Everything’s coming up roses… No Wait; ORCHIDS!

One of the most important elements of a wedding is the luxurious aesthetic created by fresh flowers. You may recall that one of my early loves is floristry. As a college student, I apprenticed at a high end florist and learned the trade. With that training, I was able to work at seven other stores, before I opened my own. For 13 years, Nolte’s Flowers, was considered top shelf and next door to Nolte’s Bridal in Columbia, Missouri.  I was a crazy man to run both companies at the same time…but I did it.

A prerequisite of expanding to Overland Park, (from Mrs. Nolte) was to NOT open a florist shop as well. Reluctantly, I gave that up, but have continued to stay in that arena when it is for my church or a charity. As a result, I have insider knowledge of what is great floral design and fair pricing.

Though, I am friends with lots of our city’s wonderfully talented florists…when I had to make a pick for this first family wedding, I chose Fiddly Fig (www.fiddlyfig.com) in Brookside: 816-830-5227.

The owner, Sheryl White, and I have created dozens through the years. I always tell my brides to choose vendors that have the same definition of the adjective beautiful. And Sheryl and I think alike when it comes to the appropriate degree of fullness, color balance, draping, gracefulness and every other verb by which you can describe floral beauty.

I personally don’t like words like sparse, minimal or simple, when it comes to flowers. I love the word lush.

I love color. My daughter loves tone-on-tone. (Also one of my favs.)  The compromise was all ivory and gold in the church and lots of color at the reception.

The sky was the limit when my mind started whirling about the flowers. I would rather give up ice as to give up flowers! (And I really love good ice!)

My most favorite flower in all the world is the extremely hard to get Cattleya orchid.

Cattleya Orchid at Place Setting Picture

My mother carried a single one, in purple, at her wedding 63 years ago and I recreated her bouquet for her Golden Anniversary. When I did the flowers for my sister’s wedding, she carried them. When I designed my wife’s bouquet, 35 years ago, I could only afford a few, but she carried them too in white.

Shirley and Henry Nolte Wedding Portrait

To get any I had to commit (agree to pay) to growing 100 in Hawaii and have the plants flown to Kansas City two weeks ago. And thus it happened.

The bridesmaids carried cascades of only orchids: Cattleyas in the top and Dendrobium orchids in the streamers.  They were all hand wired and tied with ivory double faced satin ribbons. The bride carried very long cascade (my favorite shape) of all Phalaenopsis orchids. No greenery used anywhere. The girls loved their bouquets and carried them all through cocktails and first dance. Later, we suspended them with satin ribbons from the ceiling.

Bridesmaid Bouquet

Justine Bridal Bouquet

The Fiddly Fig team helped me visualize, helped me sort out a zillion ideas and helped me filter my options. There was a time when I was over-whelmed with too much knowledge. Because it was not my first rodeo…I wanted to ride all the ponies at one time!

There were so many, many beautiful elements Fiddly Fig did for me but a few of my favorites would have to be: the cherry blossoms in all the chandeliers, the “end caps” on the banquet tables and the Chippendale planters of pink azaleas in the Ballroom.

Justine Floral Endcaps on Dining Tables

I had all the striped linens custom made and the tapers custom dipped in gold and then silver. The result was a soft celadon and metallic dining room. All very French inspired and exactly what my daughter wanted. The crystal candelabra purchased just for the wedding, are now available to all of you at Fiddly Fig. The tall, tall, tall tapers were made by Creative Candles just for the wedding, but Fiddly Fig sells those too.

Creative Candle Tapers

A special gift from Fiddly Fig were the monogrammed door plaques (at the Country Club) done in gold thread on silver threaded linen.  All the Nolte’s love monogrammed things and these were the perfect welcome as the reception was a lot more than just “let them eat cake!”

Justine Hallbrook Front Doors with Monogramed Floral Frames

I can’t imagine all the hustling this dedicated crew put into making all the “room flips” and “church transfers” and exhaustive meetings that they had to create this little Palace of Versailles…but they did with grace and smiles. I will be forever grateful.