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 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.


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!

Your guests are not going to put their phones away. So now what?

We’ve read a lot of blog posts lately about all the ways you can try to get your guests to put their phones away at your wedding. So as the parents of teenagers, let us tell you the only way to get them to put their phones away is to take them, put them in a basket and not hand them back until they leave the Thanksgiving table. No really, your guests are not going to respect your wishes to put their phones away. It’s 2017!

We applaud your noble attempts to fight the culture, and by all means follow all of the blog tips we’ve all read lately, they may or may not help a little. Or, rather than fight against the culture, use the culture to your advantage. Here are real actual useful tips for helping to guide your guests towards using their phones for good instead of evil.

#1 You’re engaged! Awesome! We are all so excited that #shesaidyes and now we want you to create a wedding brand, all forms of social media accounts, and a website. You can use many of the free wedding driven cookie cutter sites out there. If you’re tech savvy you can create your own free lifelong wordpress or squarespace site and blog. Or if you’re busy, you can hire an expert like us to do it for you.  Whatever you do, do it soon. Have a designated email account, website, snapchat, instagram, and facebook page. All of this will come in handy while you are planning your big day and this will all last a lifetime as you grow as a couple and family, throughout your life together.

#2 Hashtag your wedding. That’s right, embrace the fact that it is 2017, we’ve all had iPhones for nearly 10 years (or ok ten years for some of us electronics nerds) and even your grandma knows “#” doesn’t mean “pound” or “number sign” anymore. So #hashtag your wedding with a brand to last the ages. You can bring it back for all of your future events – anniversaries, holiday parties at your house, birthdays, milestones, family photos and life events.

#3 Make a point of putting a heartfelt blog post on your website asking your guests to respect your wishes regarding their phones and social media. Keep them off and away during your ceremony. Always keep the volume on silent, turn off notifications and vibrations. If they do take photos, videos, or snapchats on your wedding day, ask them to make sure they don’t obstruct anyone’s view, especially that of the paid photographer, or the bridal party. Remind them that if they take any pictures or videos for any form of social media, you want them to share it with you using your hashtag. This is important! It will remind them if it isn’t something appropriate to post publicly connected to your wedding then they shouldn’t post it PERIOD. It makes a difference if they know you will be looking.

#4 Buy a geofilter for snapchat for your wedding venue on your wedding day. It’s very affordable. They offer templates you can customize online at their website, or you can hire an expert like us to create a custom geofilter for you. Again, if they know their videos are going to be something you will watch while you’re waiting for your plane the next day, they are NOT going to embarrass themselves or you. You’ll have the added benefit of being able to save and capture all of these moments right away. It’s like the table disposable cameras of the 90’s but with instant gratification, and really cute frames for every picture.

#5 Remind your guests on your wedding day. Use your signs to remind guests of your hashtag, and your requests. Ask your ushers to remind them. Put a note on your wedding programs and menus. Use these printed materials and signs to remind them of your hashtags, and ask them to tag your social media wedding accounts.

#6 Use your hashtag for fun at the cocktail hour and reception. You can even incorporate your social media pages and hashtags in to your wedding day by asking people to post a message on Instagram using a video and the hashtag during the cocktail hour or reception. If you have reception games, incorporate the hashtag and social media in to your games. Have a contest for different categories, or just one – the best candid shot, the prize can be the first dinner party with the couple in your new home after you return from your honeymoon and are ready to entertain.

You and your guests have all grown very attached to your phones. You can stress about keeping them out of your wedding day, or try directing how and when they are used. We hope these ideas help you make a choice that works for you and your guests.


FOMO is going to help you market, if you don’t miss out that is


Most companies find occasions to celebrate throughout the years – holidays, a new office open house, product launches, retirement celebrations, summer picnics, fun companies even make their offsides fit in to this category. We’re certain you’ve created your own traditions and you have special inside jokes you share at these events, that make plus ones and spouses super uncomfy (in a good way – a team building way) but how much time is somebody on your staff spending planning these events? Is it the best use of their time or your money?

Large companies have long since learned the value of an event planner, some have full time event planners on staff as part of their marketing teams, because for many companies events have become key marketing tools in their lead gen strategy. Smaller companies, especially in local markets, haven’t quite yet realized the potential customers sitting out there waiting for them to find each other through events and related lead gen gold.

Millenials have made news lately for killing off a lot of relics of the past, like tired restaurant chains, stores that exist only in malls but not online, and Confederate statues. They’re also killing the old traditional forms of advertising.

Creative industries, entertainment, restaurants, bars and hotels need to evolve their marketing strategies or they will continue to lose customers to online apps, pop ups and online only competitors outside of their local market.

How does all of this come together? Small businesses in local markets need to be better at marketing together, and local events are key.

Don’t wait for the once a year trade shows or hope you can get enough people to write good reviews about you online so that one day you’ll reach the top of Yelp or TripAdvisor. Forget about that happening anyway if you aren’t buying ads through many of these social connectors.

This is Portland, where the event and entertainment industry is dominated by creative giants in small businesses. As one who’s been active for political and community groups as a community organizer, I’ve learned a thing or two million about using the internet to fund raise, grow support, capture information and mobilize communities in to action.

What you are missing as a small business when you organize your events in house, is developing a relationship with an event planner who can help you see the connection between your holiday party, summer picnic, team offsite, and your next product launch.

Every political campaign since Howard Dean, has recognized the need to gather and capture information from their supporters. So why haven’t small businesses figured out how well this model can work for them? Connecting with your community, capturing info from those who engage and attend your events or seminars, that is how you will grow your business and tap in to your share of the market.

Your events are as much a part of your brand as your logo. Connecting those events in a meaningful way, in essence, branding your events, will help you see the connection between how you celebrate and how you connect to your local market.

FOMO is the most powerful marketing tool to capture Millenials and Gen Z. The question is, how will you tap into it? What events can you put together to market your brand? And how will you connect your events to who you are? How will you bring your event to social media, and collect data from your event to help move you forward? And how will you include other local companies in your event in mutually beneficial ways? We can help. Contact us today for a free consultation.