Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Society Room Photo shoot wedding

So, back in February we designed the most amazing photo shoot wedding at The Society Room in Hartford, Connecticut.  Along with one of the most talented group of wedding professionals in the industry!  So many details and here is a sneak peak of some of the wedding....
Sixpence For Your Shoe coordinated this incredible wedding and helped create custom stationery pieces.   We designed custom floral pieces for the entire wedding.  Regina B created the most amazing (and sparkly) broach for the stems of the bride's bouquet.  Which was perfect with all of the winter details.
And of course, this wedding would not have been complete with out the amazing artistic abilities of Jamie Collins Photography!  Her photographs are just gorgeous and capture the beauty of the bride and groom along with every single little detail of the entire wedding!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Our Signature "tree" centerpieces

A few years back I got this crazy idea of creating centerpieces that were of a free-standing "tree" almost growing out of the table.  Since then, we've critiqued it and come up with many variations of the tree piece.  The one above was at Tumblebrook Country Club and we wanted a mix of earthy with a touch of glitz.  So, we added lengths of crystals for added sparkle and sophistication and small plants at the base for the touch of nature.  A colorful touch of pink delphinium was abundant at the top of this tree along with a few hanging candle luminaries.
For our 2009 Deserving couple wedding they had all low centerpieces in wooden crates.  Since the reception was located in a church hall and was very simple, we wanted to create an escort card table that would be the talk of the town.  And, boy was it!  The tree was composed of birch branches and curly willow branches, then a fabulous twist of 'cool water' roses along with lavender cymbidium orchids around the trunk of the tree.  There was an abundance of purple mokara orchids at the top.  Delicate paper escort leaves were hung around the tree in alphabetical order.  This dramatic entrance piece gathered guests and brought them together as one guest passed along to another how to find their name.

I love working and sketching up ideas for photo shoots.  It makes me stretch my imagination and come up with never before seen ideas.  With photo shoots we try and create table settings, bouquets and boutonnieres that you'll absolutely fall in love with and bring you a ton of inspiration!

I worked on sketches last night for our upcoming photo shoot at La Cupola Ristorante & Inn.  (this cute little Italian villa style reception venue.  Romantic setting, French doors into the ballroom/dining area, gorgeous property with views of the Bantam river and large pond)  I LOVE that the wonderfully talented Jamie Collins Photography will be capturing every little spectacular detail for us!  She is amazing and I would recommend highly recommend her to anyone planning a wedding in New England or anywhere for that matter!

Just to give you a taste of the floral aspects... we've headed to flea markets and yard sales for some of the best vintage glass finds and we'll be incorporating them into the table settings.  I've chosen a mix of low and medium height centerpieces which will be running the length of a rectangle farm-style table.  Lush garden roses and touches of fresh mint along with a ton of candles.  The perfect fresh from the garden feel with a touch of elegance!  Colors of lavender and peachy pink with a splash of green.  LOVE!

Fizz Paperie came up with some AMAZING menu cards along with numbers for the tables.  So creative and just plain, different!  We'll be creating a romantic and sophisticated table setting with a touch of rustic, New England charm.  Lots of candles and flowers you've probably never seen! 

Some of the most amazingly talented wedding professionals in the industry will be joining us.
Including: Kelly's Sweet Rewards, Rentals Unlimited, Plumed Serpent, Sara Faella.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Real wedding featured in Bride's magazine

In the latest copy of Bride's magazine you'll find Candice's wedding (of Jubilee Events) featuring our floral designs.  The couple's summer ceremony was at the Old State House and reception following at The Gershon Fox Room in Hartford, Connecticut.  Two absolutely stunning locations! 

This wedding was simple yet very dramatic.  Using all one type of flower and color in each vase and a ton of candles.  I loved the family-style head table with red dahlia blooms at each place setting and personalized seating cards along with stunning candles running down the center of the table.  Family-style head tables are a fabulous idea!  It's the newest option for a head table and brings so much intimate conversation to your wedding.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Stresses of wedding planning

Planning a wedding can be a full time job.  It's important that you have the wedding of your dreams, but without breaking the bank!  Make a list of things that are an absolute priority for you.  (for us it was of course, flowers, food, having a more intimate wedding and a venue that only hosted one event per day)   Because we wanted a really nice wedding and we paid for most of the wedding ourselves, we limited our guest list to a maximum of 100.

