Signs of the Times 
Monday, February 16, 2009, 10:10 AM
Signs of the Times

Repeatedly, over the past few weeks, I am faced with issues relating to the changes in the economic climate and how it affects my business. Largely, it has been a creative challenge that I meet with enthusiasm and humility.
Since the majority of my business is weddings and events, I see that Brides planning their wedding day are sensitive to the cost of decorating and even more, the limitations of their guests to travel to a destination event.
I fully appreciate and honor their concerns. This is a time to make the most of my materials and come up with ideas to get the biggest look for the least expense. I think this is fun and new and it is always a welcome change for a creative person.

The difficulty lies with the fact that the magazines and internet show events that are large and expensive (because that is great for photos) and sometimes it is hard to translate the ideas to a budget that is a fraction of the one shown in pictures. There is nothing new about that fact. I remember when Martha Stewart first came out with her Wedding Magazine and we tried to explain how hard it is to find pink lily of the valley and locate Japanese tree peonies for cutting.

As always it is a challenge to gain the attention and confidence in the first meeting with a Bride and try to answer her needs for the perfect centerpiece at a price that fits in the budget. I try to establish a range and assure her that we can always re-fit the ideas as necessary.

I love my work and I love being a part of such an important event in a person’s life. I enjoy having the opportunity to get to know people during the process of planning and I honor my relationships with other professionals.

In truth, it is much easier to work with an unlimited budget but it is exciting to change with the times. I embrace the challenge!

Couture Bridal Event 
Sunday, October 26, 2008, 10:56 AM
On Wednesday, October 22nd, I had the pleasure of presenting Signature Florals with a group of wonderful wedding vendors. The concept was unique. We would do a show for wedding planners and their brides to include a social hour with fabulous hors d’oeuvres, an opportunity to meet with the vendors and a fashion show. I presented a variety of bouquet styles to include a full range of price points, each with an artistic twist. I also brought creative boutonnieres to match. I provided 3 styles of centerpieces, also with a variety of prices. My favorite showing was French Garden roses that looked like frilled peonies and smelled like the sweetest of roses. In all honesty, I was pleasantly surprised that our guests seemed drawn to certain aspects of my display, not just the largest, most expensive piece.
The invitations were prepared by Debra Mehrberg of dm paper designs. They were so impressive and beautiful.
Admission was a free, voluntary donation to Brides against Breast Cancer.
Colonial Country Club provided us with delicious food and a wonderful location.
Lace and Roses Bridal and Formalwear presented the Bridal Fashion show and showed lots of dresses in a fast paced exciting line up.
Coastal Images prepared much of the planning and showed their artistic talents in photography.
Elite Weddings Disc Jockey and Videography set the pace for the event, providing the music and the lighting as well.
Clean Ride Limo had their stretch limo and custom bus in the entry for everyone to tour. I did not get the chance but I heard that it was amazing.
Uptown Hair designers showed their ability to make the models gorgeous in a very short period of time.
Irresistible Confections displayed a tremendous diversity of packaging for their handmade chocolates
Mason’s Bakery treated everyone to cake.
The attendance was intimate and I enjoyed seeing a group of Wedding Planners visit with each other. I am a firm believer that we are all in this business to help each other.
This group of couture wedding vendors was a classy, professional group of people that showed their amazing talents and quality services. I was honored to be included amongst them.

A Competition Blunder 
Monday, September 29, 2008, 11:20 PM
Competition Blunder

Recently, I put together a collection of designs to enter a design competition. Because I was interested in trying out this newly available product, I invested heavily. I bought 75 German Garden roses called Mariatheresa. The roses were truly beautiful! They were a true garden rose, so interesting and complex. I feel sure that the availability of these types of roses will provide a unique and exciting choice for brides. They held up very well for a long time, which is a big plus for garden roses.
The competition required that I present a vased arrangement of primarily garden roses, although other materials could be used for accents.
Sadly, I am technically challenged. I registered and submitted my entry by email. A few weeks later, when the entries were available to be viewed, I scrolled through and did not see my designs. When I contacted the host of the competition, I was informed that if the file had been successfully sent that I would have received a confirmation. I was not aware of that until it was too late.
What a disappointment! It was not the fact that I should have won, but that I put in the effort to submit my entry and went to the expense and time to prepare the arrangement. One of these days I will feel confident that I can use the computer and my photo files to complete the tasks set out for me. Until then, I will just keep blundering along…

Competition Blunder

Green Weddings 
Sunday, July 27, 2008, 03:23 PM
Exciting opportunity for the eco-friendly Bride

Many flower growers here in the United States as well as in Columbia and Ecuador are choosing to grow flowers that meet the standards of a certification program in sustainable development.
What was once a ideal held by a minority is rapidly becoming a common concern. Efforts are being made to market sustainable grown flowers and use recycled containers from a variety of materials such as glass, rubber and wood.
Many of my largest suppliers are making products available and the variety of choices is greater all the time. The desire of the sustainable development is to provide 3 interdependent goals; economic development, social development and environmental protection. In other words, not only is the flower production and soil becoming pesticide free, but the workers and future generations are protected and cost is being held in check.
I have had the pleasure of working with Brides who prefer to have “green wedding”. My experience has been wholly positive. My wholesalers have been able to provide me with a variety commonly used wedding flowers that have met the certification requirements. In addition, product is coming to me with the certification labeling more regularly, even when I haven’t specifically requested it.
I am so very excited to be able to learn more about the ever-growing opportunities to work with forward thinking wedding couples. I am always learning more about the availability of product and I am thrilled to be able to provide this service at comparable or slightly higher pricing.
As opportunities increase to buy food, clothing and flowers that keep a cleaner happier earth, more people are making that choice. As more people buy green, more production becomes available. There is no doubt in my mind that this is the choice I will make and will be proud to promote these options.

AIFD Symposium in Palm Desert 
Thursday, July 19, 2007, 08:34 AM
I had the most amazing experience at the AIFD Symposium in Palm Desert! The annual symposium attracts floral professionals from around the world to educate, enlighten and entertain student, working and retired floral designers.

Each year, for the past five years since I have tested and been inducted, I have enjoyed the vast variety of shows, educational programs and parties. Symposium has been held in various regions and cities throughout the United States so I have often been able to do some sight seeing as well. I am able to spend time with a very special friend who is also a member and make lots of new friends in the industry.

This year was very different. I thought that it would be a good time to get some experience “behind the scenes” in the design room but not miss all of the programs. I was assigned to work with 3 of the world’s best floral artists, Life 3 from Sweden, Holland and Belgium. At another time I will write about the specifics of those days. Needless to say, I attended very few shows in order to help complete the work but I left California with the feeling of having fallen head over heels in love with floral art and design all over again.

I had such an enriching week! I made several new friends from all over the United States, who also volunteered. I was treated to a work environment that was so unique and inspiring and required tremendous organization. I was able to help out on stage, which was the payoff, but also taught me how the backstage works. I assisted in a special daylong “hands on” workshop. The very best part of the whole week was that these 3 men are international showmen and teachers who are dedicated to flowers and nature and the artistic expression of emotional inspiration. They were remarkably kind, considerate and appreciative and that truly left a lifelong impression on me.

I am still feeling the elation and the emotional high from the week and I am so grateful to all of the people who worked so hard to provide this opportunity for me.

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