Monday, December 13, 2010

Renegade in SF.

Remember this blog entry?  Well, the fair is back again, although this time its the holiday version.  I LOVE Renegade.  The fairs are always juried, so only the finest get in, which means you don't have to weed through knitted pot holders and cheesecloth wallets to get to the good stuff.  Its ALL good stuff (almost - beauty is in the eye of the beholder after all).  It's taking place this Saturday and Sunday at the Concourse Exhibition Center in San Francisco, a change from the usual Fort Mason affair.  Here's a full list of the vendors for this year.

I'll be in booth 256 this year with my succulent terrariums, which is right at the top of the map below, about a third of the way in from the entrance.  Come say hello!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Cascading Bouquet.

I'll keep it short & sweet today.  This October bride wanted her flowers to capture the colors of our Laguna Beach sunset.  For her bouquet, she showed me a picture of callas and cymbidiums she liked, but wanted to add a slight cascade.  Callas are an ideal flower for this style of bouquet; and while cymbidium orchids can be a bit tough (because they have to be hand-wired in), I think we made it work pretty darn well.

Happy Sunday!

Friday, December 10, 2010

A Practical Wedding.

Being a very visual person myself, its been easy for me to get caught up in how my wedding will look.  I forget that what is equally important (if not more important) is how my wedding will feel, not only for our guests, but for meWe spend so much time going over and over the details of aesthetics... the cake, the centerpieces, the linens, the dress, the make-up... all of it is rooted in how it will look.  And as a wedding florist, obviously that's my main purpose, to help make it look pretty.  Today I came across this post from Snippet and Ink that addresses just this, reminding me to think about how my wedding will feel, and all of the unknown around it.  The entry is from a guest blogger: Meg of A Practical Wedding

If you’re reading this website, chances are very good that you’ve been called a bride for months and months. But here is a newsflash: you’re not a bride. Not yet, anyway.

For most of us, the liminal state of bride-dom lasts for about ten hours. It’s long enough to put on the dress, say the vows, transform yourself from a single person to part of a brand new family, and then party like it’s going out of style. And then it’s over, and that’s a good thing. So the question is, how do we take those ten hours and experience them to their fullest? How do we get what we need out of this liminal state, and move forward with minimal regrets and a lifetime of memories?

In short: you need to really show up emotionally, let go of all the planning you worked so hard on, and embrace imperfection.

That sounds gauzy and hippy-zen and impossible, right? Well, it’s really none of those things. So, without further ado, here are the things you should know about your wedding day that no one will ever tell you. (Except, um, I’m telling you, so you win.)

 Photo Credit: The Legacy Boutique, Flowers by Chandra Abel Designs

Your wedding day might not feel like you expect it to feel.

After reading tons of wedding magazines and zillions of wedding blogs, it’s hard not to have an idea of how your wedding day is going to feel. The thing is, that idea might be dead wrong.

First, I think we all hope our wedding day is going to feel pretty and chic. The one problem with this plan is that you can’t feel pretty, because pretty isn’t an emotion. Trouble! As my husband warned me before the wedding, it’s really important to differentiate between how wedding pictures look and how your wedding day will feel. Our wedding pictures look dreamy and beautiful, and for that I’m grateful. Our wedding ceremony, on the other hand, felt really gritty and raw. The ceremony felt intense, but not necessarily happy. And that was ok. There was plenty of time for joy at the party, and in the weeks of bliss to come.

So on the day itself, do everything you can to resist classifying your wedding day emotions as right or wrong. Maybe like me, your life will change hard and fast, in a moment of gritty intensity. Maybe you’ll ride a wave of joy, but just feel like you threw an awesome party, nothing life changing. Maybe you’ll be so overwhelmed that you’ll weep for hours. Maybe it will be something totally different, and even more unexpected. Whatever you feel, let yourself feel it. It may not be at all what you expected, and that may be a blessing.
Photo Credit: The Legacy Boutique, Flowers by Chandra Abel Designs

Your family is crazy, and that’s ok.