There are so many different elements that make a wedding.  Like anything else, things just add up.  Sit down in the beginning stages of planning to come up with a preliminary guest list and a basic idea of what you envision.  Personally, I feel that photography is one of the most important elements to a wedding.  After all is said and done, it's what you will have left to remember every little moment.  I love the photographers with a photojournalism style, where they capture the moments and events of the day without being obtrusive.

Selecting a date is another issue.... Friday, Saturday or Sunday?  If you have many guests traveling from all over, you may opt for a Saturday wedding and not a Friday.  Only because it might be difficult for them to travel and take a day off from work, etc.  For Catholic weddings, most churches allow ceremonies on Saturdays no later than 2 pm or 3 pm at the latest.  If you visualize that romantic evening wedding and do not want to inconvenience your guests choose a venue that has a flexible start time (probably one that only hosts one event per day).

I think if you start off organized, everything will come together beautifully!  Organization is the key to a successful wedding or event.  Make a check list of which vendors you like and write in notes when you meet with them.  You'll want to book your major vendors as soon as possible to ensure you get the professionals you really love.  The most popular wedding professionals book quickly, so contact them early to interview them and discuss the details.  Otherwise you will be upset if you have to settle.  Don't overwhelm yourself, make to do lists and cross things off as you accomplish them.  It will make you feel less stressed and feel like you are getting things done in a timely fashion.

A very important thing to remember while searching for the perfect venue is ask every question you can in the initial meeting (and write all the answers down).  If you are in the search for a fabulous wedding venue and really want a romantic candle lit wedding, be sure and ask if they allow real candles.  Many reception venues allow candles, but they have to be enclosed in some sort of glass container.  Historical reception venues however, may tell you they do NOT allow any candles.  Which basically means you will have to get that romantic glow from battery operated candles. (luckily, they are making them now that are incredible real looking!)  Ask if the reception venue does more than one wedding per day.  Ask about the parking situation, where the cocktail hour will be, how many guests they can accommodate comfortably, what comes with the package (linens, china, flatware, tables, gratuity, tax, etc.).  All of these questions will help determine whether or not the space you love fits your budget and can accommodate your needs.

The biggest thing to remember is that it is your wedding and it should be a gathering of your close friends and family.  Try not to stress completely over the planning process because it can be extremely stressful.  Know that by hiring some of the very best wedding professionals it will be incredible and you will enjoy every minute of it!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Gardening on our farm

As many of you know, our studio is situated on a small farm in Burlington, Connecticut.  We started this business looking at things very different than the traditional florist shop.  We are by appointment only and cater to our clients every need.  Doing such, we also only design for weddings and special events.  (so unfortunately, no you cannot order everyday flowers from our company or a fruit basket, etc.) 

All of our flowers are ordered specifically for each client's event, well in advance so we can make sure to get exactly what you want.  If we know ahead of time that you are looking for a certain flower (especially something that is not commercially grown) we'll plant it in our gardens and grow it with love, just for your wedding!  How personalized is that?!  Here I captured some of the honey bees enjoying the lavender that lines the sidewalk up to our studio.  Without bees pollinating our gardens, we wouldn't have all of these pretty flowers and certainly wouldn't have any of the fruits or vegetables we love to eat.
This year we expanded our herbs by adding more mint, thyme, rosemary and sage plants.  I love the fragrance of herbs on a boutonniere.  During June and early July, you'll find me picking unripe blueberries for that added touch of the garden and nature to boutonnieres.  A few years back, we added pink and white snowberries to our gardens since they are hard to find at the wholesalers.

What I love most about our shop and it's location is when a bride walks up the winding sidewalk to our studio and she gasps and says "this is just so beautiful!"  Many times that bride is coming from either New York or Boston, so the garden is a welcoming entrance.  I also love that I get to run out to the garden and pick that small flower or berry to add detail to bouquets and boutonnieres.  All the more detail, the better!

There are so many lovely blooms in our gardens during the summer into the fall months.  Dahlias, zinnias, statice, all sorts of herbs, blueberries, snowberries, Peegee hydrangea and lamb's ear are just a sampling of the flowers we grow and use in our events. 

