11 Great Bridesmaids' Gift Ideas

Amid the countless tasks involved in planning your wedding- selecting a venue, making a guest list, organizing seating arrangements, selecting a florist for the venue, choosing boutonnieres for the groomsmen, bouquets for yourself and your bridesmaids, food, drinks, music, and decor, just to name a few- it's easy to put off another very important decision that you'll have to make: what to give to your bridesmaids to commemorate the important role they play in your wedding.

So we have put together a list of cool, fresh ideas to make sure that your most honored wedding guests have a heartfelt (and useful) reminder of your big day.

So here they are, in no particular order:

1. InnoGear 200 ml essential oil diffuser   

A beautiful wooden vessel that dissipates the soothing aroma of her favorite essential oils, and looks great doing it!   $35

2. Bath Bomb Assortment by Rejuvelle

A mix of soothing and rejuvenating bombs to make any bath a luxury spa treatment!  $20

3. Hershey's double serving ice cream machine

Because who doesn't like ice cream?  $35

4. Burt's Bees Everyday Essential Beauty Kit

An assortment of 100% organic products, this kit is sure to contain something every bridesmaid will find useful.   $18 -$22

5. Broadway Basketeers Wooden Sectional Nut Gift Box

A beautiful presentation of very high quality nuts and pralines. Just make sure your bridesmaids don't have any nut allergies!    $20 and up

6. Savvy Infusion Water Infusion Bottle

This amazing device allows its user to infuse her water with any combination of natural, fresh fruit she chooses.  $22

7. Automatic Wine Opener by Oster

This gift removes the only difficult step involved in enjoying wine.  $24

8. Gift Cards

Say what they might about this being an "unoriginal" or "impersonal" gift idea, no one can deny that anything is more "personal" than allowing the recipient to personally choose whatever she likes! Don't you love getting gift cards? Of course you do!   $10 and up

9. Bonsai Trio Kit by Plant Theatre

Bonsais are growing in popularity, but they grow very slowly. Includes seeds, peat blocks, pot, propagation bags, and instructions for planting and growing 3 different varieties of bonsai plants.   $20

10. Breakfast Sandwich Maker by Hamilton Beach

This awesome device cooks everything for a perfect breakfast sandwich... all at once!  $25

11. Rococo Botanical Jewelry

Custom designed jewelry made here at Rococo Floral Studio by Executive Designer Lori Lee. Each contains one or more living "air plants" from genus Tillandsia. Care is a non-issue; they only require a weekly misting. Outside of that, just don't let them freeze, and they'll live forever!   $65-$165

     We hope this gives you some good ideas for gifts to give to your bridesmaids as a token of your appreciation.  Whatever you choose, just make sure you figure it out in enough time that you aren't scrambling for something just to "check the block," possibly disappointing the people who truly are your guests of honor.

    One last tip: make sure that you get your bridesmaid's gifts somewhere with a friendly return policy, and preferably either somewhere local or somewhere that will ship. (All of the ideas in this article, with the exception of our botanical jewelry (which is available exclusively at Rococo Floral Studio) can be purchased from multiple vendors, as well as at Amazon's website.

Thanks for reading this, and we hope you find the perfect gift for each of your bridesmaids!

Your Favorite Flower.. Where Did it Come From?

     A note from the author: For simplicity's sake, I have chosen to use the term "family" to represent a range of levels of taxonomic classification, and not to specifically reference the strict definition (of the taxonomic level lying between order and genus). If I say "the rose family", I am referencing a group encompassing all of the individual varieties of flowers which can correctly be called roses, i.e., members of genus Rosa (true roses), and some species commonly called roses that exist within other genera, but not necessarily all the members of the broader family, Rosaceae. In any case, thanks for understanding. -Ty

Whether a "standard," such as the classic red rose or something more exotic, like Protea, every flower hails from one of our planet's seven continents.

Yes, even Antarctica has a fossil record of flowering plants!

Thanks to exponential improvements in logistical and climate control technologies during the past century, most species of flowering plants can today be found "native born" on all continents... except Antarctica.

     But still, each has an indigenous home. And today, we will explore some of the most common and beloved varieties and trace their origins back to a time before enterprising Homo sapiens expanded their distributions.

Roses

     A diverse family of plants of which a vast majority of species have their origins in central and eastern Asia, roses are now the most extensively cultivated decorative flowers in the world. The garden roses that most people associate with the broader term rose are actually hybrids of two or more species. According to flower historian Jack Goody's exhaustive work, The Culture of Flowers (Cambridge University Press, 1993), people in ancient Greece, China, and Persia were hybridizing roses for their visual appeal at least as early as 500 BCE.

