When a good chunk of your job consists of making people's wedding day dreams come to life, you can get pretty paralyzed with the expectations placed on your work. That's why we think it's so important to work with people who truly believe in what you do. Lauren and Adam were a dream couple to work with. They had so much fun with their day and it showed in every single detail they crafted and each vendor they hired. We loved that Lauren wasn't scared to embrace bright color in her bouquet and that she wanted to try something fun with her wedding cake (made by the super talented Sugar Euphoria). Perhaps our favorite part was getting to work with Taylor and Andrew Lovette from Blue Barn Photography who took lovely photos and graciously shared them with us.
Jeff and I were married on April 8, 2017, on the windy Snaefellsnes Peninsula of western Iceland in the company of 27 loved ones. I'd read about Iceland and held it in my daydreaming mind for years. The idea to get married there came to fruition relatively smoothly, to my surprise, thanks to an awesome planner, adventurous friends, and an uncommonly supportive family. Naturally, Nikelle and I were giddy about doing flowers for my wedding, and managed to ship some flowers wholesale from Holland to Reykjavik. We were set back a few hours with a Customs snafu, but successfully picked up our flowers the day before the ceremony and headed off to Hotel Búðir.
A word of advice to those hoping or planning to do flowers for a destination wedding - make sure you are aware of all the necessary paperwork you'll need from Customs ahead of time (and your wholesaler might not know, depending on the country in question). By the time we found out we needed more paperwork to release our flowers from Customs, our flowers were sitting in wait at the shipping office, and we could only get our hands on an Icelandic form! Thank goodness for our wedding planner, Birna from Pink Iceland, who helped us translate. For an early April wedding in Iceland it was easiest and closest for us to order from Holland; if you are able to source your flowers in-country, this is a safer bet for a smooth pickup.
Once we got to Hotel Búðir, boxed flowers in tow, the manager generously let us process in the chilly mist behind a shed, and the cooler-like conditions perked our flowers right up. We spent my wedding morning making arrangements in a bright room overlooking the water that I wish could be our permanent studio. To me, this flower time following a long walk was the perfect way to start my wedding day; it eased my nerves and helped channel my energy. I found it hard to find the words to express my feelings that day, but the flowers helped me communicate those overwhelming emotions in a different way, as I can always count on them to do. How lucky am I to have Nikelle to help me carry out such an insane plan as DIY flowers in a foreign country? There's just so much that could've gone wrong with the shipping and the weather and the tight timeframe, but it all came together beautifully. The selection was a bit limited through our wholesaler, but it was the perfect time of year to get several of my favorite flowers from Holland: hellebore, checkered frittilaria, lilac, and black ranunculus.
Our ceremony was intimate and warm inside the perfectly quirky, black church of Budir. After Dad walked me down the aisle and I joined Jeff in front, our guests stood and read this enchanting Icelandic poem aloud together, a sweet surprise orchestrated by friends who love to scheme:
“On earth’s part
all days start beautifully
patiently it revolves and revolves
with its trees
and oceans and lakes
deserts and volcanoes
the two of us and the rest of you
and all the animals”
We cried and laughed, and I felt my mother's presence strongly with us in the wind that whistled around the church. Jeff looked so handsome. Our minister was warmhearted and funny, and shared thoughtful words about the investment of time in each other that a lifetime of growing love requires.
My best friend since college, Lauren Martinez, was my Maid of Honor, and she looked stunning in a dark green dress that beautifully complemented the landscape. We hadn't seen each other in three years, and I would've traveled across the world just for our reunion. As overwhelming as weddings can be, they're an amazing opportunity to reconnect and forget the distance.
Our photographers Styrmir Kári & Heiðdís led us on an adventurous photoshoot after the ceremony, up mountains and along rocky beaches, braving the wind and catching astonishing views of the landscape. Birna held our coats during shoots and jumped in to bundle us up and offer hot cocoa in between. I couldn't recommend our photographers S&H, or our planners at Pink Iceland highly enough - every detail turned out beautifully, and the process felt more like corresponding with old friends than with wedding vendors (I hate the word "vendors"- it feels so impersonal). It was as easy as planning a wedding abroad could be.
We returned to the warmth of the Hotel for a beautiful meal of Icelandic lamb and salmon. Igor, the bartender Elsa's dog, was everyone's favorite guest. We stayed up late, soaking up each other's company in a place that felt like a dream. Many guests had never met before, but mysteriously as it often happens when traveling, everyone bonded swiftly and tightly around memories we'll hold for a lifetime. I've never felt so loved or so hopeful for our future.
