Friday, October 24, 2008

Changes abound

I figure its about time for Wedding Decorator to grow up and be on its own domain name and host. Blogger, you've been good to me, but you have to let go sometime!

So don't be surprised if you see little activity in the next few weeks. I am getting ready to begin blogging Wedding Decorator on a new site, but it remains to be seen whether I will move all move all of Wedding Decorator to the new site or keep the current entries here. At any rate, please be patient and you'll hear from me soon!

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Sunday, October 19, 2008

An arch, pew decorations and pool flowers

Ah, did I catch your attention with the mention of pool flowers? Yeah, you don't see it that often, but when you do -- wow! These pictures are from a friend who did not want to be identified, but she so happened to be at two weddings a few weekends ago and saw the flowers and just knew I would want pictures. The pictures were taken from her cell phone, but you can click on each photo for a bigger version.

The first wedding, by the way, was at Dove Canyon Country Club, a venue I have never had the pleasure of decorating. The area code on the website tells me its in south Orange County, and my friend says Rancho Santa Margarita. The second wedding was in Palos Verdes at a private home.

The arch was decorated with gorgeous red roses, lemon leaf, leather fern and what I just learned were Bells of Ireland. Heheh. My mom used them for years, and I always just assumed they were leaves -- they're actually flowers! For the longest time I always thought of them as the "sucker-looking greens." Silly me.

Here's a close up of the pew decorations. The florist used the same flowers from the arch, except with some pink snapdragons. It appears there were flowers only on the innermost seat of the first and last row on each side -- in other words, just four pews were decorated along the center aisle. It's a good way to save some money. Besides, it was a gorgeous venue, so I don't think it needed a lot of flowers to dress it up.

Here's where the Palos Verdes wedding pictures start. There was a table with the table cards/assignments decorated very simply, but nicely dressed up with a vase full of calla lilies. Remember what I wrote before about flowers for tall arrangements? The calla lily is also an ideal candidate for a tall arrangement, but don't forget to get that stout vase. A calla lily's stem is pretty thick and heavy (compared to other flowers). But this vase is weighed down by what looks like polished glass and black rocks, plus it looks like the weight of the vase is pretty evenly distributed. By the way, it surprises me that calla lilies are so popular in weddings now (it shouldn't surprise me, since they're so graceful looking) since I always thought they were the flower of death. But there are some who believe it symbolizes rebirth. So maybe I'm wrong. Who knows?

The guest tables seemed to have three centerpieces, all in square glass vases wrapped with burgundy (or brown) ribbon. The tallest, which looks to be about 8 inches tall, is all white and pink variegated roses. (By the way, roses aren't my favorite flower, but if I had to pick one, these would be it.) The second, half obscured by the candle in a hurricane, is a possibly 6-inch vase filled with what looks like mini calla lilies. The third is probably 4 inches tall and filled with pink hydrangeas, and all seem to be flanked by candles. Very pretty. Hopefully they got to light those candles.

Ah, the pièce de résistance. Flowers in the pool. I've only seen this done a few times -- once at Michael Cooper's wedding in Palm Springs a long time ago (that was awesome, but I have to admit, I didn't actually see him but was helping at a wedding I was told was his), and at my own birthday party! That's another story for another time. Anyway, this floating flower arrangement looks like mostly pink carnations and a line of red roses, plus a variety of six lit candles of different heights. They're probably floating on a mix of oasis (the foam that, when soaked, keeps the flowers in place and watered), possibly wood and possibly styrofoam brick, which floats, in a criss-cross formation to enable the whole thing to float. I'll definitely have to show off my 18th birthday party flowers later on.

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Monday, October 13, 2008

October wedding? Then think about wedding insurance

Photo by Flickr's TooterMonkey

I'm sitting at home on my usual day off, just watching the orange-reddish glow of the sun illuminate my fingers at the keyboard, wondering why I've been to so many weddings in Southern California in October. "So many" may be an exaggeration, but maybe not, since I've not been to a lot of weddings as a guest, but I've been three as a guest in October. That's a lot in my book. And since determining earlier this year that October is quite the popular month for weddings (at least among people who read this blog), it seems that wedding insurance must also be a popular must-have for October weddings in Southern California. Or at least it seems it should be.

