I must preface this post by stating that I have been invited to, and participated in, many lovely weddings over the years. However, my friends Meagan and Matt really set the bar a few years back with all of the awesome handmade touches they included. I so loved how their wedding felt so warm, and personal and...well, them.
As Steve & I started planning our wedding this winter, I resolved to strive for a similar feeling of intimacy and involvement. Having a church wedding means that Steve and I won't have many options for the ceremony itself, but there are a lot of things we can personalize throughout the day.
Inspired by gorgeous examples like this one, I am wiring up a bunch of vintage brooches for my own version of an heirloom brooch bouquet. The "flowers" above are my first four, made from "destash lot" brooches that were purchased cheaply on Etsy. I love that my bouquet will have a typewriter (to represent my day job) and a black dog (to represent my gardening assistant) alongside brooches with other symbolism (snakes, like the pearl-covered one above, are said to symbolize a new direction in life) and sparkle.
Even better, there will be sentimental value to this bouquet as well. I have a LOT of vintage pins and sparkly earrings for this project that are on loan from "Grandma Dorothy's" jewelry box. I know that she meant a lot to Steve, and I love that we can represent her in the wedding in some way. My grandmothers will be included as well. I already have some of my maternal grandmother's jewelry to use, and I'm sure that my dad's mother will let me borrow a piece of her "sparklies" also.
And of course, I will be mixing in some flowers from my own garden along with the brooches in my bouquet! I have plans--and help, don't worry--to make my own bouquet, along with bouquets for my three bridesmaids and a few informal vases to place around the reception site. In fact, I already started stocking up for this major endeavor:*
The planned "showcase" flowers include the dahlias you see in those bulb packages above. ('Karma Corona' semi-cactus, and "Purple Flame' and the deep red 'Arabian Night'.) I plan to use 'Hopi Red Dye' amaranth from my garden, plus 3 different kinds of snapdragons ('Red Spice', which has great color and a lovely scent, along with the large, open-flower "butterfly" types 'Twinny Bronze Shades' and 'Chantilly Bronze') that I'm growing from seed.
My blue globe thistle (echinops ritro) are often blooming at that time, too, so those are definite contenders for bouquet inclusion, along with seedheads from the 'Cramer's Plum' nigella that Nan so generously shared with me this fall. Other possibilities include the 'Bright Lights' cosmos, 'Kiwi Blue' cerinthe major, Nan's lovely 'Ondra's Brown Mix' or my 'Perfume Antique Lime' nicotiana, black leaf cotton, and 'Touch of Red Buff' calendula.
Filler and spiller flower options include the scented 'Lord Nelson' sweet pea, 'Green Tails' amaranth,and 'Ruby Moon' hyacinth bean vine. 'Silver Falls' dichondra, 'Giant Exhibition Palisandra' coleus, 'Jester' ornamental millet, purple fennel, dusty miller, salvia argentea, culinary sage and the deep, dark leaves of 'Black Night' canna are among the plants that could provide some pretty foliage effects in the bouquets, too.
This whole plan is obviously a work in progress, but it will also be a labor of love--and it will require both effort and testing throughout the summer, to make sure that I get things right for the big day. Any advice is welcome... unless you're going to advise me to give up the idea and just hire a florist! ;-)
* The bulb packages and some of the seeds in the photo above were purchased at Gales Westlake, a local garden center here in the Cleveland area. The white seed packets you see were ordered from Swallowtail Garden Seeds this month. The rest of the plants mentioned in this post are either already growing in my garden, or were passed along from Nan Ondra in seed form via this wonderful post.