Category Archives: flowers

the details, part one: centerpieces

So, I never really talked much about our wedding aesthetic. Or to put it another way, The Details. This is because I thought my Details would bore the shit out of you. On the other hand, I well remember from my own hazy days of wedding planning just how valuable idea sharing is in this community. To that end, I present to you: The Details Series. If you look very closely, you can detect the sarcasm in my use of title case.

I am not showing these to you in hopes that you will leave me some kind of highly complimentary comment that makes use of many more exclamation points than necessary. I’m showing them to you so that if you’re considering taking a similar tack, you can see how it turned out for me.

For those of you dear, gentle readers who are disinterested in The Details, I am truly sorry. Allow me to offer you a reading alternative.

Okay then! Let’s begin. The first installment in the series is: centerpieces. I know. Try to contain yourselves.

As a brief refresher, I collected clear, green, blue, and milk glass vases from thrift stores, and then we went to the farmer’s market and basically bought every kind of flower they had available in every color they had available. I’m not even sure what some of the names of the flowers we bought are, because I am that lame. All I know is that they were flowers, and that was good enough for me.

We also got available “filler.” In our case, this was eucalyptus branches and other assorted, like, you know… green leafy stuff. We tried to buy proportionally, but we ended up running out of filler at the end, which was stupid because that was the cheapest of all and we should have just gotten extra in the first place. But one of our groomsmen made an emergency trip to Trader Joe’s to pick up some more there, so it worked out.

By the numbers:
95 guests
six 16’ tables (two 8’ tables pushed end to end)
one 24’ head table
60 vases ranging from small to medium width, and short to tall (we tried to keep it under 10 inches, though, so that people could see around them)
2-4 vases in each centerpiece
three centerpieces per guest table
seven? centerpieces at head table (sorry, I was too busy having fun at the wedding to count exactly)

If this is the kind of thing you want to do for your own wedding, I’d highly recommend is to do a trial run a few weekends before the wedding. Go to your local market or flower vendor of choice, and pick up a selection of blooms and filler. Toss them into a few of your vases so you start to get an idea of 1) how everything looks together, and 2) how much it takes to fill the vases you chose. Once you have a handle on that, you can extrapolate forward from your test results to arrive at an estimate of how much of each kind of thing you need to buy before the wedding.

Also, I cannot recommend not caring about flower type enough, because not only does it make arranging a snap, but it makes it easy to substitute another flower should you run out.

Vases: $75
Flowers: $140
Labor: $0
Total: $215

We didn’t use any kind of foam or tape to help support the flowers inside the vases, because we wanted the assembly to be as fast and easy as possible. It was just vases, flowers, filler, and water. Oh, and some scissors/pruning shears. I forgot about those. We bought four of them. I have no idea how much they cost, and I’m too lazy to look it up. Let’s assume they cost a total of $6,934.77. No wonder we were missing a large chunk of our budget. In retrospect we shouldn’t have gotten the diamond-studded ones forged from 24-carat gold.

Really, I cannot be clear enough: do not stress over the centerpieces. I know you’ve heard this before, but Nobody. Fucking. Looks. At. Them. I went to a wedding three weeks after my own, and two days later I came home from work to find a flower arrangement on my front porch. No note. So mysterious! Was it for me? Who could it be from? Who would just drop off flowers at my house? Um, yeah. Turns out it was from the bride. She’d been trying to get rid of her leftover wedding centerpieces and in desperation had abandoned one on my doorstep. I had just been to her wedding, and sat at a table with one of these centerpieces for a substantial period of time, and I did not even recognize the damn thing. I didn’t actually even figure it out until she texted me later. Oh yes! Hi! That. Right.

Nobody said anything about our centerpieces to us at the wedding, complimentary or otherwise. Some people did, however, feel compelled to take them. Since I never indicated that the centerpieces doubled as guest favors, I cannot fathom how anybody arrived at the conclusion that they had lucked into a vase free-for-all. And I am still slightly bitter about losing my favorite milk glass bud vase.

So the moral of the story is that your guests will either ignore the centerpieces or steal them. Hence, they DO NOT MATTER.

The good news is, I think that for being inconsequential, our centerpieces turned out just fine.


All photos by Christina Richards.

if not caring is wrong, i don’t want to be right

This past weekend the beau dabbled in the fine art of flower-arranging. By which I mean: he took apart a bouquet of flowers from the farmer’s market and spent seven or eight minutes jamming the flowers into various vases on whim. Then he sat back and said, “These look pretty good.”

