It has been an honor and surely one of the most memorable events of our career in being invited as a freelance designer for the First Lady’s Luncheon in 2017 and again this year in 2018. My husband and business partner also volunteered as part of a back up staff to the designers. The Congressional Club hosts the fundraiser luncheon for the First Lady’s choice of charity and the luncheon is attended by spouses and family members of congress as well as other distinguished guests. I am pleased to publish this blog during July which is Certified American Grown Flowers Month!
Kelly Shore of Petals by the Shore and Mary Kate Kinanne of The Local Bouquet were selected as head designers and worked with the Congressional Club’s Luncheon Chair, Mrs. Pat O’Halleran to come up with a theme. The theme chosen was a Sedona Sunset because that area is represented by her husband. Drawing on the colors of the southwest, bright vivid blooms along with copper accents were used. Joining Kelly and Mary Kate in the photo below is Casey Kronquist the CEO of the American Grown Flower Association. Photo credit Kirsten Smith Photography
Nature Supply Company donated t-shirts which proclaimed “Support American Flower Farmers” for all the volunteers to wear as we were setting up.
The most amazing thing about being a part of this event is experiencing and working with the more than 17,000 stems of gorgeous American grown flowers and greens all donated by Certified American Grown Flower Farms. American Flower Farms that donated include Mellano, Gallup & Stribling, Westland Orchids, Resendiz Brothers, Kendall Farms, Ocean View Flowers, CallaCo, Holland American Flowers, Sun Valley, Eufloria, Dramm & Echter, Myriad, Green Valley, Fern Trust, Texas Specialty Cut Flowers, Harmony Harvest, Protea USA, Oregon Flowers, Len Busch and Star Valley Flowers.
All the flowers and greens arrived by truck in pallets of flat flower boxes at the loading dock. The boxes were moved up to the design rooms using the freight elevator where the flowers were unboxed and processed by stripping the lower leaves, giving the stems a fresh cut and placing into prepared flower buckets with floral food. The stems were also counted as we processed them so that we would know exactly how many stems of each variety we had to work with. My husband Wayne was in charge of keeping tabs on all the counts and checking them against what was ordered to make sure everything was shipped.
There is much excitement and a spirit of camaraderie among the volunteers. Kelly and Mary Kate had everything well organized with recipes for each type of centerpiece and arrangement we created. Accent Decor donated all the containers and each of these had to be unboxed and unwrapped. Oasis also donated supplies and Delaware Valley Floral donated as well as provided the trucking of the flowers.
Our design workroom was packed with buckets of flowers surrounding the room in a stupendous array of color, scent and textures. We had already prepared the work room by covering the floor with plastic, setting up the design tables and getting supplies organized first before the flowers arrived. This year we had two additional work rooms on each side of the main design room where containers, vases and votive holders were unwrapped from the many boxes they came in. These extra rooms were also used to hold the finished arrangements until set up time.
A total of 172 table centerpieces were completed as well as a flower wall, small cocktail arrangements, head table arrangements and long flower box arrangements to line both sides of the promenade. The flower wall was designed on rolling carts covered with floral mesh and covered with a variety of greens placed into the mesh. Next trays of Oasis wet foam were secured onto the shelves and the flower stems were inserted through the greens into the wet foam to form waves of color representing a Sedona sunset. Volunteers were behind the wall helping guide the stems into the foam as volunteers in front inserted the stems into the foam from the front. Creating a flower wall was a new experience for me and so exciting to see the mechanics used to create it. It was a bonding experience as we worked together inserting the stems. The whole weekend was a great experience of bonding by working together and finishing each item as a team!
This year we were able to move the flowers into the ballroom the day before the luncheon which saved us from having to get up at 3 a.m. on the morning of the event. Each table held a centerpiece and the promenade was lined with flower boxes in beautiful bright colors. On the head table shorter boxes of flowers were placed between each long flower box to give a bright and colorful display across the front of the tables.
Copper votive candle holders donated from Accent Decor were set out on all the tables with candles placed inside. Certified American Grown cards were arranged around the flowers to bring awareness of the beautiful flower choices we have right here in America and supporting the American Flower Farmers.
Here is the whole gang of volunteers pictured below. There were 22 designers and 5 back-up volunteers to the designers. I enjoyed meeting and working with so many talented individuals, trading stories, learning from each other and making new friends. It was a lot of hard work but still such an honor and so much fun to be a part of something on this grand of scale!!
