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:

Frau said...

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

cinner said...

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.

RNSANE said...

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!

Alix said...

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!

LadyFi said...

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!

Brian Miller said...

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

Rootietoot said...

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

lisa said...

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

Jeanie said...

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

Hilary said...

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?

Pam said...

What a beautiful story. How special!

Mommakin said...

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

Flartus said...

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

Ocean Girl said...

That beaming smile is heartstrings.

My name is PJ. said...

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!!!!

Eva Gallant said...

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.

Mari said...

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

Joyce said...

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

Angie said...

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.

TechnoBabe said...

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.

Toni said...

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!

deb said...

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

Ms Sparrow said...

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

Nezzy said...

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!!!

yorksnbeans said...

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!

Joy said...

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

Kristina P. said...

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

Christine said...

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

Joanne said...

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!!!!

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

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

Christy said...

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

Mrs. Holly Hall said...

AWWWW!!!!! AWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!

SO AWESOME!!

midwesttomidlands said...

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

midwesttomidlands said...

Oops, I mean story!

Tattoos and Teething Rings said...

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

Tesa said...

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

Mike Smith said...

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

beth said...

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....

noexcuses said...

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!

Chocolate Covered Daydreams said...

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.

Matty said...

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.

gayle said...

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

Fireblossom said...

Oh gosh. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful.

Big Pissy said...

That is simply beautiful!

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

Marguerite said...

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!

Cam said...

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...

Alix said...

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.

Little Ms Blogger said...

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

Land of shimp said...

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.

Daryl said...

Congrats on POTW mention from Hilary

Eddie Bluelights said...

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

Joanie M said...

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

lisleman said...

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?

ain't for city gals said...

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...

Cathy Clementz said...

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.

Christine Forest, M.D. said...

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.

kys said...

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

Spencer L Casey said...

Ah, Joanna, that is such a wonderful story.

Cherry B said...

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

Marla said...

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

Ronda Laveen said...

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...

SandyCarlson said...

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

jane said...

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

ethelmaepotter! said...

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!

delicate flower said...

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.

Cindy La Ferle said...

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.

Rowe said...

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

She Writes said...

You did good :)!
Amy
pen MT

Green-Eyed Momster said...

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

Hugs!!

Mayhem and Moxie said...

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!

Lilly said...

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.