I've been friends with Randa for the better part of 6 years. We met through a guy I was dating, and as I recall the interaction went like this:
There was a band playing at a local bar that the guy I was dating knew, so we went out to see them. A bunch of his co-workers joined us at the bar, and there was the usual "hi-hello" greeting you would give to some people you had never met before. Our friendly chatter progressed throughout the night as it would with a fun new acquaintance. Fast forward several long island iced teas, a trip to the powder room together (as ladies do), and a stop on the way back upstairs for free popcorn (because, popcorn.), and then it happened...
"Why aren't we FRIENDSSSSS?!?" -one of us (it's all a bit fuzzy)
"We shoodbe FRIENDS!!!" -the other
So that was it. Our bond was forged. There were a few more group hangs, but she soon became my rock and we were drinking wine on the couch and having dinner dates on the reg. When I bought a house literally 3 blocks from her house and our magical love only grew.
Then Steve came along. I knew he was something special... Ran was just smitten! I witnessed the whole of their courtship, and was overjoyed when she texted me from Tennessee with a photo of a ring and told me that Steve had proposed by a waterfall on a beautiful hike in the mountains. Cue the wedding bells.
The engagement was short, but they had already chosen the most perfect venue, hired me on as their Florist/Wedding Stylist/Day-of Coordinator/Secret Keeper/Best Friend (as if they had a choice), and asked a friend to do the honors of marrying them. It was to be a small family affair with only immediate family and close friends. It was going to be wonderful.
Fast forward again to October 10th -wedding day. I had done flowers for over 100 weddings. Flowers for friends, co-workers, and wonderful-beautiful-amazing couples that had sought me out via the internet. This one was different. It's hard to describe what it was like to make the bouquet that your best friend would carry on her wedding day. I had kept my emotions in check for the few days prior, but once I made it to the cottage where Randa was getting ready, all bets were off. I was nervous. I was excited. It was happening.
I knocked on the door, and I think her mom answered. "Oh, what beautiful flowers!" She said. "Yes, thanks..." I was just focused on finding Ran. I was directed down a hallway where she was getting her make-up done. "Ran..?" I called, shocked by the shakiness of my voice. I slowly pushed open the door and moved past the on-lookers in the room. She was sitting in front of the window, getting her lashes put on so she didn't see me at first. "Ran.." I said again, and when she looked up at me, I lost. my. sh**.
I literally couldn't speak. It was just tears. Every single wine night, dog walk, dinner date, movies on the couch in our pajamas, sick-day soup delivery, post break-up sobfest on her shoulders of the past 6 years came flooding back to me all at once. My person was getting married.
She hugged me. I wrecked her makeup. I barely was able to choke out the "I made this for you" that I tell all my brides as I hand them their bridal bouquet. Mike, the photographer, was standing in the corner, snapping away, in awe. He finally asked what our relationship to one another was because what florist has a meltdown when delivering bouquets? I mean, really. We both laughed and Randa explained to him that I was her best friend while I told him, "I just really like flowers," as I tried to save my own eye makeup.
The bouquet itself was an organic mix of white anemones, queen anne's lace, seeded and silver dollar eucalyptus, blue viburnum berries and greens, blue thistle, scabiosa pods, and orange crocosmia. I finished it off with a mix of trailing ribbons. It was perfect for her. Natural, fun, and a little unexpected.
Randa was probably the happiest I've ever seen her as we arrived at the beautiful Warren Woods State Park for their first look. She was was beaming as I took some quick pics of her with her bouquet before she went down to see Steve. I could barely get her to look at the camera, and it appears that Mike had a hard time, too!
"Sorry, there's a really cute boy down there."
The trees and the light and everything about that day was absolutely gorgeous!
The ceremony and reception were held at Journeyman Distillery in Three Oaks, MI. I tell you what. That place has my heart! The industrial vibe, natural light through all the windows, exposed brick, cement and reclaimed wood floors! Not to mention the cafe lights strung up everywhere. Be still my heart. It was so easy to decorate. On the bar, I placed square chalkboards with a list of the hand-crafted drinks that Steve and Randa had chosen from Journeyman's extensive beverage menu. Metal intials and marquee light ampersand along with vintage liquor decanters and bottles filled with wildflowers completed the look.
The family table (referred to as the Viking table) was adorned with 2 larger arrangements in birch cylinders along with a simple garland of italian ruscus and seeded eucalyptus and silver mercury glass votives, while simple bud vases filled with wildflowers and silver mercury glass votives lined the center of the all guest tables. Each guest also had the most adorable jar of Michigan made honey waiting for them at their seats!
The ceremony backdrop was something I dreamed up especially for the two of them. They wanted to get married in front of the copper whiskey Still, and didn't want it covered in any way. I came up with a few ideas, but they all seemed too fussy for Randa and Steve. I wanted to bring their love of nature inside, as well as the autumn vibe, so I had my dad build 2 huge boxes out of pallet wood and fashioned it so I could stand branches in them, and covered the top of the box in preserved moss to bring in more of a woodsy feel and hide the mechanics.
The week before the wedding, I took a drive up to my family's property in northern Michigan to hunt for the perfect birch branches for the boxes. My parents and I cut down some old birch trees and I used the larger logs to cluster around the base of the pallet boxes, where I also set some larger silver mercury glass hurricanes, and cut fresh birch branches with their changing leaves still attached.
It was magical. The copper of the Still and the autumnal foliage were a match made in heaven.
The rest of the evening was filled with yard games, Journeyman's OCG (Old Country Goodness --HIGHLY recommend!), hand-crafted drinks, a delicious meal and dessert, and lots of love and dancing and happiness! It really was a perfect day.