Photo Friday

Today officially marks the start of my last weekend in South Florida. (spoiler alert! I’m moving!) While there are a lot of things I will miss about Miami, this view is at the top of the list. This is an image I took at Matheson Hammock quite a few years ago and it is still one of my favorites. (side note – this print is one of a number of prints I have for purchase, if you’re interested it comes single, matted or stretched on canvas. Email me!)

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Goodbye Miami! You’ve been a great home!

DIY or Handmade?

If you’re into arts and crafts and creative endeavors in general it’s likely the thought of a DIY wedding has crossed your mind. Projects like this can be so fun and really give you a sense of accomplishment when it comes to planning. Nevertheless, it is easy to get caught up and underestimate what a DIY wedding really entails. But have no fear – you can still have the personal, handmade feel without actually getting down and dirty with your glue gun. Etsy is an engaged girls dreamworld and I know we’ve all been sucked into the black hole that is Etsy shopping. These are just a few of my favorite things from the handmade wedding world that I’ve found during my browse sessions. (all photos courtesy of individual shops on etsy)

il_570xN.689834484_3gk1Bride and Groom Signs

I just used these carved wooden signs at an outdoor wedding and they are just perfection. Perfect size, rustic without being too rough, and so sweet when tied with some satin ribbon. Working with Laura was a breeze as well and she helped easily manage a shipping snafu we had. This might be one of my new favorite shops.

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Personalized Tumblers

These little guys caught my eye while flipping through the site recently. You can never have too many tumblers and Vanessa seems to offer a lot of style variations. I personally like them with just the names but there are so many options there is definitely something for everyone!

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Custom Wedding Bands

Some gentleman are wary of the wedding band. I’m not talking commitment here, I’m talking style and I can’t help but agree. Etsy is a treasure trove for unique bands for the men in your life. This particular piece highlights meteorite and dinosaur bone. Yes, dinosaur bone. It is just so weird and wonderful I had to share!

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Bridal Skirt

Everybody deserves to feel like a princess during their wedding and nothing screams princess more than a tulle skirt! I am obsessed with this knee length blush beauty. I think it would make the perfect piece for a party dress or even a statement during the rehearsal. This shop has numerous styles available along with a lot of other fantastic finds.

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Sequin hanger

Last but not least, the perfect accessory for your bridal gown, the sequin hanger. I knew Emily from college and just love what she has done with her shop. This hanger is the perfect compliment for all of those gown pictures while you’re getting ready! If you’re a recent grad the Koozies make a great cocktail hour conversation piece as well!

So, there you have it. A few of my favorite things at the moment. If you’re doubting your DIY prowess go handmade and let someone else sweat it out! I’ll be opening my own Etsy shop soon and will share all of my goodies as soon as its available.

Have you seen an Etsy shop you want to share? How about any projects you’ve tackled that turned out better than you thought? Share the news!

Wednesday Roundup: Bridal Market

It’s that time of year again..bridal market time, featuring the release of the 2016 Spring collections from all of our favorite wedding dress designers. Looking through photos of the shows it seems that curve hugging silhouettes and sheer panels dominated the runway. There was a lot of skin happening. It’s out there and personally, I like it. I’ve picked out a few of my favorite looks and can’t wait to see these in action over the coming seasons.

Loving the peek-a-boo panels on this simple Vera Wang . vera wang

I also loved this Vera Wang with a hidden mini skirt, crop top and illusion neckline. It’s just the right mix without going over the top.

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Monique Lhuillier is speaking to my girly side with these layers of blush tulle, not to mention the ultra feminine lace edges.monique lhuillier Jenny Packham brought in some bling and muted greige tones and I love itjenny packham The beadwork on this Jenny Packham is just so stunning and would fit right in with an upscale garden soiree.jenny packham 2 This dress from Pamella Roland really caught my eye. It is such a classic look but offers a lot of modern drama with the hint of peplum in the layered train.pamella roland Marchesa can do no wrong and this ruffled skirt is all kinds of right. marchesa Last but not least I am obsessing over the tailored stitch detailing on this fit and flare Nicole Miller gown. It is just so beautiful, can fit any style and would look amazing on its own or complimented with some bold accessories.nicole miller

Are you drooling over any must have gowns? I know I am!

Let’s Get Digital

(Sung in my head with this in the background and some minor lyrical adaptations of course. Side note – we had that rowing machine in our house growing up. When I try to explain it to people now they don’t know what I’m talking about – but there is proof!)

