I recently accepted a wedding flower gig in October, when I'll be 8 months pregnant! But hey, there was no way, no how that I was ever going to say no to this one. I love this too much, and I really wanted to be there for the bride.
This couple has a similar approach to their wedding as we had: they have a two year-old boy, they don't want a big fuss, just a simple celebration to make things official and commit to each other in front of their loved ones. So they're having one of these outside-the-box weddings so dear to my own heart: an afternoon tea with dancing. The bride once expressed her concern to me about her soon-to-be sister-in-law having thrown the most elaborate, lavish, traditional wedding last year, wondering how her own simple affair could ever stand the comparison. I told her our situation was kind of the same, with both my sister having had bigger and more traditional weddings the year before we did. And let's be frank here, people love traditional. But my own conclusion was, if it's not you, you simply should not have to go through with it. So my advice was: then, don't even try. Dare to go so different that people don't even think about comparing! Give them an experience that will make them go beyond their maybe-hesitant feelings about it all, and have faith that they will love it.
And so, without going crazy on a theme, the inspiration I proposed (let's give some credit to M who first came up with the idea when we talked about it together) was the Mad Hatter tea party in Alice in Wonderland... And the bride loved it so much she said my suggestions were like fireworks that prevented her from sleeping that night! What we will do is decorate a main, big table with multiple small flower arrangements in teapots, tin canisters, sugar and cream pots, etc., along with scattered, different but coordinated serving platters offering desserts. We'll also use vintage etched glass pieces (hers, her mother's, and mine), old table cloths, and possibly lanterns and/or pompoms. We will complete the look with toy tea sets sold at IKEA: they're inexpensive, perfect for the look, and can double as favors for kids.
Best of all, this bride is letting me achieve something I've wanted to do for a long time: a carnation wedding! She loves them, and so do I (in tight round balls, no fern and baby's breath in sight like in supermarket bouquets), and since they're so affordable, we will be able to use a lot of them, in many different colors. Her bouquet will probably be only made of carnations, but I'm thinking about a few other types of flowers as well for the table arrangements, including anemones and/or ranunculus, dahlias and chrysanthemums (which should both be in season). I'm not exactly sure how this will play out in the end, but right now my vision is each arrangement would only have one type of flower, and one color.
The bride was so into this idea, she sent me all kinds of wonderful Alice inspiration, and even decided that her gown should be blue (probably from BCBG)! From Gwen Stefani (in her What You Waiting for? video), to the Matrix movie (which has multiple references to the symbolism-rich book), to the big designers, and of course to Tim Burton, everyone seems to be inspired by Alice! Look at this interpretation of the tea party by Annie Lebovitz (the picture is part of a whole, gorgeously stylized spread originally published in Vogue, which features many fashion personalities including John Galliano as the Queen of Hearts (!?)).