This year brought me the most awesome opportunity to actually be invited to attend the First Lady Luncheon in exchange for working the boutonniere bar and helping clean up afterwards. The day was so busy and it all moved so quickly it seemed surreal. There was a moment of disappointment when we realized that First Lady Melania Trump would not be able to attend as she was suddenly hospitalized. It was still an amazing and grand experience! I enjoyed hearing Second Lady Karen Spence’s speech in which she gave a very nice tribute to the First Lady.
The boutonniere bar was located at the entrance to the ballroom. All 600 boutonnieres were selected by delighted guests and pinned on for them. The flower wall was also at this location as a photo backdrop and both were a huge hit with such long lines that not everyone got their photo taken before the luncheon but could return after the luncheon for another opportunity to have their photo taken.
The photo below shows how big and massive the ballroom is. The promenade is in the center of the room which you can see in the background of this photo. All the distinguished guests entered in and walked down the promenade to reach the head table. As they were introduced the President’s own United States Marine Band played. Entertainment was also provided by Lee Greenwood and Billy Dean. Each guest received a gift bag placed on their chair with products donated by Caravana, Preservation House, Glitzy Bella and MM.LaFleur. Silk shawls by Peach Couture were tied around each chair to give a bright pop of color and were for the guests to take home. Photo credit below Marion Meaken Photography
The menu was chosen around the Southwest theme and started off with an appetizer of Coctel de Camarones, Gazpacho with Shrimp and Zesty Lime (pictured below). The entree was Roasted Marinated Pork with Home-Style Carnitas with Jicama-Infused Salsa de Arbol, Roasted Baby Vegetables and Jalapeno Cornbread. For dessert we were served Tres Leches with Ancho Chocolate Ganache and Churro. Wine was WillaKenzie Estate Pinot Gris 2016. Korbel California Champagne was served to the guests invited to the VIP Reception ahead of the luncheon.
My assigned seat was at a table sponsored by Mary Beth Bos and was attended by her along with her lovely daughters and granddaughters. The two ladies seated to my left reminded me that I had pinned their boutonnieres on for them. It was a wonderful non partisan spirit and so refreshing to have a unified!! I kept thinking to myself, “Is this real?”
Second Lady Karen Spence gave the speech in the First Lady’s absence. She described what a very caring and kind person First Lady Melania is and gave many instances of her kindness and caring that she had witnessed first hand of the First Lady in action reaching out to others. She also described the charity Mrs. Trump had selected which was Lily’s Place. Lily’s Place provides care to infants prenatally exposed to drugs while offering support, education and training to families.
Attending the luncheon has been an incredible experience for me and my husband. It was worth every minute of work, preparation and clean up to be able to experience this once in a lifetime opportunity!!
Pictured above is the group who volunteered last year as well as this year and were able to attend the luncheon. Missing from the photo is Rose, my partner who worked the boutonniere bar with me. Thank you again to the Certified American Grown Flower Farmers for donating all the beautiful flowers!! Photo credit Kirsten Smith Photography,
When you are planning your wedding for the last weekend in March and the temperature has been in the 50’s all week, the last thing you are anticipating is a spring snow storm!! For Ryan and Brittany, that is exactly what happened on their March 24, 2018 wedding with a mix of sleet, heavy snow and freezing rain which also prevented some out of town guests from attending.
All in all everything about the day was perfect…except for the weather; however they did not let it ruin their happiness and said it made for a few great “but brief” outdoor photos and was certainly memorable!!
Although they were missing the spring weather, inside it was all spring with sage green bridesmaid dresses and bridal bouquets, table centerpieces and church decor in soft blush and peach blooms – perfect colors for a spring wedding!!
Brittany found inspiration on Pinterest for her wedding color palette after seeing photos of light green bridesmaid dresses. She then incorporated the soft pink and blush for the wedding flowers and groomsmen vests & ties. Because her dress was ivory, she chose ivory linens and accent flowers with silver embellishments to make things pop.
Even though she had a full year to plan, Brittany said there were still not enough hours in the day with working full-time and and just encountering life’s obstacles! Therefore every open weekend was dedicated to wedding planning which paid off in the end. She also felt fortunate that a lot of what she wanted worked in her favor and she didn’t have any problems booking vendors, so she felt like she had an overall easy wedding planning process!!
They were married at Second Presbyterian Church in Bloomington which contains a gorgeous pipe organ and has beautiful stained windows. We decorated the pew ends with blooms and mixed greens and tied them to the pew with tulle. A friend crafted their welcome sign which we adorned with a floral spray.
