Wednesday, September 29, 2010

How to Take Great Floral Photos / Placerville Lake Tahoe Sacramento Wedding Flowers Florist

White tulip centerpiece (floral design and photography by Monique Wilber, A Special Day Designs, Shingle Springs, California)
Twice in a month I've been blogged!  I answered the challenge for the My Photo Video  "Photo and Video Challenge."  Click here to go to Storymix Media's blog and learn how to take great floral photography!

Thanks for the blog love Ariane at Storymix Media, and I'm sending some blog love back!  Here's what Storymix Media can do for you:

Storymix Media turns your photos and videos into treasured keepsake movies of your big day.  We offer products ranging from fun slideshows of your early years to Hollywood quality movies with all the bells and whistles from your personal video footage.  Share the memories with everyone easily by ordering extra DVDs, posting your project video to Facebook, or adding an online gallery to enjoy everything in HD quality.

Our products allow the budget conscious couple to enjoy the memories of their big day by creating products quickly and easily from all of their media at prices that won't break the bank.  Don't regret missing out on seeing moments from a day that will go by in a whirl.

For those brides looking to capture the entire wedding experience we can combine printed photos, digital video, digital photos, and standard tape footage from the beginning of your journey together through the honeymoon.  Our editors will expertly combine all of your media in an enjoyable movie that isn't too long or boring to enjoy every anniversary.

visit Storymix Media

Sunday, September 19, 2010

A Mother of the Bride's Real Warning about Flowers Ordered over the Internet Arriving in Brown Boxes!

via Florist Detective   ...This is what arrived in the box!

I know you've seen the ads:  200 roses for $89!  All your wedding flowers for just $150!  I just warned you in a prior post what can happen  - flowers coming to you delivered over a day or two in hot or freezing weather can end up dead or severely wilted....then what will you do, because the company that shipped them is in South America or someplace else in the U.S.? Or what if they don't send you the right flowers?  It's not a local person who can fix it for you!

Here's a snippet from a real Mother of the Bride talking about her daughter's experience ordering from a South American grower.  She is writing from the point of view that "silk" flowers (actually polyester) are the way to go.  However, my take on that matter how beautiful, those faux silk flowers are mass produced in China.  I do, however, love the handmade artisan blooms that you see on places like Etsy or Artfire or 1000markets.  To each their own!  Real, fresh flowers, however, are fleeting and precious and invoke a great memory...not only do I have great memories of my wedding day flowers, for the first five years of anniversaries, my dear hubby would give me a dozen roses per year - so on the fifth anniversary, I got 60 roses!

I digress!  Here's the true story:

"Beware of “growers’ co-ops” on the internet who operate out of South America, who offer a jaw-dropping quantity of roses for a few hundred dollars–and they offer an amazing assortment, as well.  We used ‘’ for my daughter’s wedding.  We ordered and paid for the roses 4 months in advance.  They called us a few days before the wedding to tell us “sorry, but we will not have the exact shade of red” we had paid for months in advance, so were sending a mix of similar shades. They stopped speaking English when we protested.  We quickly realized that, so close to the wedding, there was no chance we could get this quantity from anywhere else at the last minute  (and certainly not for the money), so we decided that mixing dark reds would have to do.  Imagine our shock when they sent not only mixed reds, but hot pink and peach–for an all-red wedding!  We had relatives combing every Costco and grocery store in town–and because of this unplanned-for scurrying, we DID make up most of the difference in quantity–but additionally, the South American roses, which were supposed to be thornless, arrived with as many thorns as petals–HUGE, rainforest-caliber thorns!–and thus took a far, far longer time–requiring each stem and thorn to be shaved down before they could be made into bouquets–than the time we had allowed–and we had tried to overestimate.  It all turned out beautiful, but the florist among us had punctured, bloody, inflamed hands.  Back to that reliable old expression, “If it seems too good to be true–it probably is.”  (You’d think we might have recourse, but my bank refused to pursue the matter because the seller did have a Fed-Ex receipt showing that goods were delivered–even it wasn’t the goods we ordered.) "

via Hemmroidz blog

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Wedding Flowers Budget Planning Guide / Lake Tahoe Sacramento Placerville Wedding Flowers Florist

Sphere Cylinder Topper Centerpiece, $59
We floral designers talk about it all the time - and talk about it with the other wedding pros.  I see the wedding couples talking about it on the wedding forums too.  It's the elephant in the room and no one wants to talk about's the ....BUDGET!!!  It seems that wedding couples have a fear of putting a number out there because they think that as soon as they do, the wedding vendors will price their services UP to meet that budget.  Wedding vendors, on the other hand, get frustrated when they consult with a couple, and the couple doesn't want to talk about budget.  Here's the problem:  most wedding vendors want to provide you the best service at the best price that they can for you.  Most aren't out to rip you off; but they aren't Aunt Suzie and Uncle Charlie and willing to do it for their wholesale cost plus free labor.  They have bills to pay, a living to earn, they are passionate about weddings, but they need to charge a fair amount as they are in, you know, business!

