Ask An Expert

It feels like a lot of couples are nervous to ask an expert for advice or pricing details, or basically just questions they’re afraid we’ll find silly. Don’t worry, we understand this day is a very big deal, not something you do every day, and most of us WANT to help you.

If you’ve never priced wedding flowers, feel free to email me inspiration pictures, details about your wedding and questions about pricing. You can do that by email and I will happily take the time to give you realistic cost information for a design you like. If you have a set budget and want to know what you can do for that budget, I’m happy to tell you.

By nature we can’t tell people without information how much their design will cost, because it depends on your date, flowers and colors and design style, so trust me we’re happy to answer your questions.

Need a quote? Contact us now with inspiration pics, details of your wedding and bridal party, and we can help!

 

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).

A Bride’s Guide to Tipping and Thank You Etiquette

 

There are some things you can do on or after your wedding to show your appreciation to friends, loved ones, and vendors who are taking part in your special day.

Giving a thank you gift to your bridal party, each other (bride and groom), your immediate family, and favors for your guests:

  • You absolutely should thank your bridal party for being in your wedding. Many have invested a lot of time and money (especially if they are traveling) to be in your wedding. Something small (thought, not expense matters) a necklace to wear in the wedding, a pair of earrings, or matching robes are common gifts given as a thank you on your wedding day to your bridesmaids. A small item like cuff-links are a nice gift for your groomsmen.
  • Special honored guests and attendants do not expect gifts, but you should make sure they have a corsage or boutonniere.
  • Young bridal party members will not expect gifts but giving them something small or a framed picture with a thank you card after the wedding, and including their parents (if they are not already part of the bridal party) in the rehearsal dinner, is expected.
  • It is traditional to give each other (bride and groom) a gift, but not all couples do this. These gifts do not need to hold any monetary value, it can be a special letter to be delivered before your make up is ready (just in case).
  • Parents will often give something special or borrowed to their daughter or son on their wedding day, but don’t forget to show your appreciation to them in some special way. Again, this does not have to be a “gift” of monetary value, but a special thank you in any way you choose is always appreciated by your family. It’s a busy day, don’t forget this important moment of gratitude and reflection. Those special moments you have alone together before your ceremony will never be forgotten.
  • Your guests do not expect nor require favors or gifts. In my experience, I’ve found that if you do give a favor, having them set at each place setting is ideal if they are a single item and add to your decor. If you leave them for people to take they may not notice or may forget on their way out. Edible favors are always a favorite, and less likely to go to waste. They can be simple and inexpensive. Many couples choose to do a candy table and gift bags. If your favors are items that would not add to your décor, having them set out before the end of your reception, near the exit, is ideal.

 

Thanking your vendors

Most of your vendors do not expect, nor require, any extra monetary thank you in the form of a tip. The wedding industry is made up of many small business owners, and larger businesses. Consider which type of business your vendor is when deciding if you should tip. Small business owners set their own prices and shouldn’t need an extra tip. Those who are employees of a vendor will greatly appreciate (and never expect) an extra tip.

Your Pastor – Most clergy do not expect nor receive tips. A donation to your church or a gift or donation valuing approximately $100 to your Congregation, is a nice gesture. It is always expected you will invite your Pastor to the rehearsal dinner, and your reception.

Your Decorator – does not require nor expect a tip.

Your Florist – does not require nor expect a tip.

Your Event Planner – does not require nor expect a tip.

Your Baker – does not require nor expect a tip.

Your Musicians, Band, and DJ – If your DJ is a business owner, they usually do not expect a tip. If you do tip a DJ 10-15% is customary. Bands and musicians do not typically get a percentage. If you are tipping your musicians, give them a flat amount of your choosing $20-$50 each is standard.

Your Photographer – Does not expect nor require a tip when they are the business owner. If your photographer will have a second shooter, you may opt to give the second shooter a tip of $50-$100. It is not required. Do expect to offer a dinner to your photographer. They are there all day long. They do not require a seat at the table, but make sure you note to your caterer that you will have certain vendors who will be eating.