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

In the details

I truly believe it is the little extra details that add to a wedding and make it more special.  Love is in the details of an event, such as adding hand written notes to your out of town guest bags.  This added touch graciously thanking them for traveling and sharing this very special time with you.  The fact that you took the time to add such personalized touches to your wedding or event (especially with the crazy busy planning of a wedding) will have a tremendous impact on your guests'.  Things you can do yourself add love and emotion to your wedding.

If you love to bake (like me), try baking cookies or brownies, package nicely in clear bags and add to your out of town guest bags.  Be sure and include the recipe for an added touch of detail.  Out of town guest bags or packages are a fabulous way of added appreciation for guests traveling.  Find an inexpensive canvas bags (try Reny's in Maine), burlap bags or cute little boxes.  Add fresh seasonal fruit, bottles of water, a homemade baked goodies, maps and brochures of area attractions.  It's such an unexpected surprise when your guests check into their hotel.  Ask your florist to deliver little bud vases or mason jars filled with seasonal flowers to add a little touch of life to the guest rooms.

If you are feeling creative and ambitious, try designing your own save the dates, menu cards and programs.  You'll find an incredible selection of paper at Paper Source.   You can design something and bring it to your local printer.  I love the look of letter press, an old style of printing which has become very popular right now.  Add detail with rhinestones, ribbon threaded through or real pressed leaves.

You will find as you plan your wedding, certain aspects are higher on your priority list than others.  It is imperative that you bring your own personality to the wedding and make it all your own. The once in a life opportunity to share such a wonderful commitment between tow individuals coming together as one is enormous.

What ever you do to add personalization to your event will help transform your wedding and make it unique.  Have fun, do things you love and everything will be wonderful.  Try not to stress too much and enjoy the fact that you are getting married!

Wedding and event flowers

You might have a ton of ideas of how you visualize your wedding flowers.  Or you might not have any clue of what you want.  It's our job to work closely with you to create a look you may have not even thought about.  Typically, couples come to us about a year prior to the wedding date.  It's never too early to meet with us and go over initial concepts.  Ask questions and get to know how our company works. 

Planning a wedding is a major milestone in your life.  We want to know your concerns and we'll listen to your desires.  The relationship that we build with you is so very important!
For summer, hydrangea is a fabulous flower to use.  Especially if you have a large guest count and you'll need a large number of centerpieces.  It's fluffy large blooms will fill up space and add that touch of summer.  I personally LOVE hydrangea in the fall as well.  It comes as antique hydrangea then.  We can get all sorts of various colors such as antique green (with touches of burgundy) or antique purple.

Now, if you think hydrangeas aren't your thing... we'll offer up plenty of alternatives.  Dahlias, zinnias and garden roses are perfect as well for a summer or fall wedding.  I love the look of fresh herbs, all one kind bunched together and placed in a vintage vase.  Mint, sage leaves and fresh lavender are great for the little bit of fragrance and added texture to your centerpieces.

Gather up some ideas on Style Me Pretty blog or your favorite bridal magazines!  I love the new magazine Wellwed.  It's packed full of fabulous ideas and great vendors for a New England or New York wedding.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Deserving couple contest (taking applicants!)

Each year our company hosts a deserving couple contest.  Earlier in the year we chose two winning deserving couples for 2011.  The contest is simple.  We look for a couple experiencing financial hardship, yet still finds time to do good for others, giving back to their community. 

These are some of the images from our 2009 deserving couple wedding.  Their wedding was held in Thomaston, Connecticut with their reception for about 175 guests at the Lyceum in Terryville, Connecticut.  We worked with an amazing group of wedding professionals to put on one over the top wedding! (Jamie Collins Photography, Jubilee Events, Lamothe's Sugar House, Festive Occasions, Emily's Catering Group, Regal Stageways, La Belle Chateau Salon & Spa, Dana Bartone, Kim's Cottage Confections, The White Dress by the Shore and Kathy Faber Designs)  

Karri and Chris are being married on April 30, 2011 at Wesleyan Chapel and their reception following at Sarah Porter Memorial Hall in Farmington, Connecticut.  They are so fortunate that they'll be receiving services and products from the following extremely generous wedding professionals:
Jessica's Country Flowers
Emily's Catering Group
Steve Depino Photography
Sixpence For Your Shoe
Paper Olive
Lovely Cakes
The Plumed Serpent
Dancing Pen Calligraphy
Sandra Downie Beauty
Cookie Creatives by Jennifer

