Monday, August 24, 2009
Day 8- Monday, August 24, 2009
O.K. so besides being interested in royal wedding flowers, bouquets, and such, I am also interested in pipe organs. My interests are unusual, in my estimation. But, they are my interests and they keep me comfortable and very happy.
The organ pictured here is located in St. Mark's on the Campus, University of Nebraska, Lincoln. The day after my cousin's wedding back in June, my mother and I were taken an a site seeing expedition that included the U of N campus. It was Sunday morning, and church was just letting out, so, I was able to hear this magnificent instrument played. The organ's appearance itself is in stark contrast to the church. The church is very modern in design... I estimate it was built in the mid to late 1950's. The organ is styled in what I would consider a toned-down Baroque cabinet with gilded wood scroll work and brilliant silver pipes. It was a very nice treat to see and hear this instrument during my visit.
Now, about flowers... I was thinking today that the British and Europeans seem to just get weddings right. The look of a British wedding, royal or not seems to just work. In contrast, I think American weddings tend to look contrived and way over planned. All the coordinating outfits, coordinated invitations, coordinated flowers, coordinated favors. Really, it just looks like we are trying too hard. I was in the wedding floral business for over 15 years. I constantly strove to impress upon brides and their mothers that the overall look of the wedding should be natural and appear effortlessly put together. So many of my brides were trained to think that if the brides maids dresses were pink, then the bridesmaid's flowers must be pink. If the invitations were styled with blue ink, then the altar flowers must have blue.
I have to think that when a florist in England puts together a look for a wedding that all of these "musts" might not necessarily come into play. Some of the things that Americans do wrong with weddings, strictly in my opinion, is the wedding parties' attire. So much effort put into making sure that everything is ultimately coordinated, in my opinion isn't necessary. When things are so matched up, it looks so overly contrived, like they tried too hard... never be caught trying!
Over the years of floral work I have been asked to do things that I felt were inappropriate for weddings. I had to be firm but polite and guide the client to something more tasteful and respectful, as much as I saw fit without insulting the client. But, at the same time preserving and protecting the reputation of the florist I happened to be working for.
So, back to my original thought for today's blog... simply, that a European wedding, British weddings in particular seem to have an air of dignity that is lacking in most American weddings.
Going for the largest stretch Hummer limousine doesn't make you classy, it only shows how little you care about the environment. Things like having the florist add hundreds of "Swarovski" crystals to your centerpieces doesn't show you have taste, it shows that you have a disregard for your parents' money. Having your wedding party participate in a choreographed dance routine instead of walking down the aisle of a church in a dignified manner doesn't show everyone how much of "your own personal style" you put into your wedding, but shows that you don't have any regard for a sacred space and for a sacred occasion. Spending hundreds of dollars for a hair stylist to pile your hair up on top of your head for your wedding doesn't show everyone that you have good fashion sense, it only shows that you are following the herd of hundreds of thousands of brides before you that don't look like themselves one the most important and memorable days of their lives.
Surely I didn't mean to get on the soap box this early in the blog, but I guess it's what it's all about, sharing your thoughts.
Here's hoping that decorum and dignity make a speedy return to weddings, especially here in the United States. Along this line, I will give my praises to Martha Stewart. Without Martha, we in the floral industry would not be where we are today, in regards to weddings. Martha reminded us that wedding days are special and they can be ultimately classy on any budget. Without her influence in wedding florals, I think that most of use would still be churning out the same nosegays in plastic holders (don't get me wrong, I am a fan of the use of the plastic bouquet holder for certain applications) filled with daisy mums, mini carnations, and baby's breath. Thanks Martha!
Royal Wedding Tidbit for the day...Princess May of Teck (later Queen Mary) was originally betrothed to Prince Albert Victor, Grandson of Queen Victoria. However, after Albert's unexpected death, Queen Victoria encouraged that she should marry Albert's brother George, then Duke of York. George eventually became King George V and Princess May, became Queen Mary, mother of King George VI and paternal grandmother of Queen Elizabeth II.