Thursday, 10 October 2013

DIY Wedding: Table Flowers

Good Day Everyone,

Continuing on with my wedding theme, (which if you've missed the first two posts click here and here) I absolutely loved doing our own wedding table flowers so much so that if I was back home in England, I may even be a florist by now! I loved it that much!!!

Now some brides-to-be would find it incredibly unsettling not knowing what table flowers they were going to have the day before the wedding but I've chilled out a lot over the years (I used to be quite the perfectionist but my hubby changed that - thank goodness because otherwise I might have driven myself insane by now! He has helped to realise that everything doesn't have to be perfect all of the time). Over the years, as I've gotten older and dare I say it wiser, I've become better at understanding which things are truly important and which I think are important but when I delve into it, aren't really as important as I thought they were. So what if our table flowers didn't look perfect, what’s more important is the happiness, joy and great time I had with my hubby and friend in making them and the memories we created :o)

Whilst we didn't know which flowers we were going to use for the table flowers, what we did know was the kind of ‘look’ we wanted. Our wedding breakfast was traditional English afternoon tea which was going to be served on three tiered stands so we knew that we wanted table flowers that were short in height and thus not competing for attention with the tall tea stands.

We knew we wanted flowers with a big head and so when we were at the street florist stall the day before the wedding we bought some chrysanthemums (bloom spider variety) which were quite spiky and two toned. The centre of the flower was yellow whilst the outer petals were white. We bought this colour, rather than pure white, as we felt it paid homage to my engagement ring which was a yellow diamond surrounded by little white diamonds.
Chrysanthemums - we got the ones on the right
We also bought some white lisianthus. These had pure white petals with yellow stamens and although the flower heads were quite small we thought we’d find a way to use them. We knew we wanted some pink in the table flowers to correlate with my bridal bouquet and the wedding cake, however, the florist, didn't have any pink flowers with large heads in the shade of pink I wanted and so later that day I wandered off to Marks and Spencer with my friend whilst my hubby did other things. At M&S we found the most beautiful, perfect pink shade, hydrangea plant which we immediately picked up as it was the last one. And at that stage I just knew we had what we needed for the table flowers.
White lisianthus
When my friend and I got back to the hotel we immediately watered the Hydrangea plant and left it to sit outside for a few hours to hydrate. We’d already bought some square glass vases that we were going to use for the table flowers and later that evening, the three of started to work on creating our table flowers.
Storing the flowers outside
The first thing we did was to strip most of the leaves and cut down the stems of the chrysanthemums so that the heads of the flower rested on the rim of the vases. We used three chrysanthemums in each vase. Next we got to work in cutting of the hydrangea heads of the plant, trying to keep the stem for each head as long as possible and stripped any excess leaves. We had enough for three heads per vase and arranged these around the three chrysanthemums. 

Just then my friend took one of the lisianthus stems and cut a little bit of and inserted it at a slight angle so that the open flowers sat just marginally above the chrysanthemum and hydrangea heads. Right at that moment, all three of us kind went, ‘aaahhh’ almost like the missing piece of the jigsaw had just slotted nicely into place. This little afterthought of an addition suddenly gave the flowers a whole new dimension. The long green stems and green buds added a certain je ne sais quoi! The green really helped to lift the yellowness of the chrysanthemums against the much larger pink hydrangea heads. Having the open lisianthus sitting just above the much larger pink hydrangeas helped to draw out the chrysanthemums which were dominated to some extent by the larger hydrangea heads. It also gave the flowers some height which didn't look as though it was competing for attention against the afternoon tea stands but rather complimenting it.
The finished look

A close up
We taped the stems together as close to the top as possible using some green cloth tape and then further cut the stems, if needed, so that the larger flower heads sat nicely on the rim of the vases. We then left the flowers in warm tap water outside in the vases until the morning.

The flowers on the ceremony table
On the day of the wedding, most guests were both surprised and rather impressed with our flower efforts, and in fact, it gave a couple of my friends, who were getting married later that year, some ideas and food for thought for their own big day and what they could do themselves with a little help from their friends :o) We had a dark grey round slate on the centre of each table upon which were little tea light candles and the table flowers. The grey slate provided a nice contrast and a lovely back drop for the lighter colours of the flowers.
The wedding breakfast and table
My advice to anyone thinking of doing their own wedding flowers would be to be realistic about what you want and what you can achieve. My wedding wasn't a big do and so there were not a lot of flowers that needed to be done. I’m not sure we would have managed (without more friends to help), if we had, say 20 tables at our wedding. Also think about where you are going to make the flower arrangements and store the flowers. Do you have the space?

Have a think about the kind of ‘look’ you want to create with your flowers? Do you want a tall or a short look? Slim or fuller? As this will affect the type of flowers you use. Think about the colours you want to use and what would complement the rest of the colours in your wedding day, be it in your make up, clothes, jewellery, venue, table etc.

Also bear in mind, that some flowers take longer to ‘open’ up than others and so if you do buy them make sure you know what you’re getting and how they might affect the overall look you are going for. We came across the street florist that we bought most of our flowers from a week before the wedding. This meant that we could ask him how often he gets his flower deliveries, does he get the same flowers each week, so would the flowers definitely be there when we wanted them, we could see how open the flowers would be if we bought them the day before the wedding and determine whether that would suffice or whether we needed to buy them several days before the wedding.

Most important of all, be honest about the kind of bride (or groom) you would be. Would you be devastated if your flowers didn't look perfect? Would you get stressed out doing the flowers the night before the wedding? Would you feel over whelmed by the task itself? If so, then you might be better off not doing your own flowers. But if you’re like me, and get great pleasure in creating and playing with colour and love the idea of doing your own and are willing to deal with the consequences if it all doesn't go as well as you’d hoped then go for it! 

Remember, I was lucky to get my hands on that last pink hydrangea plant in Marks and Spencer. What would I have done if someone else had picked it up just as I was about to? Well for me, I know from experience, that it wouldn't have been the end of the world. I had a few hours that day and so I would have gone looking for the large pink flower heads I wanted elsewhere and if I’d not found anything then I would simply have adapted and changed things because that’s how I work (best under pressure) but not everyone call roll with the punches so to speak and cope with last minute decisions /changes. 
My best friend signing the wedding register
The life of the poor hydrangea plant that had now lost all its glory didn't end there. My mum planted the headless hydrangea in her garden and its now doing very well next to her blue-purple hydrangea.

What did you think of our efforts? Have you ever done wedding flowers? Would you consider doing your own?

Love Sheen xxx

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