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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Flowers for a Wedding in Namibia!

Someone asked me recently why I haven't written much here lately. I'm really glad my absence was noticed - and I have a very good excuse.  I've been making silk flower arrangements for daughter-in-law Monika's sister, Tangeni (our granddaughter's namesake), in Namibia.  The wedding isn't until the latter part of August, but I wanted to get everything finished a.s.a.p. because it's going to take some time to get it there.

I'll give you a little background.  Namibia is very hot and dry, and natural flowers are not only very expensive, they don't last more than a day or two in the heat.  Tangeni asked Monika if she would take care of doing the flowers.  Monika, who has very little time between working and caring for her family, told her sister she would try.  She confessed she was at a loss, never having done anything like wedding flowers before, and asked me if I would help.  I admit I really get into projects like this, and even though I knew it would be a challenge, I immediately agreed to help.  Monika and I got together to discuss colors and numbers, and with a few quick texting communications Tangeni, a medical school student in China, we came up with a plan.  

I'd explored options and found a great wholesale flower source on line.  I made the order and within a few days, flowers and spools of ribbon were spread out in our kitchen.  I was impressed with how quickly the order had come - except for the flower girls' baskets and pillow for the rings, which were coming from, of all places, China.  That's a whole other story, and we're still waiting for that order.  
This picture is most of the flowers - I filled in with a few from my own stock.

Long story short, I'm now finished - except for the stuff from China - and have a bridal bouquet, groom's boutonniere, 16 boutonnieres for male attendants and 16 wrist corsages for the female attendants, headbands and wrist corsages for the two flower girls, a boutonniere for the ring bearer, matching boutonniere and wrist corsage for the best man and maid of honor - plus corsages and boutonnieres for mothers and fathers of the bride and groom AND a centerpiece for the bride and  groom's table along with 15 smaller matching centerpieces for the reception guests' tables. Above, the bride's bouquet and matching boutonniere for the groom. Oh, yes, and I made a smaller toss bouquet because the bride wants to keep her bouquet.  I'll admit, I had a couple of nights where I spent several hours staring into the darkness rethinking how to make it all work.  Here  are pictures of the whole package - laid out on our dining room table; but I'm not done yet.  I still have to figure out how to pack everything into cartons to get it to Namibia safely and in time.  Monika will take care of shipping - she's used to sending packages to Africa; but I'm going through my collection of cartons and packing material (I knew all that stuff I've saved over the years would come in handy!) to find what I need to pack the  so hopefully nothing gets crushed.  As soon as I hear from Monika regarding whatever size restrictions FedEx may have, I'll get busy packing everything up.   

In the meantime, I've been having a great time putting everything together.  The flowers do look very real, and should still look fresh even after weeks of travel and surviving a two or three day wedding event.  Now if I could only get them to smell like real flowers . . . ! 

The bride, Tangeni, will arrive in Namibia from China a couple weeks before the wedding.  She still has a few months of medical school left, so will go back to China soon after the wedding.  At the beginning of next year she will return to Namibia to do her internship.  Her husband-to-be is an airline pilot in Africa.  Doing the wedding planning from that distance must be a daunting chore, but I'm sure she has lots of family and friends supporting her in Namibia, so everything will get done. 

Monika told me although there will be 150 invited guests, it's customary in their culture for people they don't even know to show up - just because they want to celebrate the wedding.  And of course, food and beverages will be provided for everyone - catered for the 150 invited guests under a big tent, and pot-luck for the uninvited-but-welcome guests who apparently bring something to share outside at their own party - in addition to what the hosts will  provide.  Also, I believe the bride and groom (and probably the attendants) will change from their formal wedding attire (bride's lovely ivory and white gown and groom's gray tux) to native costumes at some point - colorful and casual shirts and traditional dresses.  The wedding celebration may last for several days. 

All the bridesmaids will be carrying umbrellas because of the intense heat - which is why I suggested wrist corsages for them.  Besides, I had lots of velcro which I think will work better to secure them than having to have someone tie them on, and will be  more secure than purchased bracelets. 

So, there you have it.  This is what I've been up to for the past couple of weeks.  Now I should be able to get back to a more normal schedule - but it won't be as much fun as puttering with flowers all day.

A quick postscript:  At noon, after I'd written this, we got part of the order from China!!  The rest can't be far behind, so I'll need to warm up the glue gun again to decorate the flower baskets and ring pillow.

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