However, many varieties of rose, some bearing no resemblance at all to the famous garden rose, exist. There are even two native North American genera.


Tulips

Tulips, cousin to the lilies, are broadly of Eurasian and north African origin, having their center of diversity in and around the Hindu Kush mountains of what is now Afghanistan. Tulips are now cultivated worldwide, most notably in the Netherlands.


Hydrangea

Hydrangea- Indigenous to Japan, China, and Korea, these beautiful east-Asian flowering shrubs come in a wide variety of colors and have been cultivated and hybridized since before the time of Siddhartha Buddha. In Eastern culture, giving hydrangeas represents giving ownership of one's heart to the recipient. Pretty romantic if you ask me.


Lilies

Lilies- Lilies comprise an enormous family of flowers endemic to the temperate regions of Europe, Asia, and North America. Across nearly all human civilizations- from ancient Egypt to the Far East to medieval Europe, lilies have been given as gifts and used as decoration in homes and public places.


Daisies

Daisies- The earliest fossils of daisies, relatives of the sunflower, were found in Antarctica. The daisies are the second largest family of flowers, after orchids, with over 23,000 classified species. Daisies currently grow wild on every continent other than Antarctica, with the widest and most diverse speciation existing in Central and South America. Australia has several unique varieties as well.


Ranunculus

Ranunculus is of Latin origin, meaning "little frog," a reference to their affinity for damp, marshy areas. Buttercups are members of the ranunculus family. Most of these flowers have their origins in Europe. They generally have very shiny, slick petals and leaves. Another thing they all have in common is that they are all poisonous, although fortunately, the extremely acidic flavor of the cyanide compound in their leaves and flowers prevents both humans and livestock from ingesting lethal amounts.


Orchids

     Because they are such an old, diverse, and widespread group (there are four times as many species of orchids as there are species of mammals on earth), the aboriginal home is uncertain. The tropical Americas enjoy the greatest range of orchid diversity, but there are unique species in western Africa, Oceania, and southern Asia. We humans have been cultivating orchids for millennia; longer, in fact than written language has existed in any culture.

     Thanks to modern technology, we are now able to enjoy first hand the beautiful and amazing biodiversity of flowers from across the entire world. It's an incredible blessing, and one that is easy to take for granted. But think about this: the bouquet or floral arrangement that you buy here at Rococo Floral Studio in Gadsden, once a small Alabama railroad town, contains flowers whose direct ancestors lived in environments as diverse as the gardens of Egyptian Pharaohs, the palaces of China's Ming Dynasty, the rocky hills where Aristotle and Socrates recorded their philosophies, the thrones of Roman emperors, and even the Holy Land walked by Jesus Christ and his disciples.

      The shapes, colors and fragrances of an area's flowers are perhaps the purest and most natural symbols of that place, each flower being perfectly adapted to the unique geological, environmental, and biological factors of its home. Flowers have both shaped and been shaped by human culture. At Rococo, we are thankful for and inspired by our access to the divine palette that flowers, as a medium of artistic expression, provide.

     Is it possible to give a more beautiful or meaningful gift than one that combines the colors and textures of God's own creation?

     From a historical perspective, at least, it appears that it isn't.




All Flowers are Not Created Equal

     Across all civilizations and throughout recorded history, flowers have been used to express love,  to add visual appeal (and often fragrance) to homes and businesses, and to bring ambiance and color to every manner of event and celebration.

     Mother's day, St. Valentine's Day, birthdays, weddings, funerals, school dances, pageants, ceremonies of all kinds, and people (especially men) wishing to create or maintain an exciting level of romance in their relationships keep the world's florists and floral designers in business.  Fresh flowers are the largest expense account on any flower retailer's books. This is not surprising, as fresh flowers are both delicate and perishable, two qualities which absolutely mandate a chain of custody that is both fast and gentle.

What Constitutes a Grade-A Flower?

     Like all things beautiful, living, and perishable, flowers come in a range of grades. The qualitative factors contributing to a flower's grade are as follows.

1. Condition of the stem. A Grade-A flower has a stem which is:

  • generally straight (in comparison to other members of its species, or course);
  • fresh (meaning that there are no bruises, mold, holes, or soft, dying spots), and;
  • well-trimmed. Proper trimming entails:
    • using a very sharp knife. A dull blade will tend to "crush" its way through the tiny passages which supply water to the flower's cells, closing them and thereby restricting the flower's ability to get the nutrients it needs to stay alive.
    • cutting the stem diagonally. This serves to increase the surface area of the passages where they contact and draw water. It also prevents the stem's critically important cross-section from resting flatly against the bottom of the vessel in which the flower stands, inhibiting water uptake much in the same way that a drinking straw pressed flatly against the bottom of a soft drink cup would make drinking difficult for you!

