Looking back, it seems that I have spent the better part of my adult life explaining and justifying the need for flowers, specifically as embellishments for weddings. I’m quite certain that my father went to his grave believing that I had made a complete mockery of a perfectly respectable Bachelors Degree by becoming a florist (I prefer floral designer). His ire and refusal to understand the profound pleasure I felt in creating my version of floral fantasy only spurred me on to do more, to try new avenues of design and best of all, enter design competitions.
When my mother and I opened our own flower shop during the mid 1980s, I discovered a greater challenge —bridal consultations. Whether one-on-one meetings with a young bride; family affairs with aunts, grandmothers, future in-laws and bridesmaids in tow; or telephone consultations with women I would never meet face to face, the bridal consultation satiated my own interest in learning about people; getting to know their family traditions, personal history and aspirations for the future. I approached each one with relish. To my frequent amazement, my customers had little or no knowledge of the names of even the most common wedding flowers like carnations, gardenias, and stephanotis. I blamed it on their fiancées who had sent them too few flowers and resolved to make education of floral variety, seasonality and climate preference a part of every consultation. The result of my foray into becoming a floral educator was that the themes and compositions of each wedding became more personal, unique and sentimental—yes sentimental! More and more brides began showing up with pictures of their mother’s or grandmother’s bouquets for identification and duplication. They needled me about varieties they could grow for centerpieces or herbs for adding fragrance to personal flowers, or how best to preserve their spent bouquets. Suddenly I was in the legacy business and so proud to be the catalyst for helping my customers to define their “floral identity”.
Who you are and how you convey that to the world could never be more important than as you plan your wedding. I have seen a myriad of mermaid-clad waifs break down on their wedding day because they planned something they cannot relate to, a party they probably wouldn’t want to attend. I think the lesson here is pretty obvious, though not fresh—to thine own self be true. Today when I am asked what one single piece of advice I would give to a bride, it has to be that. If you don’t have a handle on your personal style, or would like to cultivate some part of your wedding from your own garden—do it!
On Saturday, January 22nd, the Civic Garden Center will be featuring a presentation by wedding consultant, Rosemary Ballard. During her presentation, Rosemary will be featuring several themes for weddings including those which have a homespun or natural feel to them, all with hopes that prospective brides will be able to refine their sense of floral style. The BonBonerie will be providing cake to sample and to complement Rosemary’s creations. You can register in advance at http://www.civicgardencenter.org/garden_files/classes.htm or by calling 513.221.0981.