The above photo, by the way, is of Malibu Presbyterian Church, which was destroyed in last year's fire in Malibu, which was part of the 2007 California Firestorm.

Having worked in news the past five years and lived in Southern California all my life, October and November are reliably the worst wildfire months of the year. I have actually decorated and been a guest at one wedding where a fire broke out in the canyon behind the reception site, the Castaway in Burbank. But it seems to me that maybe wedding insurance isn't for everyone...

Apparently, cold feet is one of the main reasons for a wedding being canceled, and insurance doesn't cover cold feet. Sorry. However, let's be optimistic and posit that both bride and groom and in-laws-to-be are ecstatic to be joining families and talk about all the other things a bride or groom or wedding planner cannot control and might need insurance on.
  • The church or the reception site: Say you've picked the most gorgeous sites available, nestled in the mountains of Malibu or along the beach in Texas -- but then there's a wildfire or a hurricane. This is where insurance would come in handy.
  • A vendor is a no-show, something happens to the food or the flowers, someone's car/truck breaks down or something else vendor-related: This happens more than you might think, and I'm sorry to say I've had this happen to me too. If you had to cancel or postpone for something like this, insurance would cover it.
  • A member of the wedding party gets sick or is injured in an accident: God forbid your mother or father or an in-law becomes injured or gets sick, but this is definitely something covered by insurance.

I think those would be the main reasons, although, also includes military deployments or surprise corporate moves as another reason why a wedding would be postponed or canceled. Although, I think in the case of a corporate move, the wedding might just become more of a destination wedding.

Anyway, do you think to might need insurance? In tough economic times, most would say -- better safe than sorry. Personally, I think the ratio of cash flow to wedding expenditure should have more to do with the need for wedding insurance, and as that ratio becomes bigger, the more you should consider going easy on your wedding budget.

Then again, what about people really looking forward to getting married that day? I did a blog post last year on one couple that immediately readjusted their plans as Malibu burned. The whole point to the wedding, after all, is to get married.

At any rate, beside article I found, here are a few more resources on wedding insurance from USA Today, InsWeb's Insurance Blog, and

And as with anything wedding related, I would recommend going with a wedding insurance policy on a recommendation, rather than what comes up first in Google. Hey, that's how I looked for it too!

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Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Flowers for tall arrangments

Photo by Flickr's lukwarmmizer

Dreaming of a tall flower guest table arrangements for your wedding? I can sympathize. Tall arrangements always look elegant and graceful. But it would surprise you what flowers work well for tall arrangements. Here's a hint -- a tall flower, like birds of paradise, don't do well for most tall arrangements. They're too heavy and prone to falling over. Above, you've got a very simple but striking arrangement. It's just gerber daisies and bear grass. You don't need a lot of gerbers for big color impact.

Photo by Flickr's blondytec

This arrangement is not your typical tall arrangement -- first, there's so much going on here! Goldfish at the bottom of the cylinder vase, black and white ribbon around the cylinder, then the bouquet (which was possibly used as a bridesmaid's bouquet?) tucked into the vase. If you go with doubling your bouquets as flower arrangements, that's smart to make your flowers go double duty, but you mind end up spending more for a vase that can support a bouquet. Bouquets can be heavier than actual table arrangements. Trust me, I know.

Here's an oldie, but goodie from my mom. The pedestals are made of steel, so they can support just about anything. But the arrangements are topped with dendrobium orchids, a type of heliconia, ti leaves, leather fern and oranges. The neck is wrapped with sinamay, and there are more ti leaves and oranges at the base. If you couldn't tell, this was a luau-themed party.