Brittany did a lot of planning on her own, but when she felt indecisive she could count on her mom and bridesmaids to help and be supportive and encouraging. She especially enjoyed the quality time she spent with them planning and it was not only fun and made it more stress-free, but they were a big help which made her life so much easier!!
Brittany’s vision for her flowers were for soft colors with a garden feel. We used a mix of blush and peach garden roses, peach stock, blush astilbe, white ranunculus and mixed greens of assorted eucalyptus and limonium filler.
Brittany thought of all the little details including a floral hairpiece which she wore in her hair at the reception and sweet little flower girl crowns with darling little spray roses for them to wear in their hair!!
Love these ruffly, blush flower girl dresses with their sparkly shoes and so sweetly wearing their floral crowns!! These gorgeous photos were by Dani Lang Photography.
We love this pose of Brittany in her gorgeous ivory lace dress holding her wedding bouquet!! One of our favorite parts of being a wedding florist is handing off the wedding bouquet to the bride and seeing her reaction. Brittany was overwhelmed with tears of joy at seeing her bouquet and her support system (mother & bridesmaids) quickly admonished her not to ruin her make-up!!!
The reception was held at the Marriott in uptown Normal, IL. All the tables had silver lanterns which we surrounded with mixed green garlands and inserted blush and pink roses into the garlands. The head table had a full mixed green garland running it’s length and to the floor with blooms interspersed as well as candles.
Brittany’s best advice to newly engaged couples planning their wedding is to relax and enjoy the process!! She feels that investing in a planner is a life-saver as it does get stressful at times, but staying organized, not trying to do it all at once and leaning on your support system for help will pay off when you see it all come together on your big day!! It also helps to drink lots of wine and keep smiling!!!
Are you wondering how the snowstorm affected the flower delivery? Well, we played it safe and brought all the flowers to the Marriott ballroom on Friday evening, then checked in ourselves and spent the night so that we found ourselves and the flowers safe from the brutal road conditions Saturday morning!!! We would love to work with you to create your vision for your wedding flowers – call or text 309-212-6570 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to receive your free consultation!!
We so enjoyed the wedding planning for Ryan and Jenna who were married last November and were thankful we were able to keep the surprise and not let it slip!! When Jenna’s mom Shelly got married, her mother ordered a special floral backdrop as a surprise and it meant so much to her that she wanted to do something similar for her daughter!! As Jenna had already chosen a floral pergola as a backdrop for her wedding, Shelly came up with an idea to create a floral surprise over the dance floor which was in a tent connected to the Bloomington Country Club. A suspended decorated ladder with hanging lanterns and covering the tent poles with greens, curly willow and white blooms created a beautiful focal for their first dance! A second surprise was a special backdrop behind the wedding party table (described below)!!
When Jenna came for her consultation she knew exactly what she wanted and was organized with inspiration photos of each item. Since her sister was just married a year earlier, she had learned a lot from that experience. They asked Ryan’s carpenter cousin to build them a pergola which would be something they could keep and also personalize their wedding day with. They used the pergola backdrop as their inspiration and built their day around the pergola decor for simple elegance with touches of deep family importance. This beautiful pergola traveled all the way from Colorado where Ryan’s cousin lives. We covered it with curly willow and greens, then hung white blooms to create the look based off of her inspiration photo.
Because she asked her best friend from nursing school, Joe, to be in her wedding party, she had each of her attendants choose a style of dress they were comfortable in and was in the blue, silver & charcoal color palette so her guy friend wouldn’t totally stand out among the gals!! Her vision was to have lots of white blooms, candles and soft colors to keep the focus on her and Ryan.
Jenna’s favorite part of wedding planning was how it brought their families together. Her mother, sister, future mother-in-law and aunt (all who have been great role models and support to Jenna) went dress shopping with her and which she describes as a day she will never forget. She confesses she never thought she would enjoy the flower part as that has always been her mom’s “thing” but …”After I met with Nancy, I realized how the decor sets the tone for the day. Nancy really listened to what I wanted and she worked with us and made it happen!”
If she could change anything about the wedding planning process, it would have been to have her sister, who lives in Florida, closer. “Kaitlyn made an insane effort to be involved but I know that she missed out on things we would have loved to have done together.”
Jenna’s least favorite part of wedding planning was all the decision making. “There are so many choices and different aspects involved that it can be overwhelming. I was happy that at the end, Ryan and I could sit back and enjoy the time and effort everyone put in the planning and we could just be in the moment with those we loved!”
