Elegance and Grace. Line and Movement. That is what takes place when a beautiful dancer takes hold of a linear bouquet and dances her way around the sandy ground at Saltair. The way Katrina moved with this bouquet was timeless. Her extension of the lines and the way the bouquet became a part of her was magnificent. I was speechless when I saw the first images and still feel that I'm at a lack of words. The beauty speaks for itself and so does this wonderful dancer.
Sometimes it's simply about the beauty of nature in the location. Sometimes it's about enhancing that natural beauty with florals and simply beautiful humans. Sometimes it's about capturing the stillness of the moment. This was one of those times. If you're quiet enough, you can feel it.
If you know me, you know I love nature. I'm not a city girl and I try hard to avoid crowds. So when the weather turned muddy just before this shoot, I was a little disappointed. We wouldn't be able to go up into the mountains for any images!
But man, was I wrong! This has become one of my favorites! The complete change in scenery, the big city feel, the concrete and shiny buildings! And the juxtaposition of that wild bouquet. It's kind of perfection.
I absolutely love seeing the flowing gown, so soft and delicate, amongst the strong and sharp lines of the buildings. I love the determined look in Audrey's eyes as she walks confidently around the city. I love the strength and delicate softness she portrays. I love that the florals show an inner spirit shining through a crowd of people. And I love that my little city looks like the big city!
And so I'm interested...do you prefer the nature scene or the city backdrop? Where would you choose?
Greenery. It's the thing. It's been on trend for about a year now and seems to be hitting it's peak this year! And oh do we love it! There is so much goodness and depth and texture and shape that comes with greenery. It's unique in it's own way and brings out both a classic style as well as a more modern, boho style.
Lundy was one of the most classic brides we have ever met! She wanted clean, textural, simple, and timeless. And she wanted green. So off we went! Her bouquet doesn't actually have ANY flower blooms in it! Do you see that? It's all greenery, textural flowers, and what we call filler flowers...meaning they don't have big blooms on them.
What I love about her bouquet is the depth and range of texture in it! So I know you're asking yourself, what? No flowers? But do you really think they're necessary? Give us some fern, a bit of eucalyptus, acacia, holly, pitt, snow on the mountain, desert yearning, privet, veronica, olive, bay leaf, and scabiosa pods and we are more than happy! There is so much to look at that we don't even miss the focal blooms!!!
Besides the fact that Lundy's eyes are the impeccable match to the green. Take a look! She has THE most gorgeous eyes!
We're all about that bout too! It's textural, it's simple, it's manly and stately. It's classic. But not boring. It's what our grooms are asking for! None of the focals and all of the texture!
And finally, ribbon. Gold velvet ribbon. Classic.
Light and Dark.
Simple and Real.
Each time I feel I lose my way or when I feel too overwhelemed, unfocused, and "stuck" in the busy day-to-day, these are the images that bring me back to my center. These are the words that resonate in my soul.
At the beginning of each year I carefully choose a word, or a phrase, that defines my hope, my focus, my attention for the year. 2018 is the year of "live richer". I know you're now wondering why a tabsescape void of rich food, extravagent plating, and that feels almost empty would represent living richer.
Living richer this year, for me, does not mean more. It means less. Less distraction, less pressure, less busy. It means more being present, more hands in the dirt and the dough, more breathing in the fresh air, more laughter, more play. More living in the moment. And it means more saying no. So this table represents a meal full of the simple things in life, void of distraction, and full of love, life, and living richer.
So you're invited. Come to my house. We'll bake bread. And we'll laugh. We might play with flowers. And most of all, we'll be present.
Photography Sara Weir Photography
Florals The Potted Pansy
Gown Shop Gossamer
Model Pamela Giahi
Paper Goods Refine Studio
Ceramic Plates Notary Ceramics
Tablecloth, Napkins and Silver Candlesticks Williams Sonoma
Glass Candlesticks Crate and Barrel
Ribbon Honey Silks Co
As seen on Style Me Pretty
Pomegranates, eucalyptus pods, scabiosa pods, sweet pea. Oh, and those adorable poppies! They're all leftovers from a week's worth of work and make for a wonderful leftover bouquet!
