A few months ago Angel Swanson called me asking if I’d like to collaborate on a tablescape for the Boutwell Studio/Wedding Chick’s Style Lab. I asked her to share her initial ideas, and she started throwing around words like “preserved butterflies”, “taxodermy”, “specimens”, “test tubes”, “sterile”… but “pretty, of course!”
I asked her what kind of couple would have a wedding like this, and she said, “Two genius scientists who live in a forest and wander out into nature to collect samples of insects and floral specimens.”
This is why I love Angel! Not only because she’s my best friend and I HAVE to love her no matter what crazy stuff she comes up with, but because when she styles events, she is thinking not only of colors and textures, but the story behind the design. This makes it easy to come in and add more juicy details to the story with the florals.
You can see all sorts of details from the Style Lab on Wedding Chicks, Boutwell Studio Blog, and the Love and Splendor blog. But here I will give you the Style Lab from a florist’s perspective! These photos are taken by the incredibly talented and sweet Chenin of Boutwell Studio.
This project was truly a florist’s dream. My task was to find the funkiest specimen-quality collection of flowers. The ones I usually pass by at the flower mart and think, “Wow! That’s really kind of ugly, but beautiful!” Bottlebrush protea, orange gloriosa lilies, leucodendrons, pincushions, kangaroo paws, bromeliads and more. Flowers that have amazing structure on their own, worthy of studying in a lab.
Amanda Rae is holding a giant burst of crazy florals radioactive colors like neon orange, bright yellow, and lime green. Notice the cattleya orchids and gloriosa lilies (the flowers I carried down the aisle on my wedding day!)
For the vessels, we hunted down laboratory containers and sleek bulbous glass vases. Angel already owned a good collection of science vases from Anthropologie. My friend Rachel from Heart of Light borrowed some beakers from the biology lab she works at. CB2 also has a fun selection of lab-ish vases on their website.
This was super cute! See the hanging lightbulbs filled with flowers? My nephews helped me dissect some lightbulbs and turn them into hanging bud vases. I cannot take credit for this idea since I first saw it on Apartment Therapy. This, my friends, is SO MUCH HARDER than it looks. Many lightbulbs were sacrificed during this process.
Beneath that bell jar was the most gorgeous fragrant oncidium orchid plant- the buds smell like vanilla beans!
The test tubes filled with flower parts hanging in the shadow box are actually the bouts and corsages! This was an idea that hit me at 3 am one night. Angel and I each wore one while we were setting up. We felt really cool 🙂
Last but not least, the drowned rats really added to the decor 🙂 Our bangs look like daggers, they’re so sopped with rain! A monumental storm was raging, lightening and thunder was striking, vases were blowing over, and here we are using soaking wet paper towels to try to “dry off” the tablescape so the photographers could take pictures.
While we were setting up, we felt a few sprinkles here and there, but felt confident that our little plastic canopy would keep everything safe. We had no idea that the rain would blow in sideways and upside down, and completely drench us to the core. My boots had puddles in them! My first instinct was to freak out and assume the fetal position, but Angel is so positive and calm in the face of chaos. Her positivity was contagious. In weddings and events, stuff happens and you just have to roll with it! We’ve experienced a few mini-disasters together that we’ve been able to smooth over with cleverness and spontaneity.
Eventually, we decided to start from scratch and set it up inside with the help of Chenin and Amy’s chivalrous husbands, Doug Boutwell and Lane Dittoe. Thanks guys, we couldn’t have done it without you! For about an hour, the storm cleared and soft light came in through the windows, making for some amazing pictures.
Styled By: Angel Swanson of Events of Love & Spendor
Floral Design: The Treasured Petal
Stationary: Wiley Valentine
Rentals: Classic Party Rentals
Dress Designer: Joan Shum
Makeup & Hair: All Made Up Team
Deserts & Goodies: Vanilla Bakeshop
Venue: Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club
Thank you to The Wedding Chicks and Boutwell Studio for allowing me to be a part of something so very special!
Tags: beaker, boutwell studio, exotic flowers, geek chic, ghost chairs, graduated cylinder, hanging vases, lightbulb, love and splendor, nerd, science vases, style lab, test tube, tropical flowers, wedding chicks