There once was a time that families didn’t stray too far from their roots and weddings were a home town celebration.  Now, if even 20-30% of the guest list are “local” it’s a big deal. Destination weddings are the norm and that is one of the many reasons why the digital age is sweeping the wedding industry. Today, I just wanted to share a couple of fun ways to add some technology to your big day.

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1. Use video conferencing for guests unable to attend. Ikea’s getting in on the trend too. This is such a wonderful way to share this emotional moment with those you care most about in life!

2. It’s not a wedding without a hashtag! Find you’re personal hashtag with an online generator. Try HashtagWall and Wedding Wire. Get creative!

3. Not convinced you need one? Here are 5 reasons to use a wedding hashtag via Rustic Wedding Chic.

4. Skip the hashtag and get direct access to everyone’s photos! The Huffington post has a great list of options for just that.

5. Snap pictures as you dance the night away and never worry about your battery! Mobile charging stations are a great option. You can DIY your own or rent one. I have personally seen ChargerFi in action and it is a great addition to the party, allowing you to upload a slideshow as well.

Even with all of the options to harness the power of technology a lot of couples still opt for a phone free event. Let your guests know in advance, post a sign, or make a note in the program requesting them to be present during the big day.

(I don’t do sponsored posts on this blog, I just happen to want to share these ideas with the world)

Tuesday Tips: Happy Guests

Summer is here, which in South Florida brings the heat, but everywhere else it brings prime wedding season. As things warm up it is important to keep your guests in mind and make sure they enjoy the day as much as you! Here are some tips to keep your guests content in the warm weather festivities:

Market umbrellas dotting a beautiful outdoor ceremony. Photo: Tim Willoughby via Southern Weddings

Market umbrellas dotting a beautiful outdoor ceremony. Photo: Tim Willoughby via Southern Weddings

1. If you’re having an outdoor ceremony consider providing pre ceremony refreshments for your guests. Whether it be water available as they arrive or even a specialty cocktail, they’ll appreciate a beverage and it will be a memorable gesture!

2. Think about the venue and the weather when directing your guests attire. Will you be exchanging vows in a garden or saying ‘I Do” on a sandy beach? Communicate that information with your friends and family. Nobody wants to be caught with stilettos in the grass or soft sand so letting them know in advance will ensure no surprises.

3. If you really want to go above and beyond for your guests consider a foot washing station at the ceremony. Encourage guests to enjoy the outdoors and go barefoot during your vows. An easy cleanup station will be a delightful treat before the party starts.

4. If you have an earlier ceremony under the blazing summer sun you may want to provide some shade for those in attendance. Market umbrellas are often available from event rental companies and create a unique look for ceremonies. Paper parasols are another wonderful personal touch for sun protection that can double as a guest favor! They’re available in a rainbow of colors and can coordinate with any decor.

5. Last but not least, you’ll want to keep your guests cool as they party the night away. If you’re hosting an outdoor reception consider renting A/C units to keep the temp low. These work best in enclosed areas (such as a patio or tent) and can make a huge impact on hot nights.

Photographer Fail

Well, I knew taking a (accidental) break from photography would be a bad idea! I had a bit of a photo fail moment last week. We are working on setting up a new online shopping system for our floral arrangements at work, which of course required a photo shoot of all of our spotlighted arrangements. I was actually looking forward to this as studio photography and “commercial” work is certainly not my strong point. With a background in photojournalism, admittedly, setting up a studio intimidates me. Nevertheless, this was a bit of a “work with what you got” set up, so I figured I could handle it.

It has been ages since I have busted out all of my old camera equipment beyond the camera itself. I dug around through some of my storage to find my flash systems and some white balance cards. Shamefully, a lot of my equipment could stand to be upgraded. To put it into perspective, I’m still using 1 GB memory cards and they sell stuff with 8 GB now. Woops. Well, I guess a lot of it is older than I remembered because I had a total equipment fail moment. Both of my flash systems are so old that the battery ports don’t even work anymore. Even with the batteries replaced. I probably should have listened to the advice of not storing a battery in the equipment.  Lesson learned.