One of the things I love about a leftover bouquet is the challenge of pulling together color palettes from a few different designs to make a completely new palette, full of texture, delicate blooms, and details! Now, let me clarify what I mean by a leftover bouquet. I surely don't mean that I'm making bouquets with leftovers from your wedding! Because I try to use every last bloom that we have purchased for your special day, at your special day! But often times I will have a single bridal bouquet, a styled shoot, and another single bouquet, for example, the same week. And each of these bouquets and shoots are comprised of different colors, different, flowers, and different looks. What happens is that full bundles of flowers are purchased for each, and because those full bundles aren't quite used for a single bouquet, there are leftovers. Those leftovers accumulate and become this beautiful new design!
Gratitude. Today there really isn't anything more important that I could write. And yet, I seem stuck as to what to write. Gratitude seems like such an overwhelming statement. One word that contains so very much. One word that is supposed to express how we feel about so much of our lives and our world. One word, that if we really truly expressed appropriately, could change that world.
Rather than write a long paragraph about each of the thoughts in my mind and feelings in my heart, I'm simply going to do this in list form. I obviously won't cover it all, but this will be a good start! Paragraphs seem far too overwhelming and I would never finish this post...nor would you read it! So, a list...for which I am grateful.
Mishaps and Learning.
Splashing in the water.
My warm bed.
Rays of sunlight.
Happy Thanksgiving. May you have a long list of gratitude this season and always!
I often wish I were a photographer. Capturing life and the world the way I see it; in small glimpses of texture, smells, delicate petals, and rough weeds. In the moments between the cracks. Molding the world into one square at a time and freezing that moment in time. There is a magic about that and the way the emotions from that moment are captured, to be remembered forever. The blowing of the wind and rustling of the leaves. The way the warm sunlight shines down at an angle and casts the most beautiful long shadows. Or the way the ribbons dance in the wind.
Isn't it beautiful? It makes me want to go back in time and step into this moment once again. For it was at this moment that I met the sweet Suzie from Loni Sue Photography. This wonderful woman has commented and liked and said the sweetest things to and about me. She has been a supporter and motivator from the beginning. So when this bouquet became available, I wanted her to have it!
And I wasn't wrong in wanting this, for when she came to collect the bouquet, she was far sweeter and kinder than I could have ever imagined. She graciously brought me eggs from her very own chickens and miraculously put together the wonder you see here. It's these details and so much more that the images bring to my mind.
Those are the memories that flood my mind when I see these images. That is the power of a photograph. So I'll go on wishing I were a photographer, and keep savoring moments like these that I will always remember because of the images.
1:1 Workshops might happen to be my favorite kinds of workshops. Ever. Why? Because there really isn't anything better than a one on one connection, one on one attention, and a friendship that blooms while working!
I was honored when Viktoriya from The Hanging Gardens initially emailed to ask about a personal workshop. I could tell from Viktoriya's images that she already had a strong sense of color and texture, and so for her to come to me for a bit more guidance on those topics as well as bouquet structure and design, was a huge compliment! I'm just going to put a plug in now...if you don't follow her on IG, you should! The Hanging Gardens, Back to the workshop...
Within the 2.5 days we were together, we made a total of 6 bouquets! All of which differed in style, shape, technique and design. It was floral heaven! So many blooms! So many colors! So many textures! And so much laughter! Below what you see are the culminating moments when we captured it all nestled up in the beautiful mountains of Utah. These are moments I will never forget and friendships we will never lose!
I have to thank everyone who helped on this very early morning. For it was perfection! Please see the list of models, gown designers, hair and makeup professionals, photographers and videographers below! They are some of the most talented individuals in the state and I highly recommend each of them!!!
Finally, there is something that came from this workshop that I think neither of us will ever forget. And it's almost something that cannot be explained. It's this sense of right that we have in our gut as designers. It's that first impression as we are building a bouquet or arrangement that tells us where to place or what to place, in that specific location. It's a oneness with the flowers that only comes from listening to within. And sometimes, that little whisper or feeling might tell us to do something completely illogical. But it's right. It's good. And it's harmonious. And so we trust that gut. We trust the feeling and we continue. For me, that feeling is found just below my rib cage, toward the front of my body. I can feel it. And I can trust it. I know it is always going to be there to guide and direct me as a design, if I simply listen. I believe that Viktoriya found it as well. Somewhere deep inside her is that same whispering feeling, saying this is it. Do this. And so I challenge you to find yours. Where is that feeling within your body, that tells you when something is good and right and harmonious? Does it guide you and lead you?
