Monday, September 29, 2008

The Knot magazine? Sweet!

Got some cool news from Michelle a couple weeks ago (and just remembered now!). She read on Jonathan Canlas' blog that a wedding we did together earlier this year (Meagan's destination wedding at Sundance) was going to be featured by The Knot -- not just on their website, but in PRINT as well! See his posting here.
Woot woot!

He is so talented...such breathtaking work. Wish I had some of his shots to show you right now. {sigh...}

It's not easy being Green...Or is it?

I grew up in California – the East Bay to be exact – where even 25 years ago, we were talking about the need to have a positive effect on our environment. Recycling was a big deal, and we often made the trek to the local recycling center to drop off glass and newspapers. I was somewhat of a maverick as a child, and not only formed both “Save the Rainforest” and “Save the Whales” clubs at my school, but I also refused to eat at Burger King because their cattle purportedly was a major cause of deforestation, and MacDonalds because they used Styrofoam clamshell containers for their Big Macs (even back in the 80’s I was freaking out about the ozone). I’ve chilled out big-time since then. Maybe a little too much, even. But I still think about the impact I have on the world around me and have done what little things I can to ensure our company makes some effort to reduce our carbon footprint and such. So what can YOU do?

Green weddings are catching on. Some of the most gorgeous and innovative weddings I've seen have belonged to brides trying to be earth-friendly. A few go a little far, but if that’s in line with your values, why not? There are a number of small things you can do amidst your wedding planning in order to greenify your event if desired. Let’s highlight a few of those here:

1. Invitations: One of my girlfriends was married in Vermont this past weekend (gorgeous!) and in an effort to reduce the amount of paper they consumed, they used technology to get the word out. Rather than mailing out "Save The Dates," they emailed them. This not only cut down on the amount of paper consumed, but it also eliminated the emissions that otherwise would have been required to deliver said pieces of mail. They also created a nice website that had all the necessary event and lodging information for their guests, again cutting down on the paper that was used. When they did send out formal invites, they were small, simple, and printed on recycled paper. Did you know it’s also possible to have invites printed on tree-free paper?

2. Food: It’s not difficult to find a caterer willing to cook with organic products. Even better, support local farmers by requesting locally grown foods.

3. Attire: If the thought isn’t appalling, consider purchasing your gowns used, or use vintage fabric for your custom dress. I’m all for renting tuxes, too. Its essentially recycled clothing.

4. Favors: I know – that little trio of truffles is always such a yummy treat to walk away with, but have you considered maybe taking the money you would otherwise spend on favors and making a thoughtful donation to a charity instead? Have a nice little placard printed up and placed next to your guestbook explaining what you have done on your guests’ behalf. You’ll be cutting down on emissions, waste, and giving all your loved ones a nice, big warm fuzzy!

5. Flowers: Yes, we are able to procure organic, pesticide free flowers. They are called “green” flowers. Unfortunately we’re not able to get all varieties that way – yet. Roses are the most common green flower I see these days. They typically cost about 20-30% more than your regularly grown varieties, but to someone who cares a great deal, the cost is worth it. Don’t forget to request green varieties upfront. You can also use recycled containers or biodegradable containers for your centerpieces. Using leftover dress material or grandma’s handkerchief as your bouquet wrap also cuts down on waste.

Here at Whimsy, we take a few extra measures to minimize the impact our product is having on the environment. While they are traditional, we do not deliver your corsages and boutonnieres in clear clamshell containers. The corsage is removed and almost always, the box and its leftover contents are thrown away. This seems like pretty unnecessary waste to us. Temple boutonnieres are delivered in cardboard boxes that can be easily recycled, and walking flowers delivered to an event are transported in plastic Tupperware-like boxes and then unpacked and displayed on-site. Likewise, all your centerpieces are transported in the same type of reusable plastic box and are packed with recycled newspaper. Is this the prettiest way to bring stuff in? Probably not. But its definitely the most environmentally conscious. We reuse our boxes until they crack, and then we recycle them. We also recycle all broken glass. We even try to mulch the organic material leftover from each event – material that would otherwise be thrown in the trash.

I promise, we’re not crazy – we’re just trying to do our part. It makes me feel better about the product I provide my brides. I’m always looking for additional suggestions, too. It’s the little things that count, right?

Photos from top to bottom: Kathy used wood she had collected to serve as the structure for her centerpieces. She kept the wood following her wedding to use in her everyday decor! “Green” roses were used to make Jordan's bouquet in July.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

New phone. Already hooked up. Crisis averted. :)
THANK YOU Craigslist!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Mobile catastrophe

I know -- the word "catastrophe" is a little dramatic. But then again, so am I. :)

Its been quite a day, technically speaking. I woke up to find my website and email down (REALLY not a good thing), and in the middle of dealing with that, my cell phone shorted out and died mid-phone call. The good news is that email is working and the server issues got worked out, but the cell phone has yet to be revived. Tyler is working on it tonight, but chances are it'll have to be replaced. That being said, I will likely be unreachable by cell for a least as long as it takes to buy and ship a phone off ebay. How in the world am I going to survive without a cell phone for a week?! Its funny how dependant we become on phones and the like. If you need me, either leave an email or call the office and I'll get back to you asap.

I guess I'm going to have a bone to pick with Samsung. Or Sprint. Or both. Three months out of warranty and it goes kaput with no warning!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Dear Kathy,

Today is your birthday.