Jenna’s mom worked closely with us to plan the special surprises which also included the head table backdrop where we hung their engagement photo framed in an old window, lanterns and the letters “LOVE” mounted to a plexi-glass board which we hung over the window frame. When we asked Jenna how she felt when she saw these special suprises, she responded: “My parents are some of the most thoughtful people and I am beyond lucky to be their daughter. They went above and beyond to make sure every detail and dream was accomplished! Most importantly they have been there to support me every step of my way. When I saw the vintage window frame with our engagement photo and the LOVE sign, I was completely speechless!! It made our bridal party table stand out while also giving us a beautiful piece to cherish forever. I was teary-eyed knowing the effort and lengths my mom went to – to add such a personal touch which is most important to me.”
My favorite memories from the day include, my mom and sister helping me with my dress, the first look with my dad, seeing Ryan smile at me as I walked down the aisle and dancing with friends and family who mean the most to us. I will always remember that we felt completely surrounded by love as we made a commitment to each other before God (and in front of our families) and of which we will always honor – that was the most memorable part of our day!
Jenna’s advice to future brides is to not let the details, decision making and being caught up in wanting to have everything perfect overshadow what the day is all about – marrying the person you love and being surrounded by family and friends.
Photo credit – Christi Chambers Photography
Let us help you plan your dream wedding!! Call or text 209-212-6570 or email email@example.com to receive your free consultation.
Andy and Paige were married last November in Bloomington, Illinois. The autumn leaves were late to turn so they were still very beautiful at Miller Park Pavilion on the first weekend of November for their central Illinois wedding as revealed in these gorgeous photos by Melanie Anderson Photography.
Us – Do you have a favorite memory from your wedding day?
Paige – (Not being able to narrow it down to one, she shared five!)
Driving up to Miller Park Pavilion and getting my first look at Andy; then watching his reaction when he first saw me!
Walking down the aisle with my dad, staring at my future husband, and seeing for the first time just how many people (nearly 200) were there to share in our special day!
The Maid-of-Honor (my sister) and Best Man (Andy’s brother) speeches; everyone said there were some of the best they’ve ever heard, and I agree!
Dancing with friends, cousins, aunts, uncles, grandmas and grandpas – all night long!
Walking through the sparkler tunnel on our way to our limo. It was the most perfect way to end the night!
Us – How did Andy propose?
Paige – All my family was gathered at my grandparents’ house to celebrate my grandmother’s birthday. It was an unseasonably warm and beautiful fall day and because it was so pretty and the leaves were so colorful, I asked my sister to take our photo on the dock. (I had no idea that Andy had a ring in his pocket!) She took a couple of great photos, and then Andy insisted she take one more. My sister hesitated just a bit, but as she took another photo, Andy dropped down on one knee and asked me to marry him!! I turned to my sister in shock and we both started crying. Hearing all the commotion the rest of my family came running from the house. We celebrated with champagne and of course – a lot more photos!
Us – Your father was very involved in planning your wedding which as you know is unusual for most bride’s fathers.
Paige – My dad is a very organized, hardworking person who loves to help others. He knows how to bring a vision to life, so Andy and I were thrilled that he wanted to help with the planning and preparation for our big day.
Paige’s color palette was burgundy and blush so we chose the deep red Hearts rose and black mini callas along with the beautiful blush Quicksand rose, light pink astilbe, mauve astrantia, navy privet berries and seeded eucalyptus for texture and a mix of greens/dusty miller for her bridal bouquet. Paige’s mother surprised her and had us attach her late grandmother’s (as well as her own) wedding bands to Paige’s bouquet handle wrap.
For the bridesmaid bouquets, Paige wanted mostly white, blush and mauve blooms along with the textures and greens so the bridesmaid bouquets would show up against their berry colored dresses.
Us – Is there any detail that you would change if you could do it over again?
Paige – No, everything turned out better than I could have ever imagined! I would not change one detail!!
The reception decor featured mixed green garlands hung along the banisters with coordinating floral sprays. For the table centerpiece decor we used silver $ eucalyptus stems, burgundy, blush and white roses and lots of candlelight for simple but beautiful look. (This last photo – by Nancy)
Paige said – “Nancy’s work is beautiful, and she is lovely to work with! She has great insight and recommendations and knows how to make a vision come to life.”
Call or text 309-212-6570, or email firstname.lastname@example.org to receive your free consultation and share your floral vision for your wedding flowers.
