{Farm to Table Weddings}

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A few years ago, you may have heard the term “farm-to-table” in the same sentence as “wedding” and assumed that such a pairing would only exist in certain rural, mountainous, or more down-home venues. You might have imagined a more laid-back bride and groom who probably didn’t work or live in a big city. These days, of course, it seems that both cooking and eating out is all about the farmer’s market, sourcing local ingredients, and most likely eating meat, dairy, and other organic products from a farm not too far away from where you’re sitting.

Farm to Table{Photo via Style Me Pretty}

Today, many caterers and vendors may use terms like “fresh and local” to describe their ingredients, products, and flowers, as more and more people are joining the movement of producing and consuming locally grown food and products. And many brides and grooms are shunning the traditional wedding reception dinner, for which guests are often given the option of meat or fish. Instead, some weddings feature tasting menus with wine pairings; as a guest, you may just be served a dish featuring a piece of beef, lamb, and fish, for example – all from local farms, of course.

Farm to Table Insp{ Photo Via Green Wedding Shoes}

With farmer’s markets now abundant in most suburbs and cities, farm-to-table menus are accessible from almost anywhere. Let’s say a bride or groom chooses to create a farm-like setting in a suburban back yard or on the roof deck of a high rise in the city. In this case, the farm-to-table theme can be carried through as much by decor as by menu. Here are a few simple ways to incorporate the trend:

  • Seat your guests “family-style” at a few long “farm” tables instead of the typical eight or ten tops
  • Incorporate herbs and colorful vegetables into floral arrangements
  • Use vegetables names or types of animals to identify tables
  • Use or rent vintage crystal, china, or linen
  • When in doubt, use candles and lanterns – on the tables or hanging on the outskirts
  • Use small chalkboards or whimsical fonts
  • Instead of benches, use hay bales
  • Research local farms near your wedding venue to ensure you’re providing the freshest food available

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Liz Mathews is a Connecticut based mother, teacher, and freelance writer who blogs on children’s books and related topics at La La La (http://lalalaliz.com/). Her work has appeared in Quality Women’s Fiction, Town and Country magazine, and Literary Mama.

{Doie Down Under}

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When you own your own business getting away for a few weeks can be pretty difficult, but nothing recharges and inspires me like traveling to a new place.  Australia, although similar to California in a lot of ways, did not disappoint when it came to gorgeous landscapes, hip boutiques, and awesome art.

The blues and greens of the water were breathtaking.

IMG_0548 IMG_0320 IMG_0335The rock formations were impressive

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Most people head to Australia for the gorgeous beaches, but the cities had a lot to offer in the way of great art, cool cafes,  and trendy boutiques and gift shops.

IMG_0511 IMG_0334 IMG_0285 IMG_0278 IMG_0461{Painting by Amy Howard}

I wasn’t expecting such an awesome street art scene! Melbourne especially was teeming with art around almost every corner.

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{Byron Bay}

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{Melbourne}

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{Melbourne}

Where have you been lately? What inspires you? Leave a comment below.

xx

Sara

{July Giveaways}

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To celebrate “wedding season,” we are giving away robes all month long! If you missed our giveaway with Green Bride Guide and have yet to enter our contest with Style Me Pretty (going on until August 1st). Head on over the Emmaline Bride, for another change to win.

win-a-bridal-robe_jpeg

{Wedding Gift Bags}

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We’ve all been there: that moment you arrive at a hotel or rental house for a long weekend of parties leading up to a wedding. You may have been to this city or island or suburban town before, or you may be a stranger in a strange land. Regardless of your history with this place, you’ve had a long day of travel, you’re hungry, you’re thirsty, and your blood sugar is low. You look expectantly at the person who is handing you a key and wait for one of two possible outcomes: either you are handed that blessed gift bag filled with water, chips, specialty candy or mints, or he or she just smiles.

Wedding gift Bag

You can see where I fall on the decision of whether or not to offer your guests a gift bag. Yes, it’s an extra thing on your to-do-list during an already stressful time, but you have many – possibly even hundreds – of people who have most likely taken off work, traveled at least some distance, possibly paid for plane tickets or fuel for a long drive, and it’s a nice token of your appreciation. For both the weary traveler and the tired partier, the gift bag can go a long way of showing your friends and family that you appreciate them. So how do we decide what to add to these multifaceted goody bags? There are a few different approaches, and of course the amount you can spend on these runs the gamut from low-key brown paper bag to monogrammed tote bags or cooler bags (yes I received one of these at a wedding, and it’s still my favorite).

