New York City Summer Garden Wedding

Sarah Merchlewitz (Bride) NEW YORK, NY
I first heard of FiftyFlowers when I was a bridesmaid for a friend. We made her bouquets and arrangements the day before her wedding in her apartment. A year later, she was returning the favor as my bridesmaid. Both experiences couldn't have been easier; just make sure you budget enough time and have enough space in your fridge and buckets for storage. The inspiration for our wedding was the gorgeous backdrop of Fort Tryon Park and its views of the Hudson River from up on a hill in northern Manhattan, where we held our outdoor ceremony. We knew we wouldn't need a lot of flowers thanks to the natural beauty of the location. The wedding was on a cobblestone terrace surrounded by linden trees, and ... the reception was steps away at a cottage-like restaurant that had a sumptuous covered white tent. So overall, the feel was a garden party that was fancy and sophisticated but not stuffy, and I wanted to include flowers that were both delicate-looking and rich in textures and colors but a little rustic. Whimsical, unfussy, but elegant. My dress was an off-white ivory, so I opted for a lot of softer, warm hues like blush, orange, and the minty green of the eucalyptus. I loved the results of all of the combinations and was definitely impressed with the quality of the flowers. As a teacher, I am a major planner. I started browsing on the Fifty Flowers website months in advance and building my favorites list. I didn't have one look in particular in mind, so that flexibility and open mindset was definitely helpful in our DIY endeavor. There were a few flowers that I knew I wanted to have or at least thought of as a starting point: ranunculus, peonies, poppies, berries, and branches that would connect with our outdoor venue. Looking at other flower stories was helpful so that I could learn about other flowers that I wasn't familiar with. Since we knew we didn't need a ton of flowers and wanted to stick to a budget of less than $1,000, I downloaded the flower worksheet so I could plan out how many stems or bunches of each order we could get away with. The advice was to order about 10% more than you think you needed to account for spoilage or wilting, but I didn't run into that problem and ended up with more than enough great flowers in every box. (Our guest bedroom and bathtub were literally overflowing with flowers, so again, especially for city dwellers, make sure you have enough buckets for storage!) Hands down the most helpful thing about the planning process was taking advantage of calling a consultant/concierge. My aptly named contact, Violet, talked me through quantities, gave me other suggestions that matched my vision and better matched my budget (hello, Garden Combo Box and Viking poms!), sent me pictures via the chat window (which she even sent me a transcript of for later reference) AND gave me her personal discount code. She made the process feel way more manageable. She also sent links for making corsages and flower crowns, which helped narrow down that research process for later. As far as the actual assembly and delivery, it took me, my mom, and three bridesmaids from late morning to early afternoon snipping, stripping leaves, winding wire and floral tape, and arranging according to the flower worksheet. The bouquets took the most time since they had the most parts and needed to look somewhat similar. The corsages for the ladies were a little bigger than for the groomsmen. We kept all of those wrapped up or in plastic containers in our fridge. The bottles with the mismatched stems for the table centerpieces came together in a flash, and we kept those in our guest bedroom with the AC on high all night. In the morning, my husband and his best man loaded up the boxes in a rented van to take to the venue. He took a few of the extra stems in case things got damaged in transport (nothing did - whew!), and the venue was able to use some extra booms on the trays with our cocktail hour hors d'oeuvres. The other pieces and bouquets went with me to the hotel where everyone as getting ready. All in all, I was impressed with the promptness and punctuality of the flower delivery, the customer service of FiftyFlowers, and the quality of the product. We were all pretty low-key about the assembly, so the task of DIY wedding flowers felt manageable. There are just a few logistical things about living in a city like New York (such as transport and storage) that caused the most stress, but since I was on summer vacation, I could be home to receive the deliveries each day for the three days leading up to our wedding. I'll even say that we had fun putting everything together. I'd definitely look to FiftyFlowers again for their wide selection for another event. Show more
Flowers by Sarah Merchlewitz

Arrangements Made

  • 38
  • 6
  • 1
    Bridal Bouquet
  • 3
    Bridesmaid's Bouquets
  • 24
  • 3
  • 1

Flowers Used for Sarah Merchlewitz's Arrangements

I loved the shape and structure of these flowers and was really attached to having them in my bouquet for a woodsy, whimsical look. They were perfect to add height to the centerpieces in the bottles we used. However, the minimum order of 75 stems gives you way more than you could ever use. We had so many of these left over because each clump has so many little offshoots and stems that we clipped to only use a part of. Their color and shape are so fun and visually interesting, but definitely one order is enough. Also, their fuzzy blooms can leave you feeling itchy, so if you have sensitive skin, I'd recommend using gloves while handling.

