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Monday, July 1, 2013

ILLUMINATING CENTERPIECE

LIGHTING UP THE NIGHT

If you are receiving guests outdoors, in the evening, lighting is a huge consideration.  Not only for safety, but also to light your food, your table companions, and create proper ambiance.  



With an outdoor wedding and reception and the need for light in mind, I decided to do centerpieces that incorporated their own light.   We wanted to use ivory Roses and fresh Lavender.  Here's how we created the centerpiece.

We spray painted the lanterns (when I say 'we' I mean the groom did it all!) by removing the glass.  Most of these lanterns had simple metal tabs holding the glass.  Some had a little adhesive under the tabs to keep the glass from rattling around, but a little heat from a gas lighter was all that was needed to release them.

We painted the lanterns so they would all look like they belonged together even though none but 2 or 3 matched.  I found most of them on sale, and deeply discounted.  They measured about 2 feet tall.  Some were galvanized metal and some were white painted wood.  We needed the larger scale for the large round tables and to be able to make a substantial floral arrangement inside. We painted them all dark chocolate brown and they looked amazing together.

I used a plastic plant pot liner (had to cut it down a little) and a chunk of soaked oasis for the floral container.

I created a fringe of fern tilting down around the edge to disguise the container once it was in the lantern.
The candle posed a problem.  I wanted a nice fat pillar candle but needed a way to keep it stable amid the florals.  

 I wanted to keep the candle upright in the lantern, and so I heated floral staples or pins (sorry I don't remember the technical name) by grasping them with pliers over the gas flame of my stove.  While hot,  I pushed the pins into the wax with enough remaining to stick down into the oasis and keep the candle from toppling.  Once they cooled, they were quite sturdy.

 With the candle in place, I added two white hydrangea to each side, pushing carefully but firmly into the wet oasis.  It's important to cut the fat stem at an angle.  The hydrangea gives good coverage to the floral foam as well.

 Next, I added 3 Vendella (ivory) roses to the top of the arrangement (2 on one side and one on the other) at the sides of the candle.  I actually put them through the hydrangea into the floral foam.  Again, cut the stem at an angle, long enough to get down into the wet foam and keep the rose heads just nestled in and a little above the hydrangea.
 Continuing with roses (you will need to clean them up a little, pulling off the ugly outer petals and any leaves until you have a beautiful clean rose), I added six more roses spilling out the front because I wanted to leave the lantern door open and have the flowers tumbling out, making a larger and more beautiful centerpiece.

 Angle your stems into the oasis so that your flower heads are at different levels and angles and there are no large gaps between
I found theses amazing thistles and added two to the top, bridging the gap between the roses and the candle.  Be aware of the width of the lantern, as you will have to fit this arrangement into it when you are done.  

I added some eucalyptus to the front on each side

and this really cute pinkish floral shrub (native to New Zealand) and I can't remember its name.  It reminded me of heather, or tea tree, though.

 a sprig above near the candle and one, larger, below under the roses
and then beautiful, fragrant, fresh lavender 
in and around the roses and candle
a sprig at a time
layering
Make sure you finish the back with greens and lavender as well,
as this will be visible in the lantern glass
I added sprigs of rosemary here and there
to add to the fragrance and fill in any holes.  When you think you are done,
look at it from all angles and fill any holes with fern or rosemary, or small pieces of the eucalyptus

carefully, carefully set it in the bottom of the lantern
I had to tuck the fern down around the container.
Ready to light the candle and enjoy!

We used them first as aisle decoration for the wedding ceremony, and then carried them to the tables

I loved this look.  The door open with the flowers spilling out allowed access to light the candles as the day turned to evening.  The light illuminated the flowers and warmed the lavender and rosemary, giving off more fragrance.  And so much better at eye level!





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