After a brief minute of panic (and a series of dollar signs flashing through my mind) I decided to improvise. Thankfully, our makeshift studio was in the garage of our warehouse so I opened the doors and utilized the natural afternoon light coming from the parking lot. I also grabbed a desk lamp, sans shade, to use as a back light. With a solid backdrop and table top there was “barely” enough light to go without the fill light (whew!). Ultimately, I really could have used a reflector or some kind of fill light but it is what it is. I will probably have to do a bit of post editing to brighten a few areas but overall I thought it came out well. Isn’t it strange how you can feel a stronger sense of accomplishment when things are thrown together successfully?

My makeshift set up of a back light, aka, shade less desk lamp. Yes, that is sitting on a pile of styrofoam

My makeshift set up of a back light, aka, shadeless desk lamp. Yes, that is sitting on a pile of styrofoam.

Traditional style arrangement of garden roses and orchids

Traditional style arrangement of garden roses and orchids

Modern style arrangement of orchids and tropical accents

Modern style arrangement of orchids and tropical accents. You can tell the clouds outside had rolled away at this point allowing for a brighter space.

 

We also used the brief photo shoot as double duty for an upcoming advertisement run we have in a local newspaper. The finished product with one of my bouquet shots is below. Not so bad if I do say so myself! :)

Excuse the awful iPhone photo

Excuse the awful iPhone photo

The downside to this project is that my photography shopping list has now grown by a few more items. Currently requiring upgrading:

Camera Bag

Tripod

Flash

Memory cards

Point and Shoot camera (because lugging around an SLR can get tedious)

Reflector

 

Can Christmas come sooner please!

In The Studio

AKA my (brief) encounter with the flower god himself, Preston Bailey

It is not often in life that we get the opportunity to see, much less meet, celebrities. One of my biggest “meet and greets” to claim was one short-lived elevator ride with Julia Stiles in an NYC  design store, and even then I was too shy to say hello as I was pretty sure she thought I may have been following her (oops). Thankfully, the city I live in and my business of choice has opened up that window a little bit more.

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of working on a photo shoot for Preston Bailey. If you don’t know who Preston Bailey is, well, he’s essentially the king of flowers, especially in the world of weddings. His work is over the top, labor intensive, and absolutely stunning. When I first started getting interested in the wedding market my parents gifted me one of his coffee table books and it has been showcased in my living room ever since (FYI he has 5 if you’re ever interested). More recently, I have been an avid reader of his blog and love the insight he and his team can offer into this crazy industry.

The photo shoot was for a new collection of specialty linens that Preston is launching with a local Miami vendor, Nuage Designs. Nuage is one of the top companies when it comes to luxury, couture table linens. Their product is very exclusive and ships all over the world.

Photo from Nuage Designs

Photo from Nuage Designs

Our company, Parrish Designs, was selected to do some floral arrangements for the launch photo shoot along with four other florists in the South Florida area. Though the designs were relatively simple (the show stoppers are the linens), I and a lot of fun brainstorming these looks with my boss. Though I don’t generally have a hand in making arrangements, it’s always exciting when I get to put my two cents in.

As expected, the studio was a bit hectic that day. I haven’t been in a true “photo studio” setting in a long time, so it was thrilling to be around that environment again. Studio lighting and product photography was never one of my strong suits so I always enjoy getting to watch true professionals work their magic. It really made me itch to get my camera out again and start experimenting with some projects.

We set up two table scapes, a low and a tall. Though we had to keep the decor in a dramatic, Preston approved style, ultimately the shots were about the cloths not the flowers, so we didn’t want to do anything too over the top. All of these pieces were made with completely faux flowers so that the arrangements could be left behind for permanent installation.

 

We used the same fabric for the shade as the underlay on the table, trimmed in white satin ribbon.

We used the same fabric for the shade as the underlay on the table, trimmed in white satin ribbon.

 

The chair covers helped tie the linen shade and oversized flowers in beautifully

The chair covers helped tie the linen shade and oversized flowers in beautifully

 

Amaryllis, phaleonopsis and hydrangea were the focal point of the tall lampshade arrangement

Amaryllis, phaleonopsis and hydrangea were the focal point of the tall lampshade arrangement

 

Classic silver elements and elongated taper candles contrasted the modern-esque arrangement beautifully

Classic silver elements and elongated taper candles contrasted the modern-esque arrangement beautifully

 

The table scape is all about texture and neutrals

The table scape is all about texture and neutrals

 

Nautilus shells, air plants and orchids made for a stunning, natural, yet colorful arrangement

Nautilus shells, air plants and orchids made for a stunning, natural, yet colorful arrangement

At the end of the day, I finally had my opportunity to meet the man in charge. As expected, Preston Bailey is the nicest human being ever. He is very soft spoken and very engaging in conversation. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to snag a photo op with him, but it was a moment I’ll remember regardless. It is very apparent he and his entire team are so busy, yet it was really inspiring to see how much effort they put into everything they touch. It really is a wonderful reminder to do what you love and push every boundary you can. I can’t wait to use their beautiful cloths for an event. Now I just have to wait for the launch….

