Bouquet-Holding 101: For Brides-to-Be (and budding photographers, too!)

I see this issue pop up again and again amongst my flower friends, so I wanted to do a little blog on holding your bouquet. And yes, there is a correct way to hold it! I know it’s probably the last thing you’re worried about on your wedding day, and that is totally understandable, but it will impact your photos greatly (and make your florist very happy) if you’re holding it correctly!

Let me start by saying that every floral designer constructs their bouquets differently. I’ve even changed my own bouquet technique over the years (mine used to have a VERY distinct front and needed to be held with the stems more upright). So your best bet is to ask the person who made it what the best angle is for photos. For me, it’s from the TOP! I always try to make it pretty all the way around, but it definitely has a best side, and that is from the top/front. If you look at my Instagram, you’ll see that when I photograph them myself, very little or none of the stems are showing because I’m tilting it forward.

With our bouquets, you can use the ribbon as a guide for what is the front if you’re unsure. If your bouquet is wrapped with flowy silk ribbon, the streamers will be tied on the front facing away from you. If it’s wrapped with satin ribbon with no streamers, the pins securing the ribbon will be on the back side facing you. When you hold your bouquet, relax your forearms over your hipbones and tip the bouquet forward slightly. We cut the stems short to help it tip naturally. Make sure you aren’t holding it too high and covering your beautiful dress!

Here’s a photo reference of the difference:

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Okay, not gonna lie, both of them are pretty (kinda hard to get a bad angle with all of those lush local dahlias tucked in there). But the first photo is correct! You miss all of the lovely edge pieces and it’s intended shape in the second photo.

We also include this little note on the back of your bridal bouquet tag if you forget :)

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A few more tips and things that I always wish I remembered to tell the brides and photographers:

  • If there is a wilted or broken stem of something in the bouquet (which can happen after it’s been photographed all day) SNAP IT OFF! Don’t try to pull it out at risk of messing up the rest of the bouquet, but please do snap off or cut out what you can see of that one stem. I promise I’d rather it not be there than you thinking you’re messing up the design.

  • Please put the bouquet(s) back in water at some point before the ceremony! It can use a drink every now and then throughout the day.

  • And finally, enjoy your day. Flowers are a teeny tiny portion of it and the most important part is YOUR LOVE and spending this wonderful day with your friends and family. <3

Tips for Choosing Your Wedding Florist

I firmly believe that every floral designer / flower shop brings something unique and needed to the flower-loving community table. But from an engaged couple’s perspective, choosing a wedding florist that is right for you can be overwhelming when there are so many options out there! Read along for some helpful tips.

Photo by White Rabbit Studios

Photo by White Rabbit Studios

Check Their Portfolio

This is maybe the most important factor that should go into your decision! Whether it’s via their website or Instagram, try and review as much of their portfolio as possible. You want to ensure that their design aesthetic is compatible with yours so that you can sit back, relax, and trust that they will create something you love. Most florists have beautiful portfolio photos, but do the size and shape of the bouquets match what you’re picturing? Do they often use a lot of flower varieties that you do or don’t particularly love? Is their stuff either too symmetrical or too asymmetrical? Can you picture most of their portfolio flowers at your own wedding within your color palette? These are all questions you should be asking yourself when checking out someone’s work. What you see is likely a version of what you’ll be getting, so you need to love it! Sometimes designers are interested in doing something fresh and different from their usual style, though, so if you’re ever in doubt if they can deliver on an idea you have - just ask them!

If you’re thinking of booking me, check my portfolio first! We do a loose, organic style and rarely do very round or tight bouquets. I’d describe our style as layered, ethereal, and garden-esque. We put a large emphasis on the color palette of the flowers, and find that getting the perfect colors and tones is the key element of our signature look. We specialize in movement, texture, and asymmetry, and use seasonal and unique flowers and foliages. We also like a large percentage of flowers in our designs and find that we only enjoy incorporating greenery in an intentional and refined way. If any of this sounds exciting to you - let’s chat! 

Get to Know The Designer 

It’s so important that you get along well with the vendors you’ll be working closely with, including your florist. It makes your wedding day so much smoother when you know everyone is on the same page and excited to be working with you. If you’re pretty sure you’d like to book a particular florist (I say this because their time is precious - please don’t schedule a consultation unless you’re serious!), ask if they offer in-person consultations before booking. This first meeting should put you at ease and solidify your decision to work with this person or business. If it doesn’t, or if afterward you just feel stressed or like they weren’t on the same page as you, it may not be a good fit! Most florists want that connection with you as well, as it makes all of their hard work put into your wedding feel totally worth it. Take some time to make sure you’re booking the designer that feels right for you.

I‘ve realized that our happiest clients are ones I’ve felt a connection with from the get-go. I can’t emphasize the importance of having a connection with your vendors. It really allows you to focus on the joyful moments of this process with your family and friends and trust that your vendors are taking care of it all for you. And if you aren’t sure - go with your gut! I’d absolutely love to meet you and see if we’d be a good fit. If not, I will happily refer you to another designer or business who I think could serve you well! 

Ask About Their Process 

All florists have different processes that they’ve fine-tuned to fit their client’s needs. None are better than the other, but it’s good to be aware of their expectations of you and vice versa. Ask how their client process typically works and what is expected from you. Maybe you’re looking for a florist who you can be very hands on with, or maybe you’d rather have someone who you can give a bit of color inspiration to then hand the reigns over. All designers work best in a different way. A few questions to ponder: Are they available to have ongoing email correspondence, or do they mostly do in person or phone meetings- and does this suit your schedule? Is the person you met with the one that will actually be creating your flowers, or do they have staff who execute the designs? No answer is best, but one may work better for you and your particular needs. Let them know up front how involved in the process you’d like to be and that will really help them tailor this experience to you! 

I find that creatively, I work best with a little color, style, and broad inspiration from the client, and a whole lot of TRUST. Trust is where the magic happens! If you’re looking for me to recreate a Pinterest bouquet or to tell me all of the exact flowers you need included (though a few special wishlist blooms are lovely and welcomed!) then I am not the florist for you. As far as process, if you’re looking to work with me you can expect a customized experience. I do my best to meet the needs of each client individually, whether they are busy with school or work or want to be involved every step of the way. Once you inquire with us, I now lay out our process for you in detail so you know exactly when you’ll be meeting and communicating with me. And yes, you’ll be primarily communicating with me, the person also designing your flowers! You don’t have to stress about any design details getting lost in the shuffle. 

Thanks for reading! If you’re interested in chatting with me further about your wedding flowers, feel free to fill out the form on the contact page to get started. Can’t wait to meet you!

Intimate Appalachian Foothills Elopement

I am so grateful Rachel Carter Photography asked me to be a part of this beautiful shoot at the old cabins at Monte Sano State Park. I was craving a really clean color palette with textural ingredients, so I used what was naturally growing around us to inspire these designs. I cut some dogwood and eleagnus, along with some unknown textures, and paired it with garden roses, japanese spirea, ranunculus, and snowberry. I also stuck an entire live plant in both the bouquet and centerpiece because I loved the variegated foliage so much.

I think this shoot really showcases how perfectly film photos capture the color and softness of flowers. Especially a white and green color palette. They capture every detail but still look so soft and timeless. Thank you again to the entire team!

Photographer: Rachel Carter Photography
Hair & Makeup:
Makeup by HJ
Paper:
Linen & Leaf
Dress:
Ivory & Birch
Cake:
Good Company Cafe
Venue: Monte Sano State Park
Models: Emerald & Collin Parker

Spring on Monte Sano

Foraged dogwood, spirea, japanese maple, and hellebores. Accented with rice-flower, dusty roses, and rust-colored ranunculus. This is how you do spring neutrals. 

I am so thankful when vendor friends are up for a quick collaboration! I had some extra flowers I couldn't resist buying, and I was dying to forage all of the fun spring textures popping up around Huntsville. Off I set to create a lush bouquet for a quick photoshoot at the Monte Sano Land Trust. I love how it turned out, and it's always nice to make something purely from my imagination. Thanks so much, ladies! Vendors below.

