Cookie Cutter Weddings

SNL did a wedding venue commercial and it was life!

The thing is, parodies based on truth are funny! One of my favorite things about being a wedding planner in Oregon – our diversity of venues and styles of weddings you can plan. But be very wary of venues that tell you they do everything for you with their own included wedding coordinator.

There is a big difference between a wedding planner and a venue wedding coordinator. When you hire a venue that has an on-site coordinator who will work with you or your own wedding planner to perfectly plan your day, that’s great. They are there to manage the event on behalf of the venue to make sure the vendors you hire are actual businesses, they hold the proper insurance, and will comply with all of the venue rules. They make sure everyone knows when they can arrive, where they can load, what kind of equipment is allowed, and what time they need to clean and load out by.

Your wedding planner is very different. Depending on what you hire them to do they help you select vendors, venues, set a budget, design the decor, menu, and overall flow and details of your wedding. They plan your timeline, organize your processional and ceremony details, read your contracts to determine exactly what you ordered from your vendors, schedule all of your vendors, run your ceremony rehearsal and manage every detail of your wedding set up. They are there to direct the bridal party, vendors and venue staff throughout your wedding, and direct clean up and load out.

I call a venue cookie cutter if they force you to work with their preferred or required or in-house wedding planner, do not at least give you options for catering (they can be in house catering only and not cookie cutter if they offer a lot of options, or if they have select approved catering with diverse styles, expertise and pricing options), limited options for decor and florists, and if they have strictly limited access to the venue on a dictated preset timeline.

Some may wrongly assume a wedding planner wouldn’t like cookie cutter venues because they don’t work with planners – maybe a fair thought but I’m not just any type of planner. I’m the Creative type of planner. The more original a wedding is, the more I love working with that couple on their wedding. I love it when couples are true to themselves, turn timelines and traditions on their head, and think outside of the box. You can’t do that if your entire wedding came pre-packaged in a box set served up to ten other couples in the nearly exact same way, on a busy week.

This is 2019 you have so many options open to you. If you just want to get married, not think about anything and you have a lot of money to spend, hire a full service planner, like us. We’ll provide you the exact wedding you want with very little effort. Show up to some key meetings select from a few options then forget about the worrying part. You don’t have to check anything but your texts or emails from us asking you for final decisions or reminding you of meetings or to pay this amount to a certain vendor that day.

The alternative – hire a venue that does it all, one meeting, tell them your colors and date and budget and which options you like – boom your wedding is pretty much done. If anyone has been to a wedding there before they’ll recognize it.

Tip 1) When hiring a planner, make sure you look at the styles of weddings they’ve done in the past. If their Instagram is filled with nothing but similarly styled photo shoots but their blog has real weddings that look nothing like that type of work, be wary! Planning a 250 guest wedding with 8 bridesmaids and groomsmen, at one or multiple venues, is a lot different than making models look pretty with the help of professional photographers, make up artists, and florists in a perfectly artificially lit studio.

Also, if a planner has nothing but one style of wedding or design they style in their body of work, that planner may not be very creative. Anyone can follow trends, but can they style different styles and types of weddings with traditional and non-traditional timelines, and truly help you get the destinct result you are looking for?

Tip 2) Do you want a very specific style of wedding, and does the planner either match that style or more importantly does the planner show a huge variety in the style and locations of the weddings they’ve planned? I love specific venues. They’re a blank slate and every wedding you design or plan there is or can be completely different. The red flags to watch for – every wedding is at one or two venues. Either that planner just gets a lot of referrals at one or two venues, and enjoys very different events that happen to be in one place, that’s not at all weird. Or they may just be comfortable working with the same few vendors in the same few places. Again, that’s fine if you are not looking for a creatively destinctly you wedding.

I personally love what we do BECAUSE we work with a limited number of couples per year and work with couples who are all so different! Our couples have different planning challenges, styles, venues, and character. A classy beautiful affair at a beloved non-cookie cutter venue, or an extremely large wedding, or an intimate multi venue event, or something totally different on a private estate. We do it all and love every minute of it.

Tip 3) When talking to or meeting with a planner at your first meeting do they ask you detailed questions about all of your ideas and visions for your entire weekend of wedding events? They should want to know a lot about you and your vision. You can’t design or provide valuable recommendations if you don’t know what it is you’re trying to plan. If they seem less interested in your ideal wedding and more interested in convincing you to do your wedding a better way, or different than you are asking, that’s a red flag.

We have lots of opinions and tons of advice on this blog, none of that matters or is valuable to planning YOUR wedding. I don’t love buffets, so what. If you want a buffet you will get the best buffet and I will organize it to run efficiently and smoothly. You want a friend as a photographer, great we’ll connect and I will get them all the info and support they need to be successful. Your planner should not spend time convincing you not to do the things you want. They should work with you to make sure your plan succeeds – provided your ideas are something that should work out just fine.

We hope you find this info useful in understanding what a cookie cutter wedding is and how to avoid them.

Private Estate Wedding Planning

Ali Mae Photography

In Oregon, it’s not weird to have a friend who’s a Congresswoman, have your kid play YMCA ball with the son of the farmers who own a big farm everyone loves on Sauvi Island, or be friends with people who own a nice piece of property in nearby wine country where you can host your wedding.

There are so many fantastic farms and venues open to all to rent out and host events and weddings, but a lot of them book up fast July – October 15th – the absolute start of rainy season. I recently had a bride message me on wedding wire just looking for direction to find the type of venue perfect for her ideal wedding. I gave her a few suggestions, knew right away she’d love one. A few weeks later she messaged me back to say they put off the wedding just to make sure they could do it at that venue.

PS, you can always email me on my website, and even if you just need a good lead on where to look I don’t mind replying with that info. For detailed planning advice and full venue + vendor and budgeting advice I charge $20. But if your venue went under, you just need a lead on anybody who can provide a specific service you can’t find, I’ll usually just give out that advice for free in the non-wedding season. I love helping DIY couples. I’ll even be offering a Bootcamp on how to plan your own wedding, over brunch in April.

But back to my point, what if you want to get married on your schedule not based on availability? The private estate wedding is key. You need to make sure the owner can host a party on their property, find out about noise ordinances, and be willing to offer your friend something in exchange for hosting. That may be money, a lot of help on some home projects, something to donate in memory and honor of their generosity, you know your relationship. But as is the case with all “friends as vendors” don’t ask people to do something this important for nothing.

Hire a Wedding Planner. I’m planning a blog due out shortly on wedding planners vs. venue coordinators. But basically, I’m a firm believer that all large weddings need a wedding planner. All smaller detailed refined weddings need a planner. And when you have the budget or even if you don’t getting any advice from a planner before you sign any contracts is key.

A private estate probably hasn’t seen too many weddings or even similar parties in its day. You need an expert to do a venue visit find all the potential problems that need to be solved before your vendors try to set up on your wedding day. You need a realistic timeline of how many hands will need to help with set up, what tiny details each vendor might need you to consider you might have overlooked, and if you have a life and a job, you need somebody to do all of the calls, emails, and detailed planning bits while you’re at work – so you can afford this massive celebration.

Weddings on a private residence are not cheap! You need rentals, extra restrooms that are pleasant to use, good food, decor and Florals, somebody to design your chair layout and create a balanced aisle. Somebody to direct everything while your mom and sisters, and best friends cherish every moment of your wedding day with you.

You can’t and won’t enjoy your wedding day if you are stressing over set up, and wrong sized table cloths or missing tables, shoes, or wilted flowers. 250 escort cards can take an hour to alphabetize and lay out, are you going to have the time?

At the end of your amazing wedding weekend you will not look back and wish you’d cut that part of your budget.

Please go watch the film and read the blog about Taylor + Lukkes on Glitch films’ blog:

Venue: Private Estate Hillsboro, OR

Planner: Vareus Events

Photographer: Ali Mae Photography

Hair + Makeup: Blossom and Beauty

Dress: The White Dress

Tux: The Black Tux

Flowers: Arranged For You

Live Musician: Anthony Hall

Cake: The Dessert Tray

Desserts: Nothing Bundt Cake

Rentals: The Party Pros

Catering + Bar: Bethany Public House

DIY Planning Tips + Tricks

We are adding new events, blog posts, and services this year during the off season to help all the DIY couples who deserve the help of experts, even if you don’t have the budget to hire a planner.

We’ll have a lot more info coming to help you over the next few months. Follow us on Instagram, subscribe to our mailing list, follow us on Pinterest and watch for new boards related to topics we discuss here (we’ll add relevant links to blogs) and always feel to ask us questions online, by email, in person by joining us at an upcoming event, or right here in the comments.

So let’s get started. You’re engaged, it’s time to get serious about planning. We’ve already discussed the importance of setting a budget first, and choosing the right venue. Now let’s discuss the little things to do to save your sanity on your wedding day.

1) Buy a planning + scheduling guide book or set your own month-by-month to do list

If you attend one of our planning events, or purchase our DIY Planning Package, we will connect you with our digital planning tools and To Do Guide. If you are looking for a book or physical planning guide we recommend The Knot Ultimate Wedding Planner. You can buy one online, or get a gently used or new one at Powell’s. It’s important not to procrastinate. Book your vendors early, or your options will be limited. Stay on track and you’ll have less to worry about as your wedding day approaches.

2) Design Your Wedding Colors, Decor and Feel. Use Social Media To Help You

Creating a custom design is a specialized talent. Creating a color palette, style, and design board is easy – thanks to Pinterest. The trick is to set one specifically named wedding board, and within it break apart and organize elements into subheadings. Share the link to your Pinterest board with your vendors – rental companies, site planners, florists, etc. To start select pictures of ceremony decor you like, centerpieces you want, room set ups and table layouts, cakes and dessert tables, dresses, hair and makeup, flowers + bouquets, and tuxes + suits. Next, start putting in key words, colors, venues, flowers, and start pinning. You can go back and reorganize, delete or change things later.

We can’t stress enough how awesome this tool is for keeping everything in one place to easily share with others. We’ll teach more about this in future workshops.

3) We’ve said it before. We’re saying it again. Create a wedding specific email and social media accounts.

Incorporate your wedding hashtag, mesh your names and create a shared new family social media presence and email account so you can both have access to all of your wedding social media and tools. If you’re using a wedding website incorporate that theme, share save the date and other relevant info and evolve all of this in to your future family page. Keep your personal social for yourself and your own identity. Having one email that can be forwarded to both of your phones prevents you from having to forward ten emails to your future spouse every day and it makes it hard to lose your wedding related info in a sea of work emails.

4) Choose your photographer ASAP.

Please go check out this blog by Georgia Ruth Photography on how to choose the right Photographer for you. After your venue and catering your photographer is the most important vendor you will hire. You have to commit the budget to a good photographer even if you are eloping and having two guests at your wedding. Pay a professional photographer to be there. Budget for photography at the top because in fifty years your photos will still exist and remind you of the best day ever.

5) Invest in your wedding

If you are eloping and have a tiny budget, that’s ok. Still invest in your wedding. Buy a new (or new to you) special dress. Pay a florist to make you some bomb ass flowers. A floral crown, nice boutonnières, a lovely bouquet, treat yourself! It’s worth it. Go get your hair and makeup done. Go to a local salon, or even a Nordstrom makeup counter that morning, last minute if you have to. Just do right by yourself!

If you are planning a large wedding on a tight budget set the budget as high as you comfortably can. The current average price of a new car is $34,000. The average price of a used car is $20,000. We hope you keep your marriage longer than your car. Invest in your wedding! It’s worth every penny. You ideally will never throw a bigger or happier party in your life so do it! Again see the last paragraph, if you are eloping invest accordingly and enjoy your ideal day whatever it looks like. But do not feel guilty or wrong for investing in your wedding.

6) Be true to yourselves. Be bold.

This captures so many things. Please plan a wedding that makes your souls happy. Don’t do traditions you hate. Don’t serve food you think is shit. Don’t go to a venue you don’t love. Don’t have a rehearsal dinner that makes you stabby. Don’t borrow from cultures that aren’t your own or feel compelled to participate in rhelics of the patriarchy that make you cringe. Do what makes the entire experience fun, enjoyable, and soul pleasing for you.

