There’s something about the first wedding of the year; it’s like getting back on a bike after a few years away. Getting reacquainted with the gear; flexing new muscles; relearning a few techniques. This year, it’s been almost 6 months since my last wedding, and I felt it as much as if I hadn’t been on a bike in ages.

It is a nice little wedding; a lovely bridal bouquet and 5 bouquets for the bridal party, all hand-tied, using hydrangeas, roses, freesia, tweedia, and delphinium. Hand-tied bouquets are my favorites. They usually go together pretty quickly and easily. I say usually because today it was like I had two left hands. Or, not to offend any lefties, two hands of thumbs. There is a technique to crafting a perfect hand-tied bouquet, and like a neglected bike chain, my technique was rusty. I was fumbling. Dropping things. Tying things too tightly so it looked all smooshed. I think I made 10 bouquets today, as I finally got the hang of it by the 4th, and decided to remake the first 3. And we won’t bother to discuss the fiasco of gluing feathers into the flowers, except to say that they seemed to adhere better to my fingers than their intended target.

There were also a handful of boutonnieres and corsages. Wristlet corsages. The bane of my existence. Fortunately, I had gone through a wristlet boot-camp of sorts last week when I filled in at a local flower shop, so my gluing skills were honed. But the wiring and taping of the boutonnieres just about pushed me over the edge. These are very technical decorations to make, involving a high degree of skill and dexterity. Add to this the bride’s request for feathers- light, fluffy, hard-to-hold-onto feathers- and I quickly reached maximum frustration. But, just like riding up a long steep hill, there’s nothing to do but take a deep breath, keep your head down, and power through it. (And maybe use some un-ladylike language.)

The bouquets turned out prettier than I imagined, and the feather accents look just right for this couple of duck-raising farmers. I even think the boutonnieres are quite charming, even though I kind of want to stomp on them. I hope they love them! And now that I’m back in the saddle, I hope the rest of the year is like a long ride with the wind at my back.

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