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.
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.
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”: