Kelly + Matt

Inspiration: Cowboy summer camp for city slickers, a love of nature, quintessential California rolling hills and oaks, at one with the elements

Location: Bar SZ Ranch outside of Hollister, California on September 26, 2015

Palette: Tints and shades of purple, sage,  and sand

Highlights: True love. Dreamy lavender succulents. Autumn grasses. "Panda" anemones. Stark,  stunning, and humbling landscape

Conditions: Strong winds, 94 degrees at time of 4:00 ceremony. Sun-exposed. Designing in a double-wide onsite in front of the one and only air conditioner, loosely inserted in a window and blowing slightly cooler air than what you'd find outside.

This is the first Black House wedding I am blogging about and know it won't be my last. So I'm setting some ground rules for myself. Include the following: (1) The initial inspiration and color palette (2) The best pictures from the day that capture the love and the flowers (3) Honest reflection about the unique challenges and humbling moments that accompanied the job. Floral event design is far from romantic. It is physical, stressful work. You are working with a perishable product and a non-negotiable deadline. And outdoor weddings come with a slew of elements seeking to destroy those fragile, ethereal blooms every bride wants and every floral designer wants to use. Luckily for me, Kelly wanted succulents and actually fell for kale rosettes while we were looking through Pinterest photos during our first brainstorming session. 

True love. True partnership.

True love. True partnership.

As long as the wedding is a true celebration of love, the challenges and stresses are worth it.

Bridal bouquet recipe: Succulents ( care of Succulent Gardens),  astrantia, majolica spray roses, anemones, various grasses, willow eucalyptus, seeded eucalyptus.

Bridal bouquet recipe: Succulents ( care of Succulent Gardens),  astrantia, majolica spray roses, anemones, various grasses, willow eucalyptus, seeded eucalyptus.

10 bridesmaid bouquets. Simple. Indestructible kale, seeded eucalyptus, and snapdragons in some and moon series dark purple dianthus in others. The kale rosettes were supposed to arrive in a lavender color. Unfortunately, not a stitch of purple tinge to be found. You just take a deep breath and carry on.

10 bridesmaid bouquets. Simple. Indestructible kale, seeded eucalyptus, and snapdragons in some and moon series dark purple dianthus in others. The kale rosettes were supposed to arrive in a lavender color. Unfortunately, not a stitch of purple tinge to be found. You just take a deep breath and carry on.

Love this oak and this view of it. 

Love this oak and this view of it. 

The original plan for this beauty (created by Succulent Gardens, not me) was to strap it on the oak's trunk. But when we visited the ceremony site the morning of the wedding, we discovered a 20 to 30 feet distance between the trunk and where the couple would be exchanging vows (see previous picture). We ended up "MacGyvering" two bendable branches together (with zip ties) and strapping the heart (with zip ties) to this beautiful upside-down arch created by the branches. A designer is never without zip ties.

The original plan for this beauty (created by Succulent Gardens, not me) was to strap it on the oak's trunk. But when we visited the ceremony site the morning of the wedding, we discovered a 20 to 30 feet distance between the trunk and where the couple would be exchanging vows (see previous picture). We ended up "MacGyvering" two bendable branches together (with zip ties) and strapping the heart (with zip ties) to this beautiful upside-down arch created by the branches. A designer is never without zip ties.

So, I was lucky enough to work with a bride who embraced the elements and found pine cones and succulents just as beautiful as peonies and garden roses.

I really wished I could have combined flowers with the succulents. But these dahlias would have had a total meltdown before the guests arrived to the reception. The only way I could use them was to decapitate the blooms and float them in clear bowls of water.

I really wished I could have combined flowers with the succulents. But these dahlias would have had a total meltdown before the guests arrived to the reception. The only way I could use them was to decapitate the blooms and float them in clear bowls of water.

The evening sky is reminiscent of the succulents in Kelly's bouquet. Thank you, sky! :)))

The evening sky is reminiscent of the succulents in Kelly's bouquet. Thank you, sky! :)))

Full moon rising over the reception site. Sky still contributing to the purple palette. Thank you, full moon.

Full moon rising over the reception site. Sky still contributing to the purple palette. Thank you, full moon.

In the end, the greatest lessons I learned from this wedding were to not fight the elements, they will always win, remember to drink water, and in the future try my best to attract pragmatic, "sees the beauty in all types of flora" brides- like Kelly- to work with. If I had tried to fill the space with fragile blooms I would have failed miserably.

The end.

And the beginning... Sweet!

Beautiful photography by Stacy Keck

Beautiful photography by Stacy Keck

Peace, love, and happiness, my friends.