What is integrity? Integrity is “adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.” Integrity is doing the right thing, all the time, even when people are not looking or watching. It sounds like such a simple concept and one that we all believe we strictly adhere to. But what about when we are dealing with difficult customers or clients? Those that seem as though they can never be satisfied? How do we keep our composure during those times? Is it even possible to do so?
We live with, work with, and interact with different people everyday, sometimes all day long. We are surrounded by people that do not act, talk, look, or think as we do. They do not handle situations the same way we would. This is the point where tensions can arise, and disagreements and arguments can occur if we are not careful. It can be challenging at times to keep our composure when we have an agitated customer yelling at us. Or the client that is unhappy because of the “outrageous fees” your business charges and expects them to pay. However, it is possible to handle these types of people in a polite, professional, and tactful manner: with integrity.
The first and possibly most important thing to do when dealing with an unhappy customer is to realize that they are most likely not upset with you. You are just the messenger, and they do not like the message you are delivering. Unfortunately, you are now the focus of their attention because you are in front of them at that moment. Again, don’t take it personal. Second, take a deep breath. If you need to, count to three or think of a relaxing mantra in your head. Think to yourself, “breathe”, or “relax”. Either technique will help to lower your blood pressure and help you to think logically, rationally, and calmly.
Third, do not react with anger or sarcasm. Doing so will only fuel the fire. When a person is not allowed to express their feelings without interruption or without judgment, they often become more angry and belligerent. Listen calmly, nodding, and periodically saying something like, “OK”, or “I understand”. Be sure your body language is in line with what you are saying. Try to maintain a relaxed posture. Don’t cross your arms, roll your eyes, or frown. These are signals that mean you don’t care or don’t believe what the person is saying is true.
In the end, truly try to understand the person’s point of view and where they are coming from with their anger. Keeping your composure and maintaining your integrity can be tedious during an encounter with a difficult client or customer, but by doing so it will show that you are a mature, rational adult – capable of being the bigger person. Adhering to these standards will save you a lot of unnecessary stress and headaches, and reveal to others what you are made of – and at the end of the day, your focus is to produce the best product and professional services to your clientele. The customer may not always be rational, but they are always right.
Have you ever meandered through your favorite home store and come across something that just strikes you and all of a sudden you just have to have it? That happened to us when we came across this planter bust in the style of a goddess from Greek mythology. The question then is, “Ok now that we have it, what do we do with it? Before I answer that question, I’m going to assume you must love or at least like flowers a lot, or you wouldn’t be reading this. So, guess what we’re going to do….that’s right add flowers!
Here are three decidedly different looks for “Eve”.
The Garden Goddess
Where else would we find Eve but in the garden? Very soft, lush and romantic, Eve is adorned with a flowing design of clematis vine ageratum, cascading succulents and amaranthus. We’ve added a small focal area of orchids and garden roses just to left of her brow. This couture looks for Eve is perfect to herald in the spring season after a long cold winter.
Whether at your beach home, poolside or a master bath she is a fitting sight! Her coiffure of deep ocean blue hydrangea is artfully adorned with an assortment of starfish and conch shells. The aquatic theme is subtly reinforced with the “string of pearls” succulent dripping gently off to her side. Adding great substance and texture to her setting is the bed of deep blue sea glass from which she is emerging.
Goddess of Beauty
Opulence, beauty, style and grace are terms befitting to describe this work of art. Planning a home or estate wedding, imagine her welcoming your guests as they enter your foyer or setting the scene adorning the escort table. Our goddess has a look of peace and contentment as she is luxuriously blanketed with white hydrangea, garden roses and phalaenopsis orchids, however, it is the effluent placement of the white anemone that makes her statement.
Here are a few suggestions when considering adding embellishments to your treasures.
- Use fresh flowers. Fresh flowers add to the luxury of the item. A fresh design would last approximately one week depending on the varieties used.