Your venue is only free at 5pm Friday, downtown for a rehearsal and you have 35 people between the bridal party, key family and beloved out of town guests, and you don’t want to eat at an expensive restaurant in a formal setting – you just want a relaxing bbq at home with a brief moment aside at the park around the corner where bridal party members can walk through the ceremony and organize how you’ll line up, do it your way!

Your parents really want you to get married in a church and you don’t want to – don’t! A good compromise is a ring warming ceremony where those who want can warm your rings in their hands and say a private prayer for you in their head, and you can have the non-traditional ceremony and vows while respecting others at the same time.

You don’t want to love, honor and obey anyone, don’t say you do. You don’t want to throw a bouquet or a garter, don’t. Do everything your way.

All that said, don’t be that couple who’s wedding pics go viral on a faux modern wedding blog, because you wrongly appropriated somebody else’s cultural traditions, or you thought a homophobic “prank” would be funny. Just don’t.

And finally, be bold. Have a Man Of Honor, three groomsmen, no bridesmaids, or just ten of your favorite humans randomly standing on either side up front with you because they love you both. Use bold colors everywhere in your design. Let them eat pie and boozy pops, and ice cream instead of cake. Plan a wedding weekend starting with a wild home bbq, a ceremony wherever floats your boat – maybe quite literally on a boat, followed by a buyout of your favorite restaurant for the reception with no dancing, and a rad after-party at your favorite club or dive bar or in a ballroom or industrial venue space turned cocktail dance party with late night snacks.

7) Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Reduce waste at your wedding. Instead of a ton of arch flowers that will die and go to waste use a dried statement sculpture as a backdrop. Use pieces at the ceremony that can be reused at your reception. Have your designer create pieces that can move from altar to sweetheart or head table. Or if your ceremony and reception happen in the same place use your ceremony backdrop as the backdrop to your sweetheart table.

Put floating candles and varying height vases of water at guest book and escort card tables and place bridesmaid bouquets in them for the reception. They can still take them home at the end of the night.

Have aisle designs in easy to move containers that can be moved from the ceremony aisle to the center of each table. You can add more flowers and accents to fill out the space but leave room in the center for easy room switch action.

Don’t buy junk favors. If you do favors, use something that can double as a place card or extra decor at your tables, or a snack they can eat now.

Do plated dinner service. There’s always so much leftover and waste involved with wedding buffets. Make sure your caterer has a plan to donate excess.

Let your bridesmaids rent the dress. Everyone seems cool with men renting suits and they seem to forget your bridesmaids can rent, too. Rent The Runway, and others have a huge selection and they’re easy to use. Or have them buy an outfit they’ll actually wear again and consider their budget.

Use decor pieces that are dead or living. Dried flowers or potted plants > centerpieces that will die tomorrow. If using living pieces reduce waste by using pieces that transport easy, you can send them home with guests, or they can be reused the next morning at a goodbye brunch.

SOTU Drinking Game 2019: We’re Sorry This Is Real Life

A little more back story about me. I used to be a part of the Democratic Party of Oregon House Party Team back in the Carry Oregon and Obama Days. I also used to be a Community Organizer for Obama’s first Primary Campaign, running canvases out of my house every weekend, and then throughout his entire time in office. So obviously, I have strong political opinions and yes I’ve met Barack Obama – more life changing for me I’ve HUGGED Michelle Obama.

All that said, I am a political junky. I love the weird things about politics, wonky things like land use policy, funding our schools and roads. I may be the PTO President of the second largest high school in Oregon (but I do that very non-politically and just because I have had a kid or two in that school for the past six years). I am not a fan of POTUS (this is an understatement but I’m playing nice) and I will be watching the SOTU tonight.

For starters, my lovely friend, Representative Suzanne Bonamici, has one of my best friend’s daughters at the SOTU as a guest. This isn’t because of who she knows, it’s because her daughter was very active in the student lead March 4 Our Lives Portland last year, and has taken her energy to the next level as a student activist for other causes mostly effecting women and minorities. She’s an awesome young woman, she gave a speech in front of thousands here in Portland for March 4 Our Lives, and we are all super proud of Alexandria!

Second, I’ve watched the SOTU every year since I can remember. It can be painful, but it is important to know what is happening in our world, even if what’s happening is scary, shitty, disgraceful, sad, or just boring. Man, I miss boring politics.

