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A seasonal bouquet with spiritual significance
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A seasonal bouquet with spiritual significance

Baby boy Roy was depaganized on October 1.

Baptism is my second-favorite sacrament, and we always have a big party to follow. The party this year was a huge hit. More on that in a moment.

This time around, a few of my girlfriends mentioned that they liked our flower arrangements. No, I did not spend an exorbitant sum on them. Yes, I did them myself. This is one of those little things I like to do — not just for parties, but as a monthly habit — that adds a layer of meaning and coziness to our home. A little tradition every couple of weeks or whenever we are having company.

So I thought I’d share how.

My rule of thumb is to pick flowers based on three principles: the current season, their symbolic potential, and how they will complement one another in the arrangement. A cursory glance at each of the above links will give enough insight to make interesting choices. It’s not necessary to do all of these at the same time, or even at all, but I think working this way adds a depth and harmony to the arrangement that retrospectively makes the work of putting them together feel worthy of the time.

Since it’s autumn, I was going for warm reds, burnt oranges, and yellows. I knew I would be looking for an analogous color scheme (colors that fall close to one another on the color wheel) because my table linens have lots of little details and I thought a busy bouquet would make things too chaotic taken together.

I ended up choosing some lovely deep burgundy calla lilies, traditionally associated with Mary the mother of Christ, rebirth, and redemption: fitting for a baptism followed by a consecration to Theotokos.

Second, I chose a mix of mustard and auburn chrysanthemums. Because they bloom in October and November during the season of remembering (All Souls and All Saints), chrysanthemums felt like a good choice, however somber, to honor my son’s familial namesake.

Then, magnolia leaves (which blend nicely because of the rust color of the leaves’ backs), are a Southern staple, symbolizing nobility and fortitude, characteristics of his saintly namesake.

Finally, I chanced upon some orange baby’s breath, whose name indicates its significance: purity, innocence, hope.

Putting together the actual bouquet requires some refinement. Men often make the innocent mistake, when bringing their wives flowers, of skipping this crucial step. But there’s an unutterably dramatic difference between a cut, stripped, and carefully arranged bouquet versus one that’s been thrown into a vase as is.

This guide from Martha Stewart takes you through the mechanics. And for the even more mechanically minded of you, check out this piece from Cambridge Maths on what the Fibonacci sequence means for florists.

Happy arranging!

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