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It’s Wednesday, which means it’s time for another Emily Plans a Wedding post! Yippee!

Wayyy back in the cold of January, I told you about some of my favorite flowers, bouquets, and boutonnieres. I also introduced you to our wonderful florist, Blush Floral Design. At the end of the post, I promised to share my ceremony and reception floral and decor inspiration next.

We-e-ell it’s now the end of April, but I’m finally ready to share, so let’s not waste another minute! To recap, I love a lush, garden (but still refined) look in my flowers, and some of my favorite varieties are garden roses, sweet peas, ranunculus, clematis, poppies, camellias, and azaleas. I also love mixing in fruit, like blackberries and crab apples.

For our ceremony, we’re keeping things super simple. Our chapel is absolutely gorgeous, in my opinion, and there’s really no need to dress it up. In fact, we might end up not doing a single thing to it. That decision was in part made by our budget, but mostly, I just don’t think it needs it. If our budget does allow, I would love to do two floral wreaths on the front doors, perhaps like one of these options:

Martha Stewart Weddings and Stacy Able via Style Me Pretty

I would also love to set two small boxwood bushes on the steps of the chapel, just like we did for a Southern Weddings shoot last year. Love the addition of white blooms! We’re looking into the option of renting bushes from a home improvement or garden store to help keep costs down.

Katie Stoops via Southern Weddings (floral by Merriment Events) and via Southern Exposures

After the ceremony, it’s on to cocktail hour! This happy event will take place on a wide porch and the lawn in front of it at our reception site (see this post again for a refresher). Here, we’ll have a few high-top tables decked out in beautiful linen from La Tavola. In fact, the linen we’re using from La Tavola is largely the basis for our color scheme. It’s a little pricy, so we’re using it sparingly, but the color is perfection – so much so, that I’ve been carrying my swatch around with me for the past eight months, so that I can whip it out at a moment’s notice to illustrate a point or judge the color of a potential purchase! Yes, I am slightly ridiculous. Prior to making a decision, I requested several samples, and our linen of choice is the one in the bottom right corner – Tuscany Ocean.

In person, it’s a bit lighter than it looks in this photo – the color is actually somewhere more in between what’s shown here and the top left linen.

I’m not positive, but I think this might be it in action:

Jose Villa via Style Me Pretty and Jonathan Canlas via Snippet & Ink

We’re going to keep things nice and simple at cocktail hour (trusting that guests will be so interested in arriving at the reception site, mingling with each other, and eating delicious food that they won’t notice much else!). We’ll put a few votive candles on each high top, and that’s it! No florals here. We’ll also have our guest book and a limited bar to keep guests interested.

Once cocktail hour is finished, we’ll invite guests into our Sperry tent (yay!). As we discussed before, we’ll be having a mix of different seating options – high-top tables, small rounds, and lounge furniture. Our florist will be putting together lovely small arrangements for the high-tops and round tables, as well as low, longer arrangements for the tables in our lounge areas. Here are a few images that are inspiring me:

From top to bottom: Michael + Anna Costa (flowers by Florette), Poppies & Posies, Virgil Bunao via Southern Weddings, Jodi Miller Photography, Lisa Lefkowitz via Snippet & Ink (flowers by Ariella Chezar), Martha Stewart Weddings

Note that these examples aren’t so much about colors, but more about styles and flowers I enjoy.

One project my family and I have been busy as bees with is collecting silver pieces to house the centerpieces. It’s been a group effort, and I’m happy to say we’re just about finished! (If you’d like the back story on how and where we’re finding these pieces, you can check here, here, and here.) I don’t want the reception to have a vintage look overall, so we’re hunting down clean, stream-lined pieces that are in good shape (i.e. no banged up teapots). Here are a few images that are inspiring me:

Thuss + Farrell, Picotte Weddings, Jessica Claire (flowers by Flowerwild), Steve Steinhardt (flowers by Holly Flora via Inspired By This)

Besides the guest areas, we’ll also have at least one bar and several food tables, and probably a favor and dessert area. Our caterer is exceptionally good at food presentation, so I’m not too worried about adding additional decor to the food tables. I will be creating some signage and other little touches, though (but you knew that already, right?). I’m also considering adding some greenery arrangements to these areas, but I haven’t discussed this yet with my florist, so I’m not sure what the pricing would be. Some inspiration:

Top and right by Adrian Tuazon via 100 Layer Cake, left by Lisa Berry (flowers by Blush Floral Design)

And that’s about that! What do you think? What sorts of flowers will you have at your reception? Are you having any decor at your ceremony?

