My Sister’s Wedding

Spring is the jumping-off point for wedding season and my beautiful sister Heather got married a week ago! It was a wonderful day for everyone and I put some of my wedding-decor knowledge to use.  One of my favorite parts of being a stylist is doing flowers so I was in absolute heaven choosing, matching, cutting, wrapping, coaxing and babying the hundreds of blossoms we used to adorn the festivities.  My main worry? That the cherry blossom branches for the wish tree wouldn’t bloom or that the hyacinths would loose their divine fragrance before the bride hit the aisle.  But after all the little stresses, the day turned out perfectly and I can look back now with a big sigh of relief.

The couple chose  the Distillery District in Toronto holding the ceremony in the Arta Gallery and the dinner at the nearby Thompson Landry Gallery.  The invite list was tailored to fit just the closest family and friends so the gathering was a small but boisterous 55 people.  My goal with the decor was to keep is simple and be appropriate to an elegant evening event.  When holding a party in an art gallery, one can rely heavily on the artwork for visual impact and decoration.  If the room had been a cavernous hall my job would have been much more complex (thanks Heather!).

We started brain-storming back in October before our meeting with the invitation designer (Paper and Poste! You rock!) and chose a colour palette of dark purple, silver and white (basically, you can’t do anything until you know your colours -so start there brides-to-be!). After that, every choice we made had to be within the palette (which is the way I design everything from a room to a photoshoot by staying strictly within the colours).  When it came time to talk flowers I wanted to accomplish the following things: an early spring theme that filled the air with fragrance, a ton of candle light, lots of sparkle and a few meaningful elements that made it personal.  We wanted to keep the budget small (what is the point the of an intimate affair otherwise?) AND we had a rather un-romantic hitch to keep in mind:  both galleries closed doors to patrons only one hour before the wedding guests were scheduled to arrive giving us a tiny fraction of time to prep the spaces.   So make it pretty, quick, inexpensive and meaningful all while being in my sister’s unofficial wedding party (hair, make-up, pictures etc etc).  I needed help. Obviously. And called in my longtime friend and fellow stylist Jay Junnila to save the day and save it he did!!  What a champ.  After an exhaustive day of prep (after an exhaustive week of prep) the last candle was lit at precisely the moment that the first walked in (at both spaces and two different times!).  It was a brilliant execution and I owe Jay a huge debt of gratitude.

This is the wedding factory that was my studio on the day before the wedding. Jay is taping ribbon and sparkly broaches to antiqued candle hurricanes:

I put my sister to work too.  It was a DIY wedding after all! Looks like a giant mess at this point:

As for the floral design, we did a blend of white roses, purple freesias, white double-tulips (totally worth the extra! singles would not have been nearly as gorgeous), and purple hyacinth.  The centerpiece vessels were antiqued silver of various sizes as I chose a grouping of small vases as opposed to one big arrangement.  Because of the intimate nature of the dinner we decided to go with two very long and wide harvest tables which made for a long runway down the center that needed decoration.  We started with a dark purple runner (sewed by my talented seamstress/Mom), then 16″ square mirror tiles to fill the space and reflect candle light, then clusters of vases spaced every three people and finally lots of sparkling tea-light holders.  We kept it all low so as not to block the cross-table view and inhibit conversation.  The final touch was a single white rose in a little round vase one per guest to the right of each place.  It was sumptuous without being overly-decadent, glamourous without being flashy and appropriate for downtown evening setting.

The bouquets were created to match and I added a touch of the bride’s namesake flower, scottish Heather, for luck. Oh! And little diamond pins were added to each rose to make them even prettier.  Can you spot them?

I think that the smell of hyacinth will forever remind me of this day (and the following week as the fragrance lingered) and bring a smile to my face.  Congrats again Heather and Sean!