When the weather outside is frightful, San Francisco floral designer Claire Marie Johnston makes blooms look delightful. Her secret? A pink-and-white palette, budding branches, and festive trimmings. â€śWeddings should never feel cold, even in winter,â€ť says Claire Marie Johnston, owner of Flowers Claire Marie in San Francisco. Her aesthetic, though modern, isnâ€™t sterile: She favors romantic arrangements that brim with garden-fresh varietals. Johnston is also known for surprise touches that complement her designs, such as bowls of candy and pink sea salts. â€śIâ€™m big on the little things that make guests feel appreciated,â€ť she says.
â€śFlowers can look so stark this time of year, but this bouquet is full of life,â€ť says Johnston. She mixed frosty white hellebores and narcissus with soft-pink hyacinths and green anemones, added lilies of the valley and mini calla lilies for fullness, and then tucked in sprigs of juniper and velvety lambâ€™s ear for texture.
â€śA lot of cold-weather weddings incorporate bare branches, but I like blossoming ones -- they hint at the coming spring,â€ť says Johnston. Quince, paired here with French tulips, is an ideal choice as itâ€™s available at the beginning of winter and offers both height and color. â€śThis arrangement makes a big impact when you walk into the room,â€ť she says. Display just one -- on your guest-book table, as a seating-card display, or at cocktail hour, shown here. Johnston placed smaller vessels of flowers on the surrounding tables and added garlands of olive and bay leaves.
Linen rental from La Tavola Linen (latavolalinen.com).
This inviting tablescape strikes the perfect balance between elegant and cozy. Pull it off with simple centerpieces that use just one or two types of blossoms, a pared-down palette of rosy white and antique gold, and lots of ultra-flattering candlelight. Here, densely clustered stems of white cyclamen and dusty miller are anchored in brass vases and placed among slender taper candles in varying holders. Even the libations -- white wine and rose Champagne -- cast a warm glow over the enchanting scene.
Jamali Floral & Garden Supplies brass vases (jamaligarden.com). Lâ€™Objet swan salt cellars (l-objet.com). Lenox â€śEternal Goldâ€ť wine glass and Champagne flute (both at lenox.com). Restoration Hardware side chairs (restorationhardware.com).
Johnston suggests welcoming loved ones with Fika Bakery princess cakes, which are Swedish delicacies covered with marzipan. â€śAdd name tags, and they become place cards,â€ť she says.
The Details: Lâ€™Objet â€śAegean Goldâ€ť dinner plate and dessert plate (both at l-objet.com). Mepra â€śDue Ice Oroâ€ť flatware (lekkerhome.com). Calligraphy by Deborah Delaney (212-877-8773). Lake City Craft Co. quilling paper (quilling.com).
Fawn over the flowers these real brides chose for their bundles.See the Blooms