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Volunteering For First Lady’s Luncheon In Washington D.C.

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!

American Grown Flowers, First Lady Luncheon 2018 Volunteer for First Lady's Luncheon 2018

 

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

American grown flowers, First Lady's Luncheon 2018

Nature Supply Company donated  t-shirts which proclaimed “Support American Flower Farmers” for all the volunteers to wear as we were setting up.

American Grown Proteas American Grown Flowers, coral tulips, yellow roses

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.

American Grown Flower Shipment, American Grown 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.

Processing flowers, purple stock

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.

American Grown Flowers American grown peonies, American Grown 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.

Volunteer designer for First Lady's Luncheon, flower arrangement Floral centerpiece, bright colored floral centerpiece

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!

creating flower wall, flower wall, floral wall Flower wall, floral wall

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.

Floral arrangement for promenade, bright colored blooms

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.

Event set up, First Lady Luncheon 2018

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!!

Volunteer group First Lady Luncheon 2018

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.

Boutonniere bar

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.

Second Lady Karen Spence First Lady Luncheon Invitation

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,

Bloomington-Normal Wedding – Ryan and Brittany – Spring Snowstorm!!

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.

 spring wedding, spring snowstorm

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!!

 Wedding in snowstorm  white fur cape, winter wedding

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!!

 wedding photo, bride & groom

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.

 wedding welcome sign  Pew decor, pew flowers

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!!

 Bloomington Second Presbyterian church

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.

 bride and flower girls, floral hair crowns  mint green bridesmaid dresses, bridal party photo

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!!

 Garden rose wedding bouquet

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.

 floral hair piece, bridal floral comb  flower girl crown, floral crown

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!!

 Flower Girls, flowergirl crowns

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.

 floral bridal hair piece  head table decor

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!!!

 Bride holding peach & pink rose bridal bouquet

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.

 lantern table decor  garden roses, table decor, wedding decor

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!!!

 Marriott uptown Normal reception, reception decor, lantern decor

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 fancyfloralsbynancy@hotmail.com to receive your free consultation!!

Bloomington, IL Bride’s Five Favorite Wedding Memories

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?

 wedding flowers, wedding bouquet, bridal bouquet

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!

 Bride and groom, wedding photo  bout, boutonniere, bout flowers

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!

 wedding party photo,

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.

 bouquet wrap, wedding ring

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.

 burgundy bridesmaid dresses, wedding bouquets

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.

 autumn wedding

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!!

 wedding decor, garland, floral garland

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 fancyfloralsbynancy@hotmail.com to receive your free consultation and share your floral vision for your wedding flowers.

5 Circular Wreath Ideas For Central Illinois Weddings

The Circular Backdrop

The circular wreath is predicted to be a hot trend for 2017.  Here are five wasy to incorporate it into your Central Illinois Wedding.

 

1.   Frame a gorgeous view.

If your venue offers a beautiful view, don’t cover it up – frame it with a beautiful floral circular backdrop.

 

2.  Cover It Up.

Don’t have a beautiful view to frame?  Here’s a way to cover a wall – so simple – but so beautiful!  Decorate a frame with wired greens arranged in a concentric circles woven around the frame.

 

3. Add An Accent.

For a smaller space, maybe as a backdrop for buffet or dessert table, hang an assortment of hoops covered with green ferns and other foliage.   Embellished the wreaths with a few hanging blooms such as tulips or callas which have stems that curve naturally.

 

4. Overhead!

Don’t have wall space for a floral circular backdrop?  Hang one from the ceiling for a dramatic lush focal area for you to stand under!  How gorgeous is that?!!

 

5.  Last But Not Least, On The Ground.

Maybe you don’t have any walls or spaces to hang anything ?  You can create a beautiful floral circle at the base of altar area for you to take your vows.

Call, text or email for your free consultation – we are now booking for November & December 2017 and all of 2018.  Call us at 309-212-6570 or email to fancyfloralsbynancy@hotmail.com.

9 Top 2017 Wedding Trends To Love

2017 is shaping up to be a fun year for us with 20 weddings already booked and as we looked over the Bridal Guide’s Hottest New Wedding Trends blog, our booked 2017 central Illinois weddings are right in style with the following trends!

1.  Vintage/Glamour – whimsical mix of old and new.

Industrial warehouse venues; strands of twinkling lights and glowing candles are a hot look for 2017.  The photo below was from one of our wedding at the Waterhouse in Peoria last September.  Photo courtesy of Josh Johnson Photography.

 

2.  Hottest wedding color – Blush!

Blush pink is “it” in weddings for 2017.  The bouquet below is a blend of the beautiful blush pink Quicksand rose and the specatular White O’hara garden rose from one of our weddings this past October.  Blush has been our most popular color in 2016 and from our weddings booked for 2017 it looks like it will be our most popular color again.

 Blush Flowers, Blush Bouquet, Blush Wedding

3.  Metalics – copper, rose gold and pewter remain big.

Metalics add a touch of elegance but be sure to use shine strategically such as a head table or a display table.

