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New York City Summer Garden Wedding

I first heard of Fifty Flowers when I was a bridesmaid for a friend. We made her bouquets and arrangements the day before her wedding in her apartment. A year later, she was returning the favor as my bridesmaid. Both experiences couldn't have been easier; just make sure you budget enough time and have enough space in your fridge and buckets for storage.

The inspiration for our wedding was the gorgeous backdrop of Fort Tryon Park and its views of the Hudson River from up on a hill in northern Manhattan, where we held our outdoor ceremony. We knew we wouldn't need a lot of flowers thanks to the natural beauty of the location. The wedding was on a cobblestone terrace surrounded by linden trees, and there reception was steps away at a cottage-like restaurant that had a sumptuous covered white tent. So overall, the feel was a garden party that was fancy and sophisticated but not stuffy, and I wanted to include flowers that were both delicate-looking and rich in textures and colors but a little rustic. Whimsical, unfussy, but elegant. My dress was an off-white ivory, so I opted for a lot of softer, warm hues like blush, orange, and the minty green of the eucalyptus. I loved the results of all of the combinations and was definitely impressed with the quality of the flowers.

As a teacher, I am a major planner. I started browsing on the Fifty Flowers website months in advance and building my favorites list. I didn't have one look in particular in mind, so that flexibility and open mindset was definitely helpful in our DIY endeavor. There were a few flowers that I knew I wanted to have or at least thought of as a starting point: ranunculus, peonies, poppies, berries, and branches that would connect with our outdoor venue. Looking at other flower stories was helpful so that I could learn about other flowers that I wasn't familiar with. Since we knew we didn't need a ton of flowers and wanted to stick to a budget of less than $1,000, I downloaded the flower worksheet so I could plan out how many stems or bunches of each order we could get away with. The advice was to order about 10% more than you think you needed to account for spoilage or wilting, but I didn't run into that problem and ended up with more than enough great flowers in every box. (Our guest bedroom and bathtub were literally overflowing with flowers, so again, especially for city dwellers, make sure you have enough buckets for storage!)

Hands down the most helpful thing about the planning process was taking advantage of calling a consultant/concierge. My aptly named contact, Violet, talked me through quantities, gave me other suggestions that matched my vision and better matched my budget (hello, Garden Combo Box and viking poms!), sent me pictures via the chat window (which she even sent me a transcript of for later reference) AND gave me a her personal discount code. She made the process feel way more manageable. She also sent links for making corsages and flower crowns, which helped narrow down that research process for later.

As far as the actual assembly and delivery, it took me, my mom, and three bridesmaids from late morning to early afternoon snipping, stripping leaves, winding wire and floral tape, and arranging according to the flower worksheet. The bouquets took the most time since they had the most parts and needed to look somewhat similar. The corsages for the ladies were a little bigger than for the groomsmen. We kept all of those wrapped up or in plastic containers in our fridge. The bottles with the mismatched stems for the table centerpieces, came together in a flash, and we kept those in our guest bedroom with the AC on high all night. In the morning, my husband and his best man loaded up the boxes in a rented van to take to the venue. He took a few of the extra stems in case things got damaged in transport (nothing did - whew!), and the venue was able to use some extra booms on the trays with our cocktail hour hors d'oeuvres. The other pieces and bouquets went with me to the hotel where everyone as getting ready.

All in all, I was impressed with the promptness and punctuality of the flower delivery, the customer service of Fifty Flowers, and the quality of the product. We were all pretty low-key about the assembly, so the task of DIY wedding flowers felt manageable. There are just a few logistical things about living in a city like New York (such as transport and storage) that caused the most stress, but since I was on summer vacation, I could be home to receive the deliveries each day for the three days leading up to our wedding. I'll even say that we had fun putting everything together. I'd definitely look to Fifty Flowers again for their wide selection for another event.

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