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.
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.
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