Bridal flowers for my niece’s wedding reception

I was allowed to play floral designer for my niece Marquita and her husband Vu on Saturday. They wed in a Seattle park last July, but quickly put their energies (and finances) into paying for a honeymoon and buying a condo. So on April 9, 2011, about nine months after they said “I do,” Marquita and Vu threw a fabulous wedding reception, inviting family and friends to celebrate the marriage. Marquita wore her white gown and her four attendants wore burgundy-wine dresses that matched the guys’ ties. It was just like being at a wedding – except they skipped the vows and danced until dawn.

Marquita and Vu chose a wine, pink and cream color scheme. Their palette was inspired by a mutual love of cherry blossoms that this time of year transform Seattle’s  normally green byways with clouds of foamy petals on dark branches. In the spirit of the delicious, all-vegan Vietnamese menu, I wanted to create bouquets and centerpieces using as many locally-sourced and sustainably-grown flowers as I could find. In response to this plan, Marquita and Vu said: Yes, as long as you include cherry blossoms.

Son, Alex took this photo of his cousin holding her bouquet

Thankfully, I had a lot of help to pull this off. My friend Karen Page traveled to Oregon with me last Friday so I could pick up more than 100 Peterkort Roses grown in greenhouses just outside Portland. We chose a dreamy combination of burgundy, wine, and deep red-pink flowers, hand-picked for me by Sandra (Peterkort) Laubenthal. She also sold me bunches of  soft, lacy maidenhair ferns to accent the roses.

Working side-by-side with my friend Nancy, I channeled my inner floral designer to turn bunches of floral ingredients into the centerpieces and bouquets. Nancy is super-creative; in fact, she’s a veteran fashion designer who often helps style my photo shoots. David came over to document the flower-design endeavor and to keep us laughing while we gathered, wrapped, tied, pinned and fluffed the blooms.

Marquita’s bouquet called for some elegant drama. I included a few dark wine-colored calla lilies from ZCallas, an Oregon grower that sells tens of thousands of gorgeous Tillamook, Ore.-grown callas later in the season but imports them in the winter. I also added a few sprigs of bridal veil spirea, a woody shrub that produces delicate white flowers on its slender branches.

The bridesmaids carried bouquets containing a mix of four different hyrid tea and spray rose varieties - in a tonal cream, champagne, white, and ivory palette to offset their wine gowns. In all, Nancy and I created 5 bouquets, 9 boutonnieres and 6 hand-tied tussie mussies (for aunts, nieces, mom and other female relatives), not to mention 20 centerpieces. Thankfully, it was an evening reception, so we were able to get everything accomplished before the party began.

The worktable, order and chaos existing side by side.

This isn’t the first time I have volunteered to make wedding bouquets, but it was quite special doing it for my niece and her new husband. And guess what? Marquita’s younger sister, Marquis, is going to marry her fiance Rashad in September. Yes, we’re already planning the flowers. Marquis’s color palette: Yellow and white.

Here are more photos of the “family wedding project”:

David has enhanced my son Alex's photo of Marquita and Vu, with cherry blossoms nearby.

Using the fridge as my "cooler" to stage the finished bouquets.

It was a pleasure to use Oregon-grown Peterkort Roses.

Nancy designed and created 9 boutonnieres - delicate work!

We used vases to store the bouquets upright - before the party.

Nancy and I talked through each step - as we chose the final flower combinations.

Sprigs of tree heather and burgundy Agonis foliage enhanced the rose boutonnieres

Each bouquet used about 40 roses, assembled in the crook of the thumb and forefinger by rotating as I added each stem.

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Ilona April 13, 2011 at 4:13 pm

I did the flowers for my daughters wedding so I know what you experienced here! What a lovely job you did.

Lorene April 13, 2011 at 4:45 pm

Beautiful work my friend!!! Just lovely…

Sara Anderson April 13, 2011 at 5:23 pm

Lovely. Reminded me of the absolutely stunning floral work you did for my wedding. I’m smiling … and missing you. Best, Sara

Thanks for the wonderful opportunity to be a part of your wedding to Malcolm, Sara….oh how I loved your California sunflowers and purple Veronica bouquets! –Debra

Janet Davis April 13, 2011 at 5:36 pm

Love the calla/rose creations. At first I thought the callas were ribbon! Tres chic, Auntie Deb.

Sharon Beasley April 13, 2011 at 8:45 pm

Gorgeous bouquets. Lucky niece.

Veronica Sliva April 14, 2011 at 5:37 am

Absolutely sublime! And the photos are dreamy too…

Willi April 14, 2011 at 10:15 am

The flowers (and the bride!) were so beautiful, Debra!

Scott Prinzing April 14, 2011 at 12:23 pm

Thanks for sharing, Deb! Way to go with the local/sustainable flowers! And they look fabulous! I so wish we could’ve been there – see you at Marquis & Rashad’s wedding, though! ;)

Jane Van Ryn April 14, 2011 at 2:08 pm

Debra, what wonderful creations you made out of God’s creation. Thanks so much for sharing words & pictures. Bless you.

MA April 14, 2011 at 8:15 pm

Beautiful beautiful beautiful!

Sandra Laubenthal April 15, 2011 at 6:32 am

Debra & David, what a beautiful documentation of that day. So poetic & the pictures are gorgeous!

Anita (Mom) Prinzing April 15, 2011 at 11:50 am

What a glorious job you and Nancy did to make Marquita and Vu’s reception memorable. We just arrived at a motel near Mark’s and took the opportunity available to look at our e-mails. There you were with lots of photos. See you soon and the bride and groom in person. Love, Mom

Nancy Finnerty April 15, 2011 at 2:14 pm

I loved helping you with it! The reception was a beautiful event, flowers, food and of course your beautiful neice and her husband…. David’s photos are terrific!

june from wedding bouquet flowers April 25, 2011 at 7:55 am

What beautiful flowers, it is really lovely to see the pictures of the work in progress as well as the pictures of the end results. You are so lucky to have such talent!

Tom | Tall Clover Farm May 17, 2011 at 8:13 am

Art in every frame, and in the hands and on the collars of your beloved family. Wow, gorgeous Debra, absolutely special and unique.

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