Anna and Justin will be married on May 21, 2011 at The Webb Barn.  They are as well very luck to be working with the following vendors who have so graciously donated their services and products:
Jessica's Country Flowers
Emily's Catering Group
Justin & Mary Marantz
Details Wedding & Party Planning
Stonington Paperie
Toria Dolce Fine Desserts
The White Dress by the Shore and designer Modern Trousseau
Dancing Pen Calligraphy
Sandra Downie Beauty
Cookie Creatives by Jennifer
The BIG announcement is that we've teamed up with another fabulous group of wedding professionals to design a third deserving couple wedding in 2011!!  Yes, you read that correctly.  Keep reading below for all the details. 

The wedding reception will be held at La Cupola Ristorante & Inn, in the historic town of Litchfield, Connecticut.  Along with services and products provided by the following vendors:
Jessica's Country Flowers
Joyelle West Photography
Kelly's Sweet Rewards
Fizz Paperie
Coren Moore (offering three bridesmaids gowns and one flower girl gown)

We are accepting applicants for this 2011 deserving couple wedding.  If you feel that you deserve this wedding, please fill out our contact form and tell us why you deserve to win.  (even better, if you know a couple who really deserves this and would like to nominate them, we'd love to hear from you!)  The couple needs to be in financial hardship and doing some sort of community service.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Hand tied bouquet

This beautiful hand-tied bouquet features Saracena lilies, "Patience" garden roses and white freesia.  It's aroma is light and flavorful to the nose.  The garden roses give you that fluffy feel of peonies without them.  Many of our clients love the feel of peonies but are marrying during hot summer months when peonies are out of season.  The garden roses (or sometimes called cabbage roses) are a perfect solution! 

When we meet with clients, we love to introduce new and interesting flowers, greenery or berries for that added touch of texture.  It also makes people turn their heads and say "wow! I've never seen that before!"  This bouquet is wrapped with a wide ivory satin ribbon and detailed with a copper/bronze ribbon with sequins in French knots.  I've added a few vintage rhinestone buttons for a touch of sparkle and interest to the stems.  The Saracena lily would be perfect for any gentlemen's boutonnieres. 

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Touches of autumn

Personally, my favorite season is probably the fall.  I think of harvest and blessings that surround us.  Our company is BIG on using locally grown products (flowers and fruit) as much as possible.  We feel strongly about doing our part to support local farmer's and doing things to better our environment (like recycling everything we can, gardening organically and saving energy)

For this wedding we used mini apples from Belltown Hill Orchards.  At the bottom of each "tree" centerpiece we added more depth with lady gala apples.  It was the perfect touch of color and texture.  You can find little gourds, pumpkins, hay and other great additions for your fall wedding at many local farms such as Belltown Hill Orchards. 
For the added feel of New England harvest, try farm made jams, native honey or goat milk soaps for favors or in addition to your out of town guest bags.  For a great local addition the ladies room essentials basket I generally try and add Goatboy Soaps hand lotion, her soap and lip balms.  If it's an outdoor wedding we always try and include sunblock and bug spray.  Some of my absolute favorite scents of Goatboy Soaps are blueberry pumice, blackberry sage, heavenly and tea tree.  Her lotion is fabulous!  For the fall, try maple candies or maple syrup in fancy glass (so you can see the incredible color of the syrup) as wedding favors.  Lamothe's Sugar House offers a wonderful selection of custom favors and naturally made products.

My vision of a gorgeous fall wedding would be:  Farmhouse style wooden reception tables with chocolate/bronze color crinkle fabric runners.  Pillar candles (beeswax) of varying heights clustered down the table along with small arrangements on footed amber glass cake dishes of antique purple hydrangea and orange roses.  The more detail the better!  Now, all of this would be stunning in a barn setting with a mix of fabulous chandeliers from Ryan Designs.  If I could do cocktails outside of the barn, I'd add some lounge furniture from Ryan Designs as well.  The perfect mix of romantic, sophistication and pure New England charm!