Gift Basket

  • The Essentials: Regardless of the wedding venue, your guests will most likely be up late, possibly drinking too much, and maybe a bit lost: always include water bottles, small snack bags of chips or pretzels or something to munch on, and a small packet of Advil or Tylenol is also a nice touch. A little candy or a maybe a specialty cookie is nice for those with a sweet tooth, and some mints for your guests to tuck in their pockets or purses. I also like maps of the local city or town if they’re available. I’ve seen some brides and grooms create their own custom maps with the only the necessary locations included – this is a great way to show your creativity and a fun way to introduce your guests to the area.
  • Local Color. Where are you getting married? What is your state or city or island famous for? Getting married in Vermont? How about a little jar of maple syrup or some Lake Champlain chocolate. Weddings held at beaches or islands often dole out a little jar of sunscreen, water bottles with logos, or even towels. Again, it all depends on your budget.
  • The Bag: here’s where I’ve seen people get the most creative. Of course it’s easiest and least expensive to go to a party store and stock up paper goody bags. This is of course perfectly acceptable. It’s really what’s inside that matters. However, there are other options here: what if you’re getting married in a city like San Francisco that doesn’t use shopping bags? Maybe a small tote bag would be a good idea. At a wedding we attended in Aspen, the bride used recycled shopping bags and ironed on the wedding date. I’ve also seen canvas lunch bags, sand buckets, the aforementioned mesh cooler, and even small garden pots. A nice way to make any of the bags or containers personal is to add a monogram or logo – you can include your names, the date, a simple heart, or even an outline of the state you’re in.

Gift Bags 1

Bottom line: gift bags for your guests are a guaranteed way to make a great first impression of your wedding weekend. It sets the tone that your guests will be well looked after before, during, and after the reception!

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Liz Mathews is a Connecticut based mother, teacher, and freelance writer who blogs on children’s books and related topics at La La La (http://lalalaliz.com/). Her work has appeared in Quality Women’s FictionTown and Country magazine, and Literary Mama.

{Nice Day For a Bright Wedding}

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With Summer almost in full swing, it seems that color is everywhere! While some brides aim for pastels in the warmer months, the trend lately is for bold and bright colors. From bridesmaids robes, to rainbow cakes, here are several of my favorite colorful wedding ideas from around the web. Enjoy!

Rainbow bridesmaids{Photo: Three Nails Photography}

 

Rainbow Table Setting{Photo: Style Me Pretty}

Rainbow Grooms{Photo: Christine Farah Photography}

Eryn and bridesmaids Doie Lounge

{Photo: Callaway Gable Doie Lounge Robes}

Rainbow Parasols{Photo: Tux and Tales}

Rainbow Naked Cake{Photo: The Little Epicurean}

xx Sara

{Love is Love}

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Did you see that article in the Sunday New York Times Style section by Sheila Marikar: “Planners Adapt as Gay Unions Become More Common”? It immediately caught our attention since we’ve been talking about wanting to cover this topic here at Luxe Lounge as the landscape of this topic is changing at such a rapid pace. Today gay marriage is legal in seventeen states. Five years ago it was only legal in two. One of our initial questions: are there wedding planners out there who specifically cater to same sex weddings? This was immediately answered with a resounding “yes” after a very cursory Google search, during which we came up with more than a few credible and highly successful companies, including most notably 14 Stories, along with many very thorough gay and lesbian planning Web sites including Engayged Weddings and Equally Wed. 14 Stories and Equally Wed were also both featured in the Times piece. We were curious about, the possible challenges, if any, these wedding planners and sites would tackle.

Dewan_Demmer Photography{Dewan Demmer Photography}

14 Stories stands out as the original and perhaps most esteemed of the same sex wedding planning sites. On their site they explain: “Our goal is not just to plan innovative, distinctive weddings but also promote marriage equality and reduce homophobia in the wedding industry through our educational seminars for wedding professionals around the world.” The company’s blog features highlights with many of their clients’ weddings as well as various features and tips and tricks about all aspects of wedding planning.  Same sex couples are encouraged to be aware of the services available to them through local chamber of commerce. This is the unique and refreshing aspect of a company like 14 Stories: theirs is a very professional platform from which the founders can continue to make a difference. For example, Bernadette Coveney Smith, the President of 14 Stories, strongly encourages same sex couples to use celebrants. “Whenever possible, I encourage LGBT couples to use a Celebrant to officiate their gay wedding ceremony. Not everyone who is a non-denominational minister is a Celebrant.  Those who are officially Celebrants have taken intensive coursework on world cultures and traditions and been taught how to use stories to create custom ceremonies.  The curriculum is rigorous!”

