I have a new found respect for florists. Whether it's a simple assortment for a party of one or many extravagant centerpieces for a larger event, the art of making a beautiful floral arrangement takes time, patience, some prickles of blood and a really good pair of shears.
How It All Began
I had one goal in mind and that was to wow. Wow myself, push my expectations and challenge the creative mind. This was my first time making centerpieces for a wedding, let alone a wedding for my own sibling. The day my sister-in-law said she wasn't going to go to a florist, my inner Katniss Everdeen yelled "I VOLUNTEER AS TRIBUTE!" I chose to do the centerpieces because a) They were about to keep all decor as simple and minimal as possible, b) I'm a hopeless romantic, c) this is my ONLY brother's big wedding day and my vehement self was not going to let such a milestone event fly by with flimsy cardboard cut-outs and paper lanterns. Not that anyone wanted cut-outs...I was just trying to make a point, but I digress.
This was a challenge that I almost didn't think I could pull off. It was a balancing act, and I definitely would not have been able to accomplish it without assistance from the one and only best mother in the world. As much bickering was had between mother and daughter during the creative process, this remained my own DIY project and she let me stay true to my vision. The Bride and Groom did not have any requests. They let me have complete creative control, not even requesting that I follow a color theme. That was both a blessing and a setback because the pressure doubled and I didn't know where to even begin! Since red and gold are lucky colors in traditional Chinese weddings, I thought I'd stick to exactly that!
But Where Do I Get These Flowers?
I've had this concept in my head for months and not having it tangible was frustrating to me. The only way to ensure that my arrangements included the freshest flowers was to head to the flower district in NYC (28 Street between 6th & 7th Ave) and see what was in season for September. I let fate bring me to the bold and the beautiful. Whatever caught my eye, made me double-take, froze me in my footsteps, was what I would go for. It's an overwhelming block to be on because store front after store front were the most exotic plants and flowers one could possibly find. I knew what I wanted to do, but I didn't know if the florists would rip me off. Finally, I came across a wholesale vendor that was patient enough to explain to me different kinds of Rose breeds, temperature control and the actual names of these flowers. I highly recommend them and would love to shop there again or have another excuse to put together floral arrangements. Who are they? A Rose by Harvest. I placed my large order and waited until THE DAY BEFORE said wedding to pick these beauties up.
The Chosen Ones
-Freedom Roses (bright red)
-Free Spirit Roses (orange/red ombre)
-Red & Gold Pin Cushion Flowers
-Pink Hypericum Berries
-White Wax Flowers
The Day Before the "Big Day"
To say that I was nervous or freaking out would be an understatement. Not only did I have to wait until the day before, but I had to beat the Pope mobile and make sure traffic and closed streets would not deter me from getting my order of flowers. I awoke at 4:30AM, brushed my teeth, put on a sweatshirt and drove straight into the city...and the rest was history. I was home by 6:30AM, took a brief nap, had a spider scare because I am VERY SURE I brought a giant one into the house while it was hiding in one of the bouquets. An 8-legged freak managed to create a very large web above the flowers in the room I stored them and it was frightening. Till this day I have not seen it, but I KNOW IT IS SOMEWHERE WATCHING MY EVERY MOVE.
From 12PM to 5:30PM, I was snipping, measuring, prickling my finger with rose thorns and arranging the heck out of 20+ vases. Finally, they were ready to be boxed and conditioned on their last stay overnight in the Chang casa.
I felt fire, I felt passion, I felt joy and I felt love these last few months. And as cliché as this may be, I felt all my emotions forever encapsulated within these vivid arrangements.
I love with all my heart and put in whatever energy I can relinquish to the people and the things that matter most to me. Sometimes it is my biggest flaw because you can never ever expect anything to be reciprocated so you are left vulnerable with your heart on the line. In the end, it was all worth it. I'll let these photographs speak for themselves, but I was proud and I was content. Flower arrangements have their enraging moments, especially as a newbie. But, when the day finally arrived to put the pieces of my concept together, I was absolutely calm. It was meditative and it was everything I enjoy doing. Every rose has its thorn and I would do it all over again.