- Change the design each month. When the fresh design fades (usually after one week), remove the old and look forward with excited anticipation next month’s surprise. Or if your budget allows change weekly….now that’s luxurious!
- Use permanent botanicals. This option is more cost effective and may allow you to have a more extravagant design to be enjoyed throughout the year.
- Change the look up seasonally. Whether you use permanent or fresh flowers, this is a great way to enhance the importance and enjoyment of your treasure throughout the year.
- Location, Location, Location! Keep the excitement going by changing the location of your prize possession. Maybe there are spots throughout your home that are better suited for each season.
I give brides a lot of credit. Trying to plan one of the biggest days of your life while dealing with the opinion of Mom, your future Mother-In-Law, a designer, a florist, a caterer, a venue, the DJ…. You get the idea. It can be downright exhausting, but at the same time you are trying o also keep a calm, cool, collected appearance about everything. So how do you effectively deal with the stress of planning a wedding without turning into the always-feared “Bridezilla”?
There are a few things you can do to effectively deal with the unforeseen (and unavoidable) circumstances that are part of the bridal planning territory. By effectively communicating, knowing when to stand your ground, and understanding that things may happen to interrupt the smooth flow of planning and execution – you can save yourself a large amount of headache as you inch closer to your wedding date.
Dealing with Mom and Your Future Mother-in-Law
There may come a time that you will get the opinion of both of these influential ladies, and hopefully all discussions will go smoothly. In the case there are some disagreements, it is important to remember this: it is your day. Not your Mother or the Mother of your soon-to-be husband. So essentially, your veto on something will be the last word. However, don’t close off all ideas that they may want to run past you. At the least, making them feel as though you consider their ideas and concepts to be considerable options will help them feel involved. Embrace their ideas and let them know how much you appreciate their assistance with your big day.
Breaking the Rules of Tradition is OK.
While there are typical things we come to expect out of a wedding, that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to include them. Especially if you are finding, they are causing more stress than they are worth in your opinion. Are choosing your wedding invitations proving to be tedious? What about a well-designed postcard that sends guests to a wedding site? (Not to mention you are saving a whole bunch of trees). By simplifying certain aspects of your wedding, you can minimize stress, and maximize your budget (or find other areas to spend the saved money in).
Budge-ing on the Budget
Money can cause a lot of headaches. Luckily there are two things you can make note of to help ease those chances. First, leave room for additional costs. It is rare that things will not change during the course of wedding planning. Not allowing a buffer will only create a stressful situation when these changes come up. Secondly, don’t let Pinterest, wedding magazines or wedding blogs make you feel the burden of having every single detail of your wedding be personalized and addressed. Getting into too much detail becomes tiresome, and you will see the numbers climb as your budget tightens. A suggestion? Entertain the thought of a wedding planner, whose expertise may cost a little money to begin with – but their knowledge of the industry and key players within it can help save you time, money, and hassle.
At the end of the day, your wedding day will be beautiful because of the happiness that is apparent between you and your future spouse. While wanting to create the fairy tale wedding, don’t get too caught up in the details that your guests would likely overlook. Seeing the love between the bride and groom is what makes the most picturesque weddings.
Each year on or around the 4th of July baseball games are being played, family and friends are enjoying good times at the beaches, pools and backyard bar-b-q all across our great country. Another annual event that takes place around the 4th is the annual American Institute of Floral Designers National Symposium. This year’s event was held in the “Mile-High City” of Denver Colorado and drew over 850 of the top floral designer artists from around the world. The theme of this year’s event was “Journey” and what a journey it turned out to be!
This incredible journey through the world of design was quite extensive including 20 design programs and hands-on workshops. Anyone who ever had the pleasure of attending an AIFD Symposium will agree it’s an experience to remember. You come away inspired, filled with new ideas and excited to share them with your clients. This year was no different. Here are just a few of the highlights from the uber-talented international panel of presenters.
Let’s begin our ‘journey” right here with Jenny Tomasson who owns Stems Florist located in Florissant, Missouri. Her program featured plants and other organic materials used in a way we haven’t seen perfect for today’s modern world.
Jenny’s living wall would make a perfect backdrop for today’s environmentally conscious couples. The wall is coved in a mixture of natural mosses with a diagonal line of brightly colored bromeliad plants stretched across the center. The wall is accented with columns and spheres made up of a patchwork of wooden twigs.
Let’s continue our journey with the artistry of Yoshimi Nakayama, a renowned floral artist from Japan.
Yoshimi has created a 3D experience for us. He’s taken four frames of the same size and used a similar floral material to create a unique 3D perspective as you look through the design. Another interesting feature is that the design changes as you change your viewing angle.
In his next design, Yoshimi has created an optical illusion for us. He has firmly anchored a rather large piece of bamboo into his base and created the illusion that the heavy bamboo is supported by the few stems of crespedia and blades of grass material used.
Our last stop on our little trip through the AIFD 2015 Symposium is with a program titled “Journey Down the Wedding Aisle” presented by Katie McCormick-Kharrat AIFD and Philip Rice AIFD both from Yorba Linda California.
Katie shares with us that “floral design is as much a language as it is an art. It is the dialogue between a wedding couple’s, aspirations and a designer’s vision that will mark the success of any project. Communication between a designer and a couple ignite a relationship inspiring unique and creative designs that reflect their distinct style. This relationship takes you from consultation to destination, from vision to the vows.”
Katie and Philip take us quite a ride as they share their truly unique and anything but ordinary “journey down the aisle”.
What a stunning background they have created for our bride holding a beautifully elegant composite flower made up of hybrid lily petals. The backdrop itself is made up of seemingly random shapes and sizes of orbs each made of a single variety sure to have your guests eyes transfixed until the happy event begins.
Here are some more of their truly original and unique designs.
Their bouquet work has a very European flair to it and is more indicative of the type of designs seen and carried by European brides.
This brings our little design odyssey to a close. This was but a tiny sample of the work and programs presented at the AIFD National Symposium. If you ever have the opportunity I highly recommend attending the annual AIFD event and you will come away inspired and you’ll never look at floral design the same again.
When it comes to wedding day jewelry it’s not that size doesn’t matter but rather that it is done tastefully and elegantly. After all your pictures will last a lifetime. Let’s take a quick look at some of the today’s newest trends for wedding day jewelry.
Tasteful and elegant doesn’t mean you can’t be a little edgy, just don’t overdo it. Today’s brides want to make a statement and what better way than to rock your jewelry with a twist. One of the biggest trends today is to wear mismatched earrings. A few do’s and don’ts:
•Don’t mix your metals. Fashion 101 dictates silver and gold are mutually exclusive deals. One or the other.
•Don’t mix your stones. Keep it simple. Besides if you’re wearing diamonds….wear diamonds!
•Do keep them asymmetrical. Similar metals and stones with an asymmetrical twist. A suggestion would be to wear one gracefully long earing paired with one that’s curiously crawling up the side of your ear. Below Scarlet Johansson pulls this off quite well!
Again don’t overdo it, you can be subtle and still show off your rebellious side. Maybe you like the look but are a little hesitant to carry it off yourself, that’s what bridal parties are for. Let your maid of honor and bridesmaids roll with it.
Color stones are another way to make your individuality shine through. Your accessory jewelry can match or compliment your color theme.
Although this amethyst beauty below isn’t an accent piece it is very much on trend with the major focal stone surrounded by a setting paved with similar smaller cut stones.
Along with colored stones, unusual cut stones are also in vogue.
Of course, we can’t forget the most important piece of jewelry of the day, the wedding ring. Becoming more and more popular is the cigar band style of wedding band for both bride and groom.
The wider nature of the cigar band allows for more detailed engraving and placement of stones. It also lets everyone know without mistake, “he or she is taken.”
Pearls are classic and very much on trend with today’s brides.