Like many couples today, Clint and Delaney had re-located out of state, but wanted to have their wedding back home so their family and friends wouldn’t all have to travel. Delaney generously shared her experience of planning their gorgeous autumn Pear Tree Estate, Champaign, IL wedding to help other couples planning an out-of-state wedding. Photo credit: Rebekah Albaugh Photography
Is there anything you learned in the process that would help other couples plan an out-of-state wedding?
Delaney – We were lucky in that we have family who live in Champaign that we could trust with helping with tasks that we weren’t able to do ourselves from a distance. If you don’t have a trusted family member or friend who lives near where you are getting married, I would recommend hiring well reputed vendors and touching base with them frequently! Our vendors were amazing and always available by phone and email which made out-of-state planning much easier. Trust your vendors -they are there to make your day beautiful and will do everything in their power to make it so!!
Is there anything that you would change if you had it to do over?
Delaney – Honestly, the only thing I think we would change would be to hire a videographer! Your wedding day FLIES by no matter how “present” you stay throughout your day. We didn’t think we had the budget, but wish we would have worked it in so that we could forever “re-live” those memories on video!
What was the most difficult part of wedding planning for you?
Delaney – The most difficult for me was managing everyone’s opinions. My family was gracious enough to help us pay for the wedding so of course, they got a say! I am a people pleaser and I definitely ran into some stressful moments where our opinions differed, but I was afraid to speak up. Make sure you advocate for what you want, but also be gracious about accepting advice or opinions from people who are helping to foot the bill!!!
What was the most enjoyable part of wedding planning?
Delaney – The most enjoyable part (besides knowing I would be married to the love of my life at the end) was seeing everyone from various parts of our lives come together and form new friendships. By the end of our wedding weekend, I had friends from grad school making plans with my childhood friends to grab dinner! It made me so happy to see people from different walks of life come together like that. It just re-affirmed that I really do have the best friends ever!
Do you have any words of wisdom for a newly engaged couple?
Delaney – Everyone says this, but it really is true! Enjoy every moment of the wedding planning process. It’s such a short period in your relationship and can get super stressful, but you are planning what will hopefully be one of the best days of your lives when your friends and family all come together to celebrate your love! It’s easy to get caught up in the small details but in the end it’s not worth too much stress. No one notices what color the napkins are – look at the big picture when you are feeling stressed. You get to spend your life with your favorite person – that’s pretty awesome!!
Delaney was a joy to work with! After our initial consultation in person, we communicated mostly through email as she was in Texas and we were in Illinois. She wanted fall colored flowers to coordinate with her deep raspberry colored bridesmaid dresses, yet show up against the dresses so we pulled in pink garden roses and apricot colored ranunculus to brighten the burgundy dahlias in her bridal bouquets and reception table centerpieces.
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Delaney said – “Nancy was absolutely one of the best decisions we made in our wedding planning process. We planned our Champaign wedding from Austin, TX – no small feat! Nancy made the time to meet with us while we were in town, and was very accommodating with me being an indecisive bride. I literally had no idea what I wanted besides one inspiration picture, but Nancy took that and made me my dream wedding bouquet out of it. She knew what I wanted before I did! She is so sweet and was happy to answer my emails any time I had a question. I would absolutely recommend her to anyone. Thank you Nancy!!”
Ryan and Cara Friedman were married at Pear Tree Estate in Champaign, Illinois last September 9th. It’s always a pleasure to deliver to Pear Tree where the staff is pleasant and helpful. The weather was beautiful and to top it off, Ryan and Cara had booked an excellent photographer, Rachael Schirano who captured these gorgeous images of Ryan and Cara’s special day.
1. How did Ryan propose?
Ryan planned a special day in Chicago for my birthday. We visited the city museums in the morning and as we were leaving, Ryan told me the next stop was really for him, a tour of Wrigley Field (he’s a huge Cubs fan). We were running a little late, and it was snowing (in April!) I was frantically rushing to find the spot where we were to meet the tour guide and trying to explain to Ryan we were going in the wrong direction. Ryan stopped at the front of the building where we first met (one of the Cubs Rooftops) and said, “there is no tour – I just wanted to bring you back to where we met and this all began!” He got down on one knee and proposed. I was so thrown off I don’t think I ever actually said yes!! He had the rest of the evening all planned with dinner at a well-known steakhouse, meeting our parents for drinks at Harry Caray’s and then walking (in a blizzard) to the Trump Tower where we checked in and celebrated with champagne!
