wedding contest winners


picture-perfect weddings
From military weddings to island dreams, our sixth annual contest drew 115 entries from florists coast to coast.

by Kelsey E. Lowe


More florists than ever took part in Florists’ Review’s 2004 Picture-Perfect Weddings Contest for a chance to win our biggest prize packages yet. After sifting through 115 entries, collectively containing nearly 1,600 pictures, from the most traditional of bouquets to life-size bride and groom figures created from wire, our judges narrowed the submissions to bring you one winner for each of the following categories: Best Wedding, Best Bouquets, Best Ceremony Setting, Best Reception Decorations and Best Cake. We present our winners and offer a taste of each of the entries submitted for this much-anticipated contest.




best overall wedding

Darrell Poper, AIFD
Standing Ovation Flower Gallery
Los Alamitos, Calif.
Date: April 24, 2004
Ceremony and reception site: Four Seasons Hotel; Beverly Hills, Calif.
Number in wedding party: 14
Number of guests: 190
Approximate retail floral bill: $29,500
Photos by Nancy Collison of Nancy Collison Photography, Placentia, Calif.

A beautiful, gardeny setting with flawless floral details drew our judges’ attention to this wedding, which earns the honor of Best Wedding as well as Best Ceremony Setting (see page 80). “This was, without a doubt, the most detailed wedding I have ever done,” says designer Darrell Poper, AIFD. There were so many details, in fact, that Mr. Poper closed the shop for the day while approximately 11 designers worked on location with him for about 10 hours.
The bride and groom, both doctors, requested an elegant, sophisticated look for their springtime Jewish wedding, which featured an abundance of light blue Hydrangeas and Belladonna Delphiniums with white ‘Akito’ and ‘Vendela’ roses, tulips, Lisianthuses, Queen Anne’s lace, ‘Casablanca’ lilies, Dendrobium orchids and green bells-of-Ireland throughout the ceremony and reception. The color palette beautifully accented the soft platinum bridesmaids’ gowns.
For the ceremony, the springtime hues of blue, green, cream and white culminated with the huppah, dressed in white organza, with an 8-foot gardenlike display covering the front. Aisle posts with matching fabric and flowers graced the 85-foot-long aisle, which was marked with fresh garland. A white damask runner and ‘Akito’ and ‘Vendela’ rose petals bordered each side. Alternating high and low floral centerpieces gave the ballroom an interesting overall look for the reception.
The bride’s family has been customers of Standing Ovation Flower Gallery since Mr. Poper opened the shop 24 years ago.



best ceremony setting

Darrell Poper, AIFD
Standing Ovation Flower Gallery
Los Alamitos, Calif.
Date: April 24, 2004
Ceremony and reception site: Four Seasons Hotel Beverly Hills, Calif.
Number in wedding party: 14
Number of guests: 190
Approximate retail floral bill: $29,500
Photo by Nancy Collison of Nancy Collison Photography, Placentia, Calif.

The garden outside the Four Seasons Hotel created a lush backdrop for this ceremony, with floral designs that were every bit as rich as the sophisticated site. A natural springtime blend of blue, green, cream and white united the aisle poles with the grand huppah. White organza covered the bases for the florals, and fresh garland joined each of the aisle posts to mark the 85-foot-long aisle. ‘Akito’ and ‘Vendela’ rose petals bordered each side of the aisle runner. Flowers included Hydrangeas, ‘Akito’ and ‘Vendela’ roses, tulips, ‘Casablanca’ lilies, Belladonna Delphiniums, Dendrobium orchids, Lisianthuses, bells-of-Ireland and Queen Anne’s lace.



best reception decorations

Debi Lilly; A Perfect Event; Chicago, Ill.
Date: November 13, 2004
Ceremony site: Holy Name Cathedral, Chicago
Reception site: The Peninsula Hotel, Chicago
Number in wedding party: 14
Number of guests: 250
Approximate retail floral bill: $38,000
Photos by Rick and Heather Kingensmith of Wedding Day Diary, Chicago

A deep chocolate palette—the bride’s favorite color—resonated throughout this winning reception décor. Copper fossilized leaves were prominent throughout, covering votives and pillar candles and hanging from tabletop Manzanita trees. The trees also featured suspended and entwined votives, orchids, and other fresh florals to complement the fall color palette. Hundreds of ‘Terracotta’ rose petals were scattered around the tables, which were also decorated with pillar candles and custom tabletop frames created to reflect the couple’s love for horseracing. Cocktail tables were strewn with modern square glass vases artistically arranged with grids of fall flowers including ‘Orange Unique’ roses and Cosmos.



best bouquets

Valerie Vassos and Orinda Jerue
VJS Designs; Westfield, Mass.
Date: June 11, 2004
Ceremony site: bride’s home, Westfield
Reception site: Hotel Northampton Northampton, Mass.
Number in wedding party: 15
Number of guests: 126
Approximate retail floral bill: $6,500

Since peonies are among this bride’s favorite flowers, the designers incorporated them throughout the entire wedding, including these winning bridesmaids’ bouquets. Two hues of pink peonies, both in bud form and in full bloom, beautifully accented the dual-toned pink bridesmaids’ gowns in each of the five attendants’ bouquets. The flowers, which also included Bouvardia, were arranged in round mass form into silver bouquet holders that the bride gave to the ladies as gifts. The bride carried a hand-tied bouquet of peonies, roses, miniature callas, sweet peas, tulips and Freesias, all in white.



best cake

Shannon Cosgrove-Rivas; Flourish
Sacramento, Calif.
Date: July 17, 2004
Ceremony site: Saint John’s Lutheran Church Sacramento
Reception site: Hyatt Regency, Sacramento
Number in wedding party: 15
Number of guests: 150
Approximate retail floral bill: $7,000
Photo by Diana Miller of Diana Miller Photography, Sacramento

An interesting floral cake pedestal called attention to this cake, the icing of which was patterned after the embroidery on the bride’s gown. Four 12-inch-square glass containers were joined, each filled with Gardenias and ‘Porcelina’ spray roses floating in shallow water. Submersible LED lights contributed an elegant glow. ‘Evelyn’ garden roses and ‘Porcelina’ spray roses, placed atop the cake and on each layer, brought a multitextured look to the creation, and a profusion of candles created a special effect when the lights were dimmed. The staff of Flourish created the hurricanelike candles by wrapping simple cylinder vases in pink vellum and embellishing them with beaded ribbon. To complete the overall look, rose petals were scattered around the cake table, which was covered in a gold crinkled silk overlay.




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