And they did.

Here’s all of the test vases together:

I mean, I may be biased, but I think that for the amount of effort that went into these, they look fucking awesome. Of course, the alluring morning light helps make them appear, uh, alluring.* But seriously. For having no theme, no specific flower type or color, no matching vases, and absolutely zero desire to take flower arranging seriously, somehow it all works.

Which makes me happy, because we’ll need a lot of these vases. About 70, to be exact. Our loose plan is as follows: We’ll have long eight-foot tables for dinner seating, and each table will need three centerpieces. We’ll use at least two or three vases per centerpiece, depending on size. Each centerpiece will be comprised of vases that contrast each other, whether it be in terms of tall/short, thick/thin, round/square, or a combination thereof. The final effect will be something along the lines of this:

Except that for the actual wedding, the vases will not be sitting atop a side table in my living room. Also, fun fact alert! The little glass “vase” in the photo above is actually an old oil and vinegar bottle I found inside the built-in ironing board closet in our house. End fun fact alert.

For the number of vases we need to fill, we’ll probably end up spending a grand total of $100 – $120 on flowers. Of course, the fact that we’re not doing any bouquets or boutonnieres helps keep the cost down. Yeah, I actually did just type that. Permit me to repeat it in boldface: We are not doing any bouquets or boutonnieres. I do not want a bouquet, either made of real flowers, found objects, or otherwise, because I am 1) batshit insane, 2) not actually a woman, or 3) all of the above. I don’t know why I’m not interested in bouquets, I’m just not. And if there’s anything other blogs have taught me, it’s to concentrate only on the wedding things you care about the most. This is why I spent roughly four days trying to figure out how to get custom fonts to display on our website, and a few minutes figuring out what to put on the tables. Hence, our poor man’s centerpieces above; born of a burning desire to decorate for the least amount of money and labor possible. The takeaway? You can do whatever the sam hill you want with your wedding. Trample The Rules and make your own! Damn the torpedos, and damn the man! Or something!

Speaking of rule-trampling, let me just say I am not wholeheartedly opposed to the idea of carrying a bouquet at my wedding, of course. I’ve heard some people say that their bouquet gave them something to do with their hands, which is fair enough. So I figure that if I decide at the last second that I need to distract my evil, nervous hands from doing evil, nervous things, I’ll pluck a few stems from a nearby vase and grasp them tightly in my sweaty fists until the ceremony begins. I am also not wholeheartedly opposed to the idea of boutonnieres for all the guys, because I think they would look nice. But I am too coarse and cheap to go to a florist, too afraid of DIY to make them, and whenever I go on Etsy and look at the alternative boutonniere options, my eyes sort of glaze over and I feel the overwhelming urge to click away, CLICK AWAY! So. Since they are near the bottom of my list and very likely to fall off any second, I am already assuming we won’t have them. Feel free to make fun of me heartily in the comments, for I’m certain our marriage will not survive our ignorance of these details.

What’s on your “do not care” list?


* I was 20 minutes late to work yesterday because I decided that I absolutely had to take pictures of the vases right that very second. You’re welcome, internet.

the easy part

Involves flowers.

Our venue, being outdoors, already has flowers. Growing out of the ground! I know. It sounds insane, but play along with me.

Come September, the courtyards in the Historical Museum will look pretty much like this:

Yeah. Lots of purple, pink, and red. Not usually my favorite colors, but hey. It is what it is.

What with the abundance of bright blooms and vegetation, we need to put zero thought into prettying up the courtyards. Nice. I love a self-decorating venue. This means the only area that actually needs flowers is the tables.

Now, I don’t have a favorite flower. I don’t even know what flowers are named, 90% of the time (fact: I called dandelions “daffodils” for many more years than I’d like to admit). The beau and I are not fussy people, and the Historical Museum is not a fussy venue. Add to all this the fact that there is a Farmer’s Market with flower vendors just two blocks from the venue, and the wedding just starts to plan itself.

A few weeks before the wedding, we’ll arrange with one of the Farmer’s Market vendors to set aside some of whatever’s in season for our date. The day before the wedding, we’ll stop by and pick up the blooms. Then we’ll invite some friends and family over and ply them with food and booze in exchange for helping us fill vases with the flowers. After filling the vases with water, the flowers will be fine overnight until they can be set on the tables.

Done and done.