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Monday, April 23, 2012

Real Weddings : A Peachy Perfect Couple

Sure... Georgia might be called the peach state, but Lauren and Ryan know the truth. 

Alabama peaches  =  love!

And, to be sure, their wedding was a celebration of everything dear to the heart of a true southerner. True romance, the scent of sweet flowering trees on a warm breeze, oodles of friends and family gathered around food and backyard games, and - of course - fresh peach pie!

 Lauren's rustic but elegant bouquet leans against a picket fence in front of an old Presbyterian church. The bouquet had the perfect finishing touch with burlap and delicate ribbon.

Bridesmaid's nosegay bouquets of peach roses and tiny white spray roses, stock, seeded eucalyptus and scabiosa pods. 

We loved all the little details Lauren and Ryan sprinkled throughout their reception such as apothecary jars filled with peaches and adorable hand-painted signs for stations where guests played games like cornhole and badminton.

What better way to show off this peachy perfect wedding cake than a huge peach basket and sugared peach leaves.

Did you know that the peach is the official state fruit tree of Alabama? 

Or that Alabama's peach industry is the state's leading commercial fruit crop? As a matter of fact, peaches have been grown in the state since the early 1850s.

So if you're making you summer travel plans and you love big, juicy peaches, then be sure to check out this like to this Southern Living Magazine article on where to find the best peach stands in Alabama. Mmmmmm!

A special thanks to photographer Jessica Messer and wedding planner Alene Gamel.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Flower balls and Osiana roses : A photo shoot for Alabama Weddings

Loving the outdoors as I do, a photo shoot outside is always my first choice. This was just the case when Alabama Weddings Magazine contacted me about creating a bridesmaid's luncheon for a shoot. 

A stately old oak tree provided the perfect framework for us to set our tables and hang the large, ribboned balls of green hydrangea. 

Flower balls have been so popular with brides, but most are tight and a bit contemporary looking. My idea was to loosen up the look with luscious antique hydrangeas in varied textures and shades. Even the balls are slightly irregular in size and shape. I love the effect. So soft, these flowers almost beg to be touched! 


Our color inspiration for the bride's luncheon was the perfect melon of the osiana rose. 

Osiana is a Lillie's favorite because, in addition to her ladylike color, she carries large blossoms of velvety petals that curl back as they open like old-fashioned garden roses.

We were grateful to have great team members on this shoot. Cantaloupe colored linens were provided by BBJ Linen and the delicately wreathed china "Rothschild" was courtesy of Bromberg's. The sweet invitation and calligraphy place cards were designed by the talented Melissa Hill of Weddings Etc. in Homewood, Alabama.
Melissa also shared the little birds nests with us.

The tiny script banner on the moss-filled birds nest at each bridesmaid place setting reads:"Thank-you for being my bridesmaid"

In the South, no bridesmaids luncheon is complete without a beautiful bridesmaid's charm cake. Angel's Cakes designed this one just for this shoot. When I called Janet to ask for the cake, I struggled to find  the best name for the color of the shoot. It wasn't pink, it wasn't, I told her it was the color of cantaloupe. 

When Janet arrived with her wonderful creation, she announced, "Here is your canta-loupey colored cake!

Imagine my excitement when the image of her beautiful cake made the cover of the Fall issue of Alabama Weddings Magazine.

Lush swags of spray roses, osiana roses, daisies, ropes of green hanging amaranthus and tiny kermit mums make these chivari chairs look fit for royalty.

The air was filled with the most delicious scent thanks to our own Alabama-grown Sand Mountain tuberoses.

Perhaps the real magic of the event was Terry Bruno's photography. By looking at these serene and breezy images, you'd never guess the mercury in Saint Clair County hit 100 degrees that afternoon! 

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Color Bouquets 2

Color color color . . . Spring has surely arrived early this year!

~ bride Sarah ~

Marrying in early March 2012, Bride Sarah asked me to "Rush Spring" a bit when creating her bouquets. The color of her bridesmaid's bouquets came from purple veronica, yellow jonquil, peach tulips and apple green athos mums. The wedding bouquets popped against the white wooden frame chapel of Altadena Valley Presbyterian Church in Vestavia Hills, Alabama. Sarah carried a rainbow of color in her bouquet as well.

In early March our trees were still bare but "rushing Spring" came easily with all of this bright color.

 ~ bride Rachel ~

I have only named a bouquet once or twice in over 10 years of business. However, I could not resist giving this feminine nosegay of sweet pink akito roses, tiny pearled stephanotis and a collar of camelia japonica a name! 

The bouquet, "Sweetheart" had to be lovely next to the stunning diamond bracelet bride Rachel wore on her wedding day. The bracelet was a gift from her father.

Image ~ Arden Photography

~ bride Trameika ~
Often one tiny ingredient serves as design inspiration for an entire bouquet. 

Such was the case with this bouquet for a bride whose signature drink was a blood orange martini. The bright orange reiger begonia was the a perfect starting place for us to design the bouquet in Trameika's wedding colors of clementine and firecracker. This one is composed of tulips, calla lilies, Big Fun roses and protea.