Carolynscottphotography{Carolyn Scott Photography}

My oldest friend married her partner in a beautiful small ceremony six years ago in Nantucket. She explained to me that they wrote their own vows by researching non-traditional/same sex vows online. She also shared with me: “We spent the night before our wedding together, which isn’t the norm, most people gay or straight don’t stay with one another.  We had breakfast together and alone that morning- which was very nice and grounding.  It was a great way to already reflect on the party we had the night before and get excited together for that day. We also helped each other get dressed and get ready beforehand- so we didn’t have many elements of surprise about seeing one another but I am very happy we did it that way. I got to spend the entire day with MB and go through the entire experience together- from the nerves, to excitement, everything.”

Capitol Romance{ekate photography}

Though some same sex weddings may reject the traditional more conservative side of wedding planning, there are plenty of partners who embrace tradition and wish to host weddings that include the customary time-honored wedding practices. In the Times piece, Marikar explains: “Now that about a third of the states allow same-sex marriages, couples are casting a wider net when it comes to wedding planning, and the desire for something ‘gay specific’ is giving way to ‘gay friendly.’ That change in attitude has inspired a new set of entrepreneurs offering products and services that are comprehensive and sophisticated — and, in most cases, pointedly inclusive of gay and straight couples alike.” This is the direction we are headed. In the future there will be no need for same sex wedding planners because weddings will just be weddings.

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Liz Mathews is a Connecticut based mother, teacher, and freelance writer who blogs on children’s books and related topics at La La La (http://lalalaliz.com/). Her work has appeared in Quality Women’s FictionTown and Country magazine, and Literary Mama.

 

{Bridal Event Tonight}

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Are you engaged and in the Palo Alto area? Come join us tonight for the “What’s Your Something Blue” event at the Garden Court Hotel, in Palo Alto.

Something Blue

 

Tickets available here

Something new, something borrowed, and something blue are all wedding traditions that can sometimes get overlooked as brides overwhelm themselves with the larger aspects a wedding can encompass. Thus, focusing on these small but important details, “Something Blue” showcases a variety of fun, yet classy, unconventional wedding options that are sure to modernize simple, bridal traditions, into personalized wedding memories. The event will showcase upcoming lingerie and swimwear trends, jewelry and accessories designers, favor and stationery vendors and much more. Guest will also enjoy amazing entertainment, workshops, food and free flowing beverages. A perfect girls night outing.  Hosted by, talented event producer and stationary designer, Karla Randolph “The Card Lady”, this in one event no bride or bridesmaid will want to miss.

 

{Let’s Get This Party Started}

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While those in the thirty-five and older crowd are probably most familiar with live bands providing entertainment at wedding receptions, those who belong in the younger demographic may in fact be more familiar with DJs. Though the band versus DJ has been an ongoing debate for some time now – DJs have actually become more and more prominent over the past fifteen years or so.

Dancing

{Photo: Paco and Betty}

For some, a live band is a must. It is certainly the more traditional, and at one point, more popular route to go. A live band provides much of the festive and celebratory atmosphere for the night. These professional performers and musicians are adept at reading a crowd and getting people up to dance – young and old alike. For us, it was one of the absolute key pieces of our reception. Though we were married in Vermont, we used a New York-based funk band. But not everyone likes to hear their favorite tunes appropriated by wedding singers. For some, only a DJ can provide the actual songs they imagine as the soundtrack for their evening. And, like bands, the good DJs know which tunes to select to keep the party moving.

Though many Milennials are very familiar and comfortable with DJs, they also still love live music. Similar to the passion for organic food and farm-to-table movement, many of these twenty-somethings may opt for more authentic entertainment at their weddings. Rather than using a DJ and a sound system, they want to see the musicians playing and watch the singers belt out their songs in real time. I spoke with Barbara La Valle, the band leader and manager of the east coast based Heartbeat Dance Band (the Knot’s 2014 Best In Weddings) and she had this to say about the trend: “Over the years, the influence of DJs in our marketplace has been devastating to live music.  Brides and grooms in their early 20s have sometimes never been to an event where the entertainment has been a live band!  But things are changing!  Brides are now telling me they are looking for something different – some way to stand out from the crowd and they really want a band.” Perhaps the pendulum is swinging back.

