When you’ve been working in the wedding business for as long as I have (which is a long time), you see flower trends come and go. What did I see in 2019? I saw people listening to their hearts, honoring their past, their families, their friends. I saw imagination, intention, creativity and deeply personal choices. It was an honor to work with so many clients who chose their wedding flowers with care and approached the process of preserving the memory of their wedding day with just as much joy.
There are a lot of reasons I love my work, but the thing that gets me out of bed every morning is the opportunity to be challenged anew. There’s an endless variety of ways I can coax a story from the ephemera of flower, memory, and emotion and capture that story in a timeless piece of art. There are as many ways to approach a custom botanical collage as there are couples who choose to work with me.
This year, I had the privilege of working with 40 clients from all over the country. Each and every one of them (and their flowers!) was welcomed into a collaborative process rooted in respect and care.
Here are a few highlights from the studio last year…
I was invited by Sarah Glick of Brilliant Event Planning to visit her clients’ farm in Western Massachusetts to pick flowers from their garden so I could press them to make a 36” x 24” guest book and 30 custom botanical table numbers. This creative and meaningful guest book hangs in their new home – soon to be joined by a custom collage from the pressed petals of her lovely bouquet, designed by Winston Flowers.
These olive branches and delicate flowers traveled from the other side of the world tucked in a book and packed in a suitcase. Gifted by a special person from a sacred place, these flowers held great meaning to the well-known morning TV host who carried them home with her. This collage is nestled into a custom-made shadow box that carefully holds the precious blooms and the sentiment they were presented with.
Katherine brought me her awe-inspiring bouquet from New Leaf Flores in Boston. Resplendent with the most vibrant pink and red Peonies ever to grace my studio table, the abundant bouquet provided blooms aplenty to create an impressive collage for the newlyweds plus smaller collages and custom necklaces for members of the family. Gifting pieces from the bouquet was an especially meaningful way for this sweet couple to share the memories of their elopement with the people they love.
Think it might be too far to ship your flowers to my studio in Massachusetts? Not a chance! Kim’s a flower farmer in Nevada who made a lovely bouquet for her sister’s wedding in California. From there, the flowers were shipped across the country to my studio, where they pressed beautifully. I shipped the finished collage back across the country to Oregon, where the bride lives. Those petals traveled 6,500 miles in total before finally ending up in their forever home! Phew! Much gratitude to the USPS and FedEx! And Kim – whose beautiful flowers were a joy to work with!
More ketubahs please! Have I told you lately how much I love to work in circles? It’s probably why creating a custom ketubah from wedding flowers is such a satisfying process. I have to dig deep for the patience to respect the natural curve of a flower stem. The open spaces are a challenge for me too, but the end result is a beautiful reminder of the wedding and poignant reminder of a sacred agreement between two people who choose each other.
Every collage I create is a labor of love, but this one was maybe even more so because the flowers belonged to my daughter’s childhood friend. Astrantia are always a favorite of mine to work with – explosions of petals atop a sturdy stem. Peonies with just the slightest blush of pink, and lavender grown by her mother (a long-time friend of mine). It’s fitting that the lavender, the sentimental heart of the bouquet, became the foundation for this piece. Those beautiful, long stems pushed the piece taller than I usually work, with very happy results.
What do I predict for 2020? Love. Because, always love. Care. Because the meaningful little details are the ones couples remember forever. Challenge. Because each custom botanical collage is waiting to be discovered in the flowers that come to my studio. Respect. Because your wedding flowers matter to you and preserving them forever matters to me.
Love these ideas? Pin them to your wedding planning board!
I've been in business for a smidge over five years and if there's one thing I've learned (there isn't, there's waaay MORE than ONE, but it's just a saying...) it's that there is something magical that happens when you find other wedding pros that share your aesthetics, values and drive to hone their craft and serve their clients. Through our conversations, we learn, we grow and we discover things that never would have occurred to us on our own. These are the people I turn to with questions or frustrations, to share info and celebrate successes.
I love my people so dang much that I want to share them with you!
You're going to love them too!
This brand new series of videos will introduce you to wedding professionals who are amazingly good at what they do. You'll meet bakers, planners, floral designers, photographers, jewelers--people from every corner of the wedding world!
The thing I love about each of these people is the heart with which they serve their customers and practice their art. During this season of gratitude, it feels right to express thanks for these friends who inspire me, teach me, listen and learn along with me.
Sometimes we're fortunate enough to sit on the same couch for these chats. Other times we depend on technology to shrink the miles between us.
Today, I'm so excited for you to meet Sandra Costello of Sandra Costello Photography. (Go on, click the link! She's got an AH-MAZING website!) We sat down to talk about what we do, why we do it and what sets us apart from other professionals in the wedding world. Sandra is passionate about the heartfelt way she connects with her clients. Sharing herself fully with her clients and forming a deep connection with them creates a sense of trust that allows people to open up so Sandra can capture the essence of a couple and the emotions in the moment. (Seriously, look at the pictures on her website, you'll totally understand what I mean!)
Sandra's the one who urged me to put more energy into creating a heartfelt connection with my clients. Now, when people come to me to preserve their wedding flowers, I spend the time to listen and learn about their love, their wedding and how their flowers embody the emotions of the day for them. As my friendship with Sandra has deepened, it has enriched the relationships I create with my clients. And that has fed my soul as an artist as I create botanical collages that are inspired by the essence of who my clients are and the love that brought them together.
Sandra was ALSO the one who suggested we interview each other on video since it's easier to explain your work in conversation with a friend than it is do a full-on video sales pitch (and much more pleasant!). It so dang much fun that I decided to make a habit of it.
I hope you enjoy this first episode of Heart-to-Heart!
KC & Mary had brought me two coolers full of flowers from their wedding.
I pressed just about everything they'd given me and when the flowers came out of the presses, I'd joked that I might need a bigger table. Then, of course, I was quick to point out that if bigger tables were required to hold more flowers and more love then (metaphorically speaking) we should ALL have BIGGER tables!
I stood back to take in the scope of the botanicals I'd taken from the presses. There had to have been a thousand petals in front of me. I bit my lip, intimidated by the sheer volume of the possibilities.
I took a deep breath. Just as every journey begins with a single step. Every botanical collage begins with one petal.
Shhh, here's a secret...when I get a bouquet, I pick apart all of the flowers and press the individual petals. Weeks later, when they come out of the presses, I re-build the flowers petal by petal.
Watch the process here...
I had reconstructed about 20 flowers when it became clear that the 11"x14" collage KC & Mary had ordered wasn't going to be big enough to hold this botanical abundance. I sent them an email to explain. I asked them to consider a bigger piece. "Think about where you're going to hang this in your home. Do you want one large piece, or maybe a series of smaller ones?" They said they'd talk about it and get back to me.
I expected KC & Mary to deliberate awhile to consider the possibilities. I was suprised when I heard back from them the very next day. They wanted a 20"x20".
"We want to capture that feeling of abundance we had throughout the day. Not only the abundance of flowers, but love and laughing and so much fun!"
For KC & Mary their flowers represented the total joy of their wedding day and they wanted their collage to capture that feeling so they could hold on to it forever.
As much as it thrilled me to hear how excited KC & Mary were about their collage, I was a little bit terrified. No lie. 20” x 20” is a large piece of artwork when your medium is pressed flower petals.
I needed to get busy building more flowers.
After I've reconstructed the flowers, it's time to design the collage.
But, before I begin to the design process, I set an intention.
I take a few moments and sit with the flowers. I think about the people I am creating for and what they want.
I think about love; deep love that makes one person say to another, you're the one for me.
I listen to the flowers. They witnessed the moment. They soaked up the joy. The flowers were there and now they're with me, imbued with the emotions of the day.
As I was designing KC & Mary's collage, I started to giggle. There ARE joy in the flowers and it's CONTAGIOUS!
I'm following the lead of the flowers and we're having a grand ol' time here at Flora-Ly Studios.
Here's a little glimpse of the piece in process...
I met KC & Mary at last year's Valley Wed show at Quonquont Farm.
Although they didn't have a plan yet for their wedding flowers, they were intrigued with the idea that they could have them preserved.. We chatted, they took a card, and they moved on to the next vendor's table. I remember being struck by their careful intention that their wedding day reflect who they are and how they love each other.
About a month before their wedding, KC reached out. They had big plans for their wedding flowers and they wanted to be sure I reserved the presses for them.
Here's the day they came to Flora-Ly Studios with the flowers from their wedding...
They had worked with Corina at The Botaniste. Their instructions to her were riotous, colorful, bountiful bouquets and tablescapes. Boy howdy, mission accomplished! To say color and texture reigned supreme at their wedding is an understatement.
Usually, when a couple comes into Flora-Ly after their wedding, they bring me a bouquet. KC & Mary brought me two coolers full of flowers! Their wedding flowers were so meaningful to them, the idea of throwing any of them away broke their hearts. So they brought as many as they could carry!
As they pulled flowers from the coolers, they "ooohed" and "aaahed" and gushed about how this arrangement was on their table or those looked just like the ones in their garden. Clearly, their flowers evoked the joy of their wedding day and the exhuberance of their love for each other.
Here's what thrills me about what I do...I get to preserve so much more than wedding flowers...I get to create something that will capture the joy of KC and Mary's wedding day and let them remember and relive that feeling every day for the rest of their lives. That's powerful stuff.
Sometimes unconventional choices just feel right. This bloom is beautifully unconventional, 100% joy-inducing and an absolute embodiment of KC & Mary's exuberance.
When I took KC & Mary's flowers out of the presses, my first thought was, "Oh my! I need a bigger table!" You know what? The whole world needs a bigger table! We all need to make room for an abundance of beauty and unabashed joy! More flowers, I say! Bigger tables, if need be, but more flowers, fuller hearts and efferescent joy for all!
My mission now, is to use these petals to inspire KC and Mary as much as they've inspired me!
Stay tuned for the next glimpse of KC and Mary's wedding flower preservation. I can't wait to see where all this love takes us...
P.S. - Immediate gratification anyone? Fast forward to Part 2!
What a joy to have the studio so busy! A record number of couples have asked me to create art from their wedding flowers this year and lately, it's been a whirlwind of gorgeous bouquets, pressed flower petals and inspiration!
Here's a glimpse of what it looks like when life is full of flowers...
Every single wedding bouquet that comes to the studio is utterly gorgeous and unequivocably unique. Some have just a blush of color...whispering of love...
...and some flowers are riotous and joyful and shout love to the rooftops!
Every bouquet that is entrusted to me to press, preserve and make art with is an absolute inspiration. I'm so lucky that I get to be surrounded by so much beauty!
All of the gorgeous flowers get taken apart petal by petal and go into the presses. I actually had to have MORE presses made this year to accomodate all of my wonderful clients!
Here's what it looks like when I empty a press...the deconstructed and pressed wedding bouquets have a glorious, simple beauty to them.
After pressing, I painstakingly recreate the flowers. At this stage, tweezers are my BEST friend.
My intention isn't to literally recreate the bouquet, but to transform it into a timeless piece of art that makes space for the memories of a courtship, romance and wedding day; and also expresses love and anticipation for a marriage that holds the promise of two lives lived fully in tandem.
Want to see some of the finished pieces? Check out my inspiration gallery! Are you curious about how it looks like to work with me? As the studio becomes busier, the presses need to be reserved in advance, so let's talk!
I'm Linda, keeper of the flowers.