Saturday, April 24, 2010

LOOKING BACK: REAL BOUQUETS BY VATEL MANILA (PART DEUX)

During the first 15 post, I mentioned that I don't have any particular favorite bouquet. Indeed, I don't. This set contains some of Vatel Manila's earliest works, aside from some of the newest ones. Every now and then, I wonder if I have become better at this (I really do hope so!).


Every now and then, we accede to requests to make all-red roses bouquets. Really, how many times can one re-think a red-roses concept? For this project, we met the Jakarta-based couple only a couple of days before their wedding, imagine that? All throughout the preps we only dealt with the bride's Mom so imagine how difficult that must have been (kidding!). Seriously, here's an all-red roses affair with random breaks of Hypericum berries and acrylic crystals.

How does one make a bridal bouquet for a grammar-police bride? Ha ha! Kidding aside, Anne was one of Vatel's earliest brides. We remember her with fondness, and also for the fact that we learned not to promise something - or anything - we cannot really give. We've learned most of our lessons the hard way, yes.

For Anne, a full bouquet of chartreuse Cymbidium orchids, berries and Carnations.

Our first peonies project. I learned to work properly with this super delicate flower only last year. Anyhow, FYI: in Winter (December - January), peonies come from New Zealand. In Spring time (March - May), peonies come from Holland. Now you know! :-)

Photo credit: Megapixels Studio

We've had our idols and influences when we were just beginning. One of them had been Ms. Judith Berenguer-Testa of Floriade. I really admired her work for some time to a point when a bride asked me to copy one of her bouquets, I readily agreed (with a little change, of course). *sighs* Those were the days.

These days, we actually look far beyond our shores for inspiration just so that we do not get influenced by what is done locally. Here, we made a rather wispy number using Holland Matthiola, wax flowers, and Lilac. Inserted randomly are succulents and Cymbidium orchids for that garden-y feel.

The Manila floral arrangement scene is a very competitive one. Although you wish florists would actually remain friends despite being at each other's throats most of the time (at least, in one's mind only), there's just too much artistry and talent going on that if you suddenly find yourself a bad florist in Manila, I think we could consider that a form of mortal sin along the likes of getting a bad photographer or a bad band. I mean, seriously?!

I always inform my brides to take advantage of seasonal flowers to ensure that they get unique arrangements that might take another year to replicate or copy. Here, we used a mix of sunflowers from Benguet & Lilac from New Zealand. Another dream come true for a bride who's always wanted to use sunflowers for her wedding. Oh, you should see the cake!

An amusing coincidence comes with this project because a week before this wedding, a local wedding magazine featured befeathered bouquets which pretty much confirmed my suspicions that there's also some form of subtle trending din pala in the flower industry that's akin to fashion. And just like trends, of course, styles do change which is why we never followed this up with another feathered number (that had to wait until December).

For this stunning bouquet, we used vanilla-white Mini Callas from Holland with inserts of Queen Anne's Lace. A vintage sequined ribbon holds everything perfectly in place. The bride giggled her thanks over the phone since she wasn't there when I delivered it.

Photo Credit: Andy Samaniego

The Cymbidium orchid has been our favorite orchid since we started in 2005. Not only is it available all-year round, it also is one of the sturdiest (think 7 days without water; the bride reported that the bouquet still looked fresh as ever). Not cheap, but the benefits of using it definitely outweighs the cost.

This was our very first church wedding setup (December 2008). Long story; you can go read the actual entry to see how this came to be. This was the last wedding for the day at the St. Pancratius Chapel at Paco Park so we had the option of being as creative as possible. Think par lights at the facade, drapes and extra lights inside the chapel to hide the two fugly doors beside the altar, the works! We even lighted all the crypt areas around the reception space to remove the dark spots in the venue. The things one can do when everything (and everyone) is at your beck and call! Beautiful wedding, beautiful weather. A blessed moment indeed. :-)

Vatel Manila is lucky enough to do some not-your-usual weddings in 2009 like this Jewish wedding at The Mango Farm. Nothing escaped the groom's attention and if you weren't paying attention to the details being discussed, you're one dead person. Even the colors of the flowers for the wristers weren't spared (they have to have the priestly colors; wait, don't start!) but all of the preps were necessary to ensure that this wedding became a good example of how a proper Jewish wedding should be. VM is honored to have worked with Mike & Suzette.

For the bridal bouquet, we finally made an all-white rose bouquet, but this time using Gypsophila (a.k.a. Million Stars). A brooch holds the ribbon in place. Today, this bouquet sits quietly inside the bride's glass book case, all-dried up and brown but still complete like the first day it was made. The bride says it makes her remember how lovely and meaningful her wedding had been. :-)

2008 was a year of cascading bouquets and we made only two of these beauties. This all-white Cymbidium cascade went perfectly with the bride's hairdo, reflecting a bygone era of glamour and style.

Photo credit: Paul Vincent Photography

Unfortunately, I do not have a close-up shot of the bridal bouquet (the one on the left is an entourage arrangement), but this was the one and only time we used those gorgeous green Ecuadorian roses. Would totally love to use them again soon. :-)

Photo credit: Jun Valbuena Photography

This was the third (and last) time we made use of Cymbidium orchids and Carnations to make a cascading bouquet arrangement, but this one's unique in that one doesn't get to use Cymbidium orchids in old-rose hue all the time. It's one of those times when we feel lucky to be able to use a different shade other than the usual pale pink.

Here's 2009's last pink number: fuchsia Ecuadorian roses mixed with light pink Limonium and pink Nerines, here still half opened having arrived at dawn direct from the airport. The Nerine remains fresh for a very, very long time which pretty much explains why it's so bloody expensive, too. For this project, I suspect we used the Summer variety (the Nerine bowdenii), one of the 25 species of Nerines grown in South Africa (where it is a native) and in similar weather conditions like New Zealand and Australia. (Note: by Summer, we refer to the Western season.)

At least 20-25 open stems of this can totally change how a bouquet looks. One must order way ahead, however, and not many Dangwa importers are willing to do that for you unless you get the minimum number of stems which is 50 or thereabouts. Regardless, it's still worth it for a bouquet that will remain uniquely yours for a lifetime. :-)

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