My nephewâ€™s wedding is the main reason for our trip to New York. I had promised to help my sister with flowers for the church and here they are. After several visits to the flower market a week before the event, we decided the flowers should be all cream or white in keeping with the wedding theme. The church, St. Jean Baptiste on the Upper East Side is stunningly appointed, with beautiful stained glass, an opulent gold altar, paintings all over the walls and ceilingsâ€¦ just stunning. It would have been difficult to compete with such a stunning setting so we decided to just do a few large arrangements in classic white to just highlight the event. In the first picture is one of two enormous (4-5 foot diameter arrangements) at the start of the main aisle of the church. These arrangements were made with double white lilacs, viburnum, white French tulips, white peonies, Casablanca lilies, white hydrangeas and green ivy. The arrangement looks smaller than it really was and the dark surroundings made for less than stellar photos. I should have taken shots in natural light. During the wedding all of the lights were turned on so the church was brighter.
The second photo is of one of the arrangements at the foot of the altar and these were more vertical arrangements made up of extra long white or cream delphiniums, white french tulips and hydrangeas. They were in white urns that were placed on low columns. On the spectacular altar at the back of the church we placed 12 potted white azalea topiaries (trees) as well as 12 potted azalea plants that brightened up the back of the church but with a very simple massing of white flowers that climbed perhaps 3 levels or up to 15-20 feet above floor level. The fourth photo is a close-up of an azalea plant.
We brought 150 feet of green roping (leaves) and twisted them around all of balusters or posts holding up the handrails on the steps leading up to the church from Lexington Avenue. Each baluster was then topped with a massive white ribbon. This photo shows just a few of the balusters but we decorated nearly 20 in all. At the top of the main steps were the two most enormous classical urns I have ever carried in my life (obscured in photo). At about 4 feet in height, they were huge and heavy. In them we put viburnum, another white flowered vine, French tulips, hydrangeas, etc. We had also acquired about 60 kilos of white dogwood branches (six feet in length!) but I couldnâ€™t get them to the church (too heavy) and figure out how to make them stand up without toppling over so we canned that idea at last minute. I didnâ€™t get good photos of these large arrangements but you see bits of them at the top of the banisters in this photo.
While there were only a few large arrangements, what was amazing was the logistics needed to pull this all off. In Manila, I can call on a crew of 4-5 assistants and more hired hands if necessary to do something of this magnitude. In New York we did it ourselves, from buying the flowers (many delivered to the apartment), hauling it back home, prepping the flowers the day before, getting the urns and flowers to the church, watering everything and cleaning it all up when the wedding was finished. We had a trolley on which I figure we hauled nearly 500 kilos of materiel to and fro! I must say on the morning of the wedding, a flock of filipinos, perhaps 20 of my cousins, came and made short shrift of the baluster wrapping task! The neighborhood residents (including the tons of Filipino nurses at nearby Lenox Hill Hospital) must have been amused by the site of 20 crazed Filipinos roping balusters and making chismis or better yet, belting out Visayan wedding songs from the top of the church steps… At any rate, the wedding went splendidly and the flowers added a nice touch to an already beautiful and opulent church setting. Congratulations to the lucky couple!