Manzanita Branch Centerpieces

Friday, March 25, 2011

Elegant and exotic, these evergreen shrubs which originate from the north-west region of Canada and the United States are a wildly versatile canvas to design wedding arrangements and centerpieces.

Rustic charm wishing tree; a wonderful alternative to a guestbook
From: The Sweetest Occasion

Perfect for tented affairs and any high ceilings
by: Belvedere Flowers, Philadelphia

Colorful flowerscapes, branches painted silver with votive accents
by: Michael Daigian

Tall vases paired with stones and cybidium orchids
by: JL Designs

Hanging framed photos, cascading crystals
by: Designs in Bloom

How to DIY
(The following taken from WeddingBee, by: Isaac Curtiss)

First of all when creating your own centerpieces for an upcoming event - get the branches first and far in advance, the sooner the better.

(Yes I'm talking to you last-minute-bride and DIY-wedding-planner)

Getting Your Branches:

The branches are typically the wildcard in your centerpiece deck. Will they be big enough,? the right shape? How long will they take to ship? you need more then you think?

All these questions are best answered several weeks if not months before your upcoming wedding...not the day before. These branches are already expensive enough to ship without trying to do it NEXT DAY AIR! Ouch.

Manzanita Branches are just that, branches, they are natural and they differ greatly from one another, they vary in quality based on origin, harvest time, curing time, specific species (there are 106 species of manzanita, "little apple" e.g. any tree or shrub from the genus Arctostaphylos.)

Point being, even when ordering from an established company such as Artisans Manzanita or Blooms and Branches you can never be sure if your first manzanita order is going to exactly match your needs unless you have ordered from that particular supplier in the past. Even then, different sources and harvest times amount to a certain degree of variability from order to order.

Finding The Right Vase, Base or Container & Fill:

So get your branches, then get your vases to accommodate them as vases are easier to find and adapt to the branches rather then the other way around. As a manzanita supplier I have found with a little searching online or around town it isn't hard to find a good vase or container. Containers are somewhat seasonal as with the decor, so glass or white is great with the wedding crystal theme - often used with white or silver branches. Cream colored ceramic or green Mache' containers make a great basis for spring or floral themes and color match well with the sandblasted branches. Black is a nice neutral color and provides a great contrast for the light color of sandblasted branches. Here are a few tips when choosing a vase;

~Square vases have greater stability so if you go round go large.

~Use a vase with at least a 5" width for most sizes

~Most branches have only about 4 to 6 inches of stem so additional vase height will simply raise the total height ( a good trick to adjust your size above eye level)

~If your hanging flowers or light seashells and the like just use some fill rocks, spray foam, or white sand as the branches will be perfectly stable (they are pretty light themselves)

~If your making a twelve foot centerpiece and hanging votives, crystals, or pianos and/or anvils on it, it is probably a good idea to permanently set your branch in a vase or container with something heavy such as plaster of paris. (this is where neutral plastic, clay or cast planters, or alternately inexpensive paper mache containers come in handy. ) Seriously though, any centerpiece over 36" should definitely be secured somehow within a heavy vase.

"When hanging votives especially, you want your base to be at least 5" wide and significantly heavier then the top part of the centerpiece so that when your uncle ties on a few cocktails and over zealously describes the fish he caught last week your mother-in-law doesn't end up with a lap full of hot wax and a stick in the eye."

Choosing Your Decor

Sorry ladies your on your own here! lol but seriously folks, the skies the limit and your choice of branch decor is almost entirely determined by your preference, theme and color scheme. I have made a list of popular choices I have encountered and will soon be providing all of these items on the Artisans Manzanita website. Here's the top 10 I have seen thus far;

1. Flowers fresh and faux,

2. swarovski crystal strands, (chinese wholesalers anyone? - be careful not all faux crystals are made alike)

3. teardrop crystals

4. faux butterflies

5. seashells

6. in the dutch wishing tree tradition - little notes (best wishes, blessings, ect.) from all the guests hung like tiny greeting cards,

7.hanging votives

8. ribbon

9. pearls, beads or tinsel

10. Lights

Do yourself a favor and after you've purchased all your basic centerpiece materials (three months in advance) always make a sample centerpiece well in advance to determine the ideal amount of decor to you will need per centerpiece. As far as securing things to the branch I generally recommend thin fishing line or clear hair tie style rubber bands - both are inexpensive, very durable, and minimally visible. If you have better ideas I am curious to hear them.

Lastly, and on a somewhat pretentious note, I can't resist mentioning that I dislike the general practice of using the Natural Red variety of manzanita branches as they necessarily must originate from a recently cut down tree which, as one may imagine leads to all sorts of unsavory wood procurement practices involving live manzanita trees, chainsaws and bulldozers. We sell natural red branches only when we come upon a source that is derived from land clearing or brush abatement but other companies and private sources may not be so discerning. Alternately the painted and sandblasted finishes can be sourced completely from dead, dried and cured trees without any harm whatsoever to the environment.

Ribbon Boutonniere

Friday, March 18, 2011

When it comes to wedding accessories, the options for brides and bridesmaids seem endless. I thought i'd post a simple DIY project to create some custom-made charm for your groom & groomsmen. Best part of all, it takes less than 10 minutes and costs less than $5! Feel free to experiment; infuse some layers, funky patterns and buttons for an original keepsake that won't wither after one time use. For a step-by-step instruction guide, click here.

Photos: Hip Hostess, 100 Layer Cake, TheKnot

{Spring} Color Inspiration

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

There are moments where I find myself thinking, "if i were to get married all over again, would I do anything differently?" Our wedding day was wonderful and there probably isn't much i'd change, but every now and then, I do like to entertain the thought of changing the color scheme. The palette of a wedding plays a huge role in setting the tone. Although I still dig the way grey compliments persimmon, right now the toss up for me are greens with peachy accents or neutrals such as taupes/champagne/blush paired with lavendar. I realize green and taupe are on completely different ends of the color spectrum, but what can I say? I'm a sucker for mixing up warm and cool tones! Here are a few photos to give you a visual.

A spring fresh shade of green in various dress shapes.

Golden Olive may not be a typical spring choice, but throw in a peachy-coral bouquet and it adds a lovely glow.

Green doesn't have to be plain, stripes and bow ties give the ordinary some character.

Different shades of green.. sooo fun!!

Lively lime green make the orange flowers pop!

Now this is taupe done right! Thanks Jennifer & Grant for allowing me to share your gorgeous wedding photos. I know the details are hard to see because of the lighting, but I adore the pale pink peonies and tulips!

Nothin like a crisp khaki-hued suit to set off a lilac tie :) 

A taupe sash over ivory lace pulls it all together.

LOVING this lavendar jade necklace by La Vieja Tun Tun to dress up a beige toned bridesmaid dress.

Two Birds bridesmaid dresses in "rosewater" flatter tanned skin nicely!