The weather may be cooler, but many of the flowers and foliage on parade right now are nothing less than fiery. The design duo behind San Franciscoâ€™s Studio Choo show how to pair the most vivid offerings with weathered branches for a breathtaking effect.
This wreath is made with curved driftwood and wispy manzanita boughs. You can order branches like these from your florist, or just cut them from your own yard. Ones with bends and crooks are the easiest to work with. The finishing touches: crimson amaryllis, inky privet berries, white berzelia buds, purply artichokes, and, for a bright pop, persimmons.
This imaginative escort-cards-slash favors setup looks amazing but will help you cut costs. The duo used a drill press to make holes in large lengths of naturally flat driftwood. (Tool-phobic? Have a local carpenter do the dirty work for you. And if youâ€™re working with round logs, sand them down on one side to prevent rolling.) Then they tucked in the take-home mementos: bud vases filled with astrantia, anemones, orchids, ranunculus, sweetgum, and viburnum. Calligraphed cards were secured to the glass vials with double- sided tape to direct revelers to their seats. For a twist, use inexpensive mismatched bottles, or even creamers and sugar bowls from thrift stores.
This lush tablescape was fashioned by hollowing out a piece of driftwood and concealing the container inside, making the arrangement appear as though itâ€™s sprouting straight from the log. Next, it was loaded it up with blazing blooms, including amaranth, amaryllis, orchids, peonies, ranunculus, and scabiosas. The verdant backdrop was courtesy of Shelldance Orchid Gardens, in Pacifica, California, an exotic-plants sanctuary open to the public and, happily, available for weddings.
â€śWe like to think our arrangements look like little gardens,â€ť says Alethea Harampolis (below, left) of the lush, earthy groupings she and Jill Rizzo are known for. Thatâ€™s not surprising given her former life as a garden designer and Rizzoâ€™s childhood spent in her momâ€™s flower shop. True to form, the partners, who opened Studio Choo in 2009, turned to the trees for the displays seen here. â€śWeâ€™re branch hoarders!â€ť says Rizzo. â€śLately, weâ€™ve been into oaks and sweetgumâ€” the changing colors of their leaves in fall are like natureâ€™s tie-dye.â€ť
We asked floral designer Amy Gardella to show us how to make the best of fall blooms these season. Her secret for success? Choose unexpected varieties of flowers that are readily available, add berries, then set them all against a dramatic backdrop of jet-black, which helps softer hues come alive. Here, compotes and towering tapers highlight blushing clusters of peonies and amaryllis, along with gloriosa lilies and andromeda.
By incorporating the same inky privet berries as in the table centerpieces, this bouquet takes on the rich feel of a Dutch painting (and stays cohesive with the rest of the decor). "Brides want romance on their wedding day, but not all go for over-the-top girlie," notes Gardella.
To balance the pale pinks and peaches of these utterly feminine dinner-plate dahlias, roses, ranunculus, and andromeda, she used the dark fruit, and a plum ribbon gives the feathery clutch a sophisticated edge.
"The vessels play as important a role as the flowers do," says Gardella of these charcoal vases and amber-glass jars. Show them off by spacing them apart along a mantel, then filling each with only a few blooms, like the calla lilies, roses, ranunculus, and tree peonies here. If your venue has white walls, she says, "sub in a few black blossoms for the same effect." Consider using chocolate cosmos, black dahlias, and black calla lilies.
As the owner of Seaport Flowers in Brooklyn, New York, Amy Gardella has been helping couples throw chic urban affairs since 1997. Starting this fall, sheâ€™ll work with newlyweds at home, too, by offering interior design services. In the meantime, those who seek to make her modern yet romantic style their own can browse the vintage furniture and home decor available in her shop.
Fawn over the flowers these real brides chose for their bundles.See the Blooms