Your makeup and hair professionals – Typically, people will always tip the same as you would in a salon (15-20%).

Catering/Venue – This is a tricky one. Look at your contract. Does it include gratuity? Often you will find that gratuity is included in your final price. Most caterers and venues include gratuity in your bill. If you do not have gratuity included in your contract, and/or if it is not broken out by catering as a stand-alone line item to come up with a percentage (15-20%), then a flat fee per server of $20-$50 each is a fair tip. Chefs and bartenders typically if you are paying them a flat tip $50-$100 each is fair. Consider the number of hours of service. If it is just for a cocktail hour less than if it is a full dinner reception.

When any of your servers, staff, delivery, or assistants for the wedding are unpaid volunteers consider giving each a gift as opposed to payment. If they are business owners donating their services and do not want payment beyond cost, a present valued in accordance with the above tip guide is a nice gesture.

For all of your vendors who do not require nor expect a tip, remember they are mostly small business owners. Their good name, and your referrals and reviews are greatly appreciated and help them with their business! Review them after the wedding on websites like Wedding Wire, The Knot, Yelp, Facebook, or Google. In these modern times, your public thank you in the review section of these platforms is free to you, but holds value for them. Doing this at some point soon after the wedding is a wonderful thing to do for your vendors!

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!

It’s Engagement Season – Congratulations!

The holidays are engagement season, and since weddings are our business we love this time of year even more than your average person! Everyone we talk to is excited and happy. After the initial excitement wares off, a lot of times, the stress begins to kick in. Planning a wedding is easy. I’m sorry, it is. But that is because we’ve planned a lot of weddings in our years.

If planning a wedding isn’t easy for you let me give you some free advice – DON’T DO IT ALONE!

Some people have friends who just got married so they may go to them first and ask for advice on where to get started. Be prepared to hear hours of stories about how they did it better than all other people and how theirs was the greatest wedding ever and you should use every single vendor your best friend used. Here’s the problem, maybe they’re right, maybe they’re biased because they just got married and are really happy. But you probably have a lot of the same friends. Do you really want the same exact wedding? Of course you don’t.

Some people ask their family because mom knows everything right? Of course, mom maybe last planned a wedding in the 1980s and dresses were ugly and puffy, the flowers were all hot pink, or red, and the band looked an awful lot like the dude in “The Wedding Singer”.  So mom is going to be a really good ally in the next several months, but you may not always see eye to eye. I can’t help but type this sentence and remember the time when my daughter was one, I was on the phone with a frantic mother-of-the-bride, who was really upset her country club friends from San Juan Capistrano were going to be pick up cardboard boxes containing live butterflies (hopefully) to be released outside on the steps of the old Catholic Church in Little Italy, San Diego, CA. She was certain this was a tragic mistake, her daughter was nuts, and her friends were going to open dead bugs after the wedding Mass. I’m trying to explain to her that her daughter isn’t crazy, this was important to her, and they could compromise by also offering bubbles for those who didn’t want the butterflies when suddenly my then 1 year-old, picks up my chapstick from the night stand and begins eating it.

She was fine, clearly, as she is 19 now. But my point is moms and daughters have lovely complicated relationships that can sometimes be beautiful and perfect, and sometimes they’re just complicated or add to your stress.

So here’s my question, why wouldn’t you hire a professional wedding planner? We do this for a living. We know what venues you’d probably like after just spending a little time with you and finding out who you are and what your relationship is like with your fiancee. We can give you vendor recommendations you’ll find useful and fulfilling. And if you pick the right planner, you’ll know they have no agenda, they aren’t getting anything out of this recommendation, other than the opportunity to work with a couple they appreciate. Oh wait, and we get paid for it, too.

That last part is what usually prevents newly engaged brides from seeking help from a wedding planner. Weddings are expensive. And the cost of a planner is expensive. Sometimes, that’s true. For example if you need full service planning it can cost you from $3500-$8,000+ depending on where you live, your wedding date, and the experience the planner has. So a lot of you wait. You decide you can do this yourself. Then you pick a venue. Then you pick some vendors. Then you realize oh shit – I need somebody to serve as a venue coordinator on my wedding day because the venue requires it, and everyone they recommend is booked, or too expensive after everything else you’ve already worked in to the budget. And now your catering budget has got to get cut. So do you keep the bar chic wedding or just change it to a barn BBQ and paper plate wedding with some babies breath you ordered at Costco, in a jar that was supposed to be cute but really it’s just a jar?