Third, my children are descended from people who migrated here from Sweden and Norway on my side, and lots of places including Mexico on my husband’s side. My husband’s great grandparents were field workers from Mexico working on his great-grandparent’s farm. You did read that right, it seems confusing. But his genetic great-grandparents died in the flu pandemic in the 1920s, leaving an infant daughter with no family. His great grandparents (not by birth) adopted their daughter, my husband’s grandmother, and raised her as one of their own beloved children. For my family with roots founded in Southern California, where our own children of Mexican heritage were born, border policy isn’t a political whipping stick or a way to get people with racism in their heart to vote for you.

I’ll be live tweeting the SOTU from my personal account and at our house we’ll be playing our own SOTU 2019 Drinking Game Courtesy of your’s truly. Play along if you like. Sorry, you have to watch to play. Or just read my twitter feed and I’ll try to keep up and stay sober enough to type coherently, but I’m not driving anywhere so it will all be ok!

The 2019 SOTU Drinking Game Rules

Hopefully, you are watching in a group and laughing at the ridiculousness of life in 2019 where Donald Trump is actually the President of the United States. If so, break up in to two groups, these groups are not based on your own political opinions all can play well together on either side (unlike dysfunctional D.C.) the first group will be called “We’re Down with AOC” and the other team will be called “Choosing Greatness” – I’m not kidding this is the self-described Theme of the speech.

Take a sip of the drink of your choice (it can be non-alcoholic, too) just be safe and don’t drink and drive.

Drink If Any Of The Following Under Your Side:

We’re Down With AOCChoosing Greatness
If none of the Dems clap at
an intended applause line
If Anyone audibly boos or
If the camera pans in on
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
If the camera focuses on Brett
If Trump says “Nancy Pelosi”If Trump mentions “Kevin
If Trump says “The Democrats”
followed by anything negative
If Trump claims to be the
greatest at anything
If Trump mentions “DACA”
or “Dreamers”
If Trump mentions “The Wall”
If Trump mentions our allies
literally “Germany, England
France, Canada”
If Trump mentions his
friends “Russia”
If Trump discusses any issues
positive for women
If Trump hates on choice,
or women in general
If Trump discusses racismIf Trump says something racist
If Trump bullies or calls
anyone a Trumpian Nickname
drink twice
If Trump mentions “bullying”
If he says “Be Best” drink twice

#PhotosAtYourWedding – Capturing a Moment & Giving The People What They Want

The photo booth trend at receptions, is dying out and being replaced by semi-custom Snapchat filters, hashtags to use on all social platforms, and more naturally or professionally set obvious photo backdrop spaces.

Instead of goofy props and curtains, your guests want an amazing photo of themselves, themselves with you, or something aesthetically befitting an insta feed – not just a story shot that will hopefully die in 24 hours, never to be seen by any human again. Ever (your welcome btw for sharing an actual photobooth session shot of myself and my husband, which shouldn’t be featured anywhere but there you go!)

Think of what experiences you’ve loved and wanted to share on social media. If you hire wedding llamas, everyone’s going to want pictures with them. If you’ve paid for a spectacular view of Mt. Hood your guests are going to want to pose for pictures with that view. If you have an amazingly decorated industrial space, your guests will want people to know they were there, it was boujee, and they looked fantastic! Your planner can help you find the perfect spot at your venue walk through, design a space inviting and set for photos and the area will serve function and a purpose. Small accents, Florals, dried floral installations or wreaths as a backdrop, professionally designed signs, special lounge seating area rentals – can all enhance your photo op location without having a literal neon sign saying “Photos Here”.

People want a hashtag. They want to know the hashtag. They want to share their love for you and @ you. They want it to be something they don’t cringe putting on their social, and they want everyone to know they actually love you most of all, by tagging you and using your hashtag.

Speaking of, seriously create a wedding gmail account. You can set the account to forward messages to your regular email. It helps keep everything sorted, it can be your hashtag name, and used for wedding webpages, rsvp tracking, etc. Set up a wedding/couple insta account for the wedding and evolve it into your future family account. If you don’t already have a Snapchat, get a wedding account if for no other reason than to accommodate all your guests who do by giving them a semi-custom filter for their stories.

