Or, what I did on Friday and Saturday.
On Friday, Dan picked me up at work around noon and we drove all over town running errands (shoes for my dress! paper for cones! and, of course, FLOWERS). We probably drove about 30 miles back and forth across the city from one part to another, taking far longer than I expected (Four? more like 6 PM by the time we got to the hotel) and having to drive around the closed-off downtown area due to the People’s Fair. But arrive we did, and I settled in for an evening of flower-stripping while Dan went out and got me dinner and ice and all kinds of other things. When he came back, he helped by making paper cones for the ceremony decoration.
Kelly (the bride) had bought most of the flowers online (large white roses, green spider mums, kermit button mums) and I spent a good few hours taking them down to their stems. I made a huge mess of the bathroom, but it was really good to get the prepwork out of the way because I knew it would make Saturday easier on me.
We went home around 10:30 (walked, because parking near the hotel was super-annoying) and I didn’t sleep especially well, as every dream was about doing the flowers for Saturday’s wedding. I woke up at 6:30 and never really went back to sleep, so I got up and showered and we made some breakfast and Dan dropped me off at the hotel at 9 AM so I could get started.
The first order of business was to get all of the flowers and assorted other necessary things (vases, ribbon, pins, etc.) into the room where I would be working. This required two trips with two dollies pulled by one already frazzled-looking bellhop. Finally, everything was in my work area and I put down the tarp, took a deep breath, put my earbuds in my ears, and got to work.
First, I made 14 boutonnieres out of spider mums, leaves (from the garden and from the baby hydrangea I’d purchased), a dahlia, and 2 little ones for the ring bearers out of kermit mums. Once all 14 suckers were done, I put them in the cooler and started on the 3 corsages (small white roses, kermit mums). Next, it was time for the bouquets, as I knew I had an earlier deadline for those (photos were to be at 3:30). I made the bride’s bouquet first, then the toss, then the maid-of-honor’s bouquet, then 4 bridesmaid bouquets. Somewhere in all that Dan showed up with my change of clothes and stuff for overnight, plus business cards he designed for me and had printed at Kinko’s. I put him to work trimming some kermit mums down to the flowers, threading ribbon through the cones, and taking photos of everything.
Once the personal flowers were all arranged, I went back and added the ribbon wrappings and little decorative pins to everything. Once they were finished, I got the bellhop and someone from the wedding party to haul them up to the “getting ready” room so they were out of my hair and ready to go whenever the bridal party was. Dan followed them up to get photos before they were pinned on and scooped up, and I think he did a great job.
Maid of honor bouquet
I made two large arrangements for the ceremony, scrapping my original plan for mums hanging from curly willow (boo! not enough time) but I still think they turned out nicely. Then I got started on the centerpieces, which incorporated limes (!), the kermit mums, green spiders, and large white roses. Oh, and either mint or another local weed from our yard. Hee. The earlier centerpieces took a while each to complete because it took some time and figuring to settle on the best way to keep the limes in place while still leaving room for the flowers. (Toothpicks were involved). After I’d made about 10, I realized that I wouldn’t have enough limes to make two layers in each centerpiece, so for the last few I did one layer of limes atop a layer of those colored glass pebble things. I doubt anybody but me even noticed. Lastly, I assembled one large arrangement with the curly willow for the reception area, quite unlike my original plan but alas there was no time to make it. Maybe another time.
I was finally finished with all the major stuff around 3 PM and I sat down for about 3 minutes to eat a couple of the snacks that Kelly had provided me with (thank goodness!). Then I got started on the little votives which were to hold yet more kermit mums for the ceremony aisle. I also snipped off spider and kermit mums for the paper cones (and some white button mums as well). The hotel people told me that the ceremony space was ready for me, so I brought everything outside and Dan helped me tie the cones onto the chairs and fill each one with a few flowers. He snapped some photos and I sat, briefly, wondering why on earth someone would want to get married in such a public place. To each their own, I suppose.
Ceremony space. During the ceremony, drunk guys at ESPN zone catcalled down at us.
After some handwringing over the state of our hotel reservation (Kelly paid for our hotel room for the night in lieu of paying me for my time) it was finally figured out, and we were able to check in. Dan brought our stuff up to the room while I finished stripping the kermit mums for the ring bearer pillows and hot glued them in place. I added some more decorative pins as a final touch, and then it was all done. I brought the large ceremony arrangements out to the ceremony space, and Dan helped me bring all the centerpieces into the reception area to put on each table. Everything looked great. It was after five, so we went upstairs to change and I sat down for about two minutes. I knew I had to get the ring bearer pillows to the wedding coordinator at 5:45, so didn’t have time for a quick shower. I did my makeup and hair, put on my new dress (moo!), and strapped on my bright pink shoes.
Ring bearer pillows
Black, white, green
Dress from a barn, wrap from our wedding, new pink shoes, bracelet from Ndebele, South Africa
It was time for the wedding. We went outside and chatted with Julie and Steve, and I enjoyed my first prolonged sit since 9 AM. The bridal party came in, twin tow-headed ring bearers first, cute as buttons. The bridesmaids wore black with green shoes. The bride wore a birdcage veil with a fascinator. The spider mum bouts were kind of big, but it was what the bride wanted. They were married.
Dan and I carried the large ceremony arrangements inside to the reception area and I went back out for the votives, placing them on cocktail tables when I returned. We had drinks and snacks, chatted with the people we knew, and waited (im)patiently to be let in to sit down to dinner. While my shoes were fabulous, after standing all day the last thing I wanted to do was stand another hour in 3-inch heels. Finally, they let us in and everything looked gorgeous and I was so happy that it all worked, that I’d pulled it off. We ate, we drank, we danced, we took photos in the photo booth, and the bride thanked me for doing such a wonderful job. Later in the evening, the best man handed me an envelope with a hundred bucks and a gift certificate to a nice restaurant, something I was not at all expecting. Eventually we stumbled upstairs to fall into a deep sleep in the comfortable Westin bed.
So that was Friday and Saturday. Sunday, after breakfast, we went home and basically did nothing all day. I even took a three-plus hour nap (sorely needed). I couldn’t wind down or relax on Saturday after the day’s exertions so I was glad to have Sunday to rest and recuperate.
Y’all, I totally did it. I’m capable of (mostly) single-handedly arranging all the flowers for a fancy hotel wedding, and I even got compliments from lots of people. Yay, me!