Dreamy Dahlias in Upstate New York with Saipua

When a friend (Pyrus flower garden helper and aspiring florist), told me that Saipua were doing her wedding flowers when she moved to upstate New York this autumn my heart skipped a beat with excitement. When Mairead followed this up casually with “Sarah’s treating it as a personal project, she might need help cutting and what not, you should come”, my heart actually stopped.

 If you are into flowers you will most likely have come across Sarah Ryhanen’s business Saipua. We at Pyrus are great admirers of the New York based florist and flower grower so to see her work in the flesh AND take a trip to New York AND maybe even help out was an opportunity not to be missed!


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After arriving at JFK and following some ‘adventures’ with a badly behaved GPS we finally arrived at Race Brook Lodge   Massachusetts. It was literally like walking into an American wedding blog. Autumnal splendour all around, hammocks, lots of wood and an air of romance. Sadly, my below par photography skills do not do justice to the beautiful things I saw over the next few days but hopefully you’ll get the gist.



 Within moments of arriving I was greeted by buckets of beautiful flowers and two happy faces, Mairead and Sarah, and set to work.  Mairead asked me to decorate the marquee with saplings and Sarah had a request for some golden crab apples.  Sarah kindly let us borrow her enormous pick up for a spot of upstate foraging!


As anyone that knows me will know, foraging is one of my all time favourite things to do and as an avid lover of all things autumn this was a serious treat- upstate New York in the Fall!

I was particularly taken by the weeds!

I was particularly taken by the weeds!


Later on after unloading I headed to the flower den where Sarah was working.  I immediately fell in love.. with THE most beautiful Dahlias I have ever seen!  I couldn't contain my joy, they were just so dreamy.  I ooh-ed and ahh-ed over the array of flowers; from anemones, snaps, roses and dahlias to hydrangea, zinnias and at least three different vines.



We chatted a while (or at least I picked her brain trying not to let on that I actually had a million billion things I wanted to ask her). We spoke about flowers, varieties and what we like to grow, her style and I asked her secret to success (well I had to ask!). And her answer... “hard work”.  She said she didn't develop a style particularly, just arranged how she liked the flowers to look. She commented that she was lucky to have caught the trend for a more natural style of arrangement at just the right time. No big marketing campaign, no tactics, just hard work.  I was reassured.  I could see she was enjoying herself so I went on to do my flowery jobs for the day and let Sarah work on into the night (in peace!).


 The following morning we were welcomed at breakfast to a beautiful big arrangement sitting outside the lodge. As the day developed more and more gorgeous arrangements were popping up all over the place, like a gentle crescendo to the wedding itself.

check the golden crab apples

check the golden crab apples


The day of the wedding and the first advantage of having a late afternoon ceremony is that everybody is free to help set up!  It was a really lovely morning, lots of team spirit, more foraging and an air of Brownie Camp.


The second advantage is that there is no mad rush to get ready!  A relief for me as usually it's a mad rush to finish setting up and get my wedding glad rags on for a friend's wedding.


The wedding itself was beautiful.  Normally I'm not the emotional type but I did well up at this one, we all did.  Sauerkraut Seth (he has an amazing Sauerkraut business) waited for his Celtic bride under the Chuppah and Mairead glided in looking absolutely stunning.


The day was so incredibly beautiful: beautiful people, music, food and punctuated with beautiful flowers.


Needless to say the next day we were all a bit tender.  However a trip to a local flower grower soon fixed that! And more on that to follow...


Congratulations Mr and Mrs Travins and all our flowery wishes for your future together!