Last month we had the pleasure of working with WedPics App on a brief DIY wedding centerpiece tutorial. We realize there are lots of brides out there that want to make their own centerpieces for their special day. While we don't always recommend doing all the florals yourself, we can give you a few tips for the smaller, budget-conscience weddings where we think DIY would work perfectly. For the complete tutorial, please head over to Wedpics App Wedding Blog
Step 1: Gather flowers & greenery
We used an array of plants and flowers that were found in our backyards and gardens. We recommend foraging for your greenery. Look to see what you have around your house or around your friend's houses, especially bushes or trees that need to be trimmed, and use that as your base greenery. For flowers, we recommend staying in the season with your blooms so you can clip from your yard or buy from your local farmers market. If you're looking for hard to find flowers (like garden roses or some tropicals), we suggest finding a local florist who can supply you flowers, or purchase plants from your local nursery or Home Depot.
Step 2: Prepare your vessel
Create a structural base for your stems by taping out a grid onto the top of your vessel. This step is especially important for arrangements that are wider than they are tall to keep your stems upright and in place. Space the pieces of tape out evenly, wider vessels will require more lines of tape than the more narrow vessels. As for the vases—they don't need to be fancy, check dollar/thrift stores for simple glass containers, like the one we're using here.
Step 3: Create a greenery base
Shoot for no more than 3 different types to keep your arrangement from becoming cluttered. Go for an asymmetrical shape, with one side being higher than the other. If you worried about the longevity of your greenery, create a test vase of your foraged items (leave it out for several days) to assess for wilting and lifespan before using in your final arrangements.
Step 4: Define your shape with taller flowers
Once you have your greenery in place, you can further define your shape with taller flowers. This will help you get that more natural, asymmetrical shape that the pros master. We use Foxglove from our garden here.
Step 5: "Carpeting"
Create a “carpet” of smaller flowers that sit low in the arrangement. This helps to hide any “holes” that may exist and will help create depth in the overall composition once you start to add more of the focal flowers. We're using Phlox from local flower farm, Happy as a Cone Flower as our material.
Step 6: Focal Flowers and Filler
Finish your arrangement with your star-of-the-show flowers and add more height in places that you see need it. We like to cluster like-elements together to mimic nature and cut down on visual clutter. Remember to cut stems long… you can always trim more away but you can’t make them longer once you’ve snipped! We used Allium and Poppies from our garden and Daphne from Happy as a Cone Flower.
Step 7 – Finishing Spray
Spray your arrangement with finishing spray to help prevent wilting and drying out. We use Crowning Glory spray. Then you're finished!
Caring for your flowers
- Store flowers in a cool, shady spot – wilting is much more likely to occur in heat and direct sunlight.
- For summer weddings, create arrangements as close to the big day as possible (the day before or day of, ideally!). Wait as long as possible before buying or cutting your flowers.
- Make sure your arrangements have fresh water and plenty of it – the water line should be about an inch below the rim of your vase!
- You can also mist your flowers with a spray bottle to prevent them from drying out.
- If you have room in your refrigerator, you can keep finished arrangements in there, be sure the temperature is set to 35 or above to prevent your flowers from getting too cold. Be sure to remove any citrus fruits from the fridge as they tend to shorten the life of fresh flowers.
Big thank you to Christina of WedPics for all the lovely photos and working with us on this feature!
Lauren came into the shop one day in November already knowing that she wanted something very unique. Perhaps it was because her wedding was, infact, very different from most. Lauren and Will had already been married several months before we chatted and wanted to have a proper celebration. Of course this made us want to work with her immediately. She wanted color and elegance with a good dose of creativity. We loved working with her and the rest of her team of vendors, including Libby McGowan Photography and 214 Martin Street.
Sometimes you meet with a bride and you realize you want to be their florist and their best friend. Brooke was one of those brides—down-to-earth, organized with impeccable taste. I may have been just as excited for the wedding as she and Thompson were. I mean, she wanted a floral color palette with color (you have no idea how rare that is). And their choice to get married at Thompson's family home was so perfect. I loved everything about their day and I love when I see these two wonderful people around town.
So excited to be featured on Joy Wed today along with the best crew of creatives. This Moody photoshoot was done back in October when local Dahlias and Lisianthus were still available. I remember Amanda and Brent showing me the dress they wanted to use from bhldn and I knew I had to get my hands on some matching Dahlias. Big thank you to one of my favorite local growers, Happy as a Cone Flower Farm, for the lovely blooms.
Last month we hosted our first Floral Arranging 101 workshop. I was a bit nervous about how this class would go down—would I have enough materials? would it be too complicated? how do I simplify my process so I can easily communicate the steps to an entire class? After much (over)thinking, I decided I would boil it down to covering these three principles of design—color, balance, and movement. After a brief presentation, I walked the class through two different arrangements and how I used the principles to create my floral designs.
The ladies were then free to make their own arrangement and holy smokes did they make the most stunning pieces. Each composition was so unique and truly expressive of its maker's personality. I loved watching everyone think through the perfect placement for each stem and then watching their face light up once they found it.
As the last of the ladies left the shop, a couple walked in and said everyone leaving had the biggest smiles on their faces. So, I guess it was a successful workshop.
All photos by the lovely Claire Craven