we are so pleased to be featured in the Fall 2010 seasons beautiful Inside Weddings magazine
Our wonderful Organic Bride and Groom , Amy & Nick asked us to create an Eco friendly wedding using sustainably grown veggies and flowers, materials and elements for a simply stunning vineyard wedding. Our 8 page feature shows just a hint of the wonderful touches that we created for them.
We hope that you will be inspired by this fun couple and allow us the Joy of bringing YOUR
Wedding day vision to life.
The use of rich colors and textures added to the organic elegance of the setting
Planning a wedding or special event can be a daunting task. Great vendors can make that experience a dream instead of a nightmare.
Especially in our current economy.
So What’s wrong with just going with the Prefered Vendors on your Venues List? Shouldnt that be the easiest option?
In all the craziness of the wedding biz there are some Venues that are holding the Couples over a barrel as well as vendors who wish to work at their locations, This is known as “Pay To Play” and is the dirty little secret that is creeping into the mix.
Basically the situation rears its ugly head as you sit down to sign contracts on your dream venue and find that you MUST pick from a selection of Planners & Prefered vendors from a list. They may not fit your vision and price range, but you MUST use only these folks! They do not tell you that the vendors have been asked to PAY a fee to be on the list and that some pay a percentage back to the venue. And who gets the fee tacked on to their bill? The bride of course!
Even worse is the “Outside” vendor fees some will demand if you wish to bring in your own Favorite baker, Florist, Photographer and Dj. I have heard outrageous fees of $500-$1000. to bring them in! If you trust your selected vendors and they have proof of Business license and insurance and references and a portfolio, why should they charge you to have them walk on the premises?
So how can this trend be stopped? Brides have More Power than they think. Voting with your Pocket book and selecting venues that allow you to be selective is a start. After all you have worked hard to pay for your wedding and should be able to get the best fit for your personality and budget.
1. Ask the venue if they allow you to bring in your professional of choice. Most Quality venues will allow you to select florist, and photographers and Dj as long as they are licensed and insured. I stress the PRO aspect of this, as most wont allow DIY other than a favor or gift for the guests. DIY disasters of the past may have something to do with some of the reasoning they demand you to use their list, but most in the industry think it is a $$$ Grab by venues feeling the economic pinch!
2.Ask if their “prefered ” vendors are PAID advertisers or PROVEN TALENT. If they are upfront they will disclose this. Many wonderful venues and caterers have favorite folks they have worked with and who are respectful of the venue and meet the credentials and insurance demands of the property.These are the Proven talent and will be “Suggested” . You should be able to meet them and get a feel for their style and then decide. But NOT have to be forced to pick only these suggestions.
You may be into an alternative style of Music or Want RAW food or all organic floral designs. Will you have to Settle for a traditional meal , cookie cutter flowers and the 70-year-old house DJ?LOL
3. Ask if you need to have an Insurance rider? Yes they do demand these at times and this is again an additional fee that may have to be added to your budget. Most professionals have basic liability, But when venues force the harpist to show proof of $ million dollar insurance for her 30 minute performance. they can cause last-minute hassles. Day of event coverage can be purchased for your vendors , but some venues try to force out your selections the last week or so with this disclosure. ALWAYS check the contracts!
4. If couples start opting for venues that allow some wiggle room and Individuality in the planning of their big days and avoid the Venues that demand “their way or the highway” it will protect future couples from going over budget and not getting their dream wedding .
Above all NEVER go blindly into a contract , ask questions, and get written answers .
Be pro active and aware that MANY fine independent vendors are being pushed out by this practice, and it is tainting the industry’s reputation. YOU Have the Right to choose!
Have you ever had one of those moments when you saw something so awe-inspiring that it made you truly stop and ponder the universe?
I know you will say ” Oh You old Hippie!!”, LOL! But I have to say that my trip to Maui this summer had me reflecting on nature and the lessons we can learn from a simple flower.
I have been to the top of Maui’s dormant Volcano Haleakala on a few occasions and I always make it a point to find and admire the Silver Sword plants. These luminous silver plants are endangered and protected.
