Friday, October 16, 2009

A Perfect Arrangement

I'm in California this week to help my friend, Lea, make the final preparations for her wedding this weekend. In honor of this auspicious occasion, and because this is our last wedding of the season, I have decided to make this "Wedding Week" on the blog. Don't worry if you aren't a bride- or groom-to-be, however -- I'll try to make this week's post applicable to the soon-to-be-hitched, already-wed, and don't-believe-in-the-institution-of-marriage, alike. Today's topic: tasty cocktails.

I love flowers. I love growing them, picking them, smelling them, wearing them in my hair, displaying them around my house. I love all of them: from expensive orchids to clovers that grow like weeds in the park. And, for crying out loud, my name is Lily. So naturally, when Lea told me that she planned to arrange the flowers for her wedding herself and asked if I would help, I said an enthusiastic "yes". Lea is by nature very laid-back and I knew she wouldn't expect, or even want, Florist-like perfection from the flowers we arranged. She even chose to buy all of them at the local Farmer's Market, opting to be surprised and use whatever was available at the time, rather than order specific varieties ahead of time from a floral supply. Here are the basic instructions for how to make beautiful flower arrangements for special occasions or just everyday loveliness. All of that said, ladies, unless you have an equally laid-back attitude, and a friend who loves flowers as much as I do, I don't recommend trying this for your own wedding.

How to Arrange Flowers

. When buying flowers, try to choose blooms within a complimentary group of colors. Also, make sure to buy some big, showy blooms, like large roses, dahlias, or these pretty Gerbera daisies I am picking out at the Farmer's Market in the photo at right, some smaller blooms (like spray roses or cosmos), and some foliage to fill in.

2. Choose your vessels thoughtfully. Low vessels are great for holding tight ball-shaped arrangements like that at top. Or, if you want something tall and dramatic, obviously choose a vase accordingly.

3. Fill the vase about 3/4 full with room-temperature water. If you are preparing arrangements in advance for an event, use cold water to keep the blooms fresh. If the flower-seller gave you flower food, put that in the water.

4. Start with the large blooms. Cut each stem to the length where it will fit attractively in the vase, arranging each bloom so there are some facing in all directions, making the arrangement attractive from all sides.

5. Fill in the spaces between the large blooms with the smaller blooms. Then, fill in the spaces between the smaller blooms with the foliage. Rotate the arrangement one last time to make sure it looks good from all sides. If anything is sticking out too far, trim the stem to make things even.

6. Love those flowers!

Photo credits: Arrangement: Country Living, Me: Amelia Partridge

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