Floral Crowns for a Woodland Wedding Wonderland

I have eight nieces, and so naturally, they call on me when a wedding date is set in stone.  Four down, four to go!  Maddie made her plans to be married in Yakima, Washington in late April.  A beautiful six hour drive up the Columbia Gorge, then turning inland for some awesome, breathtaking scenery of rolling hills and many windmills.   Sometimes it’s more enjoyable to attend a wedding than to be transporting and keeping cool a load of flowers (along with three kids and luggage) and so I suggested to Maddie that she work with a local florist in Yakima and promised her my feelings would NOT be hurt!  After 16 years in the floral business, I was looking forward to showing up and enjoying the day and not “working.”

BUT…a few weeks before the wedding, she called me and just felt that floral crowns were absolutely necessary and she asked if mom would be willing to design them and if I’d be willing to transport them.  This was a little easier of a task to tackle (as far as the transport) but mom will be the first to let you know that they are no small feat to design.  VERY intricate, tedious and time consuming work.  But hopefully from the pictures, you can see that they were very worth it the effort.  As the bride said in her timely thank you note, “they were the icing on the cake.”  And I agree!

Custom designed and sized, they were designed with roses, ranunculus, privet berries on a base of seeded eucalyptus, these crowns lended that final touch to the mossy, woodland wedding theme.

Floral crowns, along with garlands, are being requested by our brides over and over this season.  Stepping away from the traditional veil and going with something a little more earthy is definitely what they are asking for.  We are happy to oblige, as who can argue with more flowers?  More flowers and greenery is ALWAYS the right choice!

M+A-24 M+A-157 M+A-234 M+A-282 M+A-391 M+A-395


You Get What You Get…

You Get What You Get, and You Don’t Throw a Fit!



Cape Lookout’s stylized shoot


Funny how those words from one’s childhood continue to ring true-even today in my flower world, designing a bridal bouquet! I’m sure you have similar experiences in your life, too, where adapting to the moment is what you have to do. I remember in my teaching career it was called “monitor and adjust” and oh boy, did I have to do a lot of monitoring and adjusting in a classroom of 7th and 8th graders!

When Laurie discussed the bridal bouquet she was visualizing for her photo shoot, she wanted something vintage looking, neutral tones, and a totally different shape than we usually see today. She wanted a more horizontal bouquet with flowing greens and white anenomes with black centers. I remember that was her one preference. Anenomes. Anenomes add beautiful texture to a bouquet with their extremely delicate, tissue paper petals with a dark center and they aren’t often used probably because they are so delicate. Along with the draping greens, I knew I wanted to add some privit berries, a silvery, velvety, dusty miller and a mossy branch or two, along with the Star Magnolia branches and a ruffly garden rose.



My Star Magnolia tree, which was the inspiration for this bouquet.


The next step for me was to compose the flower order for my floral wholesaler trying to be as specific as possible so that the flowers I receive are as close to what I need as possible. It requires being very careful about flower type, stem count needed, stem length and even being very clear on subtleties of colors and shades, and knowing what each of my wholesalers considers blush or light pink. Fortunately, after sixteen years of doing this, they know when I say “blush” I mean extremely light pink. Anyway, usually when I have a wedding order or a special occasion order, the order is placed at least four to six weeks in advance of the event. By the time my order is ready to be filled, many things may have happened. Primarily: Nature! Rain or heat or cold may have affected the crop, or there could be shipping errors where flowers were cooked or frozen on the truck causing damaged flowers. As the florist, it’s my job when receiving the flowers to decide if I can make the best of a situation (is there still time to get replacement flowers shipped before the event?) or do I need to figure out how to make the best of the situation (not throw a fit!)? Is it possible to achieve the look and feel of the arrangement my customer desires? How can I make the best of this situation?

This was the challenge with the bridal bouquet for this photo shoot. I had planned on creating an armature (structure that holds the flowers horizontally) thinking the anenomes and other flowers and greens would easily be able to be laced through the armature visible 10-12 inches below the structure thereby long enough for me to place the bouquet in a vase of water to keep them fresh and vibrant (my original plan, Plan A). It all seemed so easy in my head until….. I saw the stem length of the anenomes. They were 6-8 inches at best (I hadn’t requested long stems—MY MISTAKE), so there was no way they were going to be able to be laced through the armature and have any length left over, plus I wanted some of them to be placed up higher and spread out throughout the design, not all close together in center middle. These short stems weren’t going to work for my Plan A.


Now what? I had to figure this out with what I had, because it needed to be designed and ready to go the next day. A wave of panic went through me, but then I vaguely remembered purchasing a European Bouquet holder several years back so I went and searched in our cave of treasures thinking it might work for this challenge. It was a bouquet holder with a flat six inch square piece of oasis that could be hydrated and would allow the stems to have a water source. I inserted the stems of the flowers and greens into the oasis of the holder after I had secured it to the armature, and continued until the flowers and berries were balanced, and then added more greens to cover any oasis visible. Finally, I covered the holder with moss and attached the ribbons to the handle where the bride would hold the bouquet. Even though my first plan didn’t work out, I was pleased with Plan B and how easily it all came together.



And in the scheme of things, really, it wasn’t anything to throw a fit over!!!!

Oregon Coast Forest Boho Wedding – Oregon Coast Florist

Summer 2014 was a wedding season heavily dominated by babies breath and peach and coral flowers. So when Stephanie asked us to design her wedding flowers with a different approach, more of a Boho flavor–bold color and even beyond that, unique designs–we were eagerly anticipating the opportunity to bring Stephanie’s dream flowers to reality for her. We talked about colors and flowers that she did and didn’t like, dried pods, feathers, curly willow, cotton and other textures that appealed to her as well. Stephanie preferred more of a vertical design for her bridesmaids’ bouquets rather than the round design usually chosen. She also wanted more cascade to her bouquet than usually chosen.



