Expect the unexpected: The florist did not receive the dark red mini-carnations I had ordered and some of the roses were not the right shade at all, leaving me scrambling for alternatives. I knew better than to stress the brides over such things on the day before their wedding, so I had to make executive decisions. I replaced the carnations with mums, and found a suitable package of roses (which contained 25 stems instead of 12, but I convinced the guy to sell them to me at the same price). Also, by some miracle, they had received tulips, a rare, rare, rare occurrence at this time of year. Jenny had told me they were her favorite, so I took them in white and added them to her bouquet as a surprise for her.
Each flower is unique: some of them, like roses, tulips, and calla lilies, have one bloom per stem. However, some flowers had I never worked with for weddings like daisies, mums and carnations, have multiple (up to 5 of 6) blooms per stem, making it possible to order a bit less. I was able to use all the flowers when I made the centerpieces, but I could have done fine with some fewer stems of these (thus reducing costs a little).
My son is now pleasingly nearly autonomous: I had first thought about leaving LP at daycare while arranging the flowers at home on Friday afternoon, but after the tough couple of weeks he’s had I decided to take a chance and pick him up early instead. I know last year when I worked for both of my sisters’ wedding flowers it just would not have been possible to have him around, because he needed me way too much. But I’m glad I did it. Not only was he so happy (and very seriously told me “I’m really pleased you brought me home with you”), but he managed to do really well, “helping” me prepare the flowers and put them in water, fetching crackers (and feeding them to me while I was busy), bottled water, or a piece of fruit by himself, bringing me the dustpan and small broom (without me asking) after I made a mess of flower scraps, taking paper towels and wiping juice he had spilled on the floor… Of course he did insist for me to go play with him a few times, and I still needed to take him to the toilet, but overall he was really good at occupying himself, being patient, and understanding that I couldn’t give him my full attention at the moment. I’m so proud of him!
Flowers are REALLY my forte: both brides were really, really pleased with the results, saying it looked even better than the pictures they had sent me. This made me happier than I could say. The look on their faces, their joy and excitement, I found it very special. Jenny’s maid of honor later came to tell me that Jenny loved the flowers so much, she repeated four times how much she thought they were perfect. Before seeing themselves in their dress, I think the moment brides receive their bouquet is really the one that makes them realize that this is it, they are getting married! I also really enjoyed setting up the tables and helping to decorate the room in advance, because I thought it was a perfect mix of calm, anticipation and excitement build-up.
M and I make a great team: I first left him at the hotel so he could take getting ready pictures, while I went to the venue and decorated. But I picked him up after two hours and then barely left his side, because truly he was the one needing the most assistance. My first plan was to try and coordinate that everything went smoothly (and I did have to take care of a few things), but in the end everything was well-organized and planned at the venue and things were under control, thanks to a very good, take-charge maid of honor, helpful friends of the groom, and hired help –two food servers and two waiters were there. So during the whole thing my main job was to be the photographer’s assistant, something I clearly knew nothing about. But we were great at anticipating each others’ needs and reactions, as well as giving each other pointers. I liked that aspect of the experience a lot.
I am still not good with stress: Funny, we were both so invested in ensuring that these people’s weddings went well that I was way more stressed there than I ever was for my own wedding. M definitely felt the pressure too: obviously it’s something you’re not allowed to scr*w up, and these were tough conditions for a first wedding. While we were doing it, I was really focused and wasn’t thinking about anything else, but after we left I realized I had been so tense I could barely move my shoulders anymore, and was positively, completely, ridiculously ex.haus.ted. My back is still sore and hurting a bit, and I won’t tell you my bedtime of the last few nights, because you’ll totally tease me.
I am not a natural MC kind of person: I’m good with planning in advance, but when the real thing comes and you need to handle everything, multitask like a mad person, be able to be everywhere at the same time, resolve all snafus, and constantly act in a pinch, I’m not the best. I can do it, I’ve done it many times before, but I’m just not really enjoying myself.
After 10 PM my brain turns to jelly: I’ve always been like that, but I’ve wasted so much time, so many years, fighting it. Now I’ve come to an age where I just want to accept that this is how I am, an early bird for whom physical regularity (such as predictable mealtimes and bedtimes) is simply essential. I guess this makes me a prematurely elderly person, and that is the first step towards lining up to dine out at 4:45 PM. So be it.
Trust your instincts: something was telling me that Jenny and Stan would be good people, that we would be a good fit, and that with them us trying out how it is to do this for real would work well. And I was right. They turned out to be so fun, so fantastic, and so interesting, that we truly relished sharing their special day. Their emotion was genuine and palpable, their friends were so cool and talented (the show they presented was truly of professional caliber), and all of these people were so worth getting to know (Jenny’s dad, the perfect older Southern gentlemen, melt my heart when he told me, in his Tennessee twang, that he loved how I put daisies in his daughter’s bouquet, since this is what her mom had at their wedding).
In conclusion, my husband the perfectionist is pleased with his pictures, but not wowed (he was a bit disappointed in the sense that since it was a beautiful day and the trees were in all their fall foliage glory, he expected to be able to do golden ticket outdoor pics, which are usually a newlyweds pleaser). We haven’t given the pictures to them yet, but can’t wait to see what they think. And I’m just not sure this planner/coordinator thing is for me after all. More than anything, I'm always brought back to how this is really about doing the thing I love, and that is working with flowers.
Care to see them now?
Miriam’s bouquet – two kinds of autumn-colored roses, calla lilies, and hypericum, with orange satin ribbon.
Miriam’s boutonnieres: calla lily with hypericum and silk orange/fuschia ribbon.
Jenny’s bouquet: daisies, mini-carnations, white hypericum, and tulips, with white grosgrain ribbon.
Jenny's bridesmaids bouquets: daisies, mums, and hypericum, with red grosgrain ribbon.