Ellen_Adam_Red Fish Blue

{Photo: Red Fish Blue}

Probably the biggest factor in determining band versus DJ is cost. Unless you are planning on a hiring a world-famous DJ that demands an exorbitant fee, live bands will most likely be costlier. Again, when considering a band versus a DJ, think about your venue. LaValle shared this about venues: “I love tented weddings.  I love the informality of it, I love performing outside, and acoustically it is ideal.”  Also consider your first dances – some songs are covered better than others. When we mistakenly asked our funk band to sing Willy Nelson’s “Moonlight Over Vermont,” it was a little awkward – not the best moment of the night. However, they did kill our father-daughter dance: Roy Orbison’s “You Got It.” Song selection is key with the first dances.

One of the first weddings I attended was that of a family friend’s on Cape Cod – who used a DJ. I asked my friend about their decision and she had this to share: “Matt and I chose a DJ and truly enjoyed a night of non stop dancing. We wanted the real versions of some of our favorites, especially our wedding song…not a band’s version. We also wanted a wide range of songs from Aretha to James Taylor to U2 to Dave Matthews, which can be challenging for bands. We wanted everyone up dancing…young and older!” I do recall this particular wedding to have been heavy on dancing, but I also might attribute that to the couple’s guest list and their high energy level.

Confetti Dancing

{Photo: Adam from W. Scott Chester}

So while both bands and DJs could argue that they’ll keep your guests up and dancing throughout the night, ultimately it’s both your decision and your responsibility to create an atmosphere that lends itself to dancing – if that’s what you want, of course. And, if neither of these options suits you, you can always act like a Millennial and be your own DJ. In today’s tech-savvy world, some brides and grooms use their own iPod set lists with friends acting as emcee. With the right speakers and a great playlist, you can’t beat that price.

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Liz Mathews is a Connecticut based mother, teacher, and freelance writer who blogs on children’s books and related topics at La La La (http://lalalaliz.com/). Her work has appeared in Quality Women’s FictionTown and Country magazine, and Literary Mama.

{Mother’s Day Promo Code}

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It’s almost Mother’s Day– time to celebrate mom! This is a photo of my mom when she was 25 and in London at the “Changing of the Guard.” I love this shot– so stylish! In honor of moms everywhere, please use the code: LOVEMOM for 15% off (cannot be combined with any other discount).

Mom_Vintage

Do you have a vintage photo of your mom or grandma? Send it in (sara@doielounge.com) and we’ll post it on our Facebook page!

{Choosing A Venue}

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As I think back over the many weddings I’ve attended over the years, I realize that these various nuptials have brought me to farms, lakes, rivers, oceans, botanic gardens, lodges, back yards, and of course several country clubs. When we were choosing our venue, we knew we wanted an outside venue and eventually narrowed it down to a farm (with a round barn) but looking back, I realize how naive I really was about the whole selection process. Of course, ignorance is bliss, and we can never predict the weather or any other events that may transpire to create obstacles to this special day, but you really should have a few things in mind when choosing your spot:

Barn- Venue{Photo: Our Labor Of Love}

  • Travel. How hard is it to get there? If you are among a fabulous jet-set crowd, congrats to you and ignore this bullet point. But for the rest of us: keep in mind that most people live within a budget. Don’t choose a locale so exotic that you end up exchanging vows with the five or six people who can afford it.
  • Budget. When thinking about your own budget, consider selecting a venue that provides basic tables/chairs/linens/china/glasses etc. You always have the option to rent fancier items, but these are not the things that guests usually remember anyway…
  • Back yards. If you or a willing family member lives on a great piece of property, consider using it. Especially for you creatives out there, back yards and farms are blank slates for you to work with. Yes, there will be the incurred expenses of having to rent tents, tables, chairs, etc. but if you can get past all that, I’d say the back yard weddings we’ve attended are some of the most unforgettable.
  • Sound. If you’re a music buff, think about how the band or D.J. will sound in your space. How are the acoustics?
  • Space. Will all your guests fit? Again, our reception was held in a round barn with a huge silo in the middle. Once the band set up, I realized there was not a ton of space left for the guests to dance. Of course we made do, and many guests ended up dancing from their seats, but it’s something to consider if you have a large guest list.
  • Temperature. Don’t forget about the heat. Again, I learned this one the hard way. We were married in Vermont in June. All I worried about was the rain; heat never crossed my mind. Well, as you might have guessed, the rain held off but my guests were dripping with sweat. I would have considered shorter dressed for my bridesmaids (rather than the floor length we chose) and perhaps a venue with air conditioning?