Again I repeat HIRE A PLANNER! A good planner will save you money in the end. We’ll give you a real budget to work with. An actual realistic budget that accounts for every single thing. We’ll give you venues you might never have thought of. We’ll give you options like you could do it here, in this way, for this much and not need a day of planner. Or you could do it there, in this way, with a full service wedding planner package but actually save money.

Whatever your budget, whatever you’re thinking start with a vision and a planner. Then go from there.

At Vareus Events, we offer a $200 Getting Started package where you can meet with us (or do this part by text, email, phone if you don’t have time to meet). After the free initial getting to know you meeting or correspondences, if you decide you’d like to hire us for this package, we’ll send you a categorized budget, a planning timeline and guidelines, venue and vendor recommendations that will work with your budget, and you will be on your way to planning this with the help of friends, family or each other. If you decide later that you need to add a Day Of coordinator, and we are not booked on your wedding date, we’ll offer you the same deal we offer our floral and design customers.

Connect with us now to get started! Happy Planning!

 

Making it Official

To obtain a marriage license, you need to know the requirements for the state you are getting married in.  Here are the easy steps to getting legally wed in Oregon.

Step 1: Visit your county Clerk’s office. You can go to any County Clerks office in the state if you plan to get married anywhere in Oregon. You have to appear together to apply for a marriage license . If you are getting married anywhere in Oregon and you work in Portland, you can meet on your lunch break, go to the Multnomah County office, fill out the form and prove your identity. The standard fee is $60 (may vary for different states and county offices). Some will accept a certified check, debit or credit cards and cash, they will not accept personal checks, please check before you go.

It’s important to note the timing of applying for your marriage license. There is usually a 3 day waiting period in Oregon. Once your license application is approved you have 60 days to make it official. If you are getting married in Washington or any other state you have to apply for a marriage license in that state. You cannot use an Oregon Marriage License in another state.

Step 2: Get married. You must have an official present to officiate your ceremony. You will want two witnesses, in addition to your officiant. If you are eloping, you may use your vendors as a witness, but make sure you ask them in advance. Traditionally the Best Man and Maid/Matron of Honor serve as your witnesses.

Step 3: Your officiant is responsible for submitting the official marriage certificate to the County Office in a timely manor. You will be given a decorative, non-official certificate when you apply for your marriage license, and sometimes your officiant has their own ornate certificate – none of these are your legal documentation for official purposes. These are keepsakes only.

Step 4: After your official documentation is submitted by your officiant and confirmed by the state, you will be able to order certified copies from your County office. In Multnomah County the cost is $7.95. We recommend you order at least 1 certified copy for your records and from 3 to 4 copies if one or both of you plan on changing your legal name. You’ll want to be able to mail copies while retaining a copy during the process of changing your ID and documents.

So that brings us to part two of making it legal – how do you change your name legally?

Step 1: Obtain certified copies of your marriage certificate.

Step 2: Visit the Social Security website, print up the name change form and order a new copy of your Social Security with your new name, by mailing in the form and necessary documents

Step 3: Go to the DMV – it will be a long wait. Bring your certified marriage certificate and proof of address if your address has changed.

Step 4: Change your name on your passport once you receive your corrected social security card and ID from the DMV

Step 5: Change your bank account, notify your employer and all accounts.

Step 6: Let everyone else know.

 

If this doesn’t sound fun, you can use a service, such as Hitch Switch, but it truly isn’t a ton of work and if you just update your accounts with every interaction you have as you go – you’ll get there before you know it.

