Winter 2009-2010

by Bob on December 1, 2009

Usually in this space I talk about flowers, but this time I want to be more philosophical.  In December I bought a machine that will transcribe my vinyl records (anyone remember them?) to CDs, and I’ve started the process.  One old record that I especially wanted to hear was the soundtrack to “Barnum”, an unfortunately short-lived musical that I am reasonably certain none of you remember.  One of the tracks is “The Colors of My Life”, a two part discussion between PT and his wife Chairy (patience, I’m getting there).  Look at the difference between their views:


“The colors of my life
Are bountiful and bold
The purple glow of indigo
The gleam of green and gold
The splendor of a sunrise
The dazzle of a flame
The glory of a rainbow
I’d put ‘em all to shame
No quiet browns and grays
I’ll take my days instead
And fill them till they overflow
With rose and cherry red!
And should this sunlit world
Grow dark one day
The colors of my life
To show the way”


 “The colors of my life
Are softer than a breeze
The silver gray of eiderdown
The dappled green of trees
The amber of a wheat field
The hazel of a seed
The crystal of a raindrop
Are all I’ll ever need
Your reds are much too bold
In gold I find no worth
I’ll fill my days with sage and brown
The colors of the earth
And if from by my side
My love should roam
The colors of my life
Will shine a quiet light
To lead him home”

Two very different approaches to color – one bold and bright with red, gold, indigo, the other muted earth tones of eiderdown, wheat, dappled green – and both are valid.

The bride often sets the stage in selecting her gown and the attendant’s dresses.  These colors are a good indicator of where we will go with the other elements of the ceremony and reception.  Last week a bride came in after selecting cranberry attendant’s dresses.  She also wanted bright autumn colors for her bouquet and the reception and we’ll have a lot of fun putting this all together.  We’ve also worked with a flower child getting married in a meadow and requesting “twigs, grasses, berries, and, by the way, a few flowers”.  Another bride was in a simple but sophisticated silver gown and had very simple, pastel flowers at the country club reception.  We are seeing more black and white weddings, which can go either bright or muted and are a lot of fun.  Burnt orange was the base for another unusual wedding.  An Oriental bride had a white dress with burgundy embroidery and back panel, and had a bouquet that was mostly red.  Her table decorations were tall and minimal, in contrast to the low arrangements that we usually do.  In November we had two weddings that used light brown and chocolate brown roses, something new for us which I’m sure we’ll use again.  Grass (not the smoking variety) is big and we’ve used it as part of the centerpieces for several weddings.  It can look like a small lawn with flowers “growing” through the grass, or it can be in pots with taller flowers several inches above the pot.

It is possible to take a cookie cutter approach to any wedding – roses, baby’s breath, carnations, etc.  It’s easy, boring, and cheap.  When we do a wedding I try to get into the bride’s head and find out what she really likes and then design something to fit – something unusual and memorable that will really make the ceremony and reception sparkle.  When the wait staff says, “Wow!  We’ve never seen anything like this!”  I’m on my way to a good day.

For us, weddings are a challenge and fun.  There is some strain and concern, but the reward is a happy bride and a lovely event.  The flowers can be bright and bold, to satisfy Barnum, or soft and the colors of the earth to satisfy Chairy – either will work.  Just not dull and boring.

Happy New Year All

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