Less than an hour before our daughter’s recent wedding ceremony, her bridesmaids and I huddled – soda water and stain remover in hand – hastily trying to eliminate the bright orange pollen stain on the bodice of her white dress.
I’ll never look at lilies the same way.
Like many visitors strolling through this summer’s botanical art exhibition at the Woodson Art Museum who likely have a favorite flower, I’ll keep an eye out for lilies – not because of form or color, but rather the associated backstory.
Just eleven days after our only daughter’s wedding, I’m awash in a flood of memories. Despite two waves of thunderstorms that rolled through the area on the eve and day of her July 20 wedding at Willow Springs Garden, a few of my favorite – yes, favorite – recollections focus on flowers.
Shortly after her engagement, Sarah Kate decided to place an order for twenty-three bouquets from a family that has grown flowers and produce, sold at the Wausau Farmer’s Market, for more than twenty years. How delightful it was to discover, after ironing out wedding-flower details early one Saturday-market morning, that the granddaughter working at the family’s stand was a student in the 11th-grade English class that Sarah Kate taught at D.C. Everest Senior High last spring. That certainly sealed and sweetened the deal.
The flowers this family provided were more than gorgeous; they were stellar.
The mother-of-the bride, however, could have been more knowledgeable. I didn’t know that snipping pollen-laden stamens from the lilies before the pre-ceremony photo session could have averted that four-inch orange dress stain. Not a good look. Something akin to the aftermath of a Cheetos bag explosion.
Cool heads, quick thinking, and teamwork prevailed. Fiercely determined and steadfastly positive bridesmaids sourced soda water and stain-remover from a remote cleaning closet. After much dabbing, deep breathing, and relieved laughter, the orange stain was obliterated. Despite my job title, I’m not a marketer at heart, but I can envision an effective product-endorsement commercial emerging from this saga – either for a stain remover or antiperspirant. Both were essential, and I’m grateful. At the very least, perhaps this bit of hard-won wisdom can help someone else avert similar drama.
What a trooper Sarah Kate was and what good-humored and loyal friends she has. This same entourage assembled on our front porch on the wedding-day morn as rain torrents drenched us all, laughing and whooping it up like we were on a water-park splash ride.
As Sarah Kate and Matt wrote about each other in the vows they exchanged, we want people like these by our side when things don’t go as planned. Their wedding-day story had a beyond-blissful ending. The couple and the vows they shared shone more brightly than the stars we danced beneath on a glorious, crystal-clear evening.
Yes, I’ll never look at lilies the same way. Every time I see them, whether in Botanical Art Worldwide: America’s Flora galleries or in a garden, I’ll smile.