Wedding Profile: Fall Wedding at The University Club

Since getting into the wedding flower business, I’ve become a big fan of the old school private clubs in Chicago. The architecture and artwork is usually jaw-dropping, and the University Club of Chicago is no exception!  Big thanks to our clients, M&M, and to Christy Tyler Photography for sharing their gorgeous images.  I’m focusing on the flowers here, but you can get a feel for the whole day on Christy Tyler Photography blog post. It’s definitely worth checking out their blog to see the bride’s amazing headpiece!

I love wedding color palettes that include a range of colors, rather than the traditional palette of two-colors-and-a-neutral. For M&M’s fall wedding, we featured soft, neutral colors to complement the bridesmaids’ dresses, which were in varying shades of muted blue, grey, and dusty purple as our starting point.  Through the flowers, we added in soft, antique tones of blush, dusty lilac, muted peach, steel blue, grey and ivory.  We included both soft and fluffy blooms, such as garden roses, Japanese anemone, stock, and spray roses, with more textural dusty miller, blue thistle, and silver brunia.

Muted colors wedding bouquets flowers blush and dusty lilac wedding bouquet flowers

How about the blue thistle in the boutonnieres?

wedding flowers groom boutonniere with spray rose, blue thistle, fern

The ceremony was held at the University Club of Chicago’s Cathedral Hall, which has a very old world feel to it, with stone walls, a vaulted wooden ceiling, and gothic arches with stained glass windows.  We softened the space for the ceremony, “pre-use”-ing the centerpieces down the aisle, displayed on Pollen’s simple white pedestals. An aisle runner defined the aisle, along with clusters of candles.University Club of Chicago wedding ceremony aisle University Club of Chicago wedding flowers

University Club of Chicago wedding ceremony in Cathedral Hall

A foliage garland, candles, and white flowers decorated the stone fireplace.University Club of Chicago fireplace in Cathedral Hall The very tall ceilings of Cathedral Hall ask for tall centerpieces.  We created a mix of tall and short centerpieces for variety throughout the room, incorporating pieces from the clients’ antique silver collection into the centerpieces, supplemented with our containers.University Club of Chicago Cathedral Hall tall wedding centerpieces University Club of Chicago Cathedral Hall wedding centerpieces flowers University Club of Chicago Cathedral Hall wedding reception

Many thanks again to Christy Tyler Photography for  so generously sharing their photography with us and for making us look good!

Venue: University Club of Chicago

Photography: Christy Tyler Photography

DJ: Rachel of Toast and Jam

Wedding Profile: Refined Roadside Wedding Flowers

I absolutely loved Colleen’s description of the look she was going for with her wedding flowers: refined roadside.  Love, love, loved it.  AKA: English garden gone wild.  Thank you to Dawn E. Roscoe Photography for the beautiful photos!

The bridal bouquet featured some of my very favorite blooms of spring.  Flowering dogwood in a bridal bouquet? Yes, please!  Also, Juliet garden roses, peonies, stock, dusty miller, and lily of the valley.  Colleen loved lily of the valley, and I was so excited when the season cooperated and I was able to snag locally grown lily of the valley for her bouquet and Onur’s boutonniere.  The season for it is so very brief, but we got it!

The bridesmaids’ bouquets had a bit more color to them, and they contained spray roses, Juliet garden roses, peonies, dahlias, scabiosa, and stock.  I love the color scheme, or lack thereof.

The centerpieces were low and sprawling displays in recycled glass containers.

Congratulations to Collen and Onur!  For more photos of the wedding, visit the post on Dawn E. Roscoe’s blog.

Photographer: Dawn E. Roscoe Photography
Day of Coordination: Five Grain Events
Venue: Bond Chapel and The Quadrangle Club, University of Chicago



Wedding Profile: Eco-Examples

Rachel and Jason’s wedding at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum reminded me that there are many little things, easy to overlook, that we at Pollen do to minimize the ecological impact of our clients’ weddings.  Some are more obvious, liking working with locally grown flowers whenever possible.  Others are less obvious.  Here are a couple of the easy-to-miss things we do to be more eco-friendly, illustrated through yesterday’s wedding.

Avoiding Floral Foam:
This is a biggie.  We have nearly entirely eliminated our use of floral foam, and yesterday’s wedding was another step toward foam-freedom.  Why avoid floral foam?  It’s a petroleum product, and we don’t need more reasons to be digging around for oil, do we?  Floral foam doesn’t biodegrade.  And it contains formaldehyde.  When cut while dry, it creates a dust that the person cutting it can’t help but inhale.  My fellow florists can attest to the evidence of this inhalation, seen when one blows his or her nose after cutting dry floral foam.  Gross, yes, but illustrative, no?