Tent- Venue{Photo: Sarah Kate}

As with most aspects of wedding planning, keep in mind that even the venue can cause unexpected problems. There’s the issue of weather of course, which most people do fret over for good reason, but you also have to contend with other travel obstacles if you’re having a destination wedding – even if it’s a local wedding with out of town guests. One of the first weddings we attended was the Saturday after 9-11. Needless to say a lot of people were unable to attend. There was an awesome group of college friends who loaded into a van and drove to the east coast from Ohio, but not everyone had the time to do that. Another friend told me about a wedding she’d been planning to go to in the Presidio section of San Francisco. Unfortunately, all government funded and run parks and buildings were closed for any type of business –or celebration –during the government shutdown. I don’t know what happened to all of those scheduled weddings, but as an engaged couple, it would make me think twice before booking a government-related venue.

Winery- Venue

 {Photo: Jeremy Chou}

My point is that unless you’re having a small wedding with only local guests, be prepared for a bit of fall-off due to travel, illness, unexpected super storms, or government shut-downs. Everything else about that day can be figured out – new food can be ordered or cooked last minute, flowers can gathered, clothes can be tailored, back-up band mates can (hopefully at least) but called in, but the venue is the venue. That part cannot be changed unless, of course, you have a relative or close friend with some serious real estate…

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Liz Mathews is a Connecticut based mother, teacher, and freelance writer who blogs on children’s books and related topics at La La La (http://lalalaliz.com/). Her work has appeared in Quality Women’s FictionTown and Country magazine, and Literary Mama.

 

{Something Blue Event}

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San Francisco Bay Area, come join us for a fun bridal event! Doie Lounge is very excited to be a part of “What’s Your Something Blue?”

Something Blue

Something new, something borrowed, and something blue are all wedding traditions that can sometimes get overlooked as brides overwhelm themselves with the larger aspects a wedding can encompass. Thus, focusing on these small but important details, “Something Blue” showcases a variety of fun, yet classy, unconventional wedding options that are sure to modernize simple, bridal traditions, into personalized wedding memories. The event will showcase upcoming lingerie and swimwear trends, jewelry and accessories designers, favor and stationery vendors and much more. Guest will also enjoy amazing entertainment, workshops, food and free flowing beverages. A perfect girls night outing.  Hosted by, talented event producer and stationary designer, Karla Randolph “The Card Lady”, this in one event no bride or bridesmaid will want to miss.

Get your tickets HERE

{How to Train a Flower Girl}

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When our five-year-old daughter was asked to be a flower girl in her aunt’s wedding this past fall, we heard a lot of comments like: “How sweet, what a perfect age to be a flower girl.” And I tended to agree – at five, she was no longer a toddler or even an early preschooler, but not yet that snarky tween we’ve been reading so much about. Yet, I also knew it wasn’t going to go off without a hitch. While she loved talking about and planning for the big day, I had a feeling she would become reticent when she realized what the job actually entailed. Obviously no two children are alike, and there are plenty of precocious extroverts out there ready to saunter down that aisle with ease, but I’d argue that they are the exceptions. Most young girls in the flower girl-age category (about 3-7) will have and express fear about walking down the aisle.

Mary McHenry Photography{Photo: Mary McHenry}

Here are few ways to assuage that fear:

  • –Talk to her about the wedding months in advance. Explain and show her what a wedding ceremony will look like. Use picture books, movies, or even previously screened Youtube clips to give her an understanding of how it will all play out. Don’t wait until the rehearsal (unless you think this would work better for the child’s personality, of course).
  • –Next, after she begins to understand what the job entails – set up pretend wedding ceremonies, and allow her to practice. There’s nothing girls this age like more than to pretend and play make-believe. Let her use her dolls or other props to stand in for the bride and groom, and to “play” wedding. It can’t hurt…
  • –For the actual ceremony, allow her to walk down the aisle with someone else- her mother, father, an aunt or someone else in the wedding party with whom she feels comfortable, or how about the ring bearer? Makes for a very cute picture…
  • –Don’t force her to actually drop any petals. Simply walking down an aisle in front of a large crowd may be challenge enough. If she scoffs at the basket of petals, don’t push it.

nexttomestudios{Photo: Next To Me Studios}

I’ve been to many a wedding in which all kind of deviances from the plan have taken place: the frozen flower girl, the giggly flower girl, the speedy flower girl, or the distracted flower girl, to name a few. As with all aspects of wedding planning, it’s best to be at least a little prepared that this small part of the day may not go exactly as planned. But then again, most of these unexpected (often adorable) moments are what people talk about over brunch the next morning. I remember one close friend’s wedding at the beach. There was the flower girl lying on her stomach drawing circles in the sand with a stick. It made for a gorgeous, innocent photo mainly because it was such a precious, spontaneous moment, and it didn’t take away from the ceremony. Everyone proceeded as planned rather than trying to usher the little girl away and put her back in her “place.” Sure, this might have worked so well since the backdrop was a beach – an innately relaxed locale, but I think the bride and groom’s relaxed attitude towards the children also helped to create a stress-free atmosphere.

Sitting Flower Girl{Photo: Clary Photo}

As for the reception – I suggest deciding on a departure time at the beginning of the night. We were fortunate enough to have a local sitter helping out. I highly recommend this. The party will most likely be at an unfamiliar location with a lot of strangers, and it was reassuring to know that we had an extra pair of eyes on her. We allowed our daughter to see the first dances, have her own fun dancing with the ring bearer, the bride and groom – and even sit in on some of the toasts. For most girls this age, this night will be full of many firsts and it was pure delight to watch the night unfold through her eyes. But all that is not to say that I was not relieved when 9:00 came and we kissed the little munchkin goodbye and goodnight.

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Liz Mathews is a Connecticut based mother, teacher, and freelance writer who blogs on children’s books and related topics at La La La (http://lalalaliz.com/). Her work has appeared in Quality Women’s FictionTown and Country magazine, and Literary Mama.

{Interview with Sarah Worden}

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Sarah is a Connecticut native who traded the hustle and bustle of her media career in New York City for the pastoral Litchfield Hills. In 2009, she launched Sarah Worden Natural Design, which delivers one of a kind floral design and styling for weddings and special events throughout Connecticut. SWND is dedicated to promoting quality and sustainability through the use of local and seasonably available flowers by supporting local farms and vendors whenever possible. Sarah relishes small-town life in the country with her husband Nat and young sons, Gus and Sam.

JAGstudios_Barasch1{Jag Studios}

1) How do you promote both quality and sustainability in your role as a floral designer for weddings?

The goal is to use what is in bloom in your area to get closer to the source and minimize shipping from around the world. Sometimes flowers that you see in the supermarket or florist have been half way around the world and alive for well over a week before they get there! Like with food, if you know where your flowers are coming from, you know more about their overall quality. Not to say that gorgeous flowers cannot be purchased from Africa or South America (they certainly can!) but it’s a nice thing to at least be aware of a flower’s source both for environmental reasons, to support your local economy, and because local often means the best quality — which means it holds up and looks the best! Not everyone feels this way but there’s something odd to me about a backyard wedding at a colonial home in Connecticut strewn with orchids and exotic plants; it doesn’t fit.

Also worth noting is that there is a wave of young and savvy farmers across the country who are working hard to improve their land and communities by investing in growing [often organic] food for restaurants and flowers for the trade. I like to try to support these people because they are my friends and neighbors here in rural Connecticut. I even get to send a list of what flowers I would like to see, and if I’m lucky, they appear in one of my weddings the next year!

JAGstudios_HoDown1{Jag Studios}

2) Explain how seasonal flower arrangements are different. Which flowers complement each season?

Again, seasonal flower arrangements really means paying attention to selecting flowers based on your location and event date. The most well known flowers for spring are bulbs like tulips, hyacinth and allium. And peonies of course, everyone’s favorite! Ranunculus has become very popular (a greenhouse grown plant that is imported, at least here in New England). Astilbe has also emerged as a popular accent flower in the last couple years. My favorite option for spring is to try to integrate local foliage into your overall design by incorporating spring blossoms (cherry/apple/quince/dogwood) and shrubs like viburnum and lilac.

Summer tends to have a lot of options as far as cut garden flowers, wildflowers, and herbs. The list is endless but the most popular tend to be hydrangea, garden roses, and some of the rustic textured accent flowers like queen anne’s lace, crespedia, and eryngium thistle. I love to incorporate all types of herbs, and even fruiting berries and their foliage like raspberry and blackberry in late Summer.

Late Summer and Fall is known for dahlias, sunflowers and fabulous grasses, berries and foliage.  There are many bright, jewel-type colors available in the autumn months like celosia and amaranthus. The cabbage flower, a smaller, stalked version of the ornamental cabbage you see at nurseries, has become quite popular in the flower trade and really mimics a large rose or peony.

Winter is all about branches, rustic greens, and berries. In New England especially, we have to get creative in the winter, as there is little to choose from — gold and silver accents and candlelight! I like to import lush flowers in deep colors and mix them with local pine and hemlock.

KrystianaandJames-79{Photo: John Kane}

3) What are the current trends (if any) with flowers? Any particular colors? Or add-ons, like feather, cottons, wheat for example?

The trend over the last couple years is natural, loose wild-looking arrangements incorporating large, petally flowers with more rustic accents and lush foliage. The bouquets are all of a sudden getting much bigger this year when they have been smaller in the recent past.  Colors go in and out of fashion but gray is a major accent again this year.  Pale, blush colors tend to be very popular for weddings but we are seeing a lot of bold pops of color this year like orange/coral and deep plum/burgundy. The black-centered anemone if very hot, as is clematis and other vining flowers like jasmine, but can also be very pricey!

Married Kate Rob-13{Photo: Bringham & Co}

4) Do arrangements every mimic or mirror any pop culture trends like say, “Downton Abbey”, for example?

Yes, I think cultural trends in film and art world certainly inform wedding design and specifically flower trends. The Great Gatsby and “Downton Abbey” were both referenced a lot last year.  I think the economy plays a part as well.  For example, a couple years ago it was all about mason jars and simple, rustic elegance. Now the economy is picking up and you are seeing bigger, more elaborate arrangements and more flash, like gold accents and metallics of all kinds.  Bronze, brass and copper vases are becoming fashionable again both for formal and informal weddings. The overall table design and container options are obviously closely influenced by fashion and interior design trends.

JAGstudios_0388{Photo: Jag Studios}

5) Where do you go to get inspiration, professional development or community within your field?

The wedding industry is a huge but also niche business of professionals of all kinds — bakers, stylists, florists, make-up artists, caterers, photographers, lighting experts, and so on.  Blogs are HUGE for the wedding business and the professionals within the field follow them as closely as our clients do. Pinterest is a very popular tool for floral designers to communicate with their clients and also stay up on wedding trends and the business at large. For example, I follow a select group of other floral designers on Pinterest and Instagram and I’m always inspired by their work! Most of them are obsessed with flowers like I am so we get really nerdy posting photos and talking about detailed flower stuff that most people wouldn’t really be interested in.

JAGstudios_0061{Photo: Jag Studios}

6) In which ways are flowers be using differently in weddings these days? Do you see unique ideas based off of, say, Pinterest pin boards or other web-based communities?  

I suspect much of what is popular for flowers in weddings circles back over time like fashion does. So I’m not sure if these ideas are entirely new but people are using flowers in all sorts of exciting ways these days — and yes, the wedding blogs and Pinterest have played a large role in helping to circulate a lot of these ideas.  Floral crowns are very popular right now. Clients are getting all sorts of interesting ideas for their escort cards and often want to display them on an elaborate table presentation that involves flowers and props.  Table numbers, dessert tables, lounge areas and ceremonies of course are all areas where floral and styling elements factor in in a big way.  Floral designers often play an instrumental role in and often even design and execute the entire look of the ceremony, the escort card presentation, and so on.  For example, in my own business, I rent antique prop pieces and a couple alters and chuppahs I have built from natural materials. I even rented a client my father’s vintage ford truck last year and decorated the back with flowers!

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Liz Mathews is a Connecticut based mother, teacher, and freelance writer who blogs on children’s books and related topics at La La La (http://lalalaliz.com/). Her work has appeared in Quality Women’s FictionTown and Country magazine, and Literary Mama.

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