The Artful Arranger
“Tell me what you’ve been imagining since you were six.” That’s how Andrea Halliday kicks off consultations with the many brides and grooms she works with at Table & Tulip, her South End floral-and-event-design company. Since 2011, Halliday and her team have brought clients’ wedding-day visions to life with custom arrangements featuring fresh blooms and greenery grown in their own outdoor garden. “Our specialty is the design process,” says Halliday, who ran a small flower shop on Newbury Street before launching her own business. “[It’s] about creating a meaningful experience for people, whether it’s transforming a space with lush displays, designing a tabletop with flowers to match exquisite china, or meeting with brides to gush over gorgeous textiles for their wedding tables.”
How should the venue influence a couple’s floral-design choices?
All flowers can be redefined for most any occasion; their pairings are really what define their look. A dahlia next to something like fresh herbs is beautiful for a more-rustic wedding. Dahlias paired with something sculptural, like a rose, give a much more formal look. It’s also important to think about the bigger picture. If a venue is very dark or has interesting architecture, I recommend things like mirrors and candlelight. Traditional Boston venues have a lot of dark wood and really need that touch of sparkle that candles and mirrors can easily add. For venues with white walls and light, colorful and airy arrangements are beautiful.
What are clients asking for these days in their bouquets and centerpieces?
Bouquets were once very tight and compact, but now everything is looser. People also want to see more stems of flowers, which was popular in the 1930s. Coral, peach, magenta, and lilac are all colors that we’ve been working with quite a bit. Couples are breaking away from monochromatic arrangements and are more interested in colorful ones. Wrist corsages are another example of something old coming back, with really beautiful ones done as sewn cuffs of floral with satin ribbon tied on.
How can ceremony arrangements be repurposed later in the evening?
One way is to move them to the dance floor. Having something to put in front of those big black band speakers is always nice, and tall arrangements are really wonderful for that. When you move the flowers to a different space, they get reinvented. If you have an aisle treatment, like lanterns or topiaries, you can move those to the reception bars or bathrooms. Putting arrangements on the escort-card, guest-sign-in, or cake tables is also wonderful.
What are some unusual ways you’ve incorporated flowers into a reception?
One of my favorite less-conventional flower treatments is a suspension installation. Creating a canopy above the couple and their guests on the dance floor, for example, can have an enchanting effect that catapults the overall event-design vision to a whole new level. The ambiance and feeling
that unexpected fresh floral creates cannot be underestimated, whether it’s a complete lush sky of ruffled carnations or ethereal tendrils of delicate green and flowering vines.
How do you work with couples concerned about the environmental impact of their wedding?
Being green is such a noble trend. My team and I have designed in eclectic vessels recycled from the couple’s own collection of vases. Another great way to go green is to forgo arrangements that require floral foam, which can take hundreds of years to biodegrade. I try to avoid using it whenever possible.
Are fake flowers ever appropriate?
Whenever possible, fresh is best. However, there is an appropriate time and place to go faux. I had the pleasure of designing keepsake flowers for a bride who was in a hospital that couldn’t permit real elements; we custom-made crêpe paper flowers for her bouquet so she was able to keep it with her during treatments.
What are your thoughts on DIY arrangements?
I can completely sympathize with couples considering curating their own arrangements. My advice to them is to consider the time and stress that might go into designing, and keep it simple! Budgets challenge most couples—just be wary of saving money in one area to create more work or anxiety for a day that might already have a lot of moving parts.
Should the parents and grandparents of the couple wear or carry flowers?
Giving a personal flower to the parents and/or grandparents is a great way of saying “thank you” to supportive family members and including them in the special day. The small gesture of remembering Grandmother’s favorite flower, or re-creating Dad’s own wedding boutonniere, to give them on your own wedding day is very special—it brings the sentiment of love on the wedding day full circle.
461 Shawmut Ave., Boston, 617-262-3100, tableandtulip.com.
If your favorite flower blooms in spring but you’re tying the knot in December, try one of these convincing stand-ins, recommended by Andrea Halliday.
Spring Flower: Peony
Winter Doppelgänger: Japanese Ranunculus
It is similarly exquisite and surprises guests.
Spring Flower: Poppy
Winter Doppelgänger: Anemone
It has the same energy as its crinkly cousin. It also comes in a variety of cooler colors, such as periwinkle, lavender, and white.
Spring Flower: Narcissus
Winter Doppelgänger: Hellebore
These are similar in their star shape and fragility.
Spring Flower: Lily
Winter Doppelgänger: Amaryllis
This is our new favorite in the flower family. They’re long-lasting, great focal points, and come in many colors, shapes, and sizes.
Spring Flower: Lilac
Winter Doppelgänger: Andromeda
It has similar texture and movement. It also lasts out of water, so it’s great for floral suspension, boutonnieres, and garlands.
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