If you would like your very own 1:1 workshop experience, please don't hesitate to ask! I promise you won't regret it!
1:1 Workshop Teaching and Assisting by The Potted Pansy
Bouquets by The Hanging Gardens
Photography by Erin Elizabeth Photo and Gabriella Santos Photography
Video by Luke Porter Films
Models Kristine and Luke Porter and Morgan Bronson
Gowns from Maggie Sottero Designs and Off White Bride
Hair and Makeup by Janelle Ingram
Rich, deep, jewel tones paired with soft yellows and blues. It's a rainbow of fall goodness. Asking to be involved in this inspirational shoot with Utah Bride Blog was a dream come true. Their magazine is always beautiful and the thought of being asked to be on those pages was a thrill!
So with a fall base and an accent of mandarin and velvet, we began. Fall always reminds me of the rich earth, harvesting summer's labors, and the colors of the golden sun fading. The rich tones that are created by the crisp air seem to energize the soul while preparing us for winter's sleep. It's not a surprise that our color palettes and tastes are naturally drawn to what the earth is producing during this season. This range of golden to apricot to autumn orange keeps the tone light and airy, allowing for other accent pieces in decor, ribbon and highlighted florals to create a pop for the eye to enjoy. The overall look is rich, yet not heavy. It's delicate and soft. But that doesn't mean it isn't full of texture or unique! A touch of blue along with the harvested beets creates conversation, interest, and a bit of unique character to make this design one of a kind.
I really feel like the images speak for themselves and there is so little I could add in words to enhance them. I mean, they said it best, so here are a few excerpts from the magazine!
"Blue velvet meets mandarin orange in this fall inspired look. A style that encompasses a depth and richness portrayed in romantic gothic revival with a modern bohemian twist. Layers of texture were scattered throughout the look with a hand painted gown, aged candlestick holders, velvet ribbon, fresh fruit, hand dyed napkins, and the ornate architecture of the Thomas S. Monson building."
"Canvas pulled from the natural colors of fresh fruit and added touches of aged brass to create a unique look that hints at both the pas and the present. The range of blues in the dinnerware and candles creates age and depth while the pops of orange and red bring freshness"
So without any more text, a simple thank you; for the invite, the talent, the friendships, and the images! And most of all, the experience!!!!!
If you love this as much as I do, don't hesitate to peruse the magazine pages here, talk with the incredibly talented stylist and planner, Canvas Weddings and Events, or hire Travis J Photo for incredible film images! Lastly, a huge thank you to Honeysilks Co for donating samples of her new line of velvet ribbon!!!!! It really is just as good as it sounds; even better! The shine, texture, and drape are gorgeous! I think everyone needs some, just because! And now, the images...
Editorial Utah Bride Blog
Photography Travis J Photography
Floral The Potted Pansy
Ribbon Honeysilks Co
Design and Coordination Canvas Weddings & Events
Gown Chantel Lauren Designs
HMUA Versa Artistry
Invitation Suite Ann Elizabeth Print Studio
Cake The Little Cake and Dessert Shop
Rentals Firefly Rentals
Venue The Monson Center
Models Kayla Johnson and Corbin Ekblad
Jewelry Rough Hewn Jewelry
Cookies Ruby Snap
In a society and industry full of competition, it seems rare for a group of florists who do business within the same geographic region, to gather together, work side by side, share techniques and knowledge, enjoy each other's company, and not think twice about doing it again! But you see, there is power that comes in sharing and learning and growing together. There is strength in being kind and uplifting. And there is so much fire that grows from a spark kindled with other creatives.
