Friday, February 1, 2013

an "elegant lodge" style affair

Just when I thought my 2012 wedding season was over, Bekah contacted me about the flowers for her December wedding. She was looking for a detailed, elegant style, while staying true to her rustic lodge theme. We incorporated many "wintery" elements (pinecones, evergreens, and frosty silver-green foliage) while taking care not to look "Christmasy". I absolutely LOVE how these turned out!
A huge thanks to Paper Antler for the stunning photographs! I seriously have at least 35 pictures in my "You HAVE to put these on the blog" list... this husband&wife photography team is incredible.

Fun fact: those tiny little pinecones aren't pinecones at all! They're the seed pod of a totally different type of evergreen.

  Silver Brunia "balls" added even more glorious texture, while some really interesting grey-green evergreen foliage added that conifer touch without looking like a Christmas tree's heavy branches.

We do our best to tailor each wedding's packaging & presentation for that specific event - notice we left our lime green labels and silver trays at home for this delivery :)
Both the mother of the bride & mother of the groom wore wrist corsages on understated matte grey beaded wristlets. These are so much more comfortable than the elastic band you wore to prom, and gives sentimental moms the option of a keepsake bracelet after the flowers have faded.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Rachiepalooza's Wedding!

This spring, I got a unique opportunity to shop for whatever flowers struck my fancy and arrange them in any crazy way I chose... that's right, I created the flowers for my own wedding!

While I'm not sure if I would recommend "DIY" flowers to another florist, I'm absolutely so glad I did! I had a crazy vision for my flowers & couldn't find a single photo or similar inspiration to help communicate what I wanted, so I knew the only way to get my dream flowers would be creating them myself. I was able to spend some quality time with my mom & mother-in-law, who helped me process flowers for hours. The night before the wedding, my bridesmaids kept me sane as I finished up all the boutonnieres and corsages (many many thanks to J, who did the un-glamorous prep work for 20-something personal flowers. I have the best best-friends!)

Super-saturated colors and unusual blooms, including "heart" roses (the petals form a heart shape in the center of the flower), red aranthera orchids, blue and aubergine anemones, fragrant purple sweet peas, and purplish agonis foliage.

Our church home, Wooddale, holds around 2,000 people and is home to the 47th largest pipe organ in the USA. How do you decorate a larger-than-life church? With huge floral sprays attached to an "arch" of red-twig dogwood cut at my parents farm! (How do you get these huge pieces from farm to church? A friend's motorcycle trailer, of course!)

Final touches on the bridal bouquet before getting dressed.

More photos coming soon...

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Fabulous Farmers' Market Finds

This June event gave me the opportunity to shop at some of my very favorite places - all the wonderful farmers markets in our area! The bride wanted to incorporate flowers grown in her father's garden, supplemented by farmers' market finds and botanicals from our wholesalers.
Photography by the wonderful Keely Joy of Minneapolis.

 Alstromeria, roses, and unique accent flowers made these boutonnieres and corsages stand out.
 The bride chose the most muted shades of creamy yellow, blush pink, salmon, and peach for herself, and saved bright yellows, pinks, and oranges for the exuberant reception.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Hello 2012!

Yikes - it's been how many months since my last post?

There have been some big changes since that post in the fall! I got married, we built a house, the Rachiepalooza studio moved from Rochester to Apple Valley (not necessarily in that order)... needless to say, we've been keeping busy! Though I haven't been posting, I have been blessed to work on some amazing events - weddings, fundraisers, and the occasional corporate event. While we wait on the official photos, here's a few snapped by myself and my lovely assistants...

In between those events, we've been working on landscaping around the studio. Each flower that successfully blooms before being squashed by hail, eaten, washed out, or dessicated by the heat is celebrated as a small victory! It's pretty sparse in its current state, but hopefully over the next 2 years we'll be able to establish a gorgeous native wildflower prairie that will require little maintenance and provide us with unique homegrown flowers for our events.

Last but not least, our website is undergoing a total overhaul. I'm excited for an update & something NEW! Hooray!

Friday, May 4, 2012

A Celebration of Life

This April, we had the opportunity to participate in a fundraiser for a very special lady. Mary is my (Rachel's) aunt and has always been a source of smiles, laughs, and encouragement for our family. She was one of the first outside my immediate family to tell me I "really have a knack for this" when I brought floral arrangements to family gatherings!

Mary was diagnosed with MDS (see below) in 2010, which began a year-long fight involving chemo, a life-saving bone marrow transplant from her sister Amy, and nearly 7 months total in the hospital. While the transplant stopped the MDS, unfortunately the side effects - and associated medical costs - continue. So in April, hundreds of people gathered to celebrate Mary, Amy, and LIFE at a concert, meal, and silent auction benefiting Mary & her family.  We were honored to provide almost a dozen items, ranging from small vased nosegays to avant-garde centerpieces to a gorgeous crystal vase. 

