A passion for wedding flowers...

My passion is wedding flowers... incorporating traditional floral design techniques to create a signature floral and decor atmosphere for weddings and special events on Hilton Head Island and in the surrounding Low Country of South Carolina.

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Traditional Wedding Party...

You will see a fair amount of pictures from this particular wedding on this blog.  It's about my only point of reference for what I consider a "traditional" wedding party.  Since these black and white photos are of my parents' wedding in 1964, I have a fair amount of insight to the details of this particular wedding.
Some things have changed.  For instance, you rarely see such a large wedding party anymore. "Five on Each Side", I would call it.  That is, 5 bride's maids and five groomsmen... when I start a wedding I normally ask the bride... "o.k., how many on each side?"  Another change is the fashions... these bridesmaids dresses were definitely made to the style of the early 60's... and the Maid of Honor's being a different color.  Typically these days, especially on Hilton Head Island, the gentlemen tend to go for more casual wear, suits, sometimes no jackets, and ever popular with our beach weddings, most attendants will be wearing flip-flops!

Some things have not changed.  I notice that even back in 1964, it was popular to mark the first pew with some sort of decoration... here there are bows on the pews... and still today, the ever popular ivory or white ribbon bow is a festive, economical and function (to indicate where the parents are to sit) decoration.
I would encourage any bride to bring old photographs of their parent's or grandparent's wedding with them to a floral consultation, just to see if some theme's from the past can be incorporated into their modern celebrations.  Replicating your mother's or grandmother's bouquet is a very moving and special tribute to a special person in your life.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

A Traditional Wedding Flower Technique

So, what is an example of a traditional wedding flower technique?  One of the most used is what I would call the "wire and tape" method.  In the past was a limited list of flowers that were typically used in bridal bouquets.  Orchids, Stephanotis, Lily of the Valley, carnations and to some extent roses.  Most of these flowers were usually available year round.  Since the oasis filled bouquet holder had not been invented yet (the holder came into use in the late 1960's), most florists constructed their bouquets by wiring and taping each flower and joining them continually until the bouquet achieved a cascade or round nosegay shape.  Often the more delicate flowers like Lily of the Valley and Stephanotis were hard to find in out of season months, so silk or cloth (artificial) forms of these flowers were added.  Also popular in the 40's, 50's, and 60's were the addition of puffs of tulle, sprays of seed pearls and ribbon... lots and lots of ribbon.  Typically too, most bridal bouquets contained only white flowers, going along with the general theme of white for purity for all things bridal.  Another aspect of having a bouquet of this construction was that after the flowers were wilted, dried and gone there was still much of the bouquet left over in ribbon, wire, tulle, and other decorative trinkets.  We at Down the Isle like the idea of having mementos of the special day left over, a keepsake for many years to come.

Pictured here is my mother's bouquet, as it was placed on the cake table at her wedding reception in November, 1964.  Her bouquet was wire, tape, ribbon, tulle, pearls, cloth Lily of the Valley, white Fuji mums, and a center focal point of a Cymbidium orchid corsage (more on the corsage in the the bouquet in a later post).  Her bouquet, after being caught by my aunt at the reception, spent the next 30 years or so in the original florist's box it was delivered in.  Over the years the flowers disappeared and the ribbon and tulle became fragile, but there was much leftover, and it was evident that it had been a bridal bouquet.

Brides who are looking to have some retro element to their wedding should consider having their bouquet be a replication of their mother or grandmother's bouquet... for old time's sake.  Finally, here is a picture of what is left of my mother's bridal bouquet, some thin ivory ribbon, love-knots tied around tulle and small sprigs of cloth Lily of the Valley, and two small sprays of seed pearls shaped like tiny flowers.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Down the Isle ... the beginnings of a dream come true.

Down The Isle ...

Welcome to my dream...

My passion is wedding flowers.  Probably from the first moment I saw my parents wedding photos and noticed the bouquet of flowers my mother was carrying, I became fascinated by the concept of floral decorations for weddings. I has been a dream for some time to operate my own design studio, and finally, with enough support and inspiration from family and friends, I am ready to be my own boss.  Of course, a lot of details go into planning floral decorations for a wedding and I am certainly up for the challenge having designed weddings in San Francisco, CA, and Hilton Head Island, SC.  Now, however, it's on my own terms.  I want to create floral decor for weddings that are distinctive in most of their elements, adding that extra something special to each wedding design, that will set it apart from every other wedding.

I hope to incorporate more traditional design techniques in the making of my arrangements.  Many new tools and techniques for wedding floral work have been developed in the past few decades, but, I am a purist when it comes to style and mechanics.  I firmly believe that when done correctly the old methods of design for wedding bouquets is the most secure... yes, more time consuming, but there are some methods that persist mainly because they work. 

Color and texture play a great part in my designs as well.  An event designed with the bride's favorite color; combined with other colors in the same field, bring to life a floral atmosphere the the bride and groom and their guests will always remember.

From here on I will be posting photos and commentaries on various wedding floral arrangements.  Please leave a comment.  And, contact us if you are interested in having your wedding floral arrangements designed and created by "Down the Isle".