2. What did you enjoy most about wedding planning?
As cheesy as it sounds, I really enjoyed the time bonding, not only with Ryan, but my mom and my sister! We had to make some big financial decisions together for the first time which tested the waters of how we could handle that in a marriage. Luckily we seemed to align pretty well!! As I am an indecisive person and change my mind a lot, I really appreciated my mom and sisters help in planning and depended on their opinions to help me make decisions. As I lived at home until we married, it was really nice to have the last year so close with my mom and sister who is still in high school.
3. Would you change anything if you could do it over?
Throughout the process, there were times we would question why we were having such a big extravagant event – we really just wanted to be married!! There were times we thought, “lets just cut out all this stress, cancel the venue and go to city hall. But as most girls, I had thought about my wedding day for a long time and wanted to give that day to my parents and close friends and have them there to share it with us. I feel like some people would say they would do without the small details, that they wouldn’t be remembered, but I wouldn’t have changed a thing – I loved all of the decor!! I would change my hairstyle though – I loved my “messy braid look” when it was fresh at the beginning of the day, but it fell quickly and didn’t look as it had when it was fresh!
4. How did you decide on your vendors?
Deciding on vendors was a little tricky for me as neither of us was from the Champaign area. We relied heavily on online reviews from The Knot and Wedding Wire, along with personal references from friends. Since the venue was the first thing we booked, we asked the ladies at Pear Tree for recommendations.
5. What did you find most difficult in wedding planning?
Logistics! It was difficult trying to figure out rides to and from the venue/hotel for things like our first look and bridal party photos. There were times we needed cars & overnight bags at certain places, or when family needed to be there early, yet they didn’t want their cars at the venue because they wanted to take the shuttle back after the party. My recommendation is to write out a timeline so that no steps are missed!!
6. What is your advice for newly engaged couples?
Right after we got engaged, we took about a month to just enjoy being excited about our engagement without having the stress of starting to plan and make decisions right away. I would advise newly engaged couples to do the same – arrange for time to sit back and enjoy being engaged for a bit before starting to make plans.
Nancy was amazing from the knowledge & expertise that she shared at our consultation to the time and effort that she took to help set everything up the morning of the wedding. Our wedding florals were so much prettier than we even hoped for! Everything was perfect – the types of flowers, colors that she suggested and centerpieces. Would HIGHLY recommend Nancy for all brides in the area! – Cara Mulheran Friedman
Call 309-212-6570, text or email today to receive your free consultation firstname.lastname@example.org
Karl and Sara’s Starved Rock Lodge wedding took place on September 16th during hurricane season. Ironically Sara works in the disaster field so when the massive Hurricane Irma shut down the flower imports in Miami, her wedding flowers that we had so carefully sourced and ordered weeks in advance couldn’t all be delivered. We were left scrambling to find substitute wedding flowers that were already in stock at wholesalers locally and in California. If any bride would understand this situation, it was Sara!! Bless her heart, she was working over-time right up to her wedding day helping the recent hurricane victims!!
Deciding on a color palette and theme was extremely difficult for Sara, but in the end she and Karl went with their gut instincts and decided to incorporate things they enjoyed such as agates, geodes, wood and geometric containers. They chose colors that went well with these elements and that also felt vibrant and organic. The garden roses were among the wedding flowers that didn’t arrive so we found miniature garden spray roses out of California to substitute in the wedding bouquets. As soon as we heard the hurricane could possibly affect Miami, we went to the local wholesaler and bought what they had in stock to replace the flowers that wouldn’t be able to be delivered.
Karl completely surprised Sara when he proposed at the Field Museum. They were walking around when he asked if she would like to look at the Grainger Hall of Gems. As they viewed the gems and talked about which ones they thought were pretty, Karl directed Sara to a small case on the wall that contained a beautiful ring and note. It was such a beautiful and surprising moment, she actually asked Karl if it was real!!
Sara especially loved the process of wedding planning and started a text chain she shared with her bridesmaids (who were all family) so she could share her ideas and they could send her inspiration. Karl was smart about sharing the things that were important to him and they worked together to find ways to incorporate the designs and ideas they loved into their wedding. Sara shared her inspiration photos with us and brought us the colorful agates to incorporate into the boutonnieres.
The major hurricanes that hit in the last two months before their wedding made it difficult for her to be fully engaged as she was working 6 days per week (12 hour days) from the disasters. She felt like her head was spinning but Karl took care of some very important last minute wedding planning and close friends helped them create and craft things they had dreamed of doing in the last few weeks. They found themselves crafting at odd hours of the evening and the very rare day off!! Sara’s wedding planning advice to engaged couples is to – DO YOU!! Don’t adjust your wedding to fit everyone else – make it truly personal to you!