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Unique Bridal Bouquet

After our discussion, we decided what flowers, berries, pods and other textures were in season or on the market at the time, and if they weren’t, what makes a perfect substitution? Stephanie also helped us out by bringing in several pictures of elements from arrangements she liked which often gives us a better idea of what the bride likes…sometimes it isn’t necessarily the entire picture, but just the colors or the flower types while sometimes it’s the feathers used or the touch of curly willow.

Bridesmaid's Bouquets

Finally, Stephanie let me know she trusted me to “go for it” and do my thing….and so I did considering the theme, the dress, the family, the bride, the groom, and all of God’s awesome and amazing abundance of the fall season flowers and textures, the chenille-like drape of amaranthus against the curling velvet, ruffled edge of the cockscomb, the grace of the pheasant feathers, wild and free curly willow, tissue paper thin petals of the compact, cupped ranunculous.  And all the berries to make it all pop:  pepperberries, privit berries and fall’s sweetheart:rosehips…can you ever get enough of such richness? Not me!

Wedding Flower Details

And I loved (LOVED) getting to design the altar arrangements around and in the light green squash.  Doesn’t it just speak of hearts overflowing???  It does to me.  Can’t wait to do something like this again – hopefully SOON!

Altar Flowers

Thank you, Stephanie and Anthony, for the opportunity to capture your love in flowers.

All images captured & provided by:  Imago Dei Photography.  To view Xiomara’s blog post and see all the lovely details of this event, click here.

This wedding was featured as one of Oregon Bride’s “Best Real Weddings of 2014.” See their feature here.

Shipwreck Wedding on the Oregon Coast-Oregon Coast Florist-Oceanside-Wedding Inspiration

Months ago, Xiomara of Imago Dei Photography, approached us with the idea of participating in a Shipwreck on the Oregon Coast themed photo shoot.  Along with three other photographers, Xiomara saw the opportunity to attract destination brides to our area of the Oregon Coast.  Basically, we would be staging a fantasy wedding. That meant securing all of the props, services, bride, groom, make-up, hair, dresses, shoes jewelry, cake, tuxedo and FLOWERS of course!

Were we interested?  Of course!  Even though we’ve designed flowers for hundreds of weddings over the past twelve years, brides usually have their own ideas about what they want in the way of flowers.  Xiomara sent us an inspiration board knowing she could trust us to see the vision, but also gave us complete creative freedom within the vision.  All she said was, “I want to see something I haven’t seen before.”  This is like a florist’s dream come true!  And this kind of challenge keeps me awake at night pondering how I will combine a certain flower and a certain succulent.  And what would set off the Gatsby era dresses?  And how about something for their hair that uses an element from the bouquet?  How can I tie in the setting, the sand, the surf, the sea life and shipwreck?

Since there were two brides, we decided that one would have a more traditional bouquet using David Austin Patience roses (they look like peonies and are phenomenally fragrant) paired with foilage, succulents and pods.  The combinations of the varying textures – the softness of the roses against the sponginess of the succulents all reminded me of the texture found at the ocean.  A silver thread tied all of the elements together and drew you to the dress as well.

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The second (and more out of the box) bouquet was crafted from pele hair and dried seaweed, which formed the base and was the inspiration for the design.  I loved the way it flowed, it’s more rugged texture, and the color against the softness of the elegant feather backed cymbidium orchids.  Tillandria formed the bodice of the bouquet with cascading succulents.  We decided this bouquet would only be for the most confident of brides.

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Photo shoot day required many support people.  There were three of us from Sunflower Flats, and several other vendors, photographers & helpers out there.  We all acted as pack horses to lug all of the props for each of the sets:  tables, trunks, our curly willow arch (in pieces) flowers, greens, nets, glass balls, vases & cake and then had to lug it all back!  We literally walked miles!

Shipwreck setup

Xiomara envisioned shooting on the OTHER side of the tunnel at Oceanside, meaning the tide had to be out enough to get through and out to the other side.  All of us began the trek with our loads in the gale force wind and rain.  We emerged from the far side of the tunnel to waves still crashing over the exit.  No beach to be seen yet, and with an angry surf, we knew it was going to be awhile until it receded.

**Keep in mind, this is NOVEMBER, not a typical month for an outdoor/beach wedding here on the Oregon Coast.  But when you are gathering wedding vendors, this is one of the only months wedding vendors are available!  The inclement weather just added to the adventure!

So, Plan B (modify and adapt) back to where we began (on the Oceanside beach) with all the props and we set up what we could do with the guest book table, sweetheart table, curly willow arch and cake table.  The challenge was to have someone hold all the pieces together, bracing it all from the wind, until the second before the shot.

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We were bouquet sitters – protecting and harboring the bouquets while the models got into place and then giving them the bouquet at the last minute for the shot.  If you thought being a florist was glamorous, here is a picture of us to prove otherwise!


Eventually, the surf receded so we could venture to the other side of the tunnel with the stunning rock backdrop.  The cloud formations even cooperated with the swirling, floating foam around the craggy pools.  Nature’s elements and it’s many textures and light came together for a truly phenomenal experience for us as florists.

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All photos courtesy:  Imago Dei Photography

To see more amazing images from this day and for a complete list of vendors & contributors, please visit Imago Dei Photography’s blog.