your thoughts?

September 14, 2007. fashion, gowns. Leave a comment.

Don’t Call It A Comeback…


Let’s take a minute to think about one flower that may perhaps be one of the most forsaken, underappreciated, overlooked and denigrated bud on earth–the carnation.
The carnation has always been that flower, at least in my experience, that everyone knew was really cheap and noone ever bragged about receiving.
In high school, it was the flower that you could anonymously send for $1 to the homeroom of your crush…
Or it was the trite flower handed out en masse at high school football or basketball appreciation games…
Or it was the flower that you used for your school science experiment where you tried to see if the stem would soak up food coloring and then turn that color…
Or it was the flower a guy gave you when he was too cheap to buy roses…
To put it simply, the carnation has never been looked at as particularly special, rare or esteemed.
Until now!
Wise flower-lovers and the florally inclined have increasingly been recognizing this neglected flower’s natural beauty.
They key to making carnations beautiful in arrangements is to use a whole lot of them all in the same monochromatic color. I mean a LOT. Bunched in cubes of 40 or more, carnations can be quite striking. And the best thing is that they’re really, really cheap! I guess I said all of that to say that I think carnations, if you use like a thousand can be really hot. They’re not on the wedding agenda right now, but who knows, they may just make a guest appearance!
See below:



Or imagine the below centerpiece using all orange carnations:

But don’t call it a comeback.
Really. They’ve been around for years.

September 13, 2007. budget, centerpiece, decorations, inspiration. Leave a comment.

Don’t Call It A Comeback…


Let’s take a minute to think about one flower that may perhaps be one of the most forsaken, underappreciated, overlooked and denigrated bud on earth–the carnation.
The carnation has always been that flower, at least in my experience, that everyone knew was really cheap and noone ever bragged about receiving.
In high school, it was the flower that you could anonymously send for $1 to the homeroom of your crush…
Or it was the trite flower handed out en masse at high school football or basketball appreciation games…
Or it was the flower that you used for your school science experiment where you tried to see if the stem would soak up food coloring and then turn that color…
Or it was the flower a guy gave you when he was too cheap to buy roses…
To put it simply, the carnation has never been looked at as particularly special, rare or esteemed.
Until now!
Wise flower-lovers and the florally inclined have increasingly been recognizing this neglected flower’s natural beauty.
They key to making carnations beautiful in arrangements is to use a whole lot of them all in the same monochromatic color. I mean a LOT. Bunched in cubes of 40 or more, carnations can be quite striking. And the best thing is that they’re really, really cheap! I guess I said all of that to say that I think carnations, if you use like a thousand can be really hot. They’re not on the wedding agenda right now, but who knows, they may just make a guest appearance!
See below:



Or imagine the below centerpiece using all orange carnations:

But don’t call it a comeback.
Really. They’ve been around for years.

September 13, 2007. budget, centerpiece, decorations, inspiration. Leave a comment.

Don’t Call It A Comeback…


Let’s take a minute to think about one flower that may perhaps be one of the most forsaken, underappreciated, overlooked and denigrated bud on earth–the carnation.
The carnation has always been that flower, at least in my experience, that everyone knew was really cheap and noone ever bragged about receiving.
In high school, it was the flower that you could anonymously send for $1 to the homeroom of your crush…
Or it was the trite flower handed out en masse at high school football or basketball appreciation games…
Or it was the flower that you used for your school science experiment where you tried to see if the stem would soak up food coloring and then turn that color…
Or it was the flower a guy gave you when he was too cheap to buy roses…
To put it simply, the carnation has never been looked at as particularly special, rare or esteemed.
Until now!
Wise flower-lovers and the florally inclined have increasingly been recognizing this neglected flower’s natural beauty.
They key to making carnations beautiful in arrangements is to use a whole lot of them all in the same monochromatic color. I mean a LOT. Bunched in cubes of 40 or more, carnations can be quite striking. And the best thing is that they’re really, really cheap! I guess I said all of that to say that I think carnations, if you use like a thousand can be really hot. They’re not on the wedding agenda right now, but who knows, they may just make a guest appearance!
See below:



Or imagine the below centerpiece using all orange carnations:

But don’t call it a comeback.
Really. They’ve been around for years.

September 13, 2007. budget, centerpiece, decorations, inspiration. Leave a comment.

Engagement Soiree!!

Is happening this weekend…
I mean, it’s kind of an engagement-slash-housewarming party as fiancee just got done doing a bunch of home improvements and finally wants to have one.
I hadn’t thought of this ‘party’ as being a big deal. For example,we didn’t invite friends and family from out of town (just because I guess it didn’t occur to us that people would travel for a little party.
But now that I have mentioned it to some of my out of town BMs and friends, I guess maybe I should’ve just invited everyone as a courtesy (some of them seemed to really wanted to come).
Anyways, this week I did start putting some thought into the party and trying to figure out a ‘theme’ or something that wouldn’t be too cheesy.
First I thought we could do the ever-popular summer Luau theme–get tiki torches for the patio & make frozen drinks.
Then I went shopping and figured out that at least in retailers’ minds, summer is done and all that’s available in party stores is Halloween and..yes…Christmas stuff.
Then I went to the Dollar Tree and as usual, came across some fabulous finds.
First, were these Hallmark Collection plates and napkins which I thought were just perfect for an engagement party:


Then I found these $1 a pack rose petals. They are fake. But I’m not splurging on real rose petals for this party.
And these cute square vases/candle holders at $1 each (I’m thinking of going back and buying all the rest from the store)

So after finding these items, it occured to me that maybe I should go with a “Romantic” theme: candles,rose petals, wine, love…after all, it is a celebration of love!
Do you have any ideas of something we can do or incorporate into the engagement party?