And that is how the choose kindness workshop began. In an effort to building community and enhance our industry as whole, the idea came that we could and should enjoy each other, not work against each other. Last year, the first floral gathering, which we called Flower, Food and Friends, was born. It began with a small group of florists who worked side by side on centerpieces. It was fun and liberating to talk flowers with other like-minded individuals and astonishing to see the different designs that came from the same flower selections. As it expanded and we gathered together again, we realized that although we were working alongside each other, laughing and enjoying our time together, we weren't able to learn from each other. We were all concentrating on our own work and simply didn't have the time to watch each other, or ask any kinds of questions.
How nice would it be, we thought, to ask other florists about techniques, or suppliers, or styles, or shoots. How helpful would it be to talk flowers or even business?? How amazing would it be to watch another florist work? (aka - be a fly on the wall) How great would it be to share, to enjoy, and to choose kindness together?
So without any thought of monetary gain, we gathered together to plan. Florists Sarah Asay of Blushing Rose Floral and Lexie Sandberg of Carpe Diem Design agreed to demonstrate their skills and share their knowledge with the group. Sarah's centerpiece was absolutely stunning, and being able to have her guide the group through her thought process while asking questions, was well, nothing short of amazing. Hearing Lexie Sandberg talk about color and form, flower selection and her love for flowers was inspiring. Kaytee Stice, owner of Roots Floral Design, offered a business question and answer session, where we all benefited from a tip here or a tip there, and others were even able to schedule one on one sessions to improve the business portions of their floral businesses. Finally, local photographers Haley Nord and Jen from As Ever Photography willingly captured it all on camera. We were lucky enough to use gowns from the talented Claire Pettibone and Maggie Sottero Designs, modeled by Lexi Grondel, Jenevieve Hubbard and Chandi Kate. It wouldn't have been complete without a tablesetting or two by Canvas Event Design and the lovely HoneySilksCo runner.
The results were, well, life changing. More than one florists has said this was key in their business, key in their growth, and warming to know that we are all in this together. I think Jenevieve Hubbard, attendee, said it best, "These [photographs] are amazing, Mandy. Thank you again. This workshop was a total game changer for me. I met so many great people who I've been able to network with since and the photos, and the design tips and everything else. LOVED it." And so we'll do it again. And we'll invite more. And we'll expand. And soon this won't be a local Utah thing. Because I believe that everyone has something to share. Every person in that room could have taught part of the workshop. Every person in that room had tips and tricks to share. Every person in that room had what it takes to be great. And if we simply share, we won't have to do it alone. If you're ready to join us on a mission to choose kindness, you have what it takes!
As Ever Photography
Maggie Sottero Designs
Canvas Weddings and Events
Honey Silks Co
The White Space Studio
It's no secret that I'm a huge fan of light and shadow, of capturing the essence of love through it, of finding rays of light in the darkest of situations, of applying that concept in our daily lives, and of chasing the light, when I truly love the shadow. Oh the shadow!
It comes out in the depth of my arrangements, the way the light and shadow play with the textures, hiding some components and highlighting others in different ways as the light shifts and moves and creates beauty. Have you ever noticed it? Have you noticed the way the sun feels in the morning light or the way it beats upon you at noon? Have you noticed the calm that comes as the shadows lengthen while the sun is about to escape behind the mountains? Have you felt it? I have.
I've also been known to say over and over again that I love the desert. I love how romantic it is, how the sun beats down on the earth, the way that living things search and find water in the smallest of amounts in order to live. I love how those plants thrive on almost nothing!!! I love the lessons they tell in their own way, peeking up through the cracks of dry earth and living in spite of their circumstances. I love the heat. And I love the rust coloring of the desert and it's richness. Finally, I love it's light and shadow.
So this location, this bouquet, this sand. Oh, it caught my heart!!! Pay attention to it. Watch the shadows in the repeated patterns of the sand, the way the light seems to dance and play as it touches the fine grains that cover the earth in the Utah desert. The way nothing disturbs the light and so perfect shadows are made from every object presented. And then soak in the sun. Soak in the light. Soak in the warmth. And look for the shadow!
Color is such a fabulous thing. It creates a mood nothing nothing else. It determines so much of the atmosphere. I don't think it's just by chance that one of the first things a brides decides on is her wedding colors. So much comes from this single decision!
