Picking The Perfect Flowers

I never in a million years thought picking flowers could be so much work. There are so many little details! 
Last time I was home (as mentioned in my previous post) I got a little wedding crazy. Which I guess that makes sense being that little details add up over a month or so. 
Needless to say, I am very excited about the arrangements I chose. 

My neighbor since we've moved to Texas has been such a huge blessing, not to mention an amazing florist. Some people just have that eye for putting things together. Sandy is one of those people. You can give her the most strange and ugly looking flower and she could turn it into something beautiful. 
She picked me up from my house and we drove down to South Austin. The whole way there, we talked mostly about college life and big changes. Her oldest has just started her first year and is one of the many who has an awful roommate (been there, done that). I tried to give advice where I could but I was mostly just interested in her story. Sooner than I realized, we were at a place called Bill Doran. When we walked in, it turns out it was way bigger than I expected. They had several freezers of different flowers as well as isles and isles of ribbon, vases, and accessories. I thought I was amazed but when I looked over at Sandy, her whole persona changed and I could tell this was her heaven. She was quickly pulled out of her personal awe and transitioned right into the creative "let's get down to business" lady I know. 

She grabbed a shopping cart and went flying. I had trouble just keeping up! She whipped up and down the isles, in and out of the freezers and back again. I had visions of petals and branches flying everywhere as she would bundle flowers together to give me an idea. By the time we left the second freezer, our cart looked like a flower arrangement all on its own. Then, I saw it. There was one special freezer isle FULL of orchids. She saw my eyes light up and knew we had to go in. This was the first time I actually realized how expensive they were. $25 a stem, not a bundle, a stem! But they were just so pretty! She picked up a couple of the smaller ones and one big stem just to "play". 

We finally made our way to the last freezer which was a majority of tulips, calla lilies, and garden roses. I absolutely fell in love with their calla lilies, they were in full bloom and so gorgeous. Not to mention, more affordable than the orchids. We grabbed a couple of bundles of callas as well as several bundles of the white garden roses (which by the way, smell AMAZING). 
She spent a very reasonable price on the amount of flowers she purchased. This made me realize how much money I was saving by using a friend and a wholesale flower shop.

The entire way home, Sandy was hitting me with ideas. I was trying to picture everything she was explaining but in the end, knew that whatever she would do would be beautiful. She dropped me off at home and told me she would cut the stems and water them so that they are all in full bloom in a couple of days when we would be sitting down to figure out arrangements. 

And finally, Sunday rolled around. I was so excited to see what she could do. 
My mom and I drove over together and were both discussing what we had in mind. When we walked in, the flowers were everywhere! She pulled out 6 or 7 vases of different shapes and sizes and put them on the table. I really liked the tall skinny ones. She pulled out a Tanzania branch and talked about draping crystals over the branches so the light will catch the crystals and having that on both sides of the iron doors in the entry way. I absolutely loved this idea. 

Since I loved the idea of the Tanzania branch, she decided to play around with the small orchids and the hydrangeas as well. She tied the orchids on each branch and the placed Hydrangeas around the bottom for a final touch. I did think this was very pretty, it just didn't fit the theme I wanted to go with. 

Next we moved onto a Hydrangea bowl. She had 3 different shades of Hydrangeas; one was white, one was light blue, and one was a deep blue. She put them all into this bowl and up lighted them. This was one step closer to the center pieces I wanted but not quite there. (Please excuse the poor quality of the photos, I used my phone).

Next, she pulled out the orchids. Half way through, we realized we would need taller vases but it got the point across. She submerged the tallest orchid in water and up-lighted it. There were 3 gold candle holders and 3 small skinny vases holding the tinier orchids around it. This was a very beautiful center piece. The garden roses in the background weren't with the orchids, we just liked the smell of them!

Last but not least, we pulled out the calla lilies. They are so elegant and pretty. Sandy took the bundle of callas and wrapped a brown ribbon around the stem, then carefully placing pearl pins in the back. Before she put the calla lilies in the vase, she put a light underneath a bundle of dark blue hydrangeas. She placed 3 gold candle holders around the vase as well as 3 little vases holding one white garden rose, one white hydrangea, and one "Dr. Seuss Poof". I absolutely fell in love with this center piece. 

In this picture, it is hard to tell that is it up-lighted, but it gives you a general idea. After we decided on this center piece, she cleaned off the table and made a place setting that would look similar to what we will have at the wedding. It was perfect. 
Sandy then sat down with me and we went over numbers. I asked her how much it would cost to do calla lily bouquets thinking it would be similar to what a florist at the bridal shower told me (which her quote was $250 for bridesmaids and $350 for bridal). Sandy said it would cost $15 for bridesmaids and $25 for me! Our bouquets will be a bundle of calla lilies and white garden roses! I could not imagine spending almost $400 on a bouquet, that's almost as much as my dress! Her estimated total including all the centerpieces and flower arrangements for both the wedding and the reception would be $600-$700. Which is amazing being that a florist would charge you $1800 for a very limited amount of flowers. 

After the flowers, she pulled out a really cute sign! I am going to place it right before the seats at the wedding ceremony. It will say "Today two families become one, pick a seat not a side" 

When it comes time for you to plan your flower arrangements, don't let "professional" florists charge you an arm and a leg for stuff that really isn't as expensive as they say it is. 

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