Also, can I just be honest with you (sorry to all my favorite photo booth vendors you are fantastic and I love you at so many types of events, weddings just aren’t one of them) you’ve hopefully paid a fantastic photographer to take pictures at your wedding. And I hope you’ve paid them to have a second shooter. I also hope you’ve paid them more than you’ve paid me because I want the pictures they take to be the absolute best photos you have ever, or will ever see of yourselves and your loved ones in your lifetime, potentially. And as such, they are going to get some of the most breathtaking, raw emotion filled, absolutely jaw dropping photos of you and your favorite people throughout the event. All that said, some people know their friends like photo booths. Consider a fotobus or other photo booth experience to remember. Or better yet, do your after-party at your favorite bar that already has a photo booth. We have a lot of those in Portland!

Floral Crowns, things to consider


Planning on wearing a floral crown at your wedding? We have some advice for you.

1) Do you have seasonal allergies, do some flowers make you itch? Know the answer to this question before ordering a floral crown.

You know when you buy a box of home hair dye (not that we aren’t all naturally this color) and it says do an allergy test, and nobody does an allergy test. Turns out some people really should and you don’t know if you’re some people unless you have a reaction.

My point, if you plan on wearing flowers on your head at your wedding, test wearing these types of flowers on your head way before your wedding day. There is nothing worse than spending hours getting your make up and hair done so that halfway through photos those tell tale itchy face bumps pop up. Don’t do this to yourself!

If you are itchy from flowers you don’t have to opt out, maybe just do less irritating options, or a few choice flowers on a hair pin in back, as opposed to on top or on the side of your face. It can make all the difference.

If allergy medicine works for you, that is an option, too.

2) Consider the shape, size and design that will best suit you, your dress, and if you will have a veil, make sure they work together.


We love making bobby pin tiny floral bundles to have your hair stylist stick into a floral crown, or to use in collections to accent your overall hairstyle and veil. If you want real flowers but not a large crown, real flower hair combs and pins can be a great solution.

3) Mix fake with real.

If greens and flowers irritate your skin, and you really want a crown, you can use a small tiara headband adorned with flowers and greens, or a design with greens, ribbons and choice flowers, in such a way that the flowers don’t actually touch your skin (pictured above, built on small gold tiara you can’t see).

Spring Weddings

Spring is an amazing time to get married. For starters, it’s a lot easier to book a venue than the summer – of course, in Portland it better be indoors or you need a back up rain plan. You’ll still want to plan months ahead, if it isn’t an elopement, but if you’re planning now for Spring 2019 you’re going to usually find it less chaotic than summer 2019. And a lot of the most desirable Spring venues will already be booking up.

The flowers! Spring is an amazing season for real flowers that actually bloom and are abundant in nature right now. While you can always get greenery tulips, and roses, you can’t always get daffodils, and naturally brilliant blossom branches. The diversity and colors available beg you to escape the blush pallet, in Spring.

Now let’s talk about your guests. Yes, unless you plan for Spring break (which many schools haven’t finalized scheduling for next year yet and all school districts are different) and graduation season (mid May to mid June) there will be conflicts for some traveling guests. That’s ok unless it’s an MVP cannot live without guest. Most people will prioritize their calendars and place your wedding above everything else they reasonably can. But if you know this will be a problem think about March, or April.

In Oregon, it rains in Spring. It also can be warm and sunny. On the same day you can wake to frost in the morning, it can hail, then be sunny, then sprinkle, and later be 62 degrees and sunny. We are used to this. We go with this. As long as you have a plan and the right venue, it won’t matter. December was the top month for weddings in the US last year, most of those weren’t outside either.

I’m one of those people who thinks every season is a great season for a wedding, there’s just different reasons why for each one.

Time to Book A Florist: How To Guide

It’s been a time filled with lots of quotes and consultations. Engagement season leads to booking season. And we’re busy and living it!

Here are some tips for those looking to hire a wedding floral designer.