This arrangement is from one of my favorite recent weddings, in Whittier. This arrangement's vase has a dendrobium orchid inside a water-filled vase, and is topped with an arrangement of orchids, larkspur, stargazers, leather fern and bear grass. That's not a lot of flowers, and its actually pretty light. But it looks so pretty and elegant anyway.

This is from a wedding that I plan to revisit, but I can't remember the name of the reception site! I do remember it was in San Pedro, which I love. Anyway, this arrangement is on the same steel pedestals, this time the neck wrapped with red ribbon. But the weight of the pedestals allows for more flowers -- two types of orchids, gerber daisies, pink larkspur, roses, stargazers, and more I can't name.

My point -- with a tall arrangement, less is more, unless you're using a steel pedestal. Hehehe.

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Saturday, October 04, 2008

Indian-Syrian Catholic wedding in Philadelphia

All photos by Shruti Mathur

My uber-wedding attender Shruti Mathur has come through again! This time, she takes us to an Indian-Syrian Catholic wedding in Philadelphia, with a ceremony at Acension MarThoma Church in Northeast Philadelphia and the reception at Celebrations in Bensalem, Pa. I love mixed-culture weddings -- the result is often just spectacular and, dare I say, exotic. With Indian weddings, I fully expect rich colors and a few extravagant details and I was not disappointed.


Alternating height flower arrangements seems to be a new-ish trend. The tall ones are good, because then guests don't have to strain to see over a tall, table level arrangement; but the short ones are good, because then guest can talk over the flowers. Hey, why not have both! Personally, I would prefer one height -- either all tall or all short. That's just me, possibly my mild case of OCD talking. I joke a lot that I'm like Monk now -- "wipe! wipe!"


By the way, if you were not sure, all these images are clickable. The sweetheart table and the cake table were set up at what appears to be the head of the room. I like this arrangement -- first off, its a short distance for the couple to the cake! But it keeps both in the designed "center" of the room.  By the way, the cake is strikingly simple against the rich colors of this wedding -- gold, orange, red. Very pretty.

And, yes! That's a peacock feather in the flower arrangement. Their theme was Peacocks. I love it! Flowers used included red roses, orange day lilies and spider mums. Those green, sucker-looking leaves? I'm not sure what their name is, but my mom used to love using them too.

So, if you have a theme, the trick is to use them in the details -- like with a feathery pen or a bird cage for your gift cards. I love the bird cage idea. Heheh.

Shruti shares this about the couple and their wedding (and Shruti had offered another photo by the wedding photographer of this moment, but I like this one better!):
Sharon is of Malayali Christian descent and Robbie is of Anglo-Indian descent. Their ceremony was traditional Syrian Christian, with chanting and singing in both Malayalam and English and traditions blended from the Syrian Christian tradition and the Malayalee/Kerala traditions, including the crowning ceremony and the tying of a string (Minnu) and placement of a red and gold sari (Manthrakodi). Link  
Here are some excerpts from the program:
"The Order of Service for Marriage according to the Mar Thomas Syrian Rite is a rich blend of symbolism, Biblical traditions and teachings, practices of the Early Church in Palestine and Syria, and the customs of South India. Christ is symbolized as the divine Bridegroom whose Bride is the Church. This is a fitting model of mutual commitment and total faithfulness that is commanded to the couple. The prayers emphasize that marriage is a Sacrament and the family, a divinely blessed institution."

Their theme was Peacocks, carried from the programs and invites to the peacock feather on the table pen and in the boutonnieres and the signature cocktail. The couple also wanted to highlight their Indian-American heritage, and each table was numbered and also named after a famous Indian-Americans. (We had the Mindy Kaling table!)

This was also an afternoon reception, with the wedding starting at 10:30 a.m., the reception from 12 to 4 p.m. We were chased out promptly at 4 since the facility had to turn over fairly quickly. But we still managed to have a lot of fun and dancing.
And by the way, congratulations to Shruti -- finally we're going to see her wedding soon! W00t!

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