Up next: Accessories! Shoes, veil, jewelry… fun, fun, fun!

In case you missed a post…
The main characters
Where we’re getting married
I go dress shopping
We choose a photographer
I ponder bridesmaid style
Mini food!
The music
We’re renting a tent!
We discuss bouquets + boutonnieres
We send out our save the dates
I gather hair and makeup inspiration
We talk cake and sweets
I introduce you to our videographer
We create a registry
We buy a tuxedo

emily Written with love by Emily
  1. avatar amanda reply

    Looks fab emily! I have similar taste in flowers and I personally adore greenery as an option to decorate with because it’s less expensive than flowers and sometimes more bang for your buck! You can do a lot with it and it dresses up a space. I cannot wait to see the final product!!

    • avatar Emily reply

      Totally agree! I love greenery for spots where you need a larger arrangement, especially, because it’s so much more cost-effective!

  2. avatar Madi reply

    Loving all of your ideas, Emily! With your combination of high tops, small rounds and lounge, I’m assuming you are not doing assigned seating? We’re still exploring our options with that so I’d love to hear what you’re thinking!

    • avatar Emily reply

      Hi Madi! You are correct – no assigned seating for us! We’re having what I’d term a “strolling small plates” reception. I explained a bit more here: Hope that helps!

  3. avatar Tim Duncan reply

    The photos of the floral arrangements are so cute!

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It’s Wednesday, which means it’s time for another Emily Plans a Wedding post! Yeehaw! :)

I thought I’d use the next two posts to chat about one of my favorite topics: flowers! Today I’ll introduce you to our florist and share some of my favorite personal flower inspiration, and then next time we’ll talk ceremony and reception florals.

First, I’ll come right out and say it: I like some unusual flowers. Oh yes, I love garden roses and peonies as much as the next gal (oh, do I ever love them!). I also adore ranunculus, sweet peas, dahlias, gardenias, and pretty much every other fluffy or ruffly flower known to (wo)man. However, I also have a sweet spot for mock orange blooms. Clematis and dogwood flowers are two of my very favorites. Poppies, camellias, hellebores, and azaleas will also, fingers crossed, be making an appearance at our wedding. Lastly, I can’t get enough of mixing fruit and berries with florals — some of my favorites are crab and lady apples, blackberries, and figs.

Two of my favorite bouquets: on the left, an anemone, ranunculus, garden rose, and peony bouquet by MG Floral (photo by Melissa Schollaert – see more here!), and on the right, an anemone, rose, sweet pea, and jasmine vine bouquet by KLF Floral (photo by Stephanie Williams)

Working with a florist who could source and comfortably incorporate all of these interesting materials was super important to me. Our florist was one of the first vendors we booked (even before photographer, I think!), and we couldn’t be happier with our choice. We found Elisabeth of Blush Floral Design through a recommendation from my planner friend, Candice of Jubilee Events. Elisabeth and I chatted over the phone about my style and some of my ideas, and I could immediately feel that she understood me. After our call, she sent me over some samples of her work which she felt matched what I’d been describing, and she was spot on! Her work is soft and sculptural and a little bit wild, but still refined — just like I like it! Here’s a peek:

All bouquets are by Elisabeth and from her blog. Photo credits: Charlotte Jenks Lewis, Katie Slater, Charlotte Jenks Lewis, and JAG Studios

Of course, I have plenty of inspiration of my own that’s been building in my Pinterest boards (in fact, Elisabeth probably thought I was a little cuckoo when she opened up that email!). Want a peek?

Credits: Poppy and cabbage rose bouquet by Lindy Floral (photo by Ryan Ray via Wedding Chicks); mock orange and garden rose bouquet by La Fleuriste (photo by Lori Paladino via Grey Likes Weddings); white sweet pea bouquet by Salt Harbor Designs (photo by Millie Holloman); dogwood, tulip, peony, and lilac bouquet by Michelle Rago (from Martha Stewart Weddings); dahlia, garden rose, jasmine, and sweet pea bouquet by The Green Vase (from Martha Stewart Weddings); ranunculus, dusty miller, anemone, snow hydrangea, and silk daisy bouquet by Mindy Rice (photo by Elizabeth Messina via Style Me Pretty); garden rose, rose, ranunculus, and dusty miller bouquet by Quatre Coeur (photo by Elisabeth Millay)

LOVE! I’m still trying to decide if I should go all white for my bouquet (with some soft green lambs ear for texture) or mix it up a bit with the palest pinks and peaches. Either way, I plan to tie some sort of pale blue wide ribbon or bow around the stems.