(*apologies for the iPhone photos, shame on me*)

Looking Good Mum(s)

I love flowers. I love seeing them. I love smelling them. I love receiving them. I love everything about them. But who doesn’t right? They are the finishing touch to any beautiful event and there is just something about a vase of flowers in a home that can brighten it right up.  To me, it is the perfect accessory.

For as long as I can remember, I have started every trip to the supermarket with a longing gaze at the flower display, eyeing the buckets and buckets of bright blooms. To me, they were always a “splurge” that wasn’t necessary. Sure they were beautiful, but other than sticking them in a vase and watching them die what was I going to do with them? I didn’t know how to style them, I certainly didn’t know how to care for them. Then, I became obsessed with weddings and I started working for a florist. I have since grown a great appreciation for the power of flowers. I have also learned that guess what, they aren’t that intimidating.

One of the other upsides to working in this environment is that I have begun to value the difference of truly quality blooms. I may sound like a flower snob, but there is a big difference between flowers you snag from the street vendor or your local grocery store and the ones you can get from a flower market. Some of the grocery stores in our area, such as Milam’s, Fresh Market or Whole Foods carry great product, but I don’t shop there.  I am a girl on a budget so Publix is where it’s at for me.

I have recently moved into a new apartment and decided it was time to add some life to the space (besides the breathing human I sleep next to every night). Off I headed to do my weekly grocery shopping and decided that this week it was worth the splurge. I wanted to make a few simple bouquets to place around the living area – nothing too big – but something easy to work with. Not wanting to go too out there, I also decided that a monotone, tight modern cluster was exactly up my alley. I ended up choosing some deep purple mums.

Purple Mums

These are easy to find and pretty easy to work with, plus, for a nice bonus, they are nearly impossible to kill and will last a long time. I may work for a florist, but floral designer I am not, so easy is my jam. Creating a small arrangement is super simple and I swear, anyone can do it. I started by pulling the flowers out of the bunch and separating the stems.

Purple mums 2

These mums also have numerous stems coming off of the main stem which can be a bit messy. When used in a vase, it basically translates to flowers going every which way. Again, I wanted something tight and compact, so I carefully trimmed off the extraneous stems so I just had the one or two longest and largest blooms at the top. I saved the smaller buds for later us. (In my laser focus I forgot to take pictures of the in between steps. I’m learning – next time I’ll get there)

Next, I had to select my vase. I have a few industrial/vintage style elements in my apartment, like my old wood palette coffee table and some iron bar stools, so I wanted something to go with that. For the vases, small mason jars were perfect. (Who doesn’t love a mason jar!) I filled them up with water and added the flower food from the wrapper for good measure. Any precaution to not kill these things is good for me.

Starting with the largest blooms it was as simple as just plopping them into the vase until I got a nice “fluffy” shape. I then took the loose buds and smaller stems I had clipped off earlier and filled in the gaps. Done and done.

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If the “plop them in” method is causing some struggle, a great trick is to take some scotch tape (or floral tape if you are a friend of the craft store) and tape a grid across the top of the container. By placing the stems in between the grid it helps to keep them in place. This is especially helpful for shallow containers or anything with a wide opening at the top.

I especially liked the contrast of the bright green stems visible against the deep purple of the blooms through the glass. The Mason logo adds a little fun twist as well. These arrangements weren’t anything extravagant (in fact my boss would probably shake her head at the use of bloom), but I love the simplicity and the colorful addition to my living room. I placed one on my coffee table and one on my bar. I did this after work one day so the setting sun was just coming through my windows. Cue crazy photo shoot:

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Something like this would be super simple and easy to create for a small dinner or cocktail party. Place them around your house or run a row of them down a dining room table. A series of vases like this could even make for a DIY rehearsal dinner decor. For me, they are the perfect compliment to appetizers at my next book club!

Any other tips or go to flowers you like to use around your house?