 Kale as a spring flower? Sure, why not!
MDS stands for Myelodysplastic Syndrome. It is a pre-cancerous condition that affects bone marrow, which causes anemia, low blood counts, and often (but not always) leads to acute myelogenous leukemia quite rapidly. The most concise explanation I've heard is that MDS is to Leukemia what HIV is to AIDS.

Read more about MDS here and consider becoming part of the National Marrow Donor Program's bone marrow registry. YOU can save a life!
Photos largely stolen from cousins' Facebook profiles... thanks guys!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Fall... Finally!

Fall is bittersweet for a wedding florist... it's a welcome rest after summer's craziness and a chance to catch up on things like photos, notes, receipts, cough*blogging*cough - but with the next large event booked months away, it gives me that panicky "what am I going to do with myself???" feeling! Luckily, my behemoth "to-do" list quickly chases those feelings away.

While I sift through the remains of a busy wedding season, here's some recommended reading:

Bride&Bloom magazine on why not to DIY your flowers
Please note that I love to help DIY brides get things done in a sane fashion, but there are some situations in which DIY is just not going to end in fabulous flowers with no tears! Always, always ask someone with real experience to help you plan your project... preferably me! :)

Holly Chapple of the Full Bouquet on what a fully committed wedding professional looks like
This is what I strive towards as a wedding & event professional... well said, Holly!

Holly Chapple (again) on how to stay on a flower budget
Thank you, Holly, for saying what we couldn't figure out how to (tactfully) communicate! A floral designer will know how to give you the most for your money, but you might need to let go of absolutes (Hate carnations? Me too... but they can be used to add glorious texture and color in ways that hide all of their pedestrian carnation-ness. Yes, that's a word... now.) and embrace substitutes (I promise that no one, save possibly Grandma, knows that all the fluffy goodness in a bouquet comes from huge mums and lisiantus rather than peonies and roses). Come with as many examples of the look/feel you're after, and let your trusted floral designer figure out the details. 

last but not least, Seattle Met's "Secret Lives of Floral Designers"
Don't miss the very last interview... been there, done that (and almost enough time has passed to laugh about it... almost.)

I tend to leave the photography to the experts (there's a reason I'm a florist, not a photographer!) which results in amazing pictures... but quite a long wait for them :(  I'm praying that each wedding's photographers finish up quickly, so I can share this summer's designs!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Meet this summer's couples!

Dave reminded me recently that I NEED to update my blog... he's 100% right!
I've been spending much of this winter/spring helping him build his house - check out to check our progress.  When I'm not tiling or assembling cabinets in the wrong order, though, I'm preparing for this summer's events. I am SO excited about allllll my lovely brides and their beautiful weddings! Here's a sampler...

B&H, a couple who met later in life are planning a gorgeous smaller wedding at one of my favorite paces in the world - Welch Village (okay, okay, it's only one of my favorites when it's snowing, but I'm super excited to see how it transforms into a beautiful wedding venue). We'll be using a striking combination of yellow tulips and royal blue delphinium for the elegant personal flowers, and then giving a nod to their bright, fun personalities (he's a kids pastor!) with vibrant crazy daisies in a rainbow of neon colors for the reception!

B&A, a friend God delivered to me in some very unlikely circumstances and the love of her life met each other as college lab partners. We're using a combination of romantic, fluffy Minnesota-grown peonies and a splash of modern, fresh bright green hypericum. Table centerpieces follow one of my favorite trends (it's been around long enough that I'm not really sure this should be called a trend, actually?) and incorporate Granny Smith apples. I've been thinking about this wedding for probably two years now (oh come on girls, you've thought about friends weddings wayyyy too much too, admit it!) and I can't wait to see how it all unfolds. Oh yes, for this wedding... I'll be a bridesmaid, as well as the florist! Potential for disaster: high. Lets hope all my advance planning does its job!

C&S went to high school together, but didn't have much in common until God brought them together years later. The bride chose a gorgeous but nontraditional dress, and we're taking our style cues from it! Their wedding in my hometown will use a natural mix of cream, buttery yellow, and sage green tones while staying as fluffy as flowers can get. Stay tuned this summer for pictures of the oh-so-cute dessert centerpieces, with a little floral touch.

S&B will have been dating 7 (that's S E V E N!) years when they tie the knot this summer. They're an incredible example of loving each other "for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health" and their hope and grace is astounding. B has a particularly nasty brand of cancer - prayer warriors, do your thing! Their outdoor ceremony on the shores of Gull Lake will use saturated oranges and purples, including calla lilies and Gerbera daisies.  I'm secretly a little jealous... so far this event is sounding like my secret dream wedding! I'm looking forward to living vicariously through these two :)

K&W met after more frustrations than one girl should have to endure, relationship-wise, and it's obvious their coupling was more than worth the wait! The mister is my most involved groom this year (in fact, I think he's the only groom I've heard discuss flowers?) and I'm looking forward to the challenge of getting creative within a smaller budget (no, I'm not being sarcastic - I love it!). We're using royal blues (so you know delphinium is making an appearance!) and bright oranges. In addition to being a FANTASTIC contrasting color scheme, blue&orange makes me feel right at home... goooooo Flying Dutchmen!

