Monday, January 11, 2010

Heartstrings

She was a bride with a vision. Or maybe I should say a bride on a mission-- Either way she was bound and determined to include all her loved ones on her wedding day.

My sweet niece, Queen M, and her Groom Z, wanted to be surrounded with love and memories and all things cherished when they exchanged wedding vows last summer. Their plan was for a small, intimate and inclusive wedding day that reached out to multiple generations of family and friends.

You know what they say about carefully laid plans, right?

Their "small" wedding ended up having 200 people but the ceremony and reception felt like one giant "love fest" to everyone in attendance. It truly was perfect despite its large size.

Queen M is a sentimental girl whose heartstrings are attached to several relatives who've passed away but had significant and meaningful relationships with her. It was important to have their spirit close to her on her wedding day, so she found some photos and we planned and plotted, and through trial and error, created a bridal bouquet uniquely her own.

Since she's in Ohio and I'm in California, she emailed me the family photos. I played with them on the copier at Kinko's until they were uniform in size and about 1/3 inch in diameter. Then I fiddled around some more, spent a few hours roaming the aisles of craft stores, and in the end attached the tiny laminated photos to thin floral wire, securing them in place with lavender crystal beads-- Lavender being the bride's favorite color.

Can you see the photos tucked in the bouquet?


We talked about how I would incorporate the five photos into her bouquet but she insisted she didn't want to see specifics or the bouquet until just before the ceremony. That meant I basically had one shot at getting it right, so the heat was on.

Since I'd never made a bridal bouquet before, I was pretty nervous. What if the flowers faded, wilted, or just plain died before the ceremony? Or worse, what if my sweet niece hated her bouquet! Let me tell you, I was sweating bullets and not just because it was about a hundred degrees on that Ohio day in June.

The morning of the wedding, Queen M was with her bridesmaids relaxed and enjoying breakfast as I worked my way through the flower mart gathering enough stems and petals for her bouquet plus the bridesmaids and boutineers. Fortunately, the latter went together fairly easy and fast. Then it was time to tackle the bride's flowers.

Gulp!

Sitting at my folk's dining room table with several anxious family members studying my every move, I started slowly, carefully selecting each flower's size, shape and color. One by one the bouquet started coming together and filling in nicely-- except it was lopsided. So one flower at a time, I took it apart again until I got it right. Three tries later it was ready for me to thread the photos on wires into the bouquet before I cut, then wrapped, the stems with satin ribbon.

Finally it was time for inspection-- by my mother-- The one person I knew who would be absolutely honest. When tears formed in her eyes, I got the thumbs up and we were good to go.

As for the bride? I knew the minute she saw the bouquet that she was thrilled.


Phew!

Queen M counted all five photos, said a silent prayer for each, and walked down the aisle to her new life and waiting husband.

What pulls at your heartstrings?
Welcome to The Fifty Factor - Joanna
Photo Credit: Joanna Jenkins

71 comments:

  1. That is beautiful. These days a lot pulls at my heartstrings...somedays more than others. Happy Tuesday JoAnna.

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  2. Beautiful bride, flowers and the five people in the bouquet. You know I am just sentimental about everything these days, lots of things related to any kind of changes, Being thankful for the life I have pulls at my heartstrings...i AM a basket case. Big hug. Take care.

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  3. What a sweet, sentimental girl to want something so special included in her bridal bouquet. You did a wonderful job with it, Joanna. Your niece looked radiant and the flowers are unbelievable!

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  4. My eyes just popped out of my head! That bridal bouquet is stunning! Almost as beautiful as your niece. You did a spectacular job.

    I wouldn't know how to even begin something like that, and you did it magnificently. Bravo, Joanna. Bravo!

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  5. What a wonderful thoughtful bride - and your bouquet is stunning!

    This was heartwarming.

    Oh, and if my kids say I love you mama - that pulls my heartstrings like nothing else can!

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  6. beutiful post and beautiful bride...my kids and T...hurting people...hungry people...abused...i got a few heart strings....

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  7. the flowers are gorgeous, and I got a lump in my throat reading this! What a beautiful concept :)

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  8. Outstanding and a very unique idea. Your niece is very lucky to have so many people love her.

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  9. Your story was a heart string puller, Joanna. What a beautiful idea and you executed it so perfectly.

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  10. Joanna, this says so much about you and your niece. Aside from how obviously creative you are, this was such a beautiful sentiment. You did a lovely job. Your niece clearly had faith in you and her wanting to have her people surround her this was is just so touching..

