October 2010


“Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.”

We recently held an interesting event at the store.  I opened up my design studio to a friend whose daughter was getting married. Professional  wedding flowers weren’t in the budget, so I decided to offer them the use of the studio and the cooler so they could make their own bouquets.  The morning of the work party, they were running around collecting flowers from local growers, farmers markets, and friends yards gathering all the dahlias they could find.  Much to my surprise, they showed up with 10 buckets of flowers.  I agreed to give them a few quick pointers, but each girl had to make her own bouquet, plus they had 21 mason jar vases of flowers to do for the tables.  Watching this whole thing unfold was fantastic.  It was a great reminder to me of just how much skill it requires to design flowers.  I was a little uncomfortable watching the whole process, and I really wanted to jump in there and save them, but they were having so much fun,  I just had to sit back and watch the whole creative process happen.  What ended up happening was that each bouquet had the uniqueness of each person making it.  I helped with wrapping the satin on the bouquets, the professional in me wanted to take them all apart and make them right.  They laughed at me when I asked the mother of the bride if she wanted that flower sticking up out of the middle like that???  She replied  “yes, it looks cool, I like it!” I guess beauty is truly in the eyes of the beholder.  :>) I learned that the beauty for me wasn’t the flowers, but it was the joy they shared while doing the whole bouquet making process together.  The party took 6 people, about 3 hours to complete everything.  It inspired me to want to rent my shop out to bridal parties who are lacking a budget but have the creative spirit and sense of adventure to give it a try.  Everyone agreed that it was really  much harder to do than what they imagined it would be.  They all wondered how I could do this job every day.   I have to agree with them,  that it is a tough job, but I love what I do.

Oh, I forgot to mention, that the professional in me couldn’t stand it, and I had to make the brides bouquet.  She picked out her favorite colors and styles from the dahlia buckets, and I created a bouquet for her.

One of the guests who was participating in this fun event is a writer, “Linda is a writer and an educator who holds classes in Intuitive Writing on the Eastside. Check out her website www.intuwriting.com or contact her at linda@intuwriting.com for further information.”  Linda sent me this recap from her perspective:

Dahlia: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Dahlia is a genus of bushy, tuberous, perennial plants native to Mexico, Central America, and Colombia. There are at least 36 species of dahlia. Dahlia hybrids are commonly grown as garden plants. The Aztecs gathered and cultivated the dahlia for food, ceremonies, as well as decorative purposes,[3] and the long woody stem of one variety was used for small pipes.

Patty opened the cool workroom of her Brittany Flowers Shop to a sea of color. She had worked with flowers for a long time, yet still this sight overwhelmed her. Dahlias! Buckets of them! Everywhere! An unusual edginess nagged at her. What had she gotten herself into?
It was Labor Day weekend, and a friend’s daughter was getting married. When planning the wedding last winter, the bride told her mother, “I want those flowers that you grew in our garden and yard when I was younger. The colors, the sizes! They are perfect-exactly what I want.” So dahlias it was. The weather in the Northwest has not been the greatest this summer and the dahlias are not as prolific as usual this year. So the dahlias were collected in Patty’s warehouse cooler-from Lori’s garden, friends’ yards, and of course, Brittany Flowers. There were buckets and buckets of them, for bridal party bouquets, boutonnieres, corsages, altar arrangements for the grotto, table arrangements-everything imaginable.
Patty’s friend Lori and the bridal party arrived to help. By the bride’s order, each of the five bridesmaids was in charge of making her own bouquet, and then would help with the other decorations. Patty held a quick lesson on how to cut, keep the flowers together and hints on arranging. Feeling rather nervous, her last request was this. “The bride’s bouquet is mine. I was there when you were born and your bouquet must be perfect. I am making it.”
So the work began. Patty listened, helped with all of her creative talent and experience, and watched. As she worked, the nervousness dissipated. She listened to the excited voices that became hushed and awed as they chose their own flowers. She helped when questioned on placement and tying it all together. She watched in awe as it all came together.
Each woman created a reflection of themselves in their bouquet. The tiny bridesmaid chose the smaller flowers of brilliant colors as if to say, “Here I am! Something small, speaking loudly!” The two who were mothers chose a great combination of sizes and colors as if to say, “Here I am! A combination of many things constantly changing hats to keep my family going.” The maid of honor, a tall athletic young woman chose strong flowers of vibrant colors and arranged them with confidence as if to say, “I am confident and in charge! Watch out world, here I come.”
It was amazing, awesome and inspiring. What was happening before Patty was a reawakening of what she was as a florist and an artist. The pride of her work has always been it’s uniqueness, and its tie to each individual that she created for. Here it was happening before her very eyes. It was not to the perfect degree that she always demanded of her work, but it reaffirmed the value of the extra time, individual attention and quality that she always put into her creations. Perhaps she could do some perfecting after everyone left-perhaps not.
The day of the wedding was a grey northwest September day, with rain threatening the outdoor wedding. The flowers were brilliant against the green of the setting and the dull grey sky. The bouquets were gorgeous and truly matched each woman who walked in. The bride’s bouquet, perfectly created by Patty, matched the beauty, happiness and fun in her face. Even the inevitable rain could not dampen the radiant beauty of the flowers and this memorable occasion.