For the gents, I’m also undecided. I might just forgo boutonnieres altogether, as I’m not a fan of most designs. Plus, I feel like they start looking kind of sad after the first hug! If we do go with bouts, I think we’ll do a simple small white flower (like a ranunculus or mini garden rose) paired with lambs ear. I also love blackberries in boutonnieres, but worry they might smoosh.

Credits: Blackberry boutonnieres by The Green Vase (photo by Jen Huang); mini garden rose boutonniere by Shea Hopely (photo by Brooke Images via Southern Weddings); lambs ear boutonniere by European Flower Shop (photo by J-Anderson Photography); white boutonnieres by Holly Flora (photo by Steve Steinhardt via Style Me Pretty)

To finish, I thought I’d give you a few of my tips for those of you still looking for the perfect florist:

1. Ask those you trust for recommendations. They could be from a vendor you’ve already booked whose style you love (they’re at weddings every weekend, and they remember the good stuff and the nice people!). They could also be from a curated online vendor resource, like our Blue Ribbon Directory!

2. Don’t try to change them. Just like you wouldn’t hope to fundamentally change your mate, don’t expect a vendor to stray far from her preferred style. If you don’t like the style of the arrangements or bouquets in their portfolio, you probably won’t like what they produce for your wedding. If you’re unsure, ask them to send over some examples of past work that they think fits with your style, like Elisabeth did for us (make sure you have an initial conversation first, of course!).

3. Be realistic about your budget. Many florists post a minimum on their website. If your budget does not come close, don’t expect them to make an exception just for you. If you are pretty close to their minimum, though, it doesn’t hurt to ask (respectfully, of course). We’re going to come in below Elisabeth’s minimum, but she agreed to work with us anyway. Yahoo!

Check back next time for my ceremony and reception floral inspiration! And please, help me out with a question I’ve been pondering: should I go all white for my bouquet, or mix it up with a little bit of color? Let me know what you think in the comments!

In case you missed a post…
The main characters
Where we’re getting married
I go dress shopping
We choose a photographer
I ponder bridesmaid style
Mini food!
The music
We’re renting a tent!

Melissa Schollaert and Brooke Images are fabulous members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

emily Written with love by Emily
  1. avatar Kelly Sauer reply

    Oh you totally need a little color in your bouquet – something for the color in your cheeks!
    I love where you’re going with your ideas, Emily!

  2. avatar Elizabeth reply

    Hi Emily!
    All of these bouquets are gorgeous! I love the idea of incorporating color into your bouquet to mix it up a bit (even if it’s just a little). Pale pink or peach would be so pretty. And I love the use of blackberries in boutonnieres, but like you, would worry that they’d smoosh with a hug. Keep us posted on what you decide!

    • avatar Emily reply

      Will do, Elizabeth! I can’t wait to see how everything turns out, either!

  3. avatar Alana reply

    Oh definitely do a little touch of color! Will look so pretty against your dress and in photos! AND- as a floral designer, I have worked with the blackberries before and the ones cultivated for decorative use are actually much, much firmer…not very squishable! Or even a little lambs ear with a few sprigs of fresh herbs, such as lavender or rosemary could make a handsome boutonniere! Either would surely be a unique and beautiful touch : )

    • avatar Emily reply

      So glad to hear that about the blackberries, Alana! I will keep that in mind :)

  4. avatar Madelynne Miller reply

    Your ideas are elegant and beautiful! I love color in a bridal bouquet – as a matter of fact, my bridesmaids will have a more monochrome bouquet and I’m going to have a large assortment of colors in mine! I want my bouquet to stand out. I think THIS – – is so brilliant. One flower that POPS. Then, it’s a win-win!

  5. avatar elisabeth reply

    So excited for your wedding day Emily– I Can’t wait to take all your ideas and create the most gorgeous day for you! I’m looking forward to incorporating your dream flowers into the floral decor and then adding in a few surprises too! Love this post and fun to hear other bride’s thoughts on all your ideas!

    • avatar Sierra reply

      I don’t know about y’all, but I have LOVED following Emily’s wedding planning journey. So helpful, and I can’t wait to see all of this come together!

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  8. avatar Taylar reply

    I’m having the same dilemma!!! But I’m thinking you should throw a little bit of color in there to spunk it up. :) I’m pretty sure I’m going to do the same!

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Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

Reply to: