Thursday, December 06, 2007

New Trend? Flowers in large vases

The LAT schools us on a new trend -- flower arrangements in oversized vases.

"THERE has been a very big European trend to have oversized vases and create arrangements inside of them," says Paula Pryke, a London-based authority on all things floral and author of the new book "Table Flowers: Innovative Floral Designs for Entertaining." For a smart, sophisticated and simple-to-make variation on the current trend, Pryke suggests suspending orchids in glass. "You don't need a lot of flowers," she says. "It does last a couple of weeks." All you'll need are two or three stems of cymbidiums (phalaenopsis also will do), a 3-foot glass vase and aluminum floral design wire, available at craft stores. Pryke matches the color of the wire to the nose of the cymbidiums.
But I guess you can thank them for directions on how to do it.

Here are some professional applications of the "new trend."

Above, the table arrangement from my friend Cathy's wedding -- back in June 2006.

Also, another display of - gasp! - four such arrangements at the Glendale Hilton, from November 2006.

Read More......

Monday, November 05, 2007

Trial Wedding by wildfire

This is a small tidbit, that really has nothing to do with decorating weddings. It was a great read I found on LA Observed this afternoon -- freelance writer Adam Baer blogged how his wedding plans literally went up in smoke because of the California Wildfires. That was some bad luck, lemme tell ya -- not only did the city where he was to be married go up in flames, he sliced his wedding figure in three places and had to go to the hospital.

It's just an interesting story in how one couple had to abandon their probably long-standing plans and get flexible thanks to something they couldn't control. It makes me wonder how flexible most brides are when it comes to their wedding day -- many brides dream and dream about their wedding, spending thousands one that one day.

It sounds like Adam Baer's bride Lina rolled with the punches though:

Then it was just a matter of calling the officiant, Judge Fried, and our photog Michael, and asking them to stay tuned for some more info. I decided we would have to leave Malibu despite Lina's despair about the death of our beach wedding plans. Maybe we could have a wedding at a scenic outpost on Mulholland Drive, I posited aloud. Maybe we can use a beach in Santa Monica. Quickly, Judge Fried got back to us and offered some amazing news: His private Hollywood Hills tennis club --a historic spot serving recently as the site of ironic-prepster celeb parties--would let him let us use their skyline veranda with the best views in the city.
It was a good thing they left Malibu that day -- nothing puts a damper on a wedding like guests in face masks and the bride and groom hacking on ashes as they try to say their vows.

And it sounds like everything turned out as it should anyway. They got married, it was pretty, and everyone has a great story. Talk about a happy ending.

I would imagine, with the growing frequency of these wildfires, that more and more weddings are being disrupted the same way. Not only Adam Baer, but also myself (decorating for my buddy Moonie, not my own wedding), plus at least one other couple, judging from this video I cut from work. Anyone else know how many others have been affected?

Read More......

Friday, November 02, 2007

Wedding at the Brandeis-Bardin Institute in Simi Valley

I cannot for the life of me remember all the places I've decorated for weddings, which spans all the way from Santa Barbara County to San Diego County -- no kidding. So when my buddies Josh and Nicole said their wedding was going to be at the Brandeis-Bardin Institute, my interest was piqued -- a place I've never been for a wedding? Incidentally, those geekier than myself might recognize the spot -- its been the site of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, one Star Trek: Next Generation episode and as the power chamber for the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, according to Wikipedia. Shamefully, I think I remember this building from the Power Rangers.

But the place is AMAZ-ZA-ZING. (Sorry, Benchwarmers reference there.) Driving up to the place was an adventure in itself -- the road up to the institute is a barely two-lane meandering dirt road along the sides of a hill. At night, on the way down, there were no lights. It was much like our drive up Mt. Haleakala in Maui last year. Except this one isn't 10,000 feet up and a dormant volcano. The day was perfect for a wedding. The sky, which had just been cloudy a day before, was perfectly clear, and the place had an amazing view of Simi Valley's hills. In this spot, it was hard to believe we were in metropolitan Los Angeles.

Inside, the layout was actually quite cozy -- there weren't too many tables that you felt lost, and everything was very laid back. Each of the tables was named after a tree and the colors brown and purple surprisingly went well together. (It so happens I was wearing a plum dress while my husband wore a brown shirt and tie -- go figure!)

Tall centerpieces are always nice -- they help keep the flowers above the heads of the seated guests, so as not to impede on conversations. I liked these arrangements -- the colors, the flower choices and the stands themselves. I knew Nicole would not disappoint me in this department. Heheh. Nicole's flowers were done by Ginny G Floral Design in North Hollywood.

The cake table, carrying precious cargo. That was some yummy cake, yo. Not too elaborate, although, I think that's a petal stuck to the side, there.

