Second installment in the True Confessions of a Mother of the Bride blog series.
My daughter, Brianna, decided she wanted to use my vintage silver and crystal pieces to create eclectic centerpieces for her wedding. She wanted to use all white flowers...fluffy ones like hydrangeas, garden roses, carnations, and football mums. My first thought was, "All white? Hmmm...that is going to look so plain." But I went with it. And I have to say her vision, once created, was stunning.
Being on a budget, we decided we'd try to tackle the job of creating the centerpieces ourselves. She wanted to use a single flower in each arrangement, so it couldn't be too hard, right? We'd just clip a hydrangea, plunk it in a silver teapot and call it good. Several months before the wedding, I drove to Seattle where we cleaned out all the white carnations at Safeway to practice some bouquets and arrangements. We did a pretty good job and the flowers held up well.
We decided we'd order the flowers we needed online and have them shipped to Brianna's several days before the wedding where we would create the centerpieces and bouquets. Great. Well, then Brianna met Julia Miller. Julia said she'd order all our flowers for us and then spend the day helping us make the arrangements. Oh, pshaw! I said. We don't need any help. We can do it ourselves. But Brianna insisted that Julia would be a great idea, so since it was Brianna's wedding, I agreed.
Fast forward to two days before the wedding. Julia and I had been in touch by email weeks before to confirm the type and quantity of flowers. Brianna had arranged for us to do our floral creations in the oversized kitchen at the church she works at. Julia was to meet us at the church with the flowers and to instruct us on how to make the arrangements.
Julia arrived with buckets and buckets of beautiful flowers that she had lovingly cared for the last several days to make sure the blooms would be just right. I immediately liked Julia when I met her. A kind, friendliness exudes from her, and yet, there is this take charge 8th grade math teacher quality about her too, that makes sure everyone is on task to get the job done!
She set to work, helping us divide up the containers and assigning us each to our tasks. Next she gave us each a lesson on how to work with each one of the different flower types we had. Hydrangea leaves rob water from the flowers so pull them off...however rose leaves help the flowers stay fresh, so leave those on (who knew? Apparently, Julia). She showed us how to cut and arrange the flowers. Two hours later we left the church with about 50 stunning arrangements.
Before we left the church, Julia pulled me aside and told me how to store the flowers for the next couple of days and what to do to if any of them started to wilt. She gave me her card, and with a hug told me to call her if I ran into any problems.
We transported all the flowers to my hotel room (setting the thermostat to a chilly 60 degrees for the flowers). We had a bit of water spillage on the way, but all the flowers looked fine. We dropped off the flowers and then headed back out to run more errands.
Around 7:00 pm that night I headed back to my hotel room, exhausted and ready for a glass of wine, my book and an early sleep. When I stepped into my room, I noticed...it wasn't so cool. In fact, it was kind of hot. Apparently the hotel has no air conditioning. I flipped on the light and went to check on the flowers. OMG...about half of the flowers were wilted! What was I going to do? I panicked. Should I run out to Safeway and start buying up replacement flowers? Should I call a florist in the morning to see if they could quickly make some new arrangements? And then, like a floral guardian angel, I remembered Julia's advice. "If the flowers wilt, re-cut them under water, mist them to keep them moist, and they should spring back to life."
I immediately set to work. I unboxed all the arrangements, pulled out wilting blooms, and began performing floral resuscitation, right there in my hotel room. I filled the bathtub full of lukewarm water, and began clipping stems and dunking flowers like some sort of botanic John the Baptist. I misted the flowers, opened the windows to let in cool air and prayed for renewed life for the flowers. And...miracle of miracles...it worked. The flowers bounced back beautifully. I re-created the destructed arrangements and re-watered everything else. They were as good as new. And might I add, gorgeous.
Disclaimer on the above photos: I forgot to take any photos of the cernterpieces at the reception (Doh!), so these are recreated versions I took on Monday night back home with flowers I salvaged from the event. But...you get the idea.
At midnight I finally fell into bed with the sweet smell of garden roses and carnations filling the cool night air and a very, very big sigh of relief.