   

4.  Neutrals  – you can’t go wrong with a neutral color palette.

While blush was a popular choice, the neutral palette was also big in 2016 with lots of greens such as this mixed green garland for the head table decor from one of our May weddings.  Photo courtesy of Jennifer Lee Photographee.

 Neutral color scheme, neutral reception decor

5.  Swoon-worthy blooms!

Peonies, garden roses, ranunculus and dahlias are top requests from coast to coast.  These wonderful full petaled blooms epitomize romance.  They are being used in bridal bouquets, centerpieces, placed along garlands and cakes.  Another hot trend is loose rose petals with floating candles.  The small cake below with peonies and rose is from one of our June weddings.

 Peonies, garden roses

6.  Tall elegant centerpieces.

Trumpet vases are making a comeback and allow for large lush floral centerpieces.  The photo below was from one of our June weddings held at Allerton Mansion in Monticello and contains a mix of peonies which are in season in May & June and a mix of garden and standard roses with seasonal and textural elements.  Be sure to use a few of these grand centerpieces to make an elegant statement.

 Tall Trumpet Vase

7.  Mix It Up!

Many brides are choosing to forgo the perfectly organized look and are creating a more eclectic feel with a variety of centerpieces and  mix of containers bringing a more personalized look to their wedding decor.  Photo (below and two above) courtesy of Wright Photographs.

 Reception centerpiece decor

8.  Hanging Floral Centerpieces.

We’ve had our first request for a hanging floral centerpiece for one of our wedding booked in 2017 and we are looking forward to creating one of these.  What a way to add an instant WOW!!!

 Hanging Floral Centerpiece  Hanging Floral Centerpiece

9.  Surprise Settings.

Unique venue choices are offering couples a way to surprise their guests with wonderful views  giving the couples a way to make their special day something unique and different.  This is from one of our wedding last May held at the beautiful Point D’Vine Vineyard in Quincy.  Photo courtesy of Jennifer Lee Photographee.

 Unique reception venue

Thank you to all of our wonderful 2016 brides for leaving us awesome reviews and leading us to win The Knot Best of Weddings 2017!  We are so honored to have been chosen to be part of your special day!!

The Knot Best of Weddings 2017

Which of these trends would you use in your wedding?

Are you planning a 2017 wedding or beyond?  Call, text or email us for your free consultation at 309-212-6570 or fancyfloralsbynancy@hotmail.com

Don’t Forget To Do This On Your Wedding Day

Ben and Caroline

When we asked Caroline what one of her favorite memories of her wedding day was, she stated that (of course besides marrying Ben) being able to see everything come together.  “After spending so much time and effort in planning the wedding, it was really neat to see my vision come to life!”   Her advice to brides is to be sure and take the time to look around and to really take it all in!!  That is why having a good wedding photographer is so important… You can look back and see it in the years to come.  These awesome photos are by Giving Tree Photography.

Outdoor romantic wedding  Bridal Bouquet, Garden Style Bouquet

Caroline’s favorite color is blush, but not wanting the wedding to be overly feminine, she opted to go with a palette of shades –  dove grey, dusty rose, sage green and lavender which projected the desired soft  and ethereal effect.  Her wedding bouquets contained a soft blend of these shades using garden roses, stock, veronica, ferns and mixed greens.

Dove grey bridesmaid color, blush wedding bouquets blush & gray wedding colors

Ben and Caroline dated for 6 years before Ben popped the question.  They were engaged in July of 2014 which gave them  one year to make wedding plans.  Caroline gained much of her inspiration from Pinterest, but she cautions new brides not to get too overwhelmed with over-pinning!  She was selective in what she pinned which really helped her realize her style and vision for her wedding day.

Wedding Pergola, Ourdoor Wedding Wedding Backdrop, Wedding Arch, Wedding Pergola

The couple was married outside in the family property wooded area and the wedding pergola as well as the backdrop at the reception were made with trees from the family’s wooded area.  She decided to use the woodland theme in her reception decor with the wooden box planters as her centerpiece arrangements.

woodland box centerpiece arrangements Head Table Decor wedding aisle decor, hobnob jars

Caroline absolutely loves flowers and wanted flowers to be the main focal point of her wedding.  She chose Fancy Florals By Nancy, a central Illinois wedding florist, to create her wedding bouquets, boutonniere, corsages, aisle decor,  to decorate the pergola and reception backdrop as well as the reception centerpiece arrangements.

I could not have been happier with my wedding flowers! Nancy was so easy to work with. She was so accommodating and communicated very well (which is very important for a bride). I wanted lots of flowers at my wedding, so this was a very important aspect for me. Basically all of my decorations were flowers! I brought in pictures of what I liked, and Nancy was able to create everything from there. I had so many requests for her throughout the whole wedding planning process and she managed to do everything. She was insightful and really knew her stuff! When the wedding day came, my vision had been fulfilled. I highly recommend Fancy Florals by Nancy!

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