The requisite sweetheart table. ^_^ I don't think my mom or myself can take credit for the sweetheart table concept, but it sure has caught on.

For more pictures on this wedding, see my Flickr stream.

Read More......

Friday, October 26, 2007

Head table decoration pictures on Flickr*

I found this set of photos from the useful little flickr widget I've got on the sidebar on this here blog. I found them interesting, so I wanted to post them here.

Now, if I find them interesting, you know they must be good. Heheh.

I'm not sure who is or where they're based. I also don't know how their service is. If you end up going to them based on this post, let me know and I'll post your review.

The only question I have about their decorations is -- don't the lights underneath the draping materials generate a lot of heat? Isn't that a fire hazard? That's something to think about. I love to use lights with my draping, but only at a safe distance from the actual material.

*So it looks like the company behind those pictures and decorators publicly retracted the photos from Flickr. That's cool, its their pictures after all. So since I have no pictures to show you of their work anymore, I'm retracting the link to their site. --edited Monday, Nov. 5, 2:51 p.m.

Read More......

Monday, October 15, 2007

Flashback: A friend's wedding at the Castaway in Burbank

As I wait for the pictures from the Sunday wedding of a friend to download, I figured I would flashback to a wedding I decorated and attended two years ago at the Castaway in Burbank. I did blog about it before, but I did not include the photos of the decorations, which is what I know so many of the readers of this here blog want to see. Also, I want to note that while I have stamped the following photos with my Wedding Decorator address, these fine photos were shot by Taipei L.A., the photographer of my friend's wedding. My own photos were marred by the bright sun streaming into the windows, so thanks to Moonie for sharing these photos, and kudos to Taipei L.A. for great photos and service.

Decorating this wedding was particularly challenging because of many factors. First off, we had to deal with a blockade of firetrucks and officials who at first wouldn't let us drive our van full of equipment and flowers up the hill because of a brush fire in the hills behind the Castaway. There was the fact that my mom had put together a lot -- WAY MORE than usual -- displays for this wedding, so there was of course way more equipment than usual. Then there was also the fact that my husband and I were attending the wedding, and had to leave early to shower and get dressed for the reception -- we were too busy decorating to attend the church ceremony, unfortunately.

But of course, as you can see by the pictures, we pulled off the decorations with our usual aplomb, style and finesse. Did you expect anything less?

The Castaway in Burbank is generally easy to work with, considering how busy they get. Their prices guarantee steady traffic, not to mention a great location overlooking the L.A. basin and the San Fernando Valley. I've worked at the Castaway many times, and on a scale of 1 to 10 for cooperativeness, I'd give them an 8.9.

The only thing I might complain about is the high traffic (since doing decorations like these take time, usually at least 3, 4 hours, a 1-hour cushion between parties is of course difficult) and the lack of tablecloth skirts. They skirt their tables, as many independent restaurants do, with folded tablecloths pinned to the first tablecloth. It makes it difficult for draping the table.

Read More......

Saturday, September 29, 2007

New, permanent layout

OK! So I finally finished the new layout, and I think it has turned out pretty well. I basically took a bunch of my favorite wedding decorator pictures and put them in the header, polaroid-style and adopted a 3-column Minima layout. I have also put in some cool stuff I've found -- Flickr wedding pictures and feeds from sites with good wedding-related information.

Enough with the technicalities!

I figure, since I don't think I'll be draping or decorating any weddings or parties anytime soon, that what I will do is share tidbits from past weddings and parties, along with some tips and tricks, plus highlight articles and pictures that I find across the web. If there's anything else you want me to include, let me know.

Oh, and yeah -- I'll probably include my own wedding here really soon. ^_^

Read More......

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Temporary Template

Unfortunately, I was messing around with my template and lost the Colibri one I widgetized for blogger. Whoops.

This is a temporary template as I'm working on another one. :)

Read More......

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Changes afoot

I am not entirely sure who keeps up with this here blog, but I'm sure you've noticed that I haven't posted here since July. Now, a several-month interval between posts is not entirely out of character, but my recent blackout has been a prelude to big changes.

My mom has finally succumbed to a very deserved retirement (rather, she's taking less work on), so with my mom doing less work -- so am I. And so my material for posting will now dwindle dramatically.

However! I would still like to continue this blog, considering all the experience and wisdom I've culled in my days of decorating. So my question is -- what would YOU like to see here? What would YOU like me to talk about?

A few of my thoughts as to what I can continue to produce for this blog include:

  • Tips -- how to choose your venue, how to choose your florist, how to choose your deejay
  • Pictures of weddings I decorated before I began this here blog
  • My take on friends' weddings
  • How to be the friend with the awesome pictures at your friends wedding
  • My take on wedding-related news and trends
That's all I've got for now. I've also got a redesign in mind, but I'll just show that off when I get it ready. Anyway, if you're a fan of this blog and you want me to continue it, please comment and give me your opinion on these issues. Thanks!

