Today was the 6th anniversary of my marriage to my brilliant and beautiful (and infinitely patient) wife. Six years ago we eloped to the island of O’ahu in Hawaii and got married on the beach in a private ceremony. This time of year the two of us think back on what a wonderful day it was and recount some of the more memorable events of our wedding day. One of the stories we always talk about is the creativity involved in how we got the wedding bouquet.
See the featured image in this blog post?
That’s the happy couple along with the minister performing the ceremony.
Now zoom in a bit and focus on the flowers in the bride’s hand.
Here’s where a scavenger hunt for something to hold the bridal bouquet resulted in an exercise in creativity…
My soon-to-be-bride wanted to visit the flower district in Honolulu in order to pick out her own bouquet of wedding flowers from a local vendor with local plants. This is an entire story unto itself, but let’s abbreviate it by saying we found ONE flower shop with anything to sell (perhaps we went too late and they all go first thing in the morning) and we ended up with some gorgeous red ginger plants. However, they didn’t have anything to wrap around the plants to pretty-them-up. My fiance was hoping for some ribbon, but they didn’t even have that.
The next morning was the day of the wedding and we still didn’t have anything to dress-up the bouquet, so while she got ready, I went down to the hotel lobby to see what could be scavenged for our purposes. The lobby of the Outrigger Reef Waikiki is more like a high-end mall. There are no shortage of shops featuring clothing, jewelry, and tchotchkes, and I figured it would be quick and easy to find some sort of small vase or native-looking fabric wrap that could go around the stems of the flowers — but I was oh, so wrong.
I spent and hour zooming through shops and texting photos back to the hotel room to see if she liked anything I was finding. There were plenty of vases, but they were all giant hand-blown glass pieces of art that would make Chihuly envious. There were lots of fabrics, but they all seemed to be souvenir t-shirts or sundresses or beach towels.
Since I wasn’t having luck finding something off the shelf for the specific intended use, I decided to go off-script and apply a little creativity and problem solving to this challenge.
In one store I ran across a small fabric zippered bag that reminded me of a fancy version of a plastic zippered pencil case from elementary school. Turns out it was actually a travel make-up bag for holding cosmetics. I was a sandy tan color with a raised white lace design that looked like sea shells. The bag had a zipper, but no one would notice, and there was a small loop that acted as a handle which could be tucked out of sight. My thinking was that this could be rolled into a tube and wrapped around the stems of the red ginger plant.
Now I just needed something like a ribbon or a rope to be able to tie around the fabric wrap to help secure it to the bouquet. Easier said than done! I couldn’t find any ribbon. Nothing suitable. I even thought about buying one of those over-sized “happy birthday” helium balloons in a gift shop just to use the plastic ribbon/string as the tie — but then the creativity kicked in.
Who said I had to use something flexible or fabric to tie it down?
It was a self-imposed rule and I could break it if I wanted to.
And I wanted to.
I needed something I could slide up over the fabric wrap that would hold it tight when released. I thought back to an item that had caught my eye in a jewelry shop a few store visits ago and went back to check it out.
It was a chunky, thick bracelet made from Koa wood, a tree endemic to Hawaii, only growing on those islands. Koa is a rare and beautiful wood that is so protected that it can only be harvested from dead trees on public land. During our first trip to Hawaii, we’d purchased a set of rings made from Koa wood. It seemed appropriate to use a Koa bracelet to secure the wedding bouquet.
If you look at the photo now, you’ll notice the fabric bag and a bit of the lace shell design and you can see the wooden circle of the bracelet. We even managed to find a bit of red ribbon to help tie everything together.
When we returned home and shared the wedding photos and stories with our parents, we gifted the fabric wrap to my mother as a gift and reminder of the wedding and gave the bride’s mother the bracelet as a gift to mark the important event in our lives.
The bouquet holder worked so perfectly together that you’d think we had planned it — but now you know the real story. It was a last minute scavenger hunt and a real world application of creativity in action.
Oh, and they lived happily ever after…