My Creative Workbook

Christine de Beer - effortless floral craftsman

Creative Expectations

My article and floral parasol design featured in
DIY Weddings Magazine

We all have a vision, creative expectations, for our wedding design elements. We also all have to contend with all those realities. It might be your budget, time, a venue with restrictions, an inherited colour or anything else that feels overwhelming or at odds with our creative vision. Disappointment usually stems from the difference between expectation and reality, so it is worth finding a way to manage that difference. We are creative DIY brides, after all!

Creative Expectations floral art design

Fortunately, there is a design technique for crafting your wedding details to meet creative expectations while dealing with the constraints and realities of real life.

Willow weaving a parasol

The secret is to think, talk and even write about our expectations as a series of preference statements, such as “I prefer a light Spring blossom parasol over a formal posy.” The statement does not have a firm decision, which means we can respond to realities without feeling overwhelmed. It takes a bit of practice, but it is truly liberating once you get the hang of it.

A few more examples may help. I prefer:

  • plant over man-made material,
  • creativity over functionality,
  • sturdy over collapsable,
  • white over green,
  • green over brown,
  • comfort over effort,
  • hand crafted over mass produced.

Willow parasol

This does not mean we don't like the items on the right, it just means we like the ones on the left more.

Moth orchids

Create a list like this for yourself before actually starting to craft your wedding, so that you can start the design process armed with a guide on how best to balance your creative expectations with reality.

Phalaenopsis orchid

Sticking to the parasol theme: I may decide to weave one from plant material rather than buying one

Phalaenopsis orchid and willow parasol

I would have preferred it to be all white, but can accept a predominantly brown stem parasol with green and white detailing.

Phalaenopsis orchid hydrangea and willow parasol

It should be wild and natural almost as if it grew this way, even if it provides less shade, leaving "gaps" and "imperfections" that enhance the woodland feel of the design not only acceptable but desirable.

Woven willow parasol

The tutorial below is an example of what this process can lead to, and remember, you can use the same preferences to apply your creative expectations to every design element of your wedding.

DIY Weddings Magazine Parasol design

Thank you DIY Weddings Magazine for inviting me to contribute.

Every week I add a new design with related tutorials. Be sure to subscribe to receive an email notification with design inspiration.


19 February 2013 Manipulating stems: Snapping at an angle, Bending, Spiraling, Curling and Straightening

Most stems, twigs and even sturdier branches can be bend into shapes. It takes practice and more than a bit of patience. The main idea is to slowly manipulate the branch without...

16 March 2016 Willow Parasol

Weave willow stems into a decorative parasol

1 November 2011 Weaving a twig wreath

For my design I wanted the wreath to look wind blown so I added a few loosely woven twigs into the weave. I also wanted to emphasize the autumn colours so I added a twirling...

Favourite Flowers


Phalaenopsis, Moth orchid

Salix matsudana "Tortuosa"

Curly Willow, Chinese Willow, Tortured Willow, Globe Willow, Dragon's Claw, Hankow Willow

Related Designs

20 April 2016 That Will Be

Freestanding willow twig armature design

4 May 2016 Ring-a-round

Open a vine wreath to create a spiral twig armature around a glass container

3 August 2016 Practice

Weave a willow bird nest

28 December 2016 A Jingle Cotton Christmas

Cover a wreath frame with bark and cotton for a textured Christmas wreath design

8 February 2017 It could hold

A fragile looking heart made from twigs that can hold a lot of orchids

11 April 2017 Well… we did it again!

Blossoms and chocolates for Easter

25 October 2017 When the pretty eyeballs you back!

Barely there skeleton blossoms with Eucalyptus eyes for my Halloween design... Oh! and a Willow Paddle, which probably should have been the main Tutorial... but... well...

28 November 2018 Crafting

The second design I did for my book launch demonstration looking at aspects that influences my effortless style of designing.

7 April 2021 First we learn HOW to design… and then we learn how only WE design.

Whipped up to be light in the Spring breeze wreath design.

1 March 2023 … ish

An early... ish Spring basket glued from blossom twigs

15 March 2023 Hop… Lots!

Beautiful blossoms don’t NEED much to make it into a lovely design. But the start of Spring might just inspire you to add a bit much… just because it makes you happy.

19 April 2023 Short Cut

A tiny carry basket to gather the shortest stems from your cutting garden... with a place for water and your cutters.

28 June 2023 Catch and Release

Ah... yes summer time designing. Anyone else seeing more insects hiding between the petals this year?

24 January 2024 I mean… really!?!

Using fresh twigs to bind a little twig platform to suspend the beautiful orchids from.

6 March 2024 A Stay Open

Grow a willow birdcage... with a bit of a Spring flower support to get it started.

20 March 2024 the arc of Success

Coil a straw basket for an Easter display

3 April 2024 springy, Spring, spring

Gorgeous Aquilegia vulgaris spring flower... with it's own springy thing!

8 April 2011 Large Open Weave Twig Basket

Easter Basket used in the Durbanville Flower Club Easter Parade Demonstration

21 September 2011 All things being Equal

The fan is made from 18 coffee stir sticks and dressed with a veil of grass, fall leaves and Viburnum berries

19 October 2011 In an Oriental Manner

I wanted my parasol design to be thoroughly me, and thoroughly contemporary yet respectful of the guiding rules and methods shared by the different schools of Ikebana.

5 January 2012 Designing Your Way to Profits

Floral Craftsmanship Article in the Canadian Florist Magazine

1 May 2012 Center the more adventurous design ideas on your centerpieces

Designing adventurous Contemporary Floral centerpieces Article in the Canadian Florist Magazine.

3 July 2012 Twig-a-tude

Stack and wire twigs to create a twig mushroom with attitude for summer