Late Summer Wedding

August 30th, 2010

I worked with a truly lovely couple this weekend on their wedding.  It was at the magnificent South Shore Cultural Center.  I have been to many events there and I was delighted finally to be able to work on a wedding there.  It is one of the nicest sites for a wedding in the Chicago area, if you want my opinion.

My amateur photo of the wedding program.  Better pictures to come soon.

My amateur photo of the wedding program. Better pictures to come soon.

It was one of those days when everything goes perfectly.  That was partly due to the rigorous planning the bride and groom insisted on.  (You should have seen their spreadsheet with everyone’s schedule on it.  I was most impressed!)  And it was partly just good luck.  Well, the linens were an hour late being delivered (and you can’t start to put things on tables until the linens arrive), but the caterer, Wolfgang Puck, had twenty servers, so there were plenty of pairs of hands to get everything done in time.

And then everything ran like clockwork:  Ceremony, photographs, cocktail hour, toasts, cake cutting, dinner, dancing, bouquet toss….  The highlight of the reception, as far as I was concerned, was the bride’s father’s toast.  He had written and performed a song for his daughter and son-in-law about how they met.  It was humorous and very well done.  He’s clearly no amateur at these things.  It was a surprise for the bride and groom, and I was standing where I could see their faces.  They were clearly enjoying it.  The groom had expected his father-in-law to do something unusual, but I think even he was pleasantly surprised by the form it took.

The other thing that was unusual about this wedding was the bride’s attitude.  Even though she had planned everything down to the last detail, at the rehearsal the day before when she handed me the last of the paperwork, she said, “I don’t care if you do everything exactly the way I drew it.  Just make it pretty.”  She knew what she wanted, but she also trusted me enough to let me make the last-minute decisions.  That was a real blessing when we were setting up.  Sometimes a bride’s vision doesn’t quite fit with the reality of, say, the amount of space on a table, or the size of the floral centerpieces.  But, since I could use my best judgment, everything was pretty, very pretty.

Vendors I Know–Pollen

August 24th, 2010
One of Lynn's designs.  Shamelessly stolen from her website.

One of Lynn's designs. Shamelessly stolen from her website.

I’ve been wanting to tell you about Pollen floral studio for a while.  Lynn Fosbender, the owner, is definitely someone to know if you need flowers for an event.  While her primary interest is in eco-friendly floral design, the thing that impresses me the most about her is her creative thinking.  She recently worked with some clients of mine who were mostly interested in creative ideas, and they loved her and the flowers for their wedding.

I like her approach to eco-friendly flowers, as well.  She tries to use local, organic flowers whenever possible.  And she composts all of her plant waste in two 50 gallon composters on the roof!  You can see the extent of her commitment to all things sustainable on her website.

And I know this won’t impress most people, but I love the fact that Lynn has thorough contracts with her clients.  You may have heard me griping about the contracts most florists have.  Lynn is a major exception to that rule.  She tells you what you will be getting, how much it will cost, and when it will show up.

And did I mention she does beautiful work and is fun to work with?

Wedding Traditions–Some History

August 18th, 2010

I found this post about weddings and marriage recently.  Whether you agree with its implied politics or not, it does say a lot about wedding traditions, including a number of things I did not know before.  I had heard that in the Middle Ages weddings were not conducted in churches, although I did not know why.  And I had no notion where the tradition of tossing the garter came from.  (It’s a little appalling, actually.)  Take a look and see what you think.

French Country Wedding

August 9th, 2010

I love a good rainstorm.  There’s nothing like the sound of a good, old-fashioned Midwestern thunderstorm.  Unless it’s 5:30 in the morning on the day of an outdoor morning wedding.

Redfield Estate at The Grove

Redfield Estate at The Grove

The bride, the groom, and I had been planning for months to have the ceremony and the reception outdoors at the lovely Redfield Estate at The Grove in Glenview.  Naturally, we had a rain plan, but not one of us wanted to implement it.  We all arrived before 8:00 in the morning and had to decide whether to move indoors or not.  By then, the weather seemed to be clearing, but the lawn was very soggy.

We walked about to see whether we could do anything outdoors.  Fortunately, the area around the gazebo where they wanted to have the ceremony was dry enough.  After about a half an hour, I made an executive decision:  We would have the ceremony outdoors but would serve lunch indoors, not on the damp and soggy lawn.  The florist, the string quartet, and the sound rental company could all begin to set up.

Despite the late start and the uncertainties of the weather, this turned out to be a wonderful wedding.  The bride and groom wanted a casual occasion where their friends and families could enjoy themselves.  I think they succeeded amazingly well.  The ceremony was personal and unique.  It was bilingual to honor the groom’s French heritage and family.  And it was followed by a receiving line and coffee and pastry.

The flowers, by Lynn Fosbender at Pollen, were perfectly French country:  Sunflowers, lavender, a few lilies, etc.  (I’ll have photos in a few weeks and you can judge for yourself.)

Then there was a lunch buffet, catered by Dave’s Specialty Foods, followed by dancing.  Meanwhile, the bridal party went to decorate the newlyweds’ getaway car.  They went all out, with streamers, cans, writing on the windows–and filling the car entirely with balloons.

This was a very personal occasion and a very fun one–just like the people who got married.