Photographer: Meghan Medlen Photography
Makeup:
Makeup by HJ
Model: Carla Ellis

 

Reflections on Year One

Well, I've been so busy getting back in the swing of things post-holidays that I totally missed my 1 year business anniversary on January 9th. This year has flown by. It's been a blur, really. A ton of late nights, super early mornings, hard work, and a lot of love. It feels like just yesterday that I was sitting at my desk in my house, drinking my coffee slowly at 8am, getting stoked to get just one little wedding inquiry, and trying to get in the swing of this new "work for myself" thing. I laugh thinking about how little was on my to-do list in those first 2 months. Man, if I could've seen where I'd be in one year...

said desk area (and my baby, Theo)

said desk area (and my baby, Theo)

I'm not going to lie to you and say owning your own business is amazing and fun and freeing all of the time. I've had highs and lows. I've been on cloud nine and I've shed a lot of tears. I've seen very little of my friends and family (P.S. I miss y'all.) It's been so hard and it's a grind. But it's my grind. It's my baby. And that's what makes all of this hard work count for me. At the end of the day I make the rules, I can set my workload, and I get full creative freedom. Those things make every sleepless night worth it. Also, that look on the bride's face when she sees and loves her bouquet. That helps, too!

HiFi Fest 2017

HiFi Fest 2017

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When I started this business I had one word in mind that I promised myself I would follow in this first year - ADAPT. If something wasn't working, I would change it. If I didn't like the way something was going, I would turn the other way. If someone hurt my feelings, I wouldn't take it personally. My biggest fear in the beginning was that my skin was too thin. That I wouldn't handle rejection well, wouldn't be able to take criticism, or wouldn't be able to handle unhappy customers. I am so happy to say that it wasn't even an issue for me this year. My skin is thick, y'all. I don't know how that happened. I guess that's what owning a business will do to you. You can't take anything personally. Issues roll off my back like I'd never even believe these days. BRING IT, 2018!

Cleveland Avenue shop, pre-opening

Cleveland Avenue shop, pre-opening

I've been thinking of my word for year 2 and it is pretty obvious for me the changes I need to make to have the life and business that I want. I said yes to absolutely everything in 2017. It led to a lot of exposure and amazing opportunities that I am so thankful to have had, but it also led to zero free time, not taking care of myself, and extreme burnout by the end of the year. For 2018 my word is PRIORITIZE. That means carving out the quality time I so desperately need with the people I love, setting better work-hour boundaries, and quality over quantity in every aspect of my life. That means making sure (most - 'cause a girl has to make money!) every wedding, project, collaboration, and work-related thing that I take on is important or exciting to me. Saying "no" is hard, but I am slowly learning and getting better at it every day. 

I feel like I owe a lot of credit to a lot of people for getting me through this year. Let's just go down the list, shall we? (Go ahead and skip this part if you don't want to listen to me gush about people I love)

-My husband, Luke. I mean, duh. How this poor man loves me after all of the work I've asked him to do on top of his day job as a teacher, I will never know. He's supportive, an eternal optimist, and I am so lucky to have him.

-My family. 100% supportive, all of the time, and has believed in me since the beginning. They've been totally understanding of how little I've seen them lately. Sure do love them.

-Michaela - my amazing main employee who keeps the shop running and gives me a day off every once in a awhile - and all of my other shop and wedding help this year. You know who you are! Literally couldn't have done it without y'all. These ladies worked super hard and logged so many hours with me just to help my little business thrive. I am thankful for each and every one of you. 

-The Huntsville wedding vendors, all who have been so welcoming and kind to me. I am thankful for all of the business advice, referrals, collaborations, and all of the friendships I've made this year! I feel lucky to be a part of such a supportive and uplifting community.

-And last but not least, my clients and customers, of which this business would not exist without. Thankful to every single person who trusted me to be a part of their wedding and/or bought something from my shop this year. You are supporting my dream with your dollars and I could never thank you enough!

 

Okay, novel over. I love y'all. I'm getting teary-eyed writing this. I'll update you this time next year when I inevitably learn a bazillion more things about life and business after year 2. I have so so so much more to learn. Onward and upward!