 

 

 

Helping the environment with your wedding flower choices

English Ivy is a noxious weed, yet still many Portland area homes incorporate English Ivy in their landscaping. The reason it is considered a dangerous pest – the birds spread their seeds to our local urban forest, and those seedlings turn to vines that crawl up our deciduous trees. A bare tree in winter can quickly be covered in winding vines, making it impossible for spring leaves to bud and when left unchecked, choking the trees.

Many local groups volunteer to help clean up our urban forests and keep our trees healthy, but sadly it is a seemingly never-ending problem. The only obvious solution – stop planting English Ivy as part of your property landscaping and remove any already established.

Recently, we blogged about how you can use your wedding budget to do so much good in your community by choosing vendors like Brides for a Cause or venues that are also a charitable organization. Here’s something else you can do, choose English Ivy as greenery and filler for your wedding floral designs.

You might be thinking, “wait, if I use Ivy aren’t I creating a market for a noxious weed?” No – because we aren’t suggesting you go out and buy English Ivy. You see, there are organizations is Portland, completely devoted to keeping our forests healthy and teaching regular people like us to be stewards of the forest. SOLVE is one such great organization.

In the past, I’ve volunteered with SOLVE to go out in to our urban forest, learn about safe Ivy removal techniques, and with a group and an expert guide, helped to carefully remove all of the English Ivy from a large section of forest as a Saturday morning volunteer project. And the cool thing is ANYONE can do this. In fact, they encourage you to learn how to do this.

So what I am suggesting is wedding couples, or bridal parties plan a day about 2 weeks before your wedding. Get your in town friends together to help you clean up the forest. Take the Ivy you clean up home with you in a nice big greens safe garbage bag with a handle. Bring all this Ivy home, clean it up (just rinse it off with a good strainer protecting your drain and capturing any dirt or greens litter). Cut the vines in to easy to store and work with pieces, I recommend no longer than a Meter. Stick one of the ends in fresh water vessels. I use large emptied and cleaned yogurt containers. And then leave them in a cool room of your house. These fresh cuts will last for weeks. The vines used in this photo shoot are still going strong and we collected them three weeks ago.

If you are using a floral designer, like Vareus Events design services, just give your cuts over to your florist. You will save a lot of money on greenery and your environmentally conscious designer will be ecstatic to participate in this noble effort. Please be sure you talk to them first don’t spring it on them.

If you are doing your own designs, you can wrap your vine pieces to twine using about 22 gauge floral wire up to two weeks prior to your event if you have a floral cooler for storage, or up to a week before your wedding if you at least have air conditioning and a cool room to store your prepared vines in. Never use bundled pieces on ropes or twine in pieces larger than 15-25 feet in length. They get too heavy, especially if you plan to add flowers to the greens pieces to decorate Chuppas, arches, chandeliers, mantles, or as table runners at the reception. These pieces easily connect together if you leave a little excess twine at the ends.

So have we convinced you yet? If so here’s your next step, if you have a friend with English Ivy on their property and you can encourage them to let you help them remove it, AWESOME!

If you want to remove Ivy from our public forest, you can actually help do that. According to Monica Gunderson, Program Coordinator at SOLVE, in Portland:

We have English Ivy removal events throughout the year! Every Thursday in the summer  there is an ivy removal event in Vancouver, WA. Every first and third Saturday and first Wednesday of the month all year there is an ivy removal event in Forest Park in NW Portland. There are additional, less regular ivy removal projects throughout the year that you can find on our online calendar at solveoregon.org. Ivy cuttings stay green for a while, but just how long I’m not sure!

 

One thing to encourage people to recognize is that by removing native flowers from the landscape they are depriving bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds of food sources. I’d instead recommend brides go with greenery like ivy.

The next majorly important step after your wedding or event is complete, please make sure you enlist your wedding planner, or a trusted friend or family member who appreciates your decision to make this environmentally friendly choice, to gather up all of the Ivy and take it home to throw in their curbside greens recycling bin. You should not dispose of English Ivy in a backyard compost area, it can sometimes reseed itself, but it is absolutely safe to put it in your curbside compost bin.

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If you have any questions, not answered in this blog post, please feel free to contact us. We are happy to give you free advice on using ivy in your wedding floral designs, any time!