Thursday, July 5, 2012

Flowers for James & Sarah's Butterfly Wedding - Part I

So I realize that I have been MIA a LOT lately. So to make up for it, I'm going to share with you one of the many reasons why.

My husband's little sister just got married. They had a short engagement so pretty much ever since May I've been working like a mad woman helping plan the wedding. It's been quite an experience. No one actually asked me to do all the things I did, but I volunteered because I was really super excited about it and I'm always overflowing with ideas so of course it's nice to see of those ideas come to fruition. I was pretty much the wedding planner for the whole thing, well, along with my awesome mother-in-law who happens to be one of my most favorite people in the world. She and I are really similar in personality so it was super fun to work on this project together.

You see, my sister-in-law Sarah, (the bride) is really not your typical girl and as such hadn't been dreaming of and planning this day since she was small, at least not in the visual sense. She's the youngest of 8 kids and her only biological sister is the eldest child. So, while it makes sense that she's into things like horses, dragons and weaponry, it doesn't help her much in the girly detail department when her only sister is 14+ years older and 8-9 months pregnant through most of the engagement.

Having so many brothers, all of whom are married save one, also means that Sarah has a lot of sister's-in-law, all of whom have different tastes, opinions and interests. So there we are a week or so after their announcement at our April girl's night, where the only object is get the wedding plans in motion.
At this point the date, bridesmaid dresses, wedding dress and wedding colors had been decided, but little else. After presenting those items everyone was excited and offering lots and lots of suggestions.

Sarah is not always the most vocal person, at least, not when she is uncomfortable. When she's happy she can be loud enough but when she feels unhappy she becomes extremely withdrawn.  I remember just sitting there watching her face as all the sisters-in-law talked about the wedding plans and noticing her look of anxiety as she heard things that were probably not what she wanted, yet feeling too under pressure to say much.  By the end of the night I became aware that she was sitting in the corner crying. Some of her friends noticed and simply dismissed it as her feeling stressed about the big change coming.  So all of these circumstances, and few other conversations in the days following, led me to do a lot of thinking about what I had observed and what it meant.

I soon came to the conclusion that Sarah did not really know what she wanted in regards to the wedding, having not ever really given the details much thought. So in not even knowing what she wanted she wasn't able to answer people's questions when they'd ask her what she wanted, and she doesn't like being under pressure so she would get quiet and others, in trying to be helpful kept offering their own ideas and suggestions instead, which, if they are not to Sarah's taste cause her to feel more uncomfortable and the vicious cycle continues.

So after this realization, that Sarah didn't know what she wanted I began to try and think of ways to help her without being too pushy because obviously that would just keep her stuck feeling uncomfortable. Finally I devised a plan and with the help of Pinterest I came up with six very different wedding theme ideas that could utilize her colors and the bridesmaid gowns and such. Then I waited for a day when I could catch Sarah alone and show her these ideas. When that day came I was super careful of what I said (having rehearsed in over and over in my mind.) and just let her know my perception that she wasn't sure what she wanted and that maybe seeing some ideas would help her get a better grasp of what she liked and didn't like so we could all have a clearer idea of how to make it her wedding, not her Mom's or her sister's or mine, but hers.

We looked through the pinboards and once she was able to visualize the ideas it was super easy for her to spot what she liked and didn't like. I'm not super close to her, but I think I know her fairly well so I had really tried to choose themes that said "This is Sarah" by trying to incorporate her loves and interests. There were two in particular that I loved the most, and happily they were her favorites as well. Sarah is an author and her favorite genre is sci-fi-/fantasy. She also enjoys reading and has the good taste of enjoying Authors such as Jane Austen and Tolkien. So one idea I had was inspired by this pin about using old book pages to create decorations and this one that uses cameos accents.  So I created this board to sort of have an Austen-esqu theme for the wedding. The other favorite idea was mostly inspired by this lovely butterfly bouquet from Etsy. and this awesome idea of using wood circlets as coasters.  So I created this woodsy butterfly themed board. Sarah really like the book idea, but the just loved the butterflies.

So we had a theme and after showing my Mother-in-law and discussing all the ideas it came to the point where she knew she wanted a butterfly bouquet but they didn't have anyone for flowers yet and I don't know what got into me (perhaps an urge to do it myself rather than let someone else give birth to my vision) but I offered to make her bouquet myself.  Which soon after led to the fact that I might as well do all the wedding flowers so they would all match.

So by the time May rolled around I had butterflies on the brain and was searching and searching for the best place to purchase artificial butterflies. I talked to my lovely aunt Melody who is a florist and she offered to help me purchase some from her wholesaler. That worked out okay except I made a mistake when writing my order out for her and mistook the first product when I searched 'butterflies' on the site to be a bag full of 100 tiny butterflies when in reality it was 100 bags with butterflies printed on them. Ooops. Sadly I didn't realize my mistake until she went to pick up my order. So I began again to scour the web because I still needed a lot of butterflies and finally I stumbled across which is an incredible resource for not only faux butterflies but also a lot of other awesome craft supplies. Plus they turned out to cost less and have more variety than the other site and when I got them I discovered they were much higher quality too.  So if I ever need to do this again, I'm going to use