April 15, 2010

The DIY project that wasn’t (also: Why I don’t DIY)

Posted in Ceremony, Flowers, Planning at 5:13 pm by Andrea

Back in December, right around the same time I found this pretty little number, actually that same weekend, I decided to start my first DIY project. The plan: to make tissue paper pomanders to line the aisle in the church. They looked so pretty when other people did them and seemed like a great place to save some funds.

Pretty, no?

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The problem is this: I forgot that neither me nor anyone else in my family is crafty. And not only are we not crafty, we have no interest in being crafty. Every time I walk into Michael’s (and by every time I mean once every five years) I get overwhelmed and have to leave because, other than the glue guns, I have no idea what any of the stuff is and I start to panic that I’m supposed to know what to do with all of it!. Make my own shower gel? No thank you! So that was a minor oversight.

Luckily, my mum’s best friend (AKA my MOH’s mum) happens to be a crafty genius. We invited her over under the guise of having tea and then we ambushed her with foam balls and floral wire and sheet after sheet of tissue paper. HA! She was more than happy to oblige, so we got to work.

Our one crafty participant demonstrating her mad pomander-making skillz.

Me pretending to enjoy crafting in order to keep team morale high.

My mum and I with looks of extreme concentration on our faces.

(Morale is dropping rapidly)

So we cut and attached wire and fluffed out tissue paper flowers and two hours later we ended up with a partially finished pomander. Three people. Two hours. Partially finished. Also, it was bigger than my head. And then we quit for the night.

See? For reals. Ridiculously gigantic.

In the months that followed our forays into craftiness, I started receiving calls and emails from my mother that said things like, “I found a vendor on the weekend who sells pew bows. Have you thought about those?” and “When are you going to take all these foam balls and tissue paper out of my laundry room?”

Then, in early March, we went to meet one of our potential florists. The pomanders came up in passing and she pretty much put the kibosh on them. She told us that her contract stated that no other floral decor was to be used, as she didn’t want people to think that tacky DIY projects (my words, not hers, she was much more diplomatic) were her work. So she included pew decor in her floral quote. My mum was ALL over it. She’d been looking for an out for months, and if it meant paying an additional $400.00 for pew decor, she was ready to pay cash on the spot to put an end to her craft-induced agony.

And that is why we won’t be having any tissue paper pomanders, or really any DIY components to the wedding. Am I jealous of people who can DIY? You betcha. Am I planning to follow in their footsteps? Absolutely not! My sanity is worth far too much to me.

So, if you know anyone who needs a stupidly large, half-finished tissue paper pomander, be sure to let me know.

March 28, 2010

How the heck do I choose a florist 101

Posted in Flowers, General wedding, Planning at 11:04 am by Andrea

Okay, so I have to admit I’m not exactly an expert in choosing a wedding florist. I mean, it’s not like I’ve ever had to plan a wedding before, and because of that, I found choosing a florist to be one of the more bewildering tasks. I figured I might not be the only one who felt that way, so I thought I’d pass along some of the tips I learned along the way.

(1) Collect inspiration. Lots of it.

I started this uber-early, as in, a long time before The Guy proposed. I have an embarrassing, secret folder called “Event Inspiration”(because I was too full of shame to actually call it what it was: Wedding Inspiration) that is full of photos I’ve been collecting for *coughtwoyearscough*. I followed wedding and event planning blogs, and visited sites like The Knot and Weddingbee to collect photos.


Evidently I thought we were going to have a spring wedding, what with all the tulips and peonies. Although it turns out that’s not the case, Collecting inspiration photos, regardless of the flowers used in them, still gave me an idea of the aesthetic I was looking for and, perhaps more importantly, the aesthetic I wasn’t looking for.

(Note: My apologies, but I collected the above photos so long ago that I don’t have their sources)

(2) Research, research, research.

You may recall that I’m allegedly quite resourceful! So once I knew the look I was going for, I started researching florists within the vicinity of our wedding location. I went to a bridal show and collected cards of those I liked, I read local vendor reviews and websites and I ultimately narrowed my list down to two vendors: Vintage Design Co. and My Bouquet, both based in the Niagara region of Ontario.

Some examples of Jennifer’s work (Vintage Design Co.):

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Some examples of Pauline’s work (My Bouquet):

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(3) Meet with the candidates. Bring any and all information that you can.

Once you’ve narrowed down your list, make appointments to meet with your top candidates. I was worried that I was going to be at a disadvantage because I don’t really know much about flowers. It turned out that that was totally fine. What really helped though was giving the florists and idea of the aesthetic we wanted. Bring photos of your dress and copies of your inspiration board if you’ve made one. Make sure you zero in on the key words (for us: tailored, modern, clean lines, no spray roses, no calla lilies, nothing too “organic” looking). From there, the florists should be able to get an idea of the flowers that will work for you (for us: garden roses, ranunculus, lysianthus, hydrangeas).

Both of the florists we visited had tons of photos of their work so we were able to tell them what we liked and disliked.

(4) Don’t be afraid to be honest.

For example, at Vintage Design Co., I saw some beautiful birch bark candle holders. While trying to describe the overall look of our wedding I said, “Those birch bark candle holders are beautiful, but they aren’t our style. We don’t want anything that organic.”

(5) Get quotes from all your candidates. Compare. Contrast.

We got quotes from both Pauline and Jennifer. We ended up going back to Pauline and asking her to modify her quote so that it included all the same components as Jennifer’s, as we wanted to make sure we were comparing apples with apples.

(6) Think long and hard.

This was the toughest one for us. After meeting with both florists we were stumped. They both did beautiful work. They both seemed to grasp the look we were going for. We changed our minds several times.

The final decision? Pauline at My Bouquet. We ultimately decided that Pauline’s aesthetic was just that little bit closer to what we were looking for. So, in the end it all came down to staying true to our vision. Making sure we stayed organized and went into the appointments with a clear idea of what we were looking for made the process that much easier though.

I would say to date this was the most difficult wedding-related decision we had to make, but I’m confident we made the right decision for us.

Good luck in your search for the perfect florist for you!