I know right? You’re sitting here reading this thinking, “My family isn’t crazy, my family is lovely! And besides, it’s my wedding day so they’ll be on their best behavior.” Well, sort of. Your family probably is lovely (mine is), but you know how everyone acts in high stress situations? You know how your mom freaks out on Christmas Day about having the table set just right, and you have the brother who’s super delightful but slightly socially awkward in large groups, and you have the two uncles that don’t really get along that well after the four whiskies they always insist on having? Yeah. That stuff is going to happen on your wedding day, because weddings are stressful. But here is the thing, it doesn’t have to matter.

Being a bride has certain perks, and one of those perks is being given a free pass to not give a sh*t. If your mom starts freaking out while you’re getting ready, have a sister or a best friend who’s tasked with pulling her aside and telling her to breathe. If your uncles start fighting with each other after their fourth glass of whisky, you have permission to just turn around and walk away.

You’re not going to be able to make everyone happy, and that’s fine. For ten hours of your life, your job is to protect your own experience. Your job is to refuse to get emotionally involved when people get stressed, and to just walk away and let it go. It’s tricky, but it only lasts for a few short hours. Tomorrow you can get totally pissed at your mom when she’s acting a fool, but for today, it’s not your problem.

What happens next is so much richer.

Because planning a wedding is a giddy mix of beautiful things, mixed with a serious dose of pain in the *ss, it’s easy to get focused on This One Day We Spent So Much Time And Money Planning. But that day is not the point. Your marriage is the point. So as your wedding day approaches, remember that this too shall pass. And what you’ll be left with is your marriage, which is infinitely more beautiful than the most stunning wedding dress in the world.

Photo Credit: D2 Photography, Flowers by Chandra Abel Designs

My wedding day? It was one of the great joys of my life. But the happiest day of my life? That was probably a lazy honeymoon day with my husband, drinking whiskey and looking at castles. Or maybe it was just any old lazy Sunday, reading the New York Times, lounging around the house… and oh yeah, not planning a wedding.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Frequently Asked Questions.

Besides the food and The Dress, the most common thing your guests will talk about (and remember) about your wedding is the flowers.  Just as any bride, you want to make sure that your flowers represent the day in the best possible way.  Over the years I've learned that there are some common questions and concerns at the forefront of many bride's minds about flowers.  But there are a few things many people don't know to ask their florists in their initial meetings.  Here's some things you should ask when getting started and/or know before signing a contract to make sure the flowers are what you envision.  I'll post all of my answers to these questions as well.

Do you have a minimum?
Some florists require that you spend a certain amount in order to work with them.  I don't.

What kind of packages do you offer?
This is a tricky questions for florists as some do, some don't.  I personally don't offer any pre-set packages; everything I do is custom.  I am a little weary of florists that offer packages - no two weddings are alike.  It's a little presumptuous (and cookie-cutter) to imagine that I could offer something that would apply to multiple people just the same.

How many events do you take on per date?
This is an important one that many don't know to ask, as many florists don't have a limit.  I take only one per date.  I would be so nervous if I knew my florist had another person's wedding in the back of their mind and weren't able to devote all of their attention to the details of my day.

How do you charge?
My estimates are priced out a la carte.  In other words, each piece is itemized, so you can see exactly what you're spending on each centerpiece, aisle bouquet, and boutonniere.  Your florist should be very open with you about pricing - its your money and weddings aren't exactly low-cost.  I find that this way my bride's can allocate their budget wherever they'd like to see the most "wow".  When you get an estimate from another florist (as I imagine many brides get multiple bids), if they're just giving you the bottom line, I'd run.

Will you help us make sure the decor fits with the flowers?
This is kind of an obvious one.  But, don't be afraid to ask if your florist will meet with you additional times (and if they charge for that) to help you make sure everything fits, for example, meeting with you at your venue once you've chosen linens.

What kind of a deposit do you require?
Just like your other vendors, your florist will likely as for a deposit to hold the date.  I ask for a third once we've worked out most of the details (I say most, because some things can change, i.e. number of centerpieces) and you've received a formal estimate and copy of my contract.

I hope that helps a little bit.
Happy planning!

Photo credit: The Legacy Boutique