The Silver Sword also known as the Ahinahina grow only on the slopes of this otherworldly location. Although they look like a mercury dipped cactus to some, they are more closely related to the Sunflower.
The fine silver hairs that cover the plant are extremely sensitive, as are the roots. Stepping too close to the plant or touching the plant can kill it, so admire from a distance or use a good zoom lens. These fine hairs work as a shield from the sun’s radiation and as protection from dehydration as well as insulation from the winter storms and snows at that elevation.
The Silversword lives approximately 50 years. It blooms in a spectacular manner and then gives up its seeds and life. I had never witnessed a full bloom until this year.
The plant produces a tall center stalk with rows of purple seeded flowers. The specimen I was drawn to was at least 5 foot tall.
The area smelled of warm sweet honey. At over 10,000 feet the cool clean air allowed the senses to absorb the essence of this lovely sight.
Sad to think the plant would fade and soon die after this gorgeous display. But it reminded me that creative people are like these flowers.
You struggle through all sorts of storms, heat and adversity at times. You also bask in the warmth of the sun, the glow of the moon and the admiration of those around you. Finally you produce beauty, and hope that all who have been touched by it will remember it and scatter the seeds of your efforts for others to grow and admire.
This is an example of truly stopping to smell the flowers.
Before you catch me donning my Green floral super hero cape, LOL , I have to say that I love my work and clients and always go the extra mile for them. But there are some weddings that just touch me , and I truly have a bond with the bride after many weeks or months of designing and meetings. The hopes and visions of what will be their big day is a big task, but so enjoyable for me. It’s a very big responsibility, that I always take seriously.
But sometimes I am called upon to perform above and beyond, and pull fellow talented vendors out of the proverbial fire when things go wrong behind the scenes. Things that the wedding planner doesn’t want the bride to see or know until every alternative is exhausted. Such was a recent wedding in California.
Arriving in Temecula Wine country on a beautiful Spring morning we set about delivering and setting up an all organic wedding for a wonderful couple who are very Eco Friendly. All through the design process we had added fine touches and whimsical elements to thrill the senses and delight the eye. It was a task my crew and I were looking forward to for weeks. This wedding would be truly creative.
We put the finishing touches on the Reception room and ceremony garden, with its unique mix of Veggies and flowers and checked bows and posies on all chairs and I told my crew to take five.
I was just opening a bottle of water for a sip when my Blackberry goes off with a 911 from the wedding planner.
I answered and asked “Yes?” and she says “Suzanne we have a problem!!!” I asked “What do you need?” her response was ” The cake arrived”, ( I had been waiting to see this gorgeous Fondant and Gum paste creation for over a month) So I said ” Okay, I’ll be right there”, then she paused and said. “They had an accident! “
WHAT? ??? How BAD?” She said its “Not Good! Get over to the reception room and Bring flowers!!! ” So I turned to my assistant Terry and we each grabbed a bucket and I called over my shoulder to the crew, “Meet me with snips and scissors ASAP! ”
I had no idea what to expect. I have seen some minor dings and even a missing in action cake in the past. But these two young pastry chefs looked like they were in a panic.
They had been on the way to the winery when they were cut off and slammed on the brakes only to have this 4 tier cake slide and crash into the dash . Although they were fine, The entire back of the cake was now a mass of gouged, chunked, split and dinged Fondant. The lovely hand painted Artichoke petals made of fragile gum paste had been crushed and shattered in several spots. Their panic grew when they realized that the cake was the focal point of the center of the reception room!! Could it be any worse? Yes they had to call their boss and the designer of this masterpiece to explain!
I could see they were actually shaking as they tried everything to attach the loose petals and try to stop the fondant from slipping. Being the Seasoned Pro, I knew that panicking wasnt in anyones best interest, so I told them both to “Take a deep breath” Lets access the damage and address the possibilities. As they pointed out the major base and teir damage, I made mental notes on the sizes and directed my team to start cutting as many green mums, purple asters and lavender roses as we had left. I went to the bridal table and removed 4 large green Spider Mums from table garland and replaced them with Calla lilies. It was a Good exchange for a better cause.