There are just a few applications left that I haven’t yet been able to figure out how to avoid using floral foam.  One of those was to decorate structures, such as chuppahs.  What to do?  I went old school: chicken wire.  I bundled up some chicken wire, secured it to the chuppah, and added the foliage and flowers on site.

Another application requiring some trial and error in order to avoid floral foam was in designing tall centerpieces.  Usually those are designed in floral foam that is taped to a tray, then the tray then is set on top of the tall vase.  Instead of going this route, I’ve been using a tall vase and designing directly in the vase, with the stems in water.  Getting a perfect sphere of flowers is tricky with this technique, but most of my clients are looking for a looser outline, which works out perfectly!

And yet another challenge is when designing in low bowls.   In this case, I went old school again and used floral frogs in the containers.  Floral frogs come in a few different forms, including glass ones with holes in them and metal ones that look like a bunch of pins sticking up.  I used the latter in these low glass bowls, then put in some small rocks to camouflage the frog.

Below you can see a low centerpiece, as well as the tall centerpieces in the background.

On the table, we provided soy wax candles to provide soft light once the sun set.  We also lined the window ledges with votive candles.  Speaking of our candles…

Thoughtful Candles
The clients chose Pollen to provide the candles because we offer soy wax votive candles, which we have refilled by Bright Endeavors.  Most candles are made from paraffin wax.  You guessed it: another petroleum product.   Soy wax votives burn cleaner and are plant-derived.

Many times after weddings and events, the votive candles simply get thrown out.  It’s cheaper to buy new ones than the cost of having someone remove the stubborn paraffin wax from spent candles.  Soy wax, on the other hand, is quite easy to remove.   Pollen partners with Bright Endeavors, a social enterprise that provides job skills training to women at risk for poverty while producing eco-friendly bath and candle products.  Bright Endeavors offers a votive refill program that allows us to bring back our spent votives again and again to be refilled with soy wax.

Even for our clients that don’t prioritize sustainability in their wedding planning, we’re working in ways that minimize waste in our business, and therefore at their weddings.  For those who place value on sustainability, Pollen is the perfect florist to work with to host a greener wedding.



Wedding Profile: Purple and Green Romantic Wedding

MegAnn and Jim’s wedding was on a gorgeous summer day at the Chicago History Museum.  In a color palette of purples and greens, the floral designs were lush and romantic.  Amanda Hein Photography captured the day beautifully!

MegAnn’s bridal bouquet was lush and rounded, in shades of purple and green.  More traditional wedding flowers, such as roses and hydrangea, were complemented by  unexpected textures and shapes, which came in the form of scented geranium, bullit allium, purple stock, and purple trachelium.  The deeper purple, ruffly flowers are lisianthus–one of my favorites.

The ceremony was held outside on the Museum’s terrace.  Pollen provided floral swags for the chairs, aisle petals, and a pair of arrangements to frame the ceremony area, featuring sustainably grown delphinium and organically and locally grown hydrangea.

For the reception, a simple yet striking escort card table arrangement of delphinium and hydrangea greeted the guests.  How beautiful is this room?!?!?

Low and lush arrangements on the guest tables coordinated with the bridal party’s flowers.

The cake, provided by Tipsy Cake, was simply decorated with gatherings of purple lisianthus and Cool Water roses.

Thanks again, to Amanda Hein Photography, Greatest Expectations Events, and the Chicago History Museum.  And let’s not forget Pollen’s Lee and Amanda, who helped me to install this lovely wedding!  Congratulations to MegAnn and Jim!  You were wonderful to work with!


Cozy, Wintry Wedding {Winter Wedding}

When Courtney and I first met, the word she used to describe the feel she was going for with her wedding was “cozy.”   I really liked using “cozy” as a jumping off point.  The venue, Salvage One, provided a warm, eclectic atmosphere.  The petite bouquets incorporated a variety of evergreens, and a simple flower palette in white.  Wintry, and a little woodsy.

The bridal bouquet:

white winter bouquet

The bridesmaids’ bouquets:

White Winter Bridesmaids Bouquets

My favorite item, much to my surprise, ended up being the cake!  The lovely ladies at Flour Cake and Pastry created a simple, tasteful cake, which I dressed up with evergreens and ranunculus.