Be as detailed as possible if you are fishing for rates, or you may miss out on the right vendor for you. If Emailing rate requests make sure you include your wedding date, your venue, types of flowers you like, inspiration pictures you like, details of the items you need (ex. bridal bouquet, 5 bridesmaids, 1 flower girl, 18 centerpieces, 2 large altar designs, sweetheart table, flowers on the cake. Most importantly, if you are on a strict budget, tell them that. We can give you great tips and options on things you can afford within your budget, or realistically tell you what you can get for your budget and what some options are for adding DIY touches.

If you don’t do this, you may think a vendor is completely out of your price range, when actually they’ve been wanting to design at your venue, or they have great ideas from your desired inspirations and want to add to their samples so they either might be willing to take a smaller profit, or many times they may have ideas on things they could switch out or elements they could change slightly to get to within your price range.

Understand that no floral designer can tell you an exact quote until they’ve nailed down the details of what exactly you want and what you are looking for in your design. With the exact same details described above you could get quotes from $1000 – $3,500. And not one of them would be an unfair quote intended to gouge you. They may all just be for very different designs, different qualities of flowers, fuller or smaller designs, inexpensive disposable containers or statement pieces or rental vessels. It could include an amazing altar design or two small glass vase displays. It could include a carnation waterfall or an arch with 15 feet of lush green and bold floral garland. The point is the same description above could be met with so many different designs your head would spin.

If you have the time, do the free face-to-face consultation! It’s worth it. You can really get to know what a designer could do for you within your budget and they could really get to know what the couple wants for their decor and wedding in a face-to-face chat. I always feel like it’s impossible to have a clue how to quote an entire wedding without knowing anything about you.  I can tell you a basic range, but I’m guessing based on norms and averages and not based on you and your personality or vision. Also, some people don’t have any design ideas they really need to be given some guidance or inspiration based on elements they do have a vision for.

If you’re crafty and really committed to doing a lot of DIY elements for your wedding, still consider talking to a floral designer first.  Unless you are beyond the hobby stage of working with flowers, remember you are about to have plenty going on during your wedding week. Consider partnering with a designer even if you are doing a lot of the decor yourself. A lot of floral designers will put together your bouquets, boutonnieres and corsages, while you do the centerpieces and other decor yourself. Your floral designer can even assist you with DIY elements. The simple truth is the flowers and containers and mechanics of design make up the largest portion of your floral design cost. A larger budget doesn’t necessarily mean your designer is taking in a larger profit. It means the supplies for your particular design are more expensive, and a legitimate floral designer has access to all of these items at wholesale cost – you don’t. So if you want to save some money and plan to do elements yourself, talk to a designer – tell them that.

Many of us can give you realistic cost/benefit details. We can also give you tips on HOW to succeed at getting the look your going for on your DIY designs. We may even be able to offer you a fair price on the materials that you will need. It will often be more convenient for you, and usually less expensive than you gathering the items on your own from different sources, if your designer can provide you with the materials you need.

If you’re ready to get started planning your floral design, contact us today. 


The Pocket Square Boutonniere


It’s 2018 and we’re pretty sure, other than professionals and some moms who’ve done a lot of pre-high school dance pinnings in their day – nobody knows how to pin on a boutonniere the right way!  Also let’s face it, unless you are doing a cute buttonhole design they flop around, weigh down on the lapel of your jacket and get in the way of cuddling while you dance.

In comes the best thing we’ve learned in all of 2018!! The Pocket square Boutonniere! We’re pretty sure Europeans figured this out long ago. And some of our favorite designers in California have been doing these for a while now. But we think we’ve come up with the coolest way to make your boutonniere completely and utterly awesome.

It’s time to book your florist, and we are pretty good at working with all budgets. Seriously, our minimum orders for Peak wedding season are $300 for local weddings. But what’s more important, we will meet with you for no charge, discuss your true floral and decor budget, help you embrace new ideas nobody is doing yet that will make your wedding even better. And if you have plans to do parts yourself, we can help you do a true cost/benefit analysis as well as write up a proposal for you to consider getting key elements designed by a professional, and we can even help you plan how to design and do your own items so they aren’t a Pinterest fail.

The truth is, once you cost out all the parts, you might want to do parts yourself with our help supplying you with some of your DIY supplies, or you might find it’s not actually outside of your budget to have somebody else do it for you.

Contact Us today, we’ll chat with you over a drink or coffee, and before you know it your decor and flowers will be checked off your to do list!