*subtitle: Trust me, kids. You do not want to try this at home!
You can find flower-making pictures here, PART 1 here and and PART 3 here.
I had originally planned to use a hot glue gun to attach the flowers to a white sheet, which we could then hang as the backdrop for the ceremony. At the party, we discussed lots of different options and finally came to the conclusion that it might be better to try to attach them to chicken wire. We thought that if they were packed densely enough, the wire wouldn't show.
I had exactly a week between the last day of school and the first day of wedding festivities, so I put off assembling the backdrop until then. Then I was so busy wrapping up other loose ends that I didn't get to it until Wednesday night. My sweetie and the kids were all sleeping, but I had to wait for relatives to arrive from the airport. While I waited, I unrolled the chicken wire and cut it to the size we had planned. Sounds simple, but it wasn't, since the wire kept wanting to roll up and scratch me, and because I had to cut one long skinny piece into three shorter pieces and then wire them together to make one long wide piece. By this time, even our newly-arrived guests were in bed, but I was so excited to see how the finished product would look that I climbed up on the counter and took down all the boxes of flowers from the top of the cabinet. I began to set them out on top of the chicken wire. Then, the excitement faded. Instead of "oooooh, cool!" in my mind, I was like, "oh, crap!" You'll notice that there are no pictures of this part. That's because I was too worried to take pictures.
It looked like I had decided that chicken wire was really pretty, and it would be even prettier if I randomly scattered some white paper flower polka dots in a few spots. Those flowers that had seemed so huge and numerous and overwhelming did not even begin to cover the backdrop.
It was midnight, and I had no idea what to do, so I decided to pull a Scarlett. No, I didn't make the backdrop out of curtains. I just put it all out of the way and told myself that I would figure it out in the morning.
The next day, I had my mom come over, and I set up the whole thing all over again so that she could tell me what to do. She looked at it dubiously and said, "But there were so many flowers! How could this be all of them??" Remember, this was already Thursday, and we had to have everything ready for decorating by Friday afternoon.
We talked about making a tall skinny column or a short wide valance-like-thingy instead of a whole backdrop, but mostly just stood there and stared at it for awhile. Then my mom decided that what we really needed was tulle, to hide some of the chicken wire and make it look more...more...you know...bridey...or something. So we headed for the fabric store where we bought yards and yards of white tulle, and we called our friend Eleanor, who is a genius with making something fabulous out of nothing. Oh, and in the meantime, my friend Gayle had come by and offered to make some more roses after reading about my panic on facebook.
Eleanor left work to come help us try to figure out what the hell to do (she was also at the births of both of my children, so there is a precedent for her dropping whatever she's doing to come help me figure out what the hell to do.) Will helped us hang the gigantic, unwieldy piece of chicken wire on the biggest blank wall in our house -- it happens to be in our bedroom -- and we started experimenting with draping the tulle in various ways to cover the chicken wire, and placing the flowers in different ways to make the sparseness seem purposeful.
I hated it. Hated it. Hated it. No, really, I hated it. Everything we tried. Hated. It looked ugly and tacky and cheap and like what I would have thought was perfect for a wedding when I was five. Actually, it looked like what I would have thought was perfect for a wedding if I had ever been five and completely lacking in taste. Even the magical Eleanor, and my mom the fiber-and-paper-artist couldn't find a way to arrange it that I didn't hate. You'll notice that there are no pictures of this part. That's because I hated it too much to take pictures.
At this point, I was ready to give up on the fucking paper flowers. I was sad about it, because the flowers themselves were beautiful, and we had spent soooooo much time on them already, but I felt like there was no way we could make it work.
I had visions of people showing up at our wedding and saying, "Oh, Seppie must think that that chicken wire is really pretty, and that tulle is reallyreallyreally pretty and fancy and that white paper flower polka dots make everything superfancy and wedding-y. Seppie sure does love chicken wire and tulle!" And then they would go home and talk about what a mistake it is to DIY anything related to wedding decor.
Eleanor had to rush back to work just as Will and my sister's wife, Gina, came in to see how things were going. They tried their best to talk me out of calling off the project completely. The four of us brainstormed ideas until we finally came up with the inspiration to cut the chicken wire into an arch, instead of using it as a full backdrop. This meant that instead of a 5' x 8' solid space, we only had to cover a 1'x16' arch, cutting 24 square feet of flowers off the total we needed. That seemed more do-able, especially when I ran over to Gayle's to pick up the extra roses and found that she had made six huge ones all by herself over the course of the afternoon.
Will and I had planned all along that we would have a date on Thursday night, since that was going to be our last chance to breathe and chillax together before things really got rolling on Friday. It was great to get away, and I felt so much better after eating and having a little quiet time with my sweetie, but this meant that we didn't get back to work on the arch until after 8:00 p.m. This time, the crew consisted of me, my mom, my sister Sierra, and Gina. We all got a little slap-happy, and some of them got a little tipsy. You'll notice that there are no pictures of this part. That's to protect the parties involved.
At any rate, despite the fact that we were working our fingers to the bone, measuring and cutting wire and wrapping tulle and stitching it onto the wire and laying out flowers, we had fun. While we worked, we also created the shot list for the family formals. Nothing like multi-tasking in the final 48 hours before the wedding! We finally went to bed around 1:00am, with the arch cut, the tulle sewn on, but none of the flowers attached.
Coming soon on Party of Six: The final installment of the paper flower saga (with pictures!)