Posted by Flower Spy on Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Labels: Mexican wedding flowers
I went for the second time to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. This trip I went for some serious meditation and relaxation. The last time was to brush up on my Spanish at the Instituto Allende where I ended up not relaxing. I was too worried about my inability to master the plus-cuam-perfecto, also known as the franken-tense. I guess you could say I was tense about the tenses.
This trip was going to be different-- I was going to do all of the things I passed on my previous back to school field trip. As our plane touched down in Leon and I boarded the bus to take us up into the mountains, I noticed something was wrong immediately. For starters, there was no green. All I saw was brown colored dryness, so much that I could make out mosaic patterns on the ground. There was a lacking in floral life...the spectacular purple infused jacaranda trees weren't so spectacular, as a matter of fact they weren't anything. It was very disappointing, I mean I had just left a gray Baltimore for in search of some serious color...but so far, nothing.
As we made our way up the mountain to San Miguel, things became a little more verdant. When we arrived, I spoke with the house-keeper where I was staying and asked her if this was the dry season. She said not really, but they were experiencing a fierce cold-snap that was lingering longer than the Mexicans expected. Not exactly music to my ears when I had just packed all my shorts and tank tops. Gracias a Dios for the endless shopping that was waiting for me downtown.
After I smothered myself in arroz con pollo, 2 Tecates, 3 tee shirts and multiple layered socks, I decided it was time for some flower spying. I pulled out my super-spiffy digital and started snapping away at some succulents and bougainvillea on our balcony that had managed to survive the chill. I was in mid-snap when the worst possible thing for me could have happened-- the camera shut down and died. I mean really died, like no funciona, es muerto, cabron- dead. Batteries not required dead. It was gone. This bothered me more than the cold weather.
I screamed for about an hour and my friend suggested the Guadalajara Pharmacy for a new one. So I went and a very nice Mexican lady helped me out, only problem, I had no idea what she was talking about when she started to ramble about "la carta Sim". But I figured it out when I left. No I didn't, you bloggers can smell a lie-- I had to call my techno-buddy-pal Keith back in the states for some expensive roaming advice. Once he explained it all to me, I went on my way back home, but first I stopped by the Instituto for old times sake. Peeking into the atrium, I was dumb-struck by two very green enormous displays of foliages with Belles of Ireland. There was one in each corner and they were at least 6-7' tall. I hadn't remembered them when I was there before. I realized something special was going on, it looked like a wedding.
It was the perfect opportunity to scope out some serious flowers and watch how they do it South of the Border. Who knows, maybe I'd learn a trick or two. I quietly tip-toed into the courtyard where I spotted a lone floral designer taping oasis bricks around a very branchy tree. She was using household tape it looked like, not the davee tape we use here, which I thought was odd. I watched her for 10 minutes before I got up the nerve to introduce myself. I told her I did the same job in America. We did some light shop-talk and as I noticed she was able to talk and work without losing her concentration--not an easy task to master on a wedding day set-up. Especially when talking to a person who speaks Spanish like a 5th grader.
I asked if I could snap some pictures whiles she worked, no problema, she said. She was was constructing these amazing white floral clusters, which eventually created a serpentine shape around the limbs and trunk of the tree. I thought they should have been in floral cages, it would have been much easier, but quien sabe? Maybe she knew something I didn't. Only two white flowers were used: saponaria and stock. And it was beautiful. She was doing this to about 4 trees, and it took her a very long time on each tree. Unbelievably, she did this alone- I never saw another designer. It started to make me nervous and I wanted to help her, but knew my place. I would have jumped at the opportunity to help her design if she had asked.
She eventually finished her work-just barely, and I couldn't have been more impressed or nervous for that poor girl. Meanwhile, I met the Mother of the Groom who told me lots of details about the wedding. It fascinated me watching the whole event get set-up and come together.
It was different in some ways from what I am used to doing and seeing in the states. For example, I have never seen a plastic chavarie chair, or heard of a reception lasting 8 hours which is the average in Mexico. !Que loco! And it was a medium sized wedding by Mexican standards, however, it was pricey according to the Groom's Mother, Car. (BTW-- the 'plastic' chavarie chairs fooled even me)
The budget was 250,000.00 pesos, which would be about 25,000.00 US dollars, still pretty cheap for a wedding this size. And you could tell these were educated, wealthy Mexicans who weren't playing--they wanted it upscale and they got it. Very serious planning for a very sophisticated group. But guess what?!-- they shoot off fireworks after dinner ends as well as throughout the reception as well. I could hear them from the house where I was staying up the hill. And they weren't lying-- the reception lasted until 3:00 a.m. I heard that too, as well as some of the worst D.J. music in history, including a Grease soundtrack and endless Ricky Martin tunes. Thanks to their loud celebration, I got no sleep that night-- I ended up curled in a ball in the farthest corner get away from the awful music. As bad as the noise was, I got some great pics while spying in the corner of that courtyard.
Muchas gracias y felicitaciones, Car. A great spying day indeed.
Locale: San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
Flowers Shown: White stock, saponaria, white dendrobium orchids, white cymbidium orchids, white iris, blue hybrid delphinium, blue and green hydrangea, Belles of Ireland, bear grass, calla lilies.
All Pictures by: International Flower Spy