2.  Condition of the buds.  For a flower to qualify as Grade-A, its bud must be:

  • firm (softness indicates early decomposition, and a flower which will never live to realize its full potential beauty, nor reach reproductive maturity if planted in soil.)
  • well shaped, i.e., exhibiting dimensional proportion, and in most cases, symmetry
  • normally expanded (but not 'overmature,' to borrow a word coined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture). An couple examples of abnormal expansion are:
    • a bud which has begun to expand before reaching its full mature size.
    • petals whose top edges have begun to wither before fully opening.

Note: Depending on its purpose, life-expectancy, and intended aesthetic role within an arrangement, any flower may be appropriately used during any stage of development. Tight, fully-closed buds can add a dramatic, punctuating and/or contrasting effect when placed among fully open, mature flowers, especially ones of a different variety and color. A Grade-A flower is beautiful throughout every stage of its life, from the moment the color of its buds begin to peek through the protective sepal leaves until the last petal falls from its stamen.

3. Overall condition of the flower (including any leaves). Grade-A flowers must be free of any of the following: 

  • dirt
  • insect damage
  • decay
  • spider webs (which indicate a neglectful growing environment, as well as frightening some people!)
  • discoloration
  • excessive moisture (which leads to early death and decomposition)
  • dryness/dehydration

     Though these standards are meant to assist you in determining the grade of individual flowers, they can also be useful in grading flower retailers, wholesalers, and floral designers. If you have ever bought an arrangement and later noticed that one or more of its flowers fail to meet every single quality factor described above, then you are not dealing with a Grade-A vendor.

     Any reputable grower or wholesaler will refund the purchase price of flowers which arrive in less-than-perfect condition. For this reason, we at Rococo floral Studio examine every petal. On every flower. Every time. We believe that there is still a place for flowers which, due to reasons of genetics, rough handling, or poor developmental care, fall short of Grade-A perfection. We call that place "the garbage can."

     If you have an upcoming event or simply a special person in your life whom you feel warrants absolute perfection, you have come to the right place.  Here at Rococo, we love what we do, and we do it well.  Whether you need a single red rose or a bridal bouquet fit for a princess, you'll get nothing less than the absolute best flowers available anywhere.

Come see us at 215 North 4th Street in Downtown Gadsden (right by Mater's) or call us at 256.515.4994

 

The Incredible World of Airplants

     Plants that don't need water?  Sounds like something from the imagination of a science fiction author. And indeed, many of the species within genus Tillandsia appear as if they were from another planet. 

T. bulbosa

T. bulbosa

     Most have no roots, as they absorb all of the water vapor and nutrients they need for photosynthesis right from the air. Some have long, wispy tendrils that reach out like the tentacles of a creature from the ocean's depths. And some have a mottled appearance that more closely resembles a reptile's skin than the usual xylem and phloem that we are accustomed to. They vary widely in color, from white to green to blood red.

     And all of them are beautiful.

T. adriana

T. adriana

     Air plants are indigenous to Central and South America, but can thrive almost anywhere (including indoors) that there is indirect light and where temperatures stay a few degrees above the freezing point.

     Spanish moss is a variety of Tillandsia with which many Americans are familiar. And in spite of the false perception shared by many people (and even some botanists) that Spanish moss is a parasitic species, this is not the case, as these plants take nothing from the trees upon which they grow, nor harm them in any way.

     Overall, there are around 730 known species of Tillandsia, and based on appearance alone, most would probably assume that this diverse group represents different phyla- even kingdoms. Conveniently (for taxonomic purposes), however, all air plants fall neatly within genus Tillandsia, differing only at the most specific level of classification, i.e., species.

T. fuchsii

T. fuchsii

     If you, like many, love the natural beauty that flowering plants add to a home, but have sometimes forgotten to water a not-so-hardy species, allowing them to wither, these low-maintenance exotics may be right up your alley- most Tillandsia species only require misting with a spray bottle twice per month or so.

T. funckiana

T. funckiana

     Either alone or as part of an arrangement, air plants will add an exotic accent to your home or business. Stop by Rococo Floral Studio in downtown Gadsden to see a beautiful lineup of this amazing family of plants.

Rococo Floral Studio: Gadsden's premier florist and floral design studio. 256.515.4994 215 N 4th St. Suite 2 Gadsden, AL 35901

Rococo Floral Studio: Gadsden's premier florist and floral design studio. 256.515.4994

215 N 4th St. Suite 2 Gadsden, AL 35901