They found that what they enjoyed most was that they had planned a “wedding weekend” as guests traveled from across the world to Chicago, then had a 2-hour drive to Starved Rock Lodge. They were fortunate to host all of their guests on Friday for a welcome party giving them the opportunity to spend some relaxing time with everyone. Her favorite memory from the wedding was a few quiet moments after the ceremony with photographer Seth Morris Photography who pulled them aside for a few photos together while the guests headed on to the cocktail hour. It was an awesome moment of reality for them where they realized their marriage was “official!”
Let us help you make your vision for your wedding flowers a reality! Call, text 309-212-6570 or email at email@example.com to receive your free consultation.
Alex and Nikki’s wedding is one of the most memorable weddings we have done for a multitude of reasons!! First, this bride says “You can never have too many flowers!” We agree with Nikki and loved creating her gorgeous floral vision. Because of heavy rains in the early morning, the ceremony was moved inside the barn, but the sun came out and they were still able to proceed with the rest of their plans for the day. Second, about 2 a.m. in the morning my husband suffered a heart attack and we will never forget how family and friends rallied around us and helped set up the wedding and reception decor. Third, the venue owner had some bizarre expectations even expecting us to place all the table linens for her!! We are so thankful that in spite of the challenges, everything came together beautifully!!
Alex and Nikki celebrated their one year anniversary of being together at Harpole’s Heartland Lodge where they were hiking, fishing and four-wheeling. As they stopped back at the lodge for a break, Alex told Nikki he needed to fix something on the four wheeler, but what he really did was create a wonderful surprise for her. He led her to their favorite bluff and as they rounded the corner, there was a basket with a whole picnic spread on a blanket in front of a beautiful lookout. Alex got down on one knee and popped the question! Nikki had no idea and hadn’t suspected a thing!!
Nikki was not looking forward to dress shopping as she feared she would end up at dozens of bridal salons searching for the dress that would work for her. As she started looking through plastic bag after plastic bag of white dresses, they seemed to blend together. But after she tried on a few different styles, she started to narrow it down and about 10 dresses in she knew at that instant the dress she had on was it!! She had heard of people having that experience but never believed she would be one of them. She was able to wear her mother’s veil which was very sentimental for them.
Alex and Nikki are both laid back and love the outdoors. When deciding on the theme/style for their wedding it was important to have a place where all of their family and friends could be there to truly celebrate their union. They chose a mix of rustic and classic which suits their personalities. Rain or shine (which it did both on their big day) they were going to have it outside and after the ceremony in the barn, they were able to move everything outside so guests could enjoy the games they had planned.
Nikki chose a blend of bright and cheerful blooms for her wedding bouquets and ceremony decor as well as her reception table decor.
Thinking about their favorite memory from their wedding day, Nikki stated “I can’t describe how full my heart felt when we walked into our reception and were surrounded by friends and family. We made our way through a tent filled with people that traveled, gave up their time and incurred expenses in order to be at our wedding and help celebrate our marriage. I felt so loved and overwhelmed with happiness.”
Nikki’s advice to couples just starting to plan their wedding:
Get advice on vendors and venues from people who have personally used them or know others who have done business with them. She states that reviews can be manipulated online by vendors paying a fee to clear bad reviews which is why she feels it is important to get contact information from former clients of the vendor and reach out to them. Some of their vendors went above and beyond (caterer and florist), and others were a huge disappointment (unfortunately the venue owners).
Looking back Nikki says her biggest regret was thinking she would be able to tie up a few loose ends the morning of her wedding. She did end up getting everything done but wasn’t able to relax and celebrate with her bridesmaids the morning of. She encourages other brides to make this a priority!! She also stated that you can never have too many flowers. It absolutely made the space feel so special and bridal. “I gave Nancy my vision with a couple pictures and what she created out of it was more than I could have ever imagined!” Photos by Ernst Jacobson Photgraphy.
Call, text or email today, 309-212-6570 or firstname.lastname@example.org , to start planning your floral vision for your wedding.
Isthier and Catherine knew from the beginning that their wedding would be non-traditional as they planned to combine some Chinese and Bengali wedding customs during their ceremony. As Catherine explained they wouldn’t have it any other way as she had a bride’s man and Isthier had a best lady, as well as the fact that neither of them are religious yet their ceremony was performed by a rabbi who along with his wife are close friends of theirs.