Here's the issue.  If you don't tell me your budget, but tell me that you want premium flowers like hydrangea, callas, peonies, garden roses, etc., I'm going to give you an estimate that reflects the costs of those costly blooms.  I get charged more by my vendor, and so in turn, charge you more when you choose those premium flowers.  So you get my estimate, and are about to pass out, because you actually only budgeted, let's say, $1000 for your wedding flowers.  So you just go away, and don't give me another chance to adjust the move on to another florist, or maybe an inexperienced person from craigslist.   In the meantime, I've just invested probably 6-8 hours writing your estimate - figuring out which flowers are in season, calling my vendors to estimate the cost, making some drawings, writing a floral recipe, and typing it all up for you.  But I never hear back from you.  You leave me hanging there without so much as a "no thank you" (it is proper manners to at least let the vendor know that you are moving on) and you feel that I'm way overpriced.

Do you see the disconnect?

If you tell your floral designer (or other wedding pro) upfront what your budget is, we can work with it!  I might include less other premium flowers because you have to have hydrangea - so I use more filler flowers and foliage, we highlight the hydrangea, or I do some high-style modern design that uses fewer blooms.  But unless you TELL me, how will I know?

Why do some floral designers charge less or more?  Price is a factor of supply and demand.   Popular, well-known designers tend to charge more.  Designers that spend more on advertising charge more to pay for that advertising.  Look at the differences in design.  An abundant look is gorgeous, but you are paying for each bloom and the training and expertise to put it in the best spot and then to keep it all alive and deliver it and set it up!  Simple costs less.  Don't confuse simple with inexperience or a lack of training, however.  An untrained floral designer can cost a grief.  If you choose someone lacking experience or training, be prepared to live with your photos for the rest of your life!

I decided to put together a photo essay and some average prices...these are MY average prices for my design style and the types of flowers and containers that I like to work with.  Other designers may charge more, or less.  You can ALWAYS see my prices posted on my website.  My style is what it is, and the prices are what they are.  I welcome custom work and will give custom quotes within my design style.

Art Nouveau Bouquet, Medium Size, $115
I don't call my bouquets "Bride's" or "Bridesmaid's" because I want to give you options.  If the full size of this bouquet is too much for your budget, there is also a petite size available for $99.  My bouquets range in price from $27 to $350.

Chic Bout, $15

My bouts reflect the flowers in the bouquets and range from $10 to $22.

Collage Corsage Brooch, $25
My corsages range from $18 to $35.

Pretty Aisle Vases, $30/each; Arch Spray, $135

Aisle decor ranges from $18 to $280.  Light coverage aisle petals, $75. Ceremony marker arrangements $65 to $75.

Breakaway Centerpiece of Beachy Dried Grasses; Moss Candle Mason Jar, Succulent $67 (other items by bride)

Centerpieces start at $15 and go up to $67.

Please visit my website to see all of my prices:  A Special Day Designs

Some communities I serve include Placerville, El Dorado Hills, Cameron Park, Shingle Springs, Georgetown, Forest Hill, Coloma, Jackson, Ione, Sutter Creek, Auburn, Roseville, Lincoln, Folsom, Lodi, Davis, South Lake Tahoe, Squaw Valley, and Incline Village.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

DIY Bulk Wedding Flowers for Sacramento, Placerville, and Lake Tahoe Weddings

White Mini Callas
Purple Callas

When I order bulk wedding flowers for you, you are saving 30 - 50% over having a skilled, educated professional design your wedding flowers.  When you order custom flowers, you are paying to have someone else with design skills create floral works of art - and for their labor, their experience and education, and the costs of running a business.  They also take the worry about how your florals will turn out for you.  Some couples choose to DIY their own wedding flowers for different reasons - they have a lower budget, or they are creative and want to express their creativity.

When I order DIY bulk flowers for your Sacramento or Lake Tahoe wedding, you have the same choice of flowers as I do.  I order from my regular vendors, who order from their regular growers, and the flowers are shipped "cold chain" - that is, kept refrigerated all the way.  When my vendors get the flowers, they make sure to rehydrate them with special floral food and bacterial-reducing dip, to make sure your flowers last longer.  When I pick up your flowers for you, if I will be holding them for you, I also rehydrate them once again and give them a bacterial-reducing dip.  This all means that your flowers will last longer.

When you order DIY bulk flowers from those anonymous online places, what are you going to do if the flowers show up wilted?  There won't be time to replace them.  And even if they are shipping overnight, the flowers might be left at a hot airport or be sitting on a hot truck - or in the winter, freezing.  Ordering DIY flowers from me, a local floral designer, you have peace of mind. I check your flowers when I pick them up from my vendors, and if they are not up to standard, I will find another source for you.

I just quoted bulk DIY callas / wedding flowers for Tamika's 10/10/10 wedding. After I sent her estimate to her, I checked online for the leading calla company.  Guess what?  My prices were lower!!!  So don't think that your local bulk DIY wedding flower vendor can't beat the big corporation's prices.  And I guarantee you -- I care a LOT more about your wedding than they do!

Friday, September 10, 2010

I've Been Blogged - Wood Flowers Wedding Bouquet / Lake Tahoe Wedding Flowers Florist

Here is a photo montage from the lovely Sienna Wedding Blog, featuring my floral designs for Danielle & Kris' Lake Tahoe wedding, and Scott Andrew's EPIC photography!

Photos:  Scott Andrew, via Sienna Wedding Blog
Flowers: A Special Day Designs, Shingle Springs, California