Late summer wedding at St. Clement's Castle

This beautiful hand-tied bouquet has pink dahlias, raspberry and mango color mini calla lilies along with pieces of mini green hydrangea and kiwi vine twisted into it.  We added a few 'milva' and 'hot lady' roses for the touch of late summer.  I used a bronze ribbon with purple and gold weaved into it for a simple, yet stunning wrap around the stems.
The bride used hot pink as a wonderful accent color throughout the entire wedding.  Just look at her lovely hot pink shoes!  Even the gentlemen had hot pink calla lilies for their boutonnieres along with a touch of freshly harvested wheat.  I love adding different accents to boutonnieres and bouquets depending on the season.  For June and July we sometimes use unripe blueberries or raspberries.  During August and September I love hops, fresh herbs (sage leaves, mint, lavender and rosemary) and see pods.  For later in the season as fall approaches there are a ton of fabulous options including millet, rose hips and kangaroo paw.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Finding the perfect location

From the very beginning of my career I've LOVED finding the most romantic and unique facility for photo shoots!  We get to create over the top table settings and fabulous bouquets all in a new setting.  It really makes our creative minds work harder and think outside of the box.  Which I love! 

I adore coming up with new ideas and a complete challenge.  Photo shoots take a ton of work and collaborating with some pretty amazing wedding professionals.  This summer we are planning two photo shoots (thus far)....

One at La Cupola Ristorante & Inn located in the historic town of Litchfield, Connecticut.  It's grayish color stone building has fabulous big windows and overlooks the Bantam River along with a big pond.  It's beautiful landscaping brings the opportunity for couples to have photos taken while guests sip wine and sit absorbing the surroundings on granite benches.  Jamie Collins Photography will be capturing all of our images and we're working with the stylings of Sara Faella, Kelly's Sweet Rewards and Fizz Paperie.
The second photo shoot planned is with the talented Candace Jeffrey Photography and Larissa Lake Makeup Artist.  I'm in the search right now for the PERFECT location.  Something that speaks to my heart and soul of design.  I'm touring some properties early next week.

Some of my favorite venues are listed on our web site.  We've traveled all over New England and this year we go beyond New England and into New York.  Next year, we'll travel even farther to design some amazing weddings.  With every new venue we design at it brings new challenges and new inspiration.  That is a sweet thing!

Dramatic Before & After

I love the completion of a perfectly designed wedding.  It's important to know that it really makes a difference to your reception when you add flowers and candles.  See the images below where you see the tables clothed and then with the addition of flowers, branches and candles.  Floral decor brightens up the room and adds drama.  Your guests will be in awe while they dine during an evening filled with the delicate aroma of flowers and the glow of flickering candles.


Hand tied bouquets

Hand tied bouquets are really popular right now.  I love the freshly gathered look and simplicity of this bouquet!  "Miranda" and "Patience" garden roses along with "Faith" roses and wrapped with a wide ivory satin ribbon, with French knots for added detailing.  Simple, yet stunning!

For hot summers, we generally do not recommend using certain flowers that are fragile, such as white hydrangea, sweet peas and lilacs.  They simply cannot handle being out of water for extended periods of time.  There are a huge amount of flowers that can however.  Green hydrangea does fine out of water and we recently put "Trick green" dianthus in bouquets of a bride who wanted a Martha's Vineyard and freshly gathered style for her bouquets.

I LOVE putting little touches of detail on the stems of our bouquets.  We traveled to Atlanta in January to pick out the latest in crystals, sequin covered leaves and all sorts of fabulous finds.  For a more 'natural' feel we can put natural twine in French knots over the stems or wrap a fresh leaf and twist wire.  The options are unlimited!  I have the prettiest purple silk ribbon we bought.  Purple and teal color combination is big right now.

Simple branch centerpieces

For some facilities, with really high ceilings it's nice to add some height to your tables.  This will help fill up that empty space and create even more drama.  In general, tall centerpieces cost more.  There is more labor involved, almost double the amount of flowers in tall centerpieces vs. low ones and even the container cost more.  Transportation take more effort since the arrangements are in two pieces and assembled on site at the facility.  With everyone trying to cut costs or get as much for their money as they can, this simple centerpiece is perfect.
Two Manzanita branches in a 15" cylinder vase, filled with water and 15 stems of orange speckled mokara orchids at the top, along with 5 hanging luminaries.  It gives you the height and some color at the top of the branches without the huge costs of tall floral centerpieces.  For added glitz, you could add hanging crystals as well. (either in clear or even color crystals)