On the day that Isthier proposed, they had planned on taking a trip to St. Louis Arboretum. It’s a funny story now, but at the time Catherine was a little irritated that morning as they had to get up early and he asked her to change what she had on to something a little more fancy! He found a quiet spot in the Japanese Garden as he knew she didn’t like attention focused on her. She was so surprised and overwhelmed she doesn’t remember what exactly he said!!
Catherine settled on a soft pink palette for her wedding flowers. She felt that white was too stark and bright colored flowers would be distracting in photos so she wanted to keep her floral vision soft. We used a combination of pastel garden roses along with stock and mixed greens for her bridal bouquet and wedding arbor backdrop.
The biggest challenge of wedding planning for them was simply getting started and finding a venue. Originally they wanted to get married in Chicago. After realizing how much more expensive that would be as well as inconvenient (as they are located in Champaign) they found the Walton Center on a wedding website and liked the character of the charming old building with the arches and large ballroom. Once they had their venue booked, everything started falling in place.
For their wedding decor, they tried to focus on having unique aspects. Because she enjoys bargain hunting and re-purposing things, they had fun finding small animal figurines which they spray painted gold to enhance the floral decor. She offers this tip for brides, “Spray paint makes anything look amazing!!” This turned out to be her favorite part of wedding planning.
Among their favorite memories from their wedding day were dancing and seeing friends. They both swing dance and their first dance was “Come Fly With Me” by Frank Sinatra. Two of her best friends finally met each other at the wedding. They had been blogging pen pals in college but had never met. When Catherine posted on Facebook about her new job, her childhood friend Stephanie realized that her college pen pal Sue worked there also and that helped break the ice between Sue and Catherine. They became such good friends that Sue was one of her bridesmaids. It was a pretty awesome moment for Stephanie and Sue to finally meet!!
Are you ready to plan your own unique decor for your wedding? We are here to help you – call, text or email to schedule your free consultation – 309-212-6570 or email@example.com
Many of today’s brides are getting their inspiration from Instagram. Lauren’s vision for wedding decor came from a mixture of research and having personally attended a lot of weddings. She knew her “must-haves” included an abundance of gorgeous wedding flowers, a classic color scheme and wedding decor that carried a vintage feel. For inspiration, she followed a lot of wedding resources on Instagram such as Style Me Pretty and Ruffled Blog. Five years ago when we asked brides this question they all answered Pinterest. We have found Instagram is equally as important today as Pinterest for wedding inspiration. You can follow us on Instagram here www.instagram.com/fancyfloralsbynancy/
Lauren and David met while students at Illinois State University in 2010 and were introduced by mutual friends.
Lauren had decided on the classic all-white color palette for her wedding flowers to create an elegant feel and contrast with the black tuxes and black bridesmaid dresses for their July 1st wedding date. Because the wedding took place just days before 4th of July, she later decided to add a pop of dark red with blush to the bridal bouquets and looking back over these gorgeous wedding photos by Caitlin and Luke Photography, we are glad she did!!
When we asked Lauren what her and David’s favorite memory was from their wedding day, she responded “It would have to be listening to the speeches given by our siblings at the dinner reception. We both had tears in our eyes as we laughed and reminisced about childhood memories as well as moments we have shared together in adulthood and how they felt about us as a couple.” “The entire day was a great reminder of all the great people in our lives!”
Lauren’s most enjoyable part of wedding planning was being able to cross things off her list for that meant she was getting closer and closer to her wedding day!! She explained that finding herself very detail oriented, it took her a long time to make decisions as she wanted to ensure everything complimented her overall vision.
She stayed with the all-white flower color scheme for her reception centerpiece decor and brought in gold accents with vintage style accessories such as the table number frames, candle holders and gold & black fabric under the centerpieces which she rented from Old Oaks Vintage Rentals. A third of the centerpieces were lush mixed greens & white blooms in our gold compote vases.
Another third of the table centerpieces were created again with lush mixed greens and a mix of white hydrangea, peonies, roses, tulips, snapdragons, astrantia and button mums on our elevated antique gold stands. The final third of the tables held our antique gold candelabras with mercury votive holders and four matching votive filled with mini white bouquets scattered under the candelabras.
David and Lauren found the key to overcoming wedding planning challenges was “compromise!” Their biggest challenges stemmed from deciding on a budget and other major decisions such as the location of the venue and crafting the guest list. Like all couples they had some different wants and opinions and being able to be flexible and compromise with each other is such a valuable start for a successful, happy marriage!! We were honored to be a vendor in this beautiful wedding and offer our sincere congratulations to this couple!!