Abbie and Colin's Ballard Wedding


Abbie and Colin were some of the sweetest people I’ve ever worked with, and I could tell at the first consultation that they would be a joy to work with. They had a few things in mind for their wedding vision, but were willing to imagine with me and let me paint the landscape of venue décor.

When you hire a wedding professional, they can work with you to create something custom that hasn’t been done over and over, and something that works with your unique venue space. That’s exactly what we did for Abbie and Colin, and I couldn’t have been happier with the results.

Starting with the bouquet, Abbie wanted it really small. The original picture she sent was four long stem roses and olive branches. She loved the look of that olive, so I knew I needed to include that. Her favorite flower are calla lilies, which as anyone who’s designed with them knows, are not easy to put with other flowers. It’s hard to blend their long line and have them share design space well.

Somehow, we needed to include them, though.

I also wanted to add some gray. They’d chosen white, green, and gray for their wedding colors, and during the consultation Abbie jokingly said something about wanting that last color in her flowers, “Not that there’s a gray flower out there.” I lit up and was so excited to tell her that there is a variation of rose called Early Gray, a really light lavender. Sometimes the crop leans a little more purple, but generally it is pretty gray. She was thrilled and definitely wanted to include it.

When I started to put her bouquet all together, I had to balance the shape. Abbie wanted it in a standard forward-facing Trill Floral design, but I couldn’t make it small enough. It’s really hard to make that design shape small without it feeling puny and bare.

After finishing her bouquet, I moved on to the bridesmaids’ flowers, which Abbie wanted even smaller in little delicate, forward-facing bouquets. But I kept looking back at hers and feeling dissatisfied. It knew it wasn’t what she wanted.

I decided that it was her wedding day, and that she had to have the bouquet of her dreams. I pulled it apart and blended two design styles, trusting that she’d be much happier with the end result.

I closely mimicked her inspiration picture, taking out almost half of the flowers already in there and leaving just six roses and five calla lilies. Then I collared it with olive, so it was more of a traditional hand-gathered, European style with spiraled stems. I don’t work with that design style very often, but I was so glad that I did because Abbie loved it. I’m so happy I followed my gut.

During the mad rush of wedding prep, it’s very useful to stick to the plan to make sure everything gets done, but you also have to remember those early consultations and ensure the overall vision is what the couple wants.

We put a calla lily in Colin’s boutonniere to make him pop and to help him match Abbie. For the groomsmen, we went with several different styles of boutonniere. It turned out so cute and fun.

The ceremony and reception took place at the Olympic Rooftop Pavilion on top of Hotel Ballard, which is a very narrow space that is great for small group weddings of about 80 to 100 people. There is a great view that we wanted to use behind Abbie and Colin during the ceremony, but we didn’t have much space for an arbor. I brought in my four-post arbor that is only 22 inches deep and sat perfectly in front of that view. Abbie wanted a little asymmetric corner of flowers on loosely laid vines. We used that gray rose she had gotten so excited about and added a few larkspurs for some line and white color. It turned out gorgeous.

From there, I was able to paint the rest of the room to match the arbor and the personal flowers. I extended vines up into the big beams that crossed in the rafters, making it look like nature was coming into the space and taking over. That silvery green of olive and eucalyptus was very appealing to Abbie, but vines really only come in emerald green. I tried to incorporate the two colors whenever I could to give it a beautiful, cohesive look.

We had two points of vinery coming down on the sides and grounding the vines. One was to the arbor, which reached up almost to the rafters, and on the other side I suggested bringing in a beautiful, white curtain, because of its narrow footprint.

Originally, this was supposed to be hung where it would hide the kitchen, but we decided at our final consultation five weeks before the wedding, that the curtain would be an ideal backdrop for the couple at the reception since the arbor wouldn’t fit behind them. This created a lovely frame as they sat at the long tables that are necessary in such a narrow space. We hung the curtain with the planner, Flying Anchor Event Designs. I brought down a rafter vine on one end of the curtain. We also moved the arbor during the reception to frame the cake and give a picturesque place for the cutting.

Those long tables were also a challenge when it came to the reception. With centerpieces and family style dining, you have to be careful about how much you put on the table. Big dishes of catered food need to be laid down, so the flowers can’t take up too much space.

Abbie wanted a very light vine running down the table with lots of negative space. On top we added clear, glass bud vases full of various white blooms like Veronica and calla lilies. Some lisianthus buds added greenery, and spray roses brought volume and bulk. These vases were clustered in clumps, each with a variation of height so that the cluster wasn’t all one level.

To pull the white color through with all the greenery, we used large, white votives with candles, pairing two together, each a different size and shape. They were extra-large and had a strong effect on the table. Just a couple together made a big impact and didn’t take space away from the food.

This was a beautiful wedding. I went into it with a lot of anxiety because there were lots of moving parts that I had to manage on the day of the wedding. To get things done in the amount of time we were given, I had to hire other designers to help out and couldn’t oversee every single thing they had to do. It makes me uncomfortable when I can’t be in control of every step of the design.

I went in with a lot of nerves, but I was so pleased with how it turned out. This was such a rewarding experience to see all that hard work from our team turn into something perfect for Abbie and Colin. This was hands down one of the best wedding experiences I’ve had as a floral designer.

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