I had planned a few ways to celebrate both our special days, but life interceded and you're too many miles away for the time being. So while I won't go on and on (because really, do our readers want to hear it?) I will tell you that if you were here, I would bring you flowers. Not these (though I did put them together today while I thought about you), but something orange...and probably pokey. And I would tell you (as I dropped off the flowers and whisked you away for a sugar-free lunch) that I appreciate having you in my life. You help maintain my sanity. You make this job fun when its not. You give me things to think about on a deeper level. You are generous with my children. And most of all, you are a wonderful friend.

I am lucky to know you.

So despite everything that is going on where you are (and in your heart), I hope you're able to take a moment to enjoy your birthday.

Can't wait for you to come home.

Much love,

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Diverting traffic: Visit Rebekah's blog!

The devastatingly beautiful Rebekah Westover (seriously -- have you seen her???) posted some amazing shots of Stephanie's wedding on her blog. Head over here to check them out.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Heather at Red Butte

We were back at Red Butte Garden this weekend, this time for Heather's calla lily inspired wedding. The designs were simple and sophisticated in every way. Greens, browns, and white made up her primary color palate, and her centerpieces and bouquets were monobotanical -- long stem calla lilies in both green and white. Her accent arrangements were more lush and textured, bringing in splashes of brown and orange in lotus pods, curly willow, and flame calla lilies among other varieties.

As Kate and I were leaving the event site, I thought to myself, "What a lovely day for a wedding!" Indeed it was -- perfect weather, perfect atmosphere...what more could a bride ask for? Here's hoping the evening was perfect as well!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Respecting the Big, Bad Budget!

In looking back at my posts over the past season, I realize I've said little more than a brief synopsis of each wedding (if that!). Its been a busy summer and one that has not allowed for much time to chat. I'm going to try to change that, starting with today. If you have any questions or ideas that you want me to address in this forum, by all means feel free to send me an email at Believe me, I'm never short on opinions!

Okay, so let's talk about budget.

It would be silly to think the downturn of the economy hasn't hit the wedding industry, because it has. A lot of brides are being asked to make tough decisions when it comes to planning their wedding and appropriately allocating their budget. While they seem like the easiest thing to either DIY or nix completely, don't underestimate the importance of your wedding flowers. You may think "Oh, I'm renting an attractive venue or my wedding is outdoors so it doesn't really need flowers," but in all reality, it is your flowers that pull together the ambiance of your event and complete your decor, and a wedding lacking flowers tends to look...well, lacking. That being said, I would never advocate overextending one's budget, though I would encourage brides to stop and consider their options when it comes to providing those finishing touches.

Most of the reputable local designers maintain a minimum order of $650-850. That may seem like a lot of money to someone who is just beginning their planning, but really, its just a drop in the bucket. When you add up bouquets, boutonnieres, corsages, centerpieces, buffet pieces, the cake, etc., you can see how quickly things can get out of hand. That's why we always encourage brides on a budget to prioritize. If the bouquets are the most important item in your book, allocate more money in that direction and less toward your centerpieces. Do you really need the buffet piece or can you ask your caterer to dress the table without it? Is it worth the $60 to provide your flower girl with a halo or is she just going to rip it off her head within the first five minutes? Can you do without an arrangement for the ladies' room -- yes! Don't be fooled by inexperienced florists that say they can give you everything you want on a limited budget. Flowers are expensive, and in this industry you get what you pay for. If you have three vendors giving you one price and one vendor coming in drastically below the average, beware. There is a reason for the discrepancy. Does that mean floating daisies and carnations have to make up your designs? Of course not!

Case in point: The above photos are from Sadie's wedding in August. Sadie was stretching just to meet our minimum at the time (usually a budget for a small wedding party only with no decor pieces). While we don't do a lot of weddings in that situation, she and her fiance were such a pleasure to meet with and they were so open minded when it came to their designs that I was happy to take the leap and work with them. She cut out the wedding party flowers that were not absolutely necessary (meaning no corsages for Aunt Jane or Cousin Sally, etc.) and set her sights on very simple centerpieces. For the 10 tables, we used two designs: 1. 6" cylinders with river rock, cream football mums, curly willow, and accents of pink bouvardia and green kermits; 2. Trumpet vases containing river rock, curly willow, and two white agapanthus stems. Both very inexpensive arrangements, but they offered a lot more pizazz than a bud vase, floating daisy, or a handful of votive candles. Now it would be easy to say, "Well, that looks so easy, I could just have my sisters put them together the day before the wedding!" You probably could, but consider the cost of purchasing the vases and river rock -- not cheap at all. Once that cost is incurred, you'll quickly realize you could have ordered a much nicer and larger arrangement from a florist for less than the price of the vases. (And I won't even get into the time, construction, storage, and transport issues that follow DIY projects...that's a different post altogether!) Sadie rented her glassware for almost nothing and since she returned them in pristine condition, she got 100% of her deposit refund back.

A good florist is going to help you see what you can do on your budget. That's why its important to both provide your budget upfront and be willing to listen to what they have to say. And if it comes down to deciding you really do want more than you can afford, be willing to reevaluate the rest of your wedding budget to determine what you can cut in order to allocate more money to your flowers. Its also a good idea to see if your florist provides any other rentals or decor items that may be more cost effective than purchasing you own items (yes, even from Ikea!).

Bottom line: just because you're on a budget doesn't mean you can't have a stunning wedding. Being realistic about what you can afford and hiring a good designer are key. Have fun with it, allow for a little imagination, and most of all, Happy Designing!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

No one is here...

I'm taking off to enjoy one last summer weekend with my family (okay...I know its technically autumn now, know what I mean). I'll be out of the office until Monday, September 8. I won't have email access but will be reachable via cell phone if absolutely necessary.
Have a fabulous weekend!