March 27, 2010

I Design a Botanical Wedding

This weekend we designed a wedding! Congratulations Nici and Steven!

Every extra succulent cutting in the greenhouse was harvested Saturday, and masterfully crafted into tiny table seating cards thanks to my designer friend, Jess who used sheet moss, bamboo cocktail stirrers and Adobe Illustrator to create tastefully unique name cards. Each table was named after a town that the bride and groom had personal associations with ranging from New England,(the wedding was in Connecticut ) to Hawaii.

I don't design Weddings. But occasionally you just can;t say no, and so, I found myself in a position where my best friend and colleague's daughter ( who happens to work at Logee's designing the catalog) decided to get married, I became the most logical choice for many reasons, to help design the wedding, and I could not say no. Besides, I knew that it would be fun.

Billy Buttons ( Craspedia) was the first flower that Steven and Nici had requested, so I knew that right away, this was going to be a fun wedding to design. When we found out that it was going to be held in an historic Inn in Sturbridge, MA that was almost 300 years old, and that Nici wanted the wedding to be horticulturally interesting yet pretty, the challenge was on. I recruited my designer-friend Jessica from work ( at Hasbro) and together, we put on our finest 'Wedding Planner" hat.

The arrangements followed a natural theme of white, moss, green and some gold. Containers, we're kept simple, cedar cubes and trays. We had a very tight budget, but thanks to florist friends, our greenhouse and garden as well as the generous contribution of some choice plant material from the brides employer ( Logees!), we were able to assemble a fine collection that was both interesting and pretty.

A New England wedding on a March Evening that was cold and overcast outside, made the lighting indoors perfect for hundreds of candles in vintage glass canning jars. The night was sublime, and the scent from all of the Jasmine and Pittosporum we included was probably stronger than when even in the greenhouses at Logee's! We were able to combine the nineteenth Century and the Twenty First Century with flowers and plants.

Nici's bouquet is a hand held wrapped bouquet composed of primarily white Ranunculus, Lily of the Valley, which I forced in the greenhouse, white Amaryllis, Ivory French tulips, and white Anemone.

The boutonniere's are most unique, since Nici wanted a woodland, natural look that was botanically interesting, we crafted Camellia leaves and Stewartia buds, along with individually wired bracts from a Euphorbia that added a lime green color. These elements were then wrapped with brown floral tape along with Billie Buttons ( Crasspediae), and a single feather from a Guinea Fowl, we just loved the speckles, and it reminds me of feathers one sees in old felt hats from the Alps.

The table arrangements are designed to feel both garden-like and loose, with green sheet moss, bulb flowers like Anemone's and Ranunculus, and many unusual tidbits that we we allowed to collect around the greenhouses at Logee's and from my greenhouse. Some arrangements had begonia leaves, others, included jasmine, Camellia buds and branches of Cornus mas.

Jessica helping craft some of the table arrangements in the greenhouse. I wanted really unusual cut flowers, so some forced tall Euphorbia along with lots of height from forced branches of Stewartia, Cornus mas, Magnolia and Fothergilla, were combined with bits of rare plants like species Begonia leaves, wild species of Camellia, and various bulb flowers from South Africa (Lachenalia) and Dutch imports like Anemone and Ranunculus. All colors, fell into a well designed palette of white, lime and ivory. Fragrant clipping of Lemon, other citrus and Pittisphorum were added to snippets of Jasmine to add even more interest. No two arrangements were the same, yet the overall branchy look with sprouting buds looked fresh and cozy in the dim, golden firelight in the barn.

While Jess and I we're scooting around Logee's on Friday looking for interesting material that Byron would let us snip, we saw this Strongylodon macrobotrys! ( No snippy, please!). Besides, the color theme would have been ruined since what color goes with this besides Tupperware! But still.......Wow! But, now that I think about it, I did have some Ixia viridiflora at home....perhaps another wedding.


  1. The color on that Strongylodon is unreal, rarely seen in the garden.

  2. What a gorgeous job you did on the wedding! And I love the groom's boutonniere - the feather was a genius touch! I'm a big fan of your blog, Matt, keep it coming!

  3. Great look, and design. ...oh my, that Strongylodon macrobotrys is fantastic. I am putting on the list for plants I must have. Matti

  4. I love it especially the centerpieces. Going to show this one to my daughter in case she has not settled on her centerpieces yet.

  5. You did a fantastic job, a lucky bride for sure! Everything looks amazing. I've tried to root Jade Vines, to no avail...I love them, a lot darker than the Ixias, great color!


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