Here’s a tip: When wearing pearls- Be careful using hair spray, perfume and cosmetics as they can have a negative effect on your pearl jewelry and cause irreparable damage.
As it is with all new styles and trends in fashion of all types, there are two things to remember on your wedding day. When it comes to jewelry avoid “fads” as they could look foolish down the road and lastly, be true to yourself! If it feels right to you, it is right for you!
No matter what we do, whatever our life’s pursuits, we look for inspiration that fuels the passion for what we do. My passion, outside of my wife, family and Chloe my faithful pet Lab, is design, everything creative, beautiful and interesting. As a floral designer, I keep an open mind ready to receive inspiration from any source at any time. The world of art has been a great source of inspiration for me. There are so many famous works of art that I draw inspiration from it’s hard to narrow it down to one. However, for the purpose of this article, my focus is on a rather lesser-known painting, “The Kiss” by Gustav Klimt. Klimt was an Austrian symbolist painter born in 1862. His departure from the norms of the times and focus on a more sensual view of the female form made his work standout, if not be considered controversial at the time. The mere fact that Klimt maintained his path away from the norm while being told by his contemporaries that his work wouldn’t be accepted is inspiring in itself.
To say Klimt’s work was controversial is a bit of an understatement, it was criticized at the time as being “pornography” and showed signs of “perverted excess”. Gustav defended his offbeat approach writing, “If you can not please everyone with your deeds and your art, please a few”. He ended up pleasing more than just “a few” as “The Kiss” was immediately lauded as a brilliant work and sold quickly. Today it is considered a masterpiece of the early modern era. As the great American poet Robert Frost has chronicled for us, “Two roads diverged in the wood, and I, I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”
Klimt’s “The Kiss” exudes passion and is one of the first works to depict a couple during an intimate moment engaged in an amorous embrace. Sensuality is reinforced as the woman is kneeling in a field of colorful flowers, head thrown back, eyes closed lost in the moment. The male’s robes emphasize his masculinity with a bold pattern of black, white, and gray rectangles while a wreath of green vines ring his head. Contrast this very masculine block of a figure with the soft feminine form adorned in a tightly fitting vibrant floral pattern dress with flowers in her hair and encircling her face.
Inspiration comes in many forms, “The Kiss” inspires me to stretch the bounds of the norms and expected. A word of caution, though, one must know the principles and elements of design intimately before one can begin stretching their boundaries.
So many of today’s weddings are “copycat” or the very least similar in design possibly as the result of the over use of Pinterest. Pinterest can be a great resource, however; it can rob us of our originality if we are not careful. So when planning your wedding follow your passion, be true to yourself and don’t be afraid to choose “the road less traveled”. For Gustav Klimt the rewards were great, they could be for you too!
You’ve only been waiting and dreaming of your wedding day your whole life. It should be a joyous occasion for you but if you’ve been sweating the details for the past year and then have also to manage the day’s events on top of it; your day could be anything but joyous. Why not hand off all of this off to a professional who’s seen it all. I’m not saying you need to hire a professional event or wedding planner. However, they do provide valuable services if there’s room for it in your budget. Here are 10 benefits of hiring a professional to handle the details of planning your most special day.
Saves Time- The average couple spends somewhere around 200 hours planning their wedding. You and your beloved most likely have full-time jobs already, so finding the extra 200 hours in the six to eight-month period leading up to your nuptial will be difficult if not impossible. Having a professional planner will free up your valuable time to concentrate on the fun side of things leading up to your wedding.
Save Money- Experienced professional wedding planners know the market place very well and know the fair market costs products and services, so you don’t overpay. They also have established relationships with trusted vendors who value those relationships and are willing to extend substantial discounts to maintain them.
Save Relationships- Hello! Planning your wedding can be stressful, and couples can argue over the seemingly smallest of issues. Family conflicts can arise out of thin air. Professional planners have dealt with the ins and outs of family dynamics and wedding planning and know how to navigate and quell the stormy waters when they arise and keep everyone on an even keel.
They Ensure Your Dreams Come True! – It’s their job after all! They will work very hard to guarantee your wedding day vision materializes and meet if not exceed your expectations. Good wedding planners will even add a surprise or two as a thank you!
Offers Expert Advise- Wedding planners know all the appropriate etiquette and will make sure nothing is forgotten. Do yourself a favor and take advantage of their expertise and wisdom.
Provides a “GO to Person”- The average wedding has around 20 vendors. Imagine trying to track down 20 different vendors for simple details and all the missed, not returned and forgotten phone calls that go along with it. Your wedding planner makes your wedding a “one stops shopping” event!
Creates and Manages Schedules- There are so many mini events leading up to your big day let alone the complex time schedule of your wedding day itself that keep it all straight can be mind boggling! Your wedding planner is more than adept at creating, maintaining and managing your schedule. All you’ll need to do is show up!
Crisis Happen! – Even at the most well planned and organized weddings, a crisis happens. So when a crisis happens at your wedding, it’s great to know there is someone there that has just about seen it all. Your wedding planner will be able to handle most crisis calmly and coolly, and hopefully no one will know, especially you.
Hands on Direction of the Entire Event- Have you ever heard the expression, “it’s like herding cats!”, Well, that’s what it’s like trying have your wedding party and both entire families be where they are supposed to be at the appointed times on your wedding day. Your professional planner and their staff will be there acting as your shepherd through the entire event from rehearsal dinner to the after-party.
Minimize Stress and Maximize the Fun- As stated in my opening, you’ve only been waiting and dreaming of your wedding day your whole life, you need to be able to relax and enjoy your wedding as you’d like your guest to. Not only is it your planners job to handle the stress but they will also make sure you are having the time of your life too! After all, isn’t it!
Now that I’ve given you 10 good reasons to hire a wedding planner, there is one small drawback. You need to be willing to give up a modicum of control and for you control freaks out there,….and you know who you are, this will be a little difficult but the payoff will be great. After all even though hiring a professional wedding planner may be a substantial cost, having stressed free, happy, memory filled wedding day with the love of your life is “priceless”!
All of us have a favorite color, some of us have more than one. Whatever our favorite color or colors maybe most of us likely have had them since we were children. Our favorite colors reveal more about us than we think. Colors can expose how we approach life and its challenges, they can reveal our strengths as well as our vulnerabilities. Most of us choose to surround ourselves with our favorite colors as they make us feel comfortable and ease the stress of everyday life. If you’re thinking, I don’t have a favorite color, take a look in your closet and at the decor in your home. I bet you’ll see a theme emerge. So it makes sense that you would want to incorporate your favorite colors in your wedding decor. To complicate matters, even though our favorite color reveals a lot about our personality those same colors may have a different effect on our mood at a given time. For instance, while your favorite color may be orange. You would never have your bedroom painted orange as orange is an energetic color and evokes excitement, not great for relaxing at bedtime. So let’s take a look at some colors and what they say about you and the mood they inspire for your event.
Are You a Red Bride?
Red is the color of love! It evokes the most emotion of all the colors. Brides and or better yet couples that are drawn to red are people of action. They have a deep need for physical fulfillment and stimulation through all five senses. Red people are not shy and look to make a lasting impression. If you remember the TV series Sex and the City, Samantha would be a red bride. Red sounds like a great color for a bridal bouquet as a matter of fact we had quite a few red brides this year. You may want to consider red for your bouquet too!
Color Me Blue!
The color of the sky and the ocean, blue is one of the most popular colors. Blue inspires calm and serenity and puts people at ease in a social setting. If you are lover of blue you tend to live your life according to your ideals and beliefs without deviation. Blue people are believed to be very loyal and faithful partners, making it a perfect choice for a bridal bouquet.
There’s no coincidence that the predominant color in the Pharrell Williams video for his song Happy is yellow. Yellow embodies joy, cheerfulness, and happiness. If you love yellow, you are an optimist and always hopeful of positive things to come. You have an enthusiasm for life, are on a quest for knowledge and possess a great ability to communicate your thoughts. Everyone should have a little yellow in their life…no?
“White Wedding” What Does it Really Say About You!
Purity and innocence are the qualities we associate with white. People who feel comfortable with white are looking for simplicity in their lives. They tend to be meticulous about their surroundings and very independent and self-reliant. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s character Daisy from The Great Gatsby’s favorite color was white. She desperately wanted people to believe she was pure and innocent……..but was she?
It’s no coincidence that I’ve chosen red, blue, and yellow with white thrown in as our colors to explore. These are, of course, the primary colors from which all other colors are made. Just as we combine these colors to make other colors, we can combine the traits of each also. For instance, if you like pink we are combining not only the colors red and white but their associated traits as well. So pink people embody the passionate desire for love tempered by the purity, openness and completeness of white. They are very comfortable with the idea of unconditional love. It is no Wonder that pink is so popular.
So your assignment is to think about your favorite color or colors and list the traits associated with the primary colors that make it up. I bet you find yourself in there somewhere. For extra credit examine the traits of your favorite color with that of your beloved and let the fun begin. That was very yellow of me now wasn’t it!
Our final installment of Spring Wedding floral favorites includes some tried and true fauna. After a long winter who wouldn’t want to be reminded of the impending spring blossoms with these beautiful, lush flowers?
1. Surprise, the ranunculus makes a repeat appearance, it’s becoming that important. However here we are featuring the softer pastel shades of this favorite flower. Also rather than a featured flower why not use as a boutonniere or in corsage work.
2. Is anyone hungry? The kumquat, with its clean sturdy stem, small size and bright orange color make a wonderfully unexpected appearance in our portfolio. The clean textural quality of the fruit will heighten your guest’s curiosity and add interest to your décor even if it’s not on the menu.
3. I can’t believe we made it all the way to the next to the last flower of our collection to mention the peony. Talk about the queen of bridal flowers! It’s so important that I posted two blogs about peonies. See(Insert links to previous blogs). They say it all.
4. The Icelandic Poppy is characterized by is ever so delicate appearance and papery texture. It’s available in many colors from white, cream, yellow, orange, coral, salmon and pink. It does however have a short window of availability from late winter to early spring. Romance and femininity are the qualities this flower will add to your décor.
Hopefully you have seen something new, exciting and maybe even unexpected! So don’t hesitate get started planning your spring 2016 wedding now! At least begin thinking about the flower varieties you’d like to use. Here’s a tip. Print this blog out or save it on you tablet and bring it with you to your flower consultation. It will definitely help.
The second segment of the Spring 2016 features some really remarkable florals that can be used for almost any wedding theme. Let’s dive right in!
1. Bleeding Hearts is another variety that does not have fragrance but romance will be in the air with this whimsical flower softly dripping from your table décor. It’s available mid-spring through early summer and produces pink, white, and red flowers. Bleeding Hearts works best as an accent flower and as such could be a little pricey.
2. Ranunculus is a flower that has quick become a bridal favorite. One reason is that this fragrance free bloom is available in a wide range of colors from a pure bridal white to vivid pink, yellow peach and more. The heavy petal count and clean appearance make for a great presentation. This variety is best used as co-star but don’t be afraid to put this cousin of the “butter cup” center stage. So you won’t be disappointed use ranunculus only in spring ending around the first week in May.
3.Who doesn’t love clematis? The delicate viney nature of this exquisite flower adds such a dramatic touch to your ceremony décor. I can also see it elegantly cascading from your raised table designs, even dancing delicately atop your bridal bouquet…talk about drama! Clematis can be found in white, however, its strong suit is in the wine tones of purple, lavender and pink.
Next week we will be posting our final segment on spring wedding favorites, please check back!