As a floral designer, who has created hundreds of bouquets and floral arrangements for weddings, I knew from the beginning that Jennifer and Hank’s wedding was going to be something special. Jennifer had a vision for her vibrant wedding flowers, with the deepest purples and burgundy’s, brightest reds, hottest pinks, and touches of soft pink blush and ivory. Her vision was to create a romantic, garden-style wedding, that was classic, yet fun and whimsical. As it turned out this “jewel-tone” wedding created a tremendous “WOW” factor. The dazzling combination of flowers created a bold color splash on the lush green golf course, and in the elegant ballroom at the Country Club of Fairfax (ccfairfax.org).
Choosing the right flowers to create right look
A year before her wedding, I met Jen and her mother at Potomac Floral Wholesaler in Maryland (flowerwholesale.com), to take a look at the types of flowers available in early September. Jen gravitated towards flowers with the brightest and deepest tones of burgundy, purple, red and pink. Her favorites were flowers with large blooms, including dahlias, garden roses, cluni ranunculus, and stems of burgundy leucadendron. Once the flowers and greenery were laid out together, it became easier to sort which flowers and greenery she preferred. Doing the research upfront to be sure the flowers and greenery are the right fit in terms of color and style is well worth the time and effort. However, I believe there is no real substitute to seeing the flowers in person and testing how specific color and floral combinations look together.
Fast forward a year, and unfortunately some of the flowers Jen had hoped to use in her wedding were not available or the best quality, while others that hadn’t been on the radar were just perfect. Whimsical purple fall clematis vines and feathery deep burgundy astilbe were added to the bouquet and provided additional texture and volume. Note to brides: Don’t get ‘wedded’ to certain flowers and allow your floral designer the freedom to identify the best available flowers and greenery that will make your wedding vision come to life. As an experienced gardener, I know first-hand that while local flowers available in early fall are plentiful, they can be highly variable and unpredictable depending on weather and growing conditions.
Deciding on complimentary flowers for bridesmaid’s bouquets and table arrangements
Jen intentionally planned for the bridesmaid’s bouquets to compliment, but not replicate, the bridal bouquet. To achieve this, she wisely requested that the deep burgundy and bright purple flowers only be used in the bridal bouquet. I used blush pink stocks and weeping podacarpus greenery with pops of hot pink celosia and Pink Floyd roses to differentiate the bridesmaids bouquet from the bridal bouquet. As it turned out, this color combination created a perfect contrast against the steel blue/grey bridesmaids dresses. Creating these complimentary bridesmaid’s bouquets made a big visual impact, without the big price tag. The reception table arrangements included another combination of flowers and greenery that complimented the overall look. I just loved adding touches of hot pink cockscomb celosia that I had nurtured from seed in my cut flower garden. Burgundy and deep purple fluffy, full carnations provided depth. Purple lisianthus, airy trachellium, white lacey orlaya, burgundy amaranthus, burgundy hypericum berries, and burgundy leucadendron added multiple layers of texture. Long soft ferns of plumosa added volume, length, and whimsy to the tall floral arrangements which reflected Jen’s vision for loose, light and fun floral arrangements.
Selecting size, style and vases for arrangements that work within the venue
The high ceilings in the expansive country club ballroom with round tables for nearly 200 guests called for a variety in height for the reception floral arrangements. High and low centerpiece arrangements were created in a variety of glass cylinders, creating a simple, elegant, and modern look.
The low glass cylinders were lined with greenery, providing a clean base for the myriad of colors in the flowers. Elevated arrangements were placed on top of the high glass cylinders so conversation across the table would be possible as the glass cylinders could be easily seen through. My understanding of the space within reception venue and the layout of tables was critical for helping Jen to make decisions about the how to make the best use of the space.
Creating a dramatic backdrop for the ceremony and reception
The simple white ceremony arch overlooking the golf course was adorned with bridal theme flowers in just one corner. Long jessamine vines from my garden were draped over the top and side to create a greenery frame. The overall look provided a garden-style backdrop for the ceremony and anchored the floral theme, while allowing the bold, dramatic bridal bouquet and bridal party bouquets to visually take centerstage.
Behind the sweetheart table in the reception area was an enormous, stately fireplace with a ten-foot long mantel. Jen decided this would be an ideal place to create a photo backdrop for friends and family. The mantel flowers were arranged in a dramatic throne shape with eight to ten-foot jessamine vines from my garden, that were not available from any floral wholesaler. This provided an elegant greenery frame for the fireplace, draping down on each side.
Considering all the little details
Photos with blossoms that were used in the bridal bouquet were artistically arranged to showcase Jen’s bridal shoes and her engagement ring (Tysons Jewelry and Watch Exchange). These detailed photos provided a lovely reminder of the day for years to come.
I consider the bridal bouquet and groom’s boutonniere to be a spiritual connection illustrated in flowers and greenery. Hank’s boutonniere of hypericum berries and white ranunculus was wrapped in leucadendron leaf to be a match to the leucadendron stems that were included in Jen’s bouquet.
The white four-layer cake made by Incredible Edibles Bakery (incredibleediblesbakery.com) provided a simple, elegant, and delicious, base for the floral décor. I intentionally arranged the hot pink garden roses in a sweeping line to lead the eye from the bottom of the cake to the cake topper, which celebrated the bridal couple’s new married name, Mr. and Mrs. Watsky.
Sharing the love
Jen had decided that she would purchase the vases, rather than rent them, so guests could take home the low glass floral arrangements after the reception. The day after the wedding, Jen created mini-bouquets with the flowers from the large elevated arrangements and the mantel floral decor to share with friends, neighbors, and family members as an expression of gratitude and love. Whenever anyone shares their love through flowers and finds ways to maximize the enjoyment of the flowers long after the wedding, it’s my dream as a floral designer come true.