My cousin Esther got married this past spring, and I was happily recruited to help with all the decorations, flowers, and event design for the joyous occasion! Esther is like a big sister to me, especially since we share the exact same genes (I’m not sure how scientific this is, but my dad is her dad’s brother and my mom is her mom’s mother). We have all the same relatives and call them all the exact same titles in Chinese, and if you know Chinese extended relative titles, you know there are always too many to remember on your own! My sister and I were blessed to be able to see Esther and her brother Jere twice as much during our childhood and even now, as our family gatherings can be few and far between.
Esther’s wedding was definitely a reason for our families to gather and celebrate! And, oh my, it was a blast. :) We feasted, we wedding-prepped, we stayed up late, and we walked around and lounged around doing nothing in particular, but loved every minute of togetherness.
You might remember that when I got married (5 years ago just last week :)), I put together my own wedding bouquets and flower arrangements (and Esther actually helped out SO much too!). This time, I think I was better prepared for the daunting task — I did a lot of research, made “recipes” and sketches for my helpers and knew a little bit more in general about flower care and aesthetics.
Esther wanted a romantic, lush bouquet with lots of white, pink, and peonies. We also worked in some ranunculus, roses, pink spray roses, silver brunia berries, and dusty miller. I love the texture and color that the silver berries and dusty miller leaves add to the bouquet.
Esther also requested silk boutonnieres since Silas is highly allergic to many flowers. I put these together before we even put in the flower order, but it was a happy coincidence that we ended up using a lot of the same flowers! We even had pussy willows incorporated into the altar decorations up front.
Oh, and we can’t forget to mention the cutest little ring bearer and flower girl (aka my nephew and my cousin’s daughter)!
The venue was a beautiful light-filled church in Vancouver. It had a gorgeous, exposed-beam ceiling and little twinkle lights strung up all over. We didn’t have to do too much to the space, since it was decorated in purple for Easter already. We decided to keep the purple up and just added some pink in there. You can also see the large arrangements up front that one of Esther’s bridesmaids helped me put together.
Over at the reception site (Westwood Plateau), I had another team of people who helped me set up everything for the dinner. What a lifesaver they all were! Here are some shot of the reception area. I love that we included fresh flowers on the seating chart and the banner (flowers can be surprisingly resilient; we used hot glue!)
For the table centerpieces, we decided to pair some rustic touches to match the reception room with some softer, romantic florals. Each table centerpiece consisted of a twine-wrapped wine bottle, a lace-covered mason jar with soft florals, a white pillar candle, and a framed table number. All the elements sat on top of a wooden tree slice, which rested on top of a linen table runner.
As favors, we decided to set up a tea buffet for guests to help themselves to various flavors of tea. My sister hand-carried all of this tea to Vancouver from China! She spoke to the tea vendors she purchased the tea from and made brewing and tasting notes for each different type of tea. We typed those up and made little cards for guests to take home with them along with their teas.
Here are a couple of photos of my (and Esther’s) grandparents from the photo garland behind the tea table. The black and white one in the middle top is a photo of my dad’s parents, and the one to the right of that is a photo of my mom’s parents.
For the head table, I wanted to keep it pretty simple with just one main element that draws your attention. I enlisted the help of my cousin Janet to help me create a banner with Esther and Silas’ names in calligraphy. She did a fabulous job, and it looked beautiful with fresh flowers and hung up in front of the white drapery and twinkle lights (that Esther’s architect/pastor friend Jon put up for us!).
The wedding ceremony was so beautiful, and the reception was filled with AMAZING food (Hello king crab legs, raw oysters, mussels, cocktail shrimp, and smoked salmon. And that’s just what was on my first plate.), corny MC jokes courtesy of Esther’s brother Jere, and plenty of heartfelt speeches. It was so markedly evident that Esther and SIlas are dearly loved! Love you, Es! Welcome to the family, Silas. :)