We use color to indicate so many different things in this world. We've gotten to the point hta twe even assign our personalities to a color. Speaking of that, now I'm curious what color personality you fall inot! Has it changed over the years? I feel that my personality definitely has!
But back to color. We see greens, blues, and purples as calming and tranquil colors while reds, oranges, and yellows provoke fun and exciting emotions. Within the cool range of color (blues, greens, and purples) are countless shades and tones. While the same exists in the warm color palette of reds, oranges, and yellows. These shades and tones give us variety, interest, and depth. Depth of life, variety in flowers, and interest in nature, if we simply look for it! Color is everywhere and even a lack of color can indicate a certain mood. Again, there is a reason that black is traditionally the clothing color for funerals. Black is solemn and respectful in and of itself.
And so it was with this Utah bridal bouquet. That rust colored bearded iris took my breath away. I have forever loves rust and copper and patina, and really all things within this color range. I find it rich ad seemingly full of history, as it takes my mind to old and won things, full of life in the past, memories of what has been, and stories to be told.
Pairing the rust with a golden yellow that faded into a soft buttercream then tinted ivory, seemed to soften it's richness. Then pulling into the purple tones, while still holding true to a warm color palette tested my knowledge of color theory and forced me to put into practice what I know!
Purple is a funny color. It can be both warm based and cool based. And mixing both warm and cool colors can be tricky. Finding a truly warm based purple was key here and makes that yellow pop! It also allows for the rust to tie the two spectrums together.
I hope you see it! And now that I've rambled and rambled about color theory, the best way for you to experience it is simply by looking at the images! But before you do, I have to say Utah is gorgeous. And RIBBON. Watch for that ribbon!!!!!
There are so many wonderful and amazing things about my "job". I could list them and go on and on, but today I'll just mention a few.
Incredibly Talented Professionals
Wildlife and Nature
Oh, and Flowers!
Utah is jam packed with brilliant up and coming artists, talented professionals, and cutting edge genuine, real, and wonderful people. And I get to meet and work with them on a daily basis. Whether it be a photographer, model, a bakery artist, or those amazing people who do hair and makeup! It's such a pleasure to meet and rub shoulders with and be inspired by each of them.
Calea Gunther is one of those people. She is brilliant and fast and oh so very kind! This bouquet was another one of those leftover kinds of bouquets. The kind that I really don't know how it will turn out and trust that the flowers will do their thing and make themselves beautiful together, in a way that they just cannot be by themselves. And when I asked Calea if she would photograph it Friday afternoon, then saw these images come through from a Saturday morning sunrise shoot, I could not believe it! First, if you have ever put together a shoot, you know it's really not that simple. And second, there is a horse! A horse!!!! Who pulls out a horse overnight?! Only Calea!
I mentioned wildlife and nature above because obviously, there's a horse. But also because these orchids were dead. Literally dead. If you look close, you can see that they look singed, burned on the edges. I bought them that way. On purpose! I absolutely fell in love with them and the way they were beautifully turning into something different. Have you ever watched a cut flower pass through it's phases of life and then death? It's beautiful. And these orchids reminded me of those steps, those phases, and the beauty that comes both from the living and the dead. Don't throw a flower out just because it isn't vibrant anymore. You'll be surprised at what you see before it passes on.
There is life and light and hope in the world. I know this journal is probably "supposed to be" all about flowers and weddings and how wonderful they are. And they ARE wonderful. Believe me, they really are! But sometimes I just want to share my thoughts here too. Maybe it's therapeutic for me or creates some thoughts for you. Either way, thank you for letting me do so.
Back to life and light in the world... This spring and summer have been so wonderful as I have watched a variety of trees blossom, flowers grow and bloom, blue skies turn gray, and majestic mountains covered in snow, which now show only a small glimpse of white in the rocky crevaces.
It's been a hot one, with 100+ degree weather for over 10 days last week. But it has been beautiful. The streams, lakes, and rivers are full to the brim with water this year and adventure is in the air. Just take a look at these images of Moab by Stephanie Lorraine Photography! Look at all there is to explore!
If you haven't been to smell the wildflowers, to dip your toes in the river, or lay out under the stars, do it. Summer is short. The world is beautiful. And life is good.