The cake before and after adding flowers:

White Wedding Cake Decorated

Sweet, simple, and natural.

Jewel-Toned Wedding in Purple, Fuschia and Blue {Winter Wedding}

Along with blogging more, I resolved to take more photos of my work this year.  So while I didn’t get photos of Saturday’s wedding while in the studio, my bride, Jennifer, was kind enough to offer to pose for photos of her bouquet!

The bridal bouquet…

  ChicagoGWA  GreenWeddingAlliance Chicago wedding planners: Save the date for our Planning Greener Weddings Workshop on Sun., Feb. 27 at @WestLoopStudio!

And one of the bridesmaids’ bouquets…

Jewel Tones Bridesmaid Bouquet

I was so ready to design with these saturated colors, after some gloomy winter days!  After a couple of wedding-less work weeks, it was exciting to put these together for this wonderful bride!

Naturalistic Wedding in White, Brown and Navy {Fall Wedding}

I love texture.  And unusual, non-floral elements.  So I had a blast working on Erin and Dan’s wedding at the end of November.  Erin wanted her flowers to be a little unexpected, while still soft and natural.  Her color scheme of white, browns, sage green, and navy was tastefully understated.   Incorporating herbs, fiddleheads, berries and kale was a nod to the couple’s shared love of cooking.

Erin’s bouquet was mostly white, with navy berries, brown fiddleheads, and green herbs.

Fall Wedding Bridal Bouquet

The boutonnieres picked up the more interesting elements from the bouquets.

Fall Wedding Groom's Boutonniere

For the centerpieces, each one was a little different from the other, but still coordinated–a look I often refer to as “cousins”.  Check out the fantastic city views from the Wolf Point Ballroom at the LEED-certified Holiday Inn Mart Plaza.  (Oh, and that has to be some of the best ballroom carpet I’ve seen yet.)

Fall Wedding Centerpiece

This wedding was definitely one of my favorites from 2010!  Thanks, Erin and Dan!

Wedding Profile: All Pink, and All Peonies!

I loved this all pink, all peony wedding.  Okay, okay…  I used some white orchids for the boutonnieres and corsages.  Peonies would be a bit large for pinning on, after all!

Bridal Bouquet of Pink Peonies

Peony Bridal Bouquet

This was a day wedding for a bride who was truly a dream to work with.  At the initial consultation, we talked about keeping it simple and soft, and landed on using only peonies.  No greenery.  No accents.  Just peonies, in a range of pink, from light to dark.  Just peonies for the bridal bouquet, the bridesmaids’ bouquets, and the centerpieces.

Peony Wedding Centerpiece

Peony Centerpiece

The centerpieces, like the bouquets, were just peonies in a mix of shades of pink.  I recently added the recycled glass vases to my rental inventory.  I really like them because they have a strong presence, and because of the small opening, don’t require a ton of flowers (and a ton of money) to fill.  The pink peonies helped to soften the otherwise somewhat masculine space at Salvatore’s.

Such a pretty and simple look for spring!

Wedding Profile: Yellow and Grey Wedding

Yesterday I delivered the most unusual wedding flowers I’ve done to date!  The wedding had a yellow and grey color scheme, with a circle motif and look that was a mix of vintage and modern.

The bride was drawn to more unusual flowers, especially billy balls, which some call billy buttons.  Billy balls (Craspedia globosa) are a yellow flowers that look, to me, like a gumball on a stick.  The little yellow heads are a perfect sphere, and add an unusual touch to arrangements.

During the consultation with the bride, we sat down and looked over some photos of bouquets including billy balls, and decided to use a focal point of billy balls, surrounded by another round flower called silver brunia.  I suggested a collar of swirls of lily grass to finish off the bouquet.

While preparing for the wedding, I described the bouquet to people a few times, and everyone had a pretty difficult time A) imagining what this would look like, and B) imagining it would look good!  But I could envision it.  And I knew it was going to look cool.  And it turned out exactly as I had pictured it…

Wedding Bouquet with Billy Balls

For the groom’s boutonniere, I used the same elements as were in the bride’s bouquet, including a loop of lily grass to mirror the collar of lily grass loops in the bride’s bouquet.Groom's Boutonniere with Billy Balls

And for the groomsmen, I used billy balls and silver brunia, including a touch of the silver brunia foliage.Groomsman's Boutonniere

Definitely the most interesting wedding flowers I’ve done yet!  I really loved the look of it.