I had always thought, if I was ever to remarry, that I'd tie the knot in the fall - my favorite time of year - surrounded by autumn leaves, copper metallics, fairy lights, berry colors and mossy green velvet. But, life is full of surprises and I ended up a June bride. Although the colors and the season were nothing like I'd imagined, I decided to run with it and embrace my inner girly-girl with lots of pink.
We had a pretty tight budget, but the two things my fiancÃƒ © and I really wanted to splurge on was great food and lots of beautiful flowers. So my original plan was to have a fresh bouquet and make (as in, by hand) a ton of realistic paper flowers. However, after a month and a half of nonstop snipping, folding and gluing, it became quite clear that making hundreds of flowers (which, admittedly, were gorgeous but required more time and materials than I'd expected) was going to require a full-time effort with our short timeline, and I decided it probably made more sense to scatter the paper flowers I'd already made around the venue, and work some overtime to offset the cost of fresh bulk flowers. I had already ordered an armload of peonies from a local farm for my bouquet and head table decorations, but as anyone who's ever purchased large quantities of flowers knows, even local peonies are pretty spendy. I did a lot of research and ultimately ended up with Fifty Flowers as my main flower vendor.
Fast forward a couple of months (and a couple of changes to my flower order - which the FF team was incredibly helpful with), and I signed for two big boxes of flowers the Wednesday before the wedding. I was a little dismayed to find that I had been sent light pink carnations, not the dark pink I had ordered; I quickly called FF Customer Service, and in under an hour Lucy had already arranged for the dark pink carnations to be shipped next-day air. And, I was told to go ahead and keep the light pink flowers* that had been sent by mistake. So, I ended up with 300 luscious carnations, instead of 150. It could have ended up being too much of a good thing, but luckily my fiancÃƒ © and I had sprayed gold every empty bottle and jar we could get our hands on, and my aunt had dropped off a dozen extra clear glass vases "just in case." Brilliant!
All the flowers were carefully and beautifully packaged (amazingly, only a few flowers had snapped in transit), and very easy to sort and process. I spent a few hours total stripping and snipping stems, and put the flowers to bed in my dark, cool basement bathroom, where they stayed fresh and fragrant until Friday, when we started assembling the centerpieces.
My mom, sister, MIL, aunt, and cousin all pitched in, and we spent a happy afternoon together getting the flowers ready for the following day. Along with the peonies and a few small bunches of accent flowers I'd purchased to fill out the centerpieces, we made: Nine big, full carnation arrangements in vases, which included greens and berries from the 50 Rose Pack, as well as some of the statice I had on hand; 12-18 slightly smaller centerpieces, using the gold bottles and vases we'd spray-painted, which included either a couple of carnations or a single giant rose, along with more of the greenery from the 50 Rose Pack; 30 tiny arrangements of carnations, green poms and leather leaf from the 50 Rose Pack, which we anchored in purple spray-painted votive holders using a bit of Oasis foam in the bottom of each (people LOVED these, and we gave many away to guests in lieu of favors); ten large centerpieces in bright gold geometric pots, using carnations, roses and greens along with the peonies; two enormous arrangements to flank the ceremony area, for which my MIL used the longest-stemmed, fullest roses along with the peonies and tons of the gorgeous tree fern and lily grass that came with the 50 Rose Pack; and of course, my gorgeous bouquet, which used two pink roses as a tribute to our grandmothers who are no longer with us, along with the tree fern and several stems of the vivid green hypericum, which elevated the whole bouquet by providing a bright contrast to all the pinks and deep greens. My mother-in-law did an outstanding job!
All those luscious pink flowers and gold accents, along with a metric ton of inexpensive votive candles and a few strings of market lights, looked amazing scattered around the vintage-urban basement brewery we'd rented for the ceremony and reception. We had so many compliments on the flowers, for weeks after the wedding. Incidentally, with a little TLC and maintenance, many of those flowers lasted nearly two weeks after we brought them home.
(At the end of it all, I was so glad to have had our June wedding: my mother passed away a few weeks afterward, and if we'd waited until autumn to marry, she wouldn't have been there to see her daughter and grandkids as we began our new life with a beautiful wedding. My sister and I will be holding a memorial service for her in the spring, and we plan on ordering from Fifty Flowers to make the centerpieces.)
I can't say enough about the warm and wonderful staff at FF, and the flowers themselves were everything I imagined and more, and buying them in bulk was totally worth the extra effort. For those of you who are trying to decide whether or not to DIY - go for it! I highly recommend making an event of "doing the flowers" with friends and family; the memories of your loved ones pitching in to create a beautiful event will be more precious than you'll ever realize. Thanks Fifty Flowers!
*For obvious reasons, I can't officially review the pink carnations I received in error; however, they were also gorgeous and smelled amazing, and I was so grateful to have them.