Friday, March 25, 2011

Why get a simple bouquet of flowers for your wedding day when you could spend the next 4 months digging through flea markets, antique stores, second hand shops, and graves for vintage brooches? Right?

Look out. Today I discovered Brooch Bouquets.

What is a brooch bouquet you ask?
I had planned on finding some simple orange blossoms the day before the wedding, maybe roses or tiger lilies. And then today I came across a knob bouquet which then lead me to discover the dreaded brooch bouquet. My God, no, the horror. The horror because immediately my mind flashed to fond memories of Amy and I sewing rhinestone buttons onto elastics to create button bracelets in ninth grade. It flashed to the 15 or so brooches my Nana Irene left Mom and I. It flashed to the 2-3 jewelry boxes of Nana Irene's other, cheaper or possibly broken brooches and clip on earrings. It flashed to the brooches Amy and her grandmother Ghee gave me as gifts over the years. It realized how much fun it would be showing Mom the new pieces I could find, as she loves vintage jewelry possibly even more than I. The horror because I knew the simple blossom bouquet I was most likely going to buy at Whole Foods the day before our wedding had just been swapped with four months of trips to flea markets, second hand stores, and vintage shops. Unwrapping a plastic sheath and cutting a rubber band had been exchanged for painstakingly wrapping green floral wire through pins and filigree. Some folks even make matching "Groom's Pins" as boutonnieres. 

There was no looking back now.
If you love this look, I highly recommend visiting the original creator of the Brooch Bouquet, Amanda at Fantasy Floral Designs. Whenever possible, I feel like the artist or creator of an original idea should be credited, and this is one heck of an idea. She has a number of beautiful creations, and when you think about the fact that so many quality vintage pieces are in one bouquet, $350 actually doesn't seem like such a bad price. The quality is gorgeous, and I enter into my own project knowing full well it won't be quite as lovely as her exquisite works!

However, for myself I am going to learn how to make one. The whole appeal of this project to me is the connection to my Nana Irene and a way to bring her into my wedding day.  The brooches I have been given by friends and other family also play a huge role in deciding to preemptively toss my real flower bouquet. Okay, okay--as well as the excuse for trips to flea markets, second hand stores, and vintage shops. Ryan is already itching to start flea marketin' once the weather turns a bit warmer, and having a treasure hunt in mind is all the more fun. Ryan himself collects retro gaming systems, and it has us out not only to flea markets, but also auctions and garage sales throughout the spring. In the next few months I'm going to be looking for affordable (cheap) brooches and vintage button flower earrings in pale blues, oranges, and creams, ivories, whites and rhinestones.
Nana Irene's brooches, as well as a few Nana Dee Dee
and Mom have given me. Irene was my great grandmother
who loved antiques, sales, color, and IHOP,
and Dee Dee is my feisty, amazing grandmother.

I gathered together the brooches I brought with me to the west, and I've got pictures here to share. I already have one little bee, whose shape as a bee immediately forgives its pink stones. (Hey, there's gotta be some small splashes of other colors too I figure). I also have my enameled skunk Mom gave me when I graduated college. I think these are a great starting point. In a small black velvet box somewhere in this apartment is an orange sunflower set Amy and Ghee gave me, and somewhere back home is the beloved yellow enamel and pearl pansy pin I wore through high school.

I'm excited for my wedding project. We want the wedding to be simple, but it's got to be us too. And not only do I love my collection of family favorite vintage jewelry pieces, but Ryan loves to yell, "MY BROOCH, MY BROOCH, SOMEONE STOLE MY BROOCH!" whenever electric lights go out.

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