There you have it - a sampling of my next 6 months. With clients and events like this... I can't wait!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

January housekeeping... AKA no, I have not fallen off the face of the earth.

I know I've been absent for a while, but I'm cooking up some posts on planning & budget that I hope will be really helpful for you guys.  I've got 2047 irons in the fire these days - classes, planning for this summer's weddings, and helping the boy build his new house! Be patient just a bit longer, or email me if you want to see my work-in-progress :)

Most of my work in the last couple months has been sympathy arrangements, so no pictures... I know, I'll have to get over this at some point, but for now blogging about these personal tributes is just too weird. Strangely enough I really do like sympathy work, especially when I'm given special requests. I love the challenge of representing a person or a relationship using nothing but flowers, color, shape, and the occasional ribbon. Being a florist is a unique occupation in that we see the heights of human emotion (joy on a wedding day, tears at the loss of a loved one, excitement of a new dad) more often than most, and it never ceases to make me feel thankful to be alive.

Last but not least, a plug for a venue -
FINALLY, an event space in Rochester with some character. Brides, if your guest list totals less than 100, check out Studio 324. I can't wait to decorate this space! Wood floors, brick walls, high ceilings... I'm in love.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Luke & Macai - August 2010

I was so blessed to be able to go visit my Michigan "family" this past week - as the saying goes, friends are the family you get to choose :) and the time I spent with my dear chosen family was priceless.
I realized today that I forgot to show off last summer's big wedding - both to them, and you!

On August 14, my home church came together to celebrate the marriage of our pastors' children... that's right, plural! Macai (daughter of our outreach pastor) and Luke (son of our former senior pastor) invited the entire church to witness their vows and dance the night away. It was an incredibly touching ceremony with both pastor dads officiating, and behind the scenes it was amazing to see the way people came out of the woodwork to help make Luke & Macai's day a fairytale. As you can imagine, a wedding with an open guest list presents some unique challenges (floral centerpieces on a budget for 700 people, anyone?) but the entire church came together to execute it beautifully.

My childhood friend Colin Cabalka happens to be one of the most talented wedding videographers I'll ever have the opportunity to work with. (We've come a long way from the snowboarding hooligans that terrorized the local slopes on weekends!) He captured Luke & Macai's day from beginning to end, and put together the most incredible video that wraps it all up in just a few minutes and ties it together with a sweet bow. Check it out!

Luke and Macai | Letters of Love from Colin Cabalka on Vimeo.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Twin Cities Wedding Professionals' holiday party!

I promise there's more bouquet posts in the pipeline, but I just had to take a break and say something about the AMAZING event I attended Weds night!

I've been stalking the Twin Cities Wedding Professionals group for a while now, and decided to take the plunge and attend their holiday party. The day leading up to it didn't go quiiiiite as I'd planned (it was one of those days, guys... example: left business cards at home in Rochester, tried to print some ghetto-style at Dave's instead of eating dinner, jammed his printer beyond repair, snapped at him despite his patience trying to help me, went to event with a total of nine business cards. Nine. This was not my only frustrating episode, either!) but once I finally got there... I'm still trying to figure out how to describe the event and the amazing group that produced it! Everyone was SO welcoming and I can't wait for next month's event & getting to know them better.

Among the vendors I was able to chat with that evening:
  • Dale and his fabulous Memory Box photobooth... My date Rachel and I had a rough first turn in the booth, but I'm looking forward to seeing how our subsequent attempts turned out in his online gallery!
  • Dean of Night Magic Productions was kind enough to give me a quick "who's who" of the group... and put up with my dancing skillz!
  • Emily of Mintahoe events and Lori from Veiled events put me to work packing up linens after the event (okay okay, I volunteered! It was the least I could do after they threw such an incredible party!)
  • Matthew of Complete Music & Video gave me a quick history of the group he founded.
  • Chris of BBj linens spent quite a while talking to me about the Twin Cities market, the TCWP group, and everything under the sun! She gave me the names of a few people in Apple Valley to contact, and I'm looking forward to talking to her soon about Rochester venues that are in need of her services.
  • Jennifer of Jennifer Whalen Photography captured the night and posted it all on her blog... and managed to make my dorky dance moves almost look okay! (Let's be honest, if she can do that... she is a magician.)

The whole night was a wonderful showcase of what some of the Twin Cities' most talented wedding vendors can do together. I'm so excited to get to know them better next month!