And We started to work on the repair.
As they carefully tried to replace the Gum paste Artichoke leaves with what was salvagable , I set the largest flowers in place to cover the huge dent on the base tier. I then worked up the cake adding and camouflaging with blossoms and greenery until it started to look like it was meant to have these spilling flowers and greenery details. It is an artistic process. It took us some time to get it looking presentable. I asked the pastry gals to walk around it and see if it was to thier expectations, and between us we added a bit of vine here and a little blossom there, and as we finished one of the winery staff came in and said “WOW what a gorgeous cake”, and walked around it to see the entire design.SO, If this person who did not know we had just had a near catastrophy was wowed, I think the guests would be thrilled too. That was nice.
One of the pastry gals said “Can I hug you?” I laughed and said “sure, It was a team effort” But I will bet they have a few restless nightmares over that cake in the future.
My point to this isnt to pat myself and my team on the back, but to say that hiring a professional floral designer who can deliver more than just the bouquet when a crisis arises is a plus. The Professional event florist is a unique individual who is trained to step up when needed, access the situation and come up with a creative solution in a timely manner to make you look good.
Quick thinking by the wedding planner, good communication with me and My Mother Earth attempt at Nurturing the creative ones in a panic came together to make our Brides day less bumpy.
Did I charge for my “emergency” work at the last minute? No!
But my crew is expecting a box of cupcakes if the bakery is reading this!! LOL
I love the fall season with its lush color and textures.
Some of the most amazing weddings and events I have designed have been in Autumn. Many have won awards and have been featured in Magazines.
Brides who love color will love the many combinations of seasonal details. From firey oranges and reds, to rich tawny gold and antique rose shades. There are early harvest shades with the beauty of green leaves turning to soft yellow to vibrant burgundy. Fruit and seeds, wheat and fall berries and of course pumpkins and branches.
Although the feel of fall in So. California is not the same as our east coast friends. I love to recreate the experience for my west coast clients.
This can be achieved by “setting” the area with eye catching details and scents that bring memories of home, family and season. Bowls of cinnamon infused leaves and pods set amid amber glass candle holders that emit an inviting warmth. A large rustic urn filled with Fall football mums, pepper berries and chines lantern plant.
Then the Gothic touches that come with the Month of October. Deep purples and reds with calla, Black sweet Potato vine and amaranthus add drama.
Whimsy can be had in the colors of candy corn and lime with black & white.
Anything goes for the Halloween bride, from a masquerade formal reception right out of Phantom to an all out Vampire and Monster mash .
As with any fall event, send out your save the dates early, as this is the start of party season and who doesnt love a good party!!
So what does a floral designer do on her vacation?
She searches for a paradise of flowers and other artists to visit.
I usually spend at least 2 weeks on Kauai, But Alan, my Hubby wanted to return to Maui for some diving and visits with friends.
We arrived on Maui to wonderful late summer weather with cooling trade winds. Staying In the Kahana area in a beach front Condo was a plus, close enough to walk to many sites with shopping and galleries nearby.
The condo was decorated in beautiful Japanese Shoji screens and a bamboo canopy bed, that was lovely to see, but hellishly hard, LOL. Making napping on the sand with a good book a delight.
I met some wonderful artists and designers as I visited the towns around the island. look for an article or two soon at UBloom with photo gallery images.
In the mean time, here are some of my faves from the trip.
Rissi, Our Hostess with the mostest at the Old Lahiana Luau,
Jack the Dog & Big Blue the Cat from Anuheua Flowers in Makawao,(farm owners Judy & Bill Merten were a deligh
the carved art and antiques,at the Maui Swap meet,
And spotting the fact that due to economic factors, even Buddha was for sale in Lahaina!
Lots of fond memories, and new friendships to cherish.
And now back to work in my studio with wonderful fall weddings and parties to plan. I look forward to the winter holidays ahead, and welcome your calls for party and holiday house decor .
As they say in Hawaii- Mahalo ( Thank You!) for a fun season!