When my son and daughter-in-law came to me months before their wedding and ask me to help them decorate the wedding and reception, of course I was happy to help. Her family was in another state, the wedding couple was paying for part of it themselves and were on a budget so since I’ve done many a wedding over the years it seemed like the natural thing to do.
The drawback was I wouldn’t be able to do fresh flowers. I couldn’t bear the thought of having to worry about getting all that taken care of the day before the wedding or on the wedding day itself. I’d have enough to do just handling the rehearsal dinner and the overall decorating for the venue. So after giving it some thought they decided silk it was and we got started with the arduous task of coming up with the perfect look for their wedding. (One of the major perks to silk flowers was they would be able to keep some not only as a keepsake, but they could use them to decorate their first home as well. A win-win!)
It would have been easy for me to run wild and do something fun on my own, but it was their wedding day after all and every bride (and in this case – bride and groom) knows exactly what they want for their big moment. And, I wanted to be respectful of that so shortly after the decision was made to go with silk Melissa and I went to the Dallas market to track down the perfect “stuff”. She had done enough “Pinterest surfing” to know the basic look she was after so we had sort of an idea of what we were looking for.
Unexpectedly, as we perused the first showroom we both stopped in our tracks when we saw these cool leaf stems…..
And, these coolest of cool branches. Both were so unique and fun, they were made of quality “real touch” materials and were very pliable so they’d be easy to work with. We spotted these first thing and then looked at just about every showroom at the World Trade Center before coming right back to them.
After deciding on the leaves and branches she knew she wanted these burgundy hydrangeas – again, the “real touch” variety that looks and feels like the real thing…..
As were these orchids she wanted……
And, lastly, she really wanted peacock feathers to be the key accessory to the centerpieces and other items in the wedding as well….
And, she wanted them in tall cylinder vases. A very popular look these days that you’ll see all over Pinterest.
Once the flowers were chosen the next decision was what would be the best filler for these large vases. The bride and groom to be were hoping for either sand or rocks soooo……
After unsuccessfully searching for inexpensive white sand in our area – I first tried regular sand thinking that maybe, just maybe it could work…..But,…..blaaaah! it was flat and dull and just not pretty enough for a wedding. And, it made the vase very heavy……
Then I tried inexpensive rocks from Home Depot, just to get a feel for them, which made the vase so heavy I could hardly lift it! Not to mention my fingernails looked and felt as if I had run them through a meat grinder when I was done. No way that could be done on or near the wedding day.
Next I tried rocks and sand together…..mmmmmm……double ick!……not so happy with that look either. So…..what to do…..what to do. A full vase of rocks or sand even if I found prettier materials, no matter what style or color, was way too much work and way too heavy for me and the friends I recruited to help me set up to have to mess with. And, there was still the added challenge of transporting everything.
My problem was – I didn’t want to have to put them together on the wedding day…. the purpose of the silk was to be able to get them done way ahead of time to alleviate stress. But, if I did that – then came the challenge of how the heck we’d transport them thirty minutes away to the venue. By the time they were finished they would be around four feet high or more! Not to mention the width with all the branches. Hmmmmmm…..what was a designer to do?????……
Then suddenly it came to me!
My light bulb moment!
I went to good old Home Depot and bought some pvc pipe….
And, I had them cut the pipe into pieces that would fit down inside the vases.
(As luck would have it I had them cut a little short so I used some styrofoam I already had and took a tomato can and cut the perfect size circles to place on the bottom and give them the height I needed.)
Then I slipped the styrofoam to the bottom of the vase, slipped the pvc pipe down into the vase on top of the styrofoam and filled the outside of the pipe between it and the glass with a combination of this cool moss I found at Hobby Lobby and this rock from the Dollar Tree. I wasn’t sure if they’d like it, but I played around with it with and without the rocks and they decided they not only liked it, but they liked it best with both rocks and moss. They loved the organic look.
I did some vases in the green moss…..
And some in this brown moss that I also got at the Dollar Tree.
I recruited my sister to round up some moss from her Dollar Tree stores in Wichita Falls since I bought all the brown moss at the stores in my surrounding areas!
By the way, the cheapest place you’ll find these vases is at Ross and HomeGoods. Trust me – I checked everywhere you could possibly check – online, Craig’s list, market, etc…. I was at my wits end trying to find affordable ones – then my sister called and said she found a couple of them at the Ross store near her. I had her grab them for me then I went to every Ross and Homegoods within a twenty mile radius whenever I was at a client’s house who had one near them and gathered up the rest! (They only carry one or two at each store! Ugh!) But they were $10.00 to $15.00 as opposed to $30.00 to $35.00. Worth the extra effort.
After the vases were done I made ten clusters of flowers for ten of the tables by wiring them together into bushels like this. This picture doesn’t have all the flowers in it – we had to wait on some backorders to come through, but I left room to wedge them down in the wire. (The other ten tables had a different look – I’ll get to those later)
After I had all the bushels put together we had a little pow-wow one evening at my mom’s house where I was keeping them – my daughter, daughter-in-law, the bride-to-be and one of her bridesmaids – to wire on some more orchids to the branches. (I was out of storage room at my house – it was full of rehearsal dinner decorations, arrangements and more wedding décor!)
Melissa and Katie, my daughter-in-law, also made wire tea candles to hang from a few of the branches so they would flicker and glow when it got dark.
Melissa with one of her bridesmaids, Lauren. We made the evening fun with some wine, munchies and laughs till we got ‘em all done.
Even my daughter’s Chihuahua, Harley, joined in the fun.
Now I could store all the vases in bins separately to transport everything, then slip the pre-made florals right into this pvc pipe at the venue. Voila! Mission accomplished!
For the other ten tables I used these tall skinny vases I have in my stock and borrowed some from my friend, Connie, to save some money. I duplicated the same basic flowers I used in the large vases, with the exception of the creamy beige leaves – we substituted the green ones for those. I just separated them into the three different height vases instead of one large vase to create a cluster that complimented the other tables, but had their own unique look.
I experimented with different combo’s…..
Tried different fillers with these, too. I filled this one with salt to see what it would look like if I decided to go for the white sand. But, once I decided on the moss for the larger ones the white was no longer an option for these. It just didn’t “work” well together. The white was too stark for the other more organic look.
So I found pebbles that complimented the rocks in the larger vases for the bottom of these instead….
Then topped the pebbles with this cool colored sand I found at Michaels (it was the same color as the brown moss) and then just to bring in her turquoise I topped that with just a little touch of the perfect color of turquoise sand I found at Michaels, too.
When everything was done I crammed it all into my den for weeks before the wedding. (You could hardly move in there.) The branches would get tangled up if you so much as looked at them wrong and I had a couple of the vases break and have to be re-done. That was a royal pain! But in the end….
All the time, energy and hard work paid off. They worked beautifully on these crisp white table cloths and created the look for the event Melissa was hoping for. The crème-de-la-creme was the workers at the hotel thought they were real!
They (the bride and groom) went with the more unique option of having the tables set up for the wedding as well as the reception rather than the traditional rows. So when guests arrived the centerpieces would be in place and hopefully create a welcoming, warm, inviting atmosphere. Melissa understood that the centerpieces would help set the stage and personality of the event so the centerpieces were a huge deal to her. (A girl after my own heart!)
She said they were everything she wanted and more. And, that made her future mother-in-law very happy!