Used for: Centerpieces , Bridal Bouquet, Bridesmaid's Bouquets , Corsages, Boutonnieres

This was the only greenery/fill we used, and it worked great. You can balance out the seeds and the leaves depending on how full of a look you want. It was really easy to mix and match the different parts of the plant. We used the little seed stems by themselves in our boutonnieres. I preferred the teardrop shape of these leaves to the round silver dollar eucalyptus for a more romantic, droopy effect.

El Aleli Peach Flower ( 5 Bunches or 50 Stems )

Used for: Centerpieces , Bridal Bouquet, Bridesmaid's Bouquets , Corsages, Boutonnieres

Such a heavenly smell! These are gorgeous and good for adding height to an arrangement. Their stems are a little soft, so the blooms at the top can topple over if not buoyed with other flowers or wire. They were great for adding fullness to every arrangement and bouquet.

Orange Freesia Flower ( 5 Bunches )

Used for: Centerpieces , Bridal Bouquet, Bridesmaid's Bouquets , Corsages, Boutonnieres

The freesia had both a beautiful shape and color. These were a nice sturdy compliment to some of the more delicate flowers we worked with. All of the buds opened perfectly, and they held up well throughout the setup and wedding itself. You can't go wrong with freesia.

Used for: Centerpieces , Other

These flowers were for our rehearsal dinner centerpieces. Simple and summery. We were thinking of sunflowers, but these were way more cost-effective. They are like a cross between daisies and mums. As my flower consultant said, they are called viking poms because they are so hearty and virtually indestructible. A great choice for color and for any arrangement that will be moved around a lot.

Used for: Centerpieces , Bridal Bouquet, Bridesmaid's Bouquets , Corsages, Boutonnieres

Gotta love billy balls! They are so visually fun and easy to work with!

Used for: Centerpieces , Bridal Bouquet, Bridesmaid's Bouquets , Corsages, Boutonnieres

These were a must have for me - ranunculus is my favorite flower for its cheerfully packed petals, bright colors, and mostly leafless stems. They were easy to fit into small-necked bottles, bouquets and bouts alike. Another advantage to having so many petals is that if a few from the outer edge drooped off during the day, we could just peel those off, and they still looked great. Good longevity.

Used for: Centerpieces , Bridal Bouquet, Bridesmaid's Bouquets , Corsages, Boutonnieres, Other

I would not have found this combo package were it not for our flower consultant. I liked the idea of having another color of ranunculus and the anemone flowers that looked like poppies caught my eye and stole my heart. To be honest, I wasn't excited about the frizzy scabiosas in the candy pink color, but they turned out to be the best option for the flower girl's crown. They were also good filler for the centerpieces - very hearty and plentiful. I'd say wait until the day of to add the delicate anemones, or just make sure they are kept refrigerated with water. This combo adds great flexibility to your arranging.

Peony Rose Peach Ruffles ( 24 Peony Garden Roses )

Used for: Centerpieces , Bridal Bouquet, Bridesmaid's Bouquets , Corsages, Boutonnieres

These peony roses were so full and luscious, and the peachy color coordinated well with the other bright oranges and yellows we had. Most of the blooms went in the bride's bouquet, a few in the bridesmaid's bouquets, and the corsages/boutonnieres for the MOB/MOG, and officiant. The few that were left over went in centerpieces. Highly recommended for a delicate yet full look.

Peach Fresh Rose Petals ( 3,000 Rose Petals )

Used for: Other

We used these gorgeous, silky petals for our flower girl to drop during the procession and in little cellophane baggies on each seat at the ceremony for our guests to throw them as we recessed down the aisle at the end. We ended up with more than enough, so we also used them to scatter on tables at the reception for extra decoration... and still had bags left over! The petals didn't have much of a smell. The peachy color was so light and lovely and complemented the rest of the flowers well.


Eric Vitale Photography (
Dress: Jenny Yoo (sample sale) / Alterations: Diana Deane Bridal Design & Alterations (https://www.d
New Leaf Restaurant
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DL BLT (Dan Arlein)