The setting for Trameika and Joe's wedding reception was a rustic building on the river's edge in historic Demopolis Alabama that perched over the water perfectly so that just as guests settled in, it captured a sunset view echoing every hue in this bouquet.

image Jerrod Brown Studios

This yellow and gray garden bouquet with cream evening stock, yellow parrot tulips and yellow rannuculus takes it's inspiration from the lovely silk ribbons with happy stripes.

Lillie's was happy to deliver this bouquet to our friends at Engaging Celebrations booth during Birmingham Fashion Week.
Image Carnaggio Photography

~ bride Ann ~

The firery rannuculus steal the show in this red rose bouquet with dusty miller and magnolia for a cajun throw down at American Village in Montevallo, Alabama.


~ bride Laurie Anne ~
This blue bouquet is for a bride marrying at Aldridge Gardens in Hoover, Alabama. There of course is no more appropriate flower to use in a Bride's bouquet at Aldridge than hydrangea. This bouquet for a Fall wedding had a collar of seeded eucalyptus.

Stephen Devries Photography

~ bride Caitlin ~

I have always thought the color red looks especially pretty on brunettes. The bride on this day shows off freedom roses in her bouquet when she married at Shades Mountain Baptist Church. Bride Caitlin knew at our first meeting together exactly what she wanted in her bouquet, "Red roses!"

Image Simple Color Photography

Here is a picture one of my all time favorite rose bouquets. Thank you David for taking the picture!
David Shirk of Unplugged Photography

Welcome spring!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Wedding Trends for 2012 : The Flowers of Downton Abbey

It seems every other bride I consult with these days cites Downton Abbey as a major influence on the look she envisions for her wedding flowers. 

I admit, I'm a bit late to the party as it relates to Downton Abbey. Although for over a year those closest to me have begged me to watch, saying "Carol, you will love it."

This was my first season, which means I'm a perfect pest now to my friends who have back episodes on Tivo. And for those of you who are also late to the Downton party, let me say, we are a small group indeed. In fact, The ITV / Masterpiece Classic phenom now runs in 100 countries and was entered into the Guinness Book of World Records for being the most critically acclaimed television series of all time.

Who knew?

Well, obviously, I needed to do my homework. Watch more television. Watch more episodes of the Crawleys, Lady Mary and the Countess and Earl of Grantham. Each with more lush and lovely flowers than the one before. Oh happy day! 

Lord Grantham breakfasts one bright morning with a trio of silver trumpet vases filled with symmetrical ferns and flowers on the sideboard...then, another breakfast, another trio of garden goodness...

 and then another...spring jonquils and blue muscari nestled in greenery.  

The lovely sets - and lovely they should be, as the series is the most expensive ever filmed in England at an average one million pounds per episode - are the handiwork of scores of talented set designers and art directors and their staff. Top credit goes to Production Designer, Donal Woods and Set Decorators, Gina Cromwell and Judy Farr. 

Much study of the era, which thus far spans the late Victorian, early Edwardian time period from 1912 to post World War I, has gone into bringing the story to life with authenticity. 

 The opulence of the Victorian style is depicted by a profusion of silver. Candelabras, footed compotes, trumpet vases. 

Floral arrangements of the Victorian period were heavy-handed creations, packed with flowers in spherical and rounded shapes or slightly asymmetrical. Foliage was used to "soften" the look (true Lillie's style.) Little or no restraint was shown in the types of flowers used or the sheer volume. True to the Victorian mantra, more was more.

Victorian flower fashion of the day: Fern, ivy, foxglove, roses, bleeding heart, dahlia, freesia, hydrangea, jasmine, peony, gardenia, passionflower, stephanotis, sweet pea, evening stock, tuberose and verbena.

The lighter side of floristry at Downton comes from the Edwardian trend of de-cluttering Victorian excess.

Christmas dinner with the Granthams is a perfect example of the Edwardian table. Decoration is a series of simplified arrangements down the center of a long table, alternating with silver candelabras. 

Edwardian flower fashion of the day: Seasonal cuts from the garden such as roses, hydrangea, lavender, fern and jasmine. All of the popular Victorian flowers, fewer and softer in hue. Popular colors were French blue, lilac, white, gray-green, rose and mauve pinks, pale yellow and amber.

The influence of The Art Nouveau period (1890 to 1915) give us those arrangements which fairly take flight. The primary characteristic of these designs incorporates a line on a curved path for a sort of “whiplash” effect.

Surely, The Earl of Grantham’s daughter, Sybil, would have approved the obvious rebellion against Victorian excess. 

Again, vessels play a starring role in the overall effect. Most commonly this would have been a tall, contoured vase with a matte finish embellished with Nouveau design, similar to this vase in the drawing room beside Lady Grantham.

Secondly, we might find vessels of cut glass, ginger jars or even Wedgwood. 
Art Nouveau flower fashion of the day: Texture is celebrated by the use of berries, seedheads, pussywillow and branches that give the design fantastic line and curve. Flower colors are subdued. Soft silver grays, mauve, pale peach and yellow, buff and greens.(A look I adore.)

I've saved the best for last...

A nosegay bouquet from Mr. Bates on the day he weds Anna. 

Well, it's clear, I have my work cut out for me. Taxing as it is, I'm forced to research more episodes. Oh, the things I do for the love of flowers.

(Photo credits: ITV and screenshots)