    Who caught that beautiful bouquet, I wonder? could she even bear to toss it?

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  11. What a beautiful story. How special!

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  12. What a beautiful bouquet - SUCH a cool idea!!!

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  13. That bouquet looks even more beautiful in the hands of the beaming bride. Job well done!

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  14. That beaming smile is heartstrings.

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  15. This pulled my heartstrings! I adore the idea of incorporating photos in the bouquet! Genius!

    You did an awesome job with the flowers too. I know how nerve-wracking it can be. I made my sister's wedding bouquet....it was nice, but not nearly as lovely as this!!!!

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  16. What a beautiful bride and bouquet!

    My son who lived in Arizona for years, then moved back to Maine 7 years ago, told me Sunday that he and his family I thinking about moving to Colorado. My heartstrings are stretched to the breaking point.

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  17. That is such a sweet thing! It's a great idea and it turned out beautiful!

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  18. A very beautiful bride and bouquet! You did well Aunt J! My list is endless on the ole heartstrings. xo

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  19. That's such a great idea! I wrapped the pictures of my deceased grandparents into the ribbon of my bouquet. The ribbon crisscrossed around the stems, so their pictures peeked thru. No one knew they were there except me and my bridesmaids until after the ceremony.

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  20. You must have had some previous experience to be counted on to make the all important bridal bouquet. It is lovely and she looks radiant in the picture. So it turned out to be good memories for your mom and you and the bride and everyone attending.

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  21. Oh that's such a lovely idea Joanna - really nice! And well done you...it looks beautiful!
    What pulls my heartstrings? Seeing my 12 year old dancing on stage and looking like she's the happiest person on the planet!

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  22. Joanna, this was so incredible.
    That she had this idea. And trusted you so much.
    Love like that tugs at my heartstrings.
    Wow.

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  23. What a sweet story and what lovely artistry you created to fulfill the bride's wishes. Good Going!

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  24. What a uniquely splendid idea and the bouquet is just stunning. You made a very precious moment in this sweet brides dream day. The recepion sounded like it was perfect too. Reading this story really tugged at my heartstrings! {SIGH}

    Have a fabulously blessed day!!!

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  25. Before reading your post, I thought it was one of the most beautiful flower arrangements I'd ever seen. Then to find out you made it!! WOW, Joanna, you must have blown her away when she saw it!

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  26. That had to be a lot of pressure. What a sweet idea to put the pictures in with the bouquet.
    She looks radiant and beautiful and the her bouquet is just a perfect compliment to her beauty.

    Great Job Aunt Joanna!

    ♥ Joy

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  27. I LOVE this idea! I will remember it in the future. The boquet looks great.

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  28. stories like yours pull at my heartstrings, so touching...and such a gorgeous bouquet

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  29. Oh Thank you so much for sharing that sweet lovely story!!! Your niece must take after her aunt with a huge caring heart.

    I can't believe you have never put together a bouquet before - you missed your calling. Gorgeous!!!!

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  30. That is an awesome bouquet. I LOVE it! She will always remember how you added to her special day.

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  31. Awww so sweet, and you're so creative. What a lovely gift you gave her! And it really did turn out beautifully!

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  32. AWWWW!!!!! AWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!

    SO AWESOME!!

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  33. That sroty pulled at my heartstrings. The happy smile on the bride's face says it all. Well done you!

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  34. What a creative and thoughtful way to include loved ones that have passed; it's a beautiful bouquet (and bride!).

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  35. What a wonderful thoughtful thing to do and it turned out beautifully!

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  36. My own wedding was quite a sad occasion. Even the cake was in tiers...

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  37. how sweet is this story....tears were in my eyes while I read it... thank you for sharing it with us !

    my heartstrings are so sensitive....even a hallmark commercial can pull at them....

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  38. What a beautiful story, bouquet and bride! You are amazing! Way to keep your cool!

    My niece is getting married in April. May I borrow this idea for her? She has a few family members whose pictures I know would make her day!

    Your story pulled at my heartstrings! Thanks for sharing!

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  39. Can I hire you to make my bouquet for my wedding? That is absolutely gorgeous! I LOVED your niece's idea to corporate loved ones pictures. You worked magic on it, Joanna.

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  40. I don't think I would have ever thought of something like that, to include photos in a bouquet. Even though you were nervous about it, you obviously got it right. What an imagination and talent you have.