***
FYI (totally unrelated) the orchids are holding up really well. I don’t think there would be any issue withDIY with them. Here are pics I took of them Tuesday evening (remember they were bought Friday).

September 11, 2007. budget, candles, decorations, planning. Leave a comment.

Papyrus!

pa·py·rus-noun: a material on which to write, prepared from thin strips of the pith of this plant laid together, soaked, pressed, and dried, used by the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans.

***
Today, invitations have been on my mind–or at least they are now on my mind as I had a conversation with my very dear friend, one with whom I will someday take over the world–Brian Henderson.
Brian is an enterprising young man… a real shooting star in the worlds of graphic design/photojournalism. He has worked for People Magazine, The Washington Post and the Baltimore Sun to name just a few. And now he can also add to his accolades, ahem, President of the recently founded Brimmage Communications.

Now, enough bragging about Brian and on to the invitations.
Basically we have a budget for printed materials including:
1. invitations
2. envelopes
3. rsvp cards
4. programs
5. menus

There are dozens of companies out there who do wedding invitations, many with a huge presence on the web like TheAmericanWedding.com and MyGatsby.com.
For the most part, the invites that these companies offer are average with, in my opinion, sub-par printing and design. And the ones that do look really good are way too expensive.

To me, our wedding invites and other materials should do the same thing as every other element of the wedding: be thoughtful; communicate something to our guests; and provide an experience.
That’s why after speaking with Brian this afternoon, I know that I’m going to let him–a visual communications professional– execute a creative vision for these materials!
We discussed a few options for invitations, some which were clearly way out of our budget, but I’m excited and I know we’re going to come up with something beautiful.
I mean, this guy was creating impressive graphic materials years ago in Athens!
I’ll keep you posted.

If you or your business has a need for graphic design/logo creation/branding/pr services you should definitely talk to Brian at Brimmage!

September 11, 2007. budget, invitations, vendors. Leave a comment.

Flower Arranging Trial #1: Orchids!!


Today, fiance came into the city to have lunch with me (he works in Virginia, I in DC) and on our way back to work we stopped and bought some very lovely Dendrobium Orchids from a flower stand.
The bunch has 10 tall stems in it and cost just $13 (which is weird because online florists want $3-$5 a stem…). Anyway, the blooms are this pretty/exotic purple/green/turquoise color (maybe have been dyed?) and looked to be in pretty good shape when I bought them.

I bought the orchids only to see how well they hold up–specifically in the case that we end up doing DIY centerpieces.
So, I’m going to put some of them in a vase with water and the others I am going to submerge in a vase under water. I’ll track the progress of both the normal and submerged orchids.

But so far, I am very happy with how “sturdy” they seem to be… and with how they just look lovely all alone–with very little effort or “arranging” by me.



And here are the flowers on “floral frogs,” bases with pins for simple arranging. The “frogs” make the flowers sink and stay under water for the submerged look (you can use rocks/marbles to cover the frog.
I didn’t like how the frog looked in the vase, however. So I’m still trying to figure out how to keep the orchids submerged without weighting it down.
CARE – CUT ORCHIDS
To retain the dendrobium¹s radiance for up to two weeks, follow these healthful hints.
Unpack the flowers immediately.
Trim up to 1/2 inch off the stems.
Place the flowers in clean cool water for 5-10 minutes. If you have received dendrobiums and they are wilted upon unpacking, simply submerge whole sprays for 10 to 15 minutes in cool tap water.
Trim stems and change water 2 times a week.
Keep flowers away from heat and temperatures below 45 degrees F.
Dendrobium orchids are slightly sensitive to ethylene. To avoid ethylene buildup, you¹ll want to ensure adequate ventilation and sanitary conditions. What are the ideal storage conditions for dendrobium orchids? These tropical treasures will stay their loveliest when held in water and at 50 to 55 degrees F. Holding dendrobiums for more than a week at temperatures below 45 degrees can cause blooms to discolor or drop.

September 7, 2007. centerpiece, decorations. 1 comment.

Veils: They’re for the Birds…

Hmmm…where do I begin?
I detest veils.
And in explaining my feeling about veils, I will try not to offend anyone culturally or religously, rather to express my humble views.
In terms of the veil being voluntarily donned by women as a symbol of modesty–I can respect that.
But, it seems that, of my knowledge of the veil, it has largely meant and been equivocated to things like: oppression, suppression, sexism, extremism, hiding, silence, concealment, antiquated, “darkness.”
In sharp contast, I think of myslef as: free, expressive, equal, liberal, embracing, vocal, modern and “light.”
Perhaps I am off-base.
But I have never really liked veils or what they stand for.
So why should I have to wear one just because it is “tradition?”

I have expressed this to my fiance. he wants me to wear a veil. I love him, so I will give… but not without putting a twist on it.
Introducing…the french netting (a.k.a. birdcage) veil!


A compromise for all!
It’s old-fashioned. Fiance gets to ‘have his moment’ lifting it from my face during the ceremony. And for my sake, it’s very small and netted and does not totally hide my face!
What do you think of veils? Are they important to a wedding ceremony?
***Extra***
Indiebride.com discussion on birdcage veil and vendors.

September 7, 2007. fashion, gowns. Leave a comment.

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