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  41. WOW that was a great idea and such beautiful flowers!!

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  42. Oh gosh. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful.

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  43. That is simply beautiful!

    What a sweet story....one that will be in your family forever, I'm sure. :)

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  44. What a lovely idea to include the photos and a beautiful bouquet and bride, indeed!
    What pulls at my heartstrings is when my favorite dance partner somehow finds me in a huge crowd, when the band is playing one of our favorite songs to dance to!

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  45. You created such a loving tribute and beautiful display of flowers...

    My heartstrings belong to my children... Sure, other things move me, or affect me, but cannot be compared to the emotion I experience by them...

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  46. Guess what Joanna? This piece was recognized by Hilary in her Post Of The Week. That is becoming a regular habit of yours! And so well deserved.

    Congratulations!! I'm proud of you.

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  47. What a great story and I loved that it worked out. Your niece is beaming -- the smile says it all.

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  48. They are lovely photographs, and I'm so glad Queen M had a wonderful wedding. Congratulations to them both, and to you for the post of the week.

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  49. Congrats on POTW mention from Hilary

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  50. Great post Joanna and congtratulations on POTW from Hillary ~ Love it ~ Eddie

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  51. What a lovely bouquet and what a lovely sentiment! I had tears in my eyes, reading that.

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  52. very creative idea with the pics. After closely looking I think I saw three or so. We have a family wedding coming up maybe I should try this.

    Hey different subject (hope you read the bottom of the list comments down here) - Do you happen to know what happen to Lilly and her blogging or lack of blogging. Is she OK?

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  53. My niece Sarah also pulls at my heartstrings in a very good way. She is the light of my life and the joy in my heart...

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  54. You have so many talents!!! That boquet is beautiful!! And what a wonderful idea. I hope you don't mind but I'm passing along that idea to my sister. She became engaged Christmas. Her hubby died almost 4 years ago of cancer; about 9 months after our Dad died. Her fiance is such a wonderful man I think we wouldn't mind if she did something like this. Thanks for a touching story.

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  55. Another example of how thoughtful and talented you are. We all have untapped creative resources we do not discover unless faced with special requests or circumstances. Then we are amazed how we well we rise up to the expectations. You must have been very proud to be able to do such a beautiful piece for your niece, who seems to be a very special person.

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  56. You made that? How gorgeous! As is the bride.

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  57. Ah, Joanna, that is such a wonderful story.

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  58. What a lovely, lovely bouquet and sentiment! Thanks for sharing your crafting ideas and family thoughtfulness :)

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  59. What a lovely idea and a beautiful bouquet. Well done!!

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  60. We put on me nephew and neice-in-laws this past wedding and I know what you mean about calling in the spirits of the grandparents and those who passed before.

    Brian and Manjula chose to invoke the grandparent and deceased spirits orally at the ceremony but if I had seen your idea a week before this...

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  61. I hope they have a good and happy life together. That was some beautiful day!

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  62. this is such a sweet post. and you are one talented lady! hugs!

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  63. Ohhh, this is lovely...both the idea and the finished product. I wish I had thought of it for my daughter's wedding this past summer. Congrats on POTW!

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  64. Beautiful bouquet. I'm impressed with your skills there as well as the thought that went into it.

    Joanna: I found you over at Midlife Blogger and realized you were my Secret Santa over at YnB's site.. I love your blog and want to start reading more.

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  65. What pulls at my heartstrings? YOUR posts! What a wonderful way to honor loved ones -- a beautiful, memorable bouquet of love. Thanks for telling this story. I am sure you've inspired many new brides who are planning their weddings now.

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  66. Your niece is glowing and looks so very beautiful. Her bouquet is almost as gorgeous as she. You are clever, Joanna.

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  67. What a great idea, Joanna! The bouquet is so beautiful and so is your neice. This brought a tear to my eye.

    Hugs!!

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  68. A wonderful post, Joanna! Weddings are such joyous events. I am glad to read that your niece's day was so much more enjoyable and special based on what you created for her.

    Truly a gift to be treasured always. You're lovely!

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  69. Gorgeous post! You are very creative and your niece very special. It's a wonderful idea and very clever indeed. I am sure the five loved ones were very much part of the day. Thought I would leave a comment while I was catching up on your blog. Your writing is brilliant as always and never fails to tug at the heart strings.

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