Read More......

Monday, June 25, 2007

Marrying on 7/7/07

We all knew last year that there was going to be a ton of weddings on July 7 this year. The whirlwind of flowers, beauticians, priests, dressmakers and wedding chapels is documented in the LAT:

Across the country, tens of thousands of couples wanting to marry on 07/07/07 — for luck, or perhaps because bridegrooms will stand a better chance of remembering their anniversaries — have booked a corresponding number of photographers, caterers, cake makers, hair stylists and vintage Rolls-Royces months, or even years, in advance.

This year, July 7 falls on a Saturday, three days after the Independence Day holiday, and anecdotal evidence suggests it will be the most popular wedding day in recent memory., an Internet company that provides products and services to couples planning their weddings, said 38,000 couples among their users have set their nuptials for what some have dubbed the "magnificent seven." That's more than three times the usual number for a July Saturday, said Kathleen Murray, deputy editor.

David's Bridal, a nationwide chain of 273 stores, has recorded twice as many customers who plan to marry July 7 as on last year's busiest date. In the Los Angeles area, the retailer has sold 600 wedding gowns for that weekend.

"Judging from our 30% market share, that would mean you have about 2,000 brides getting married that weekend" in the L.A. area, said spokeswoman Cindi Freeburn.

Some vendors are going to great lengths to meet the demand.

Square Root, an Irvine event producer and floral design house, is flying in 30 designers from as far away as New York, doubling the number of workers who will be assembling centerpieces and bouquets.

"I've never seen a date so popular," said Jeff Johnson, Square Root's co-owner.

Gina Ludwig, owner of Hair Comes the Bride in Laguna Niguel and Beverly Hills, said she turned away clients because her nine hair and makeup stylists are already booked back to back to back with 14 weddings that day.

All six classic cars in Classy Chassis Rentals' collection in Tarzana have been booked for many months. Owner Mel Harrison said he could easily have filled a seventh Rolls-Royce or Bentley — or a 14th, for that matter — given all the callers who were gearing up for a grand entrance. His big problem now is finding drivers. "I still need three more," he said.
By settling on 07/07/07 as their wedding date, couples are tapping into a number that through the ages has assumed mystical importance. Religious texts of many faiths, including Islam and Judaism, refer to seven heavens. The saying "I'm in seventh heaven" signifies bliss.

The seven heavens correspond to seven heavenly bodies visible to the naked eye (the sun, the moon and five planets: Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn). In English, German and several other languages, the seven days of the week take their names from these celestial objects.

The ancient seven-branched Jewish menorah (not to be confused with the Hanukkah menorah) signifies the seven days of creation. There are seven colors of the spectrum, seven notes of the musical scale, seven deadly sins, seven virtues — and seven books in the Harry Potter series.
The frenzy amuses me, of course. I do not believe I will be decorating a wedding that day, but then again, my mom has a penchant for telling me about stuff with just a few days notice.

And to be quite honest, in my experience, I think the day will mostly be lucky for the lawyers -- who will be busy suing and defending reception halls, hotels, florists, dressmakers, cake makers and other vendors who were unable to meet the demand of the frenzy. I've had to do as many as three events (a convention, my own senior prom, and a wedding, for example) in one day, and trust me -- its not easy.

Read More......

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Tropically purple at the Pasadena Hilton

This was definitely not the beginning of my day Saturday.

By the time I got to Pasadena at about 2 p.m., I had already been up since 7 a.m. and walked at least two miles all over the Long Beach Convention Center, for the Long Beach Grand Prix. So I was already bone tired by the time I got to Pasadena.

This is what the ballroom looked like by the time were done with everything. However, I have to note that we did not provide those seat covers - those came from another vendor that presumably has a special contract with the hotel, since those square-backed ballroom chairs are unusual.

But I think I still managed to hit this one out of the ballpark -- or, considering its Grand Prix day, left this one in my dust. So to speak. OK, its late and I'm tired, my similes are less than stellar.

My mom does these tropical displays for folks she really likes. Heh. They always include the faux palm trees, a couple of tropical arrangements and Philippine display - this one has a bahay kubo and a caribou cart.

I absolutely love this arrangement. Yes, that is an eggplant hanging from the arrangement, along with string beans. I was so tired from running around the Grand Prix that I looked at the arrangement and asked with a bit of incredulity, "is that eggplant?" Yes. I was very astute that day.

And I love them mini pineapples. I wish they could be used in every arrangement.

Draping this wedding was massively tiring - I was in a sweat by the time I finished. And, oh, that wasn't the end of my day. I had to get back to Long Beach for what I called my second shift at the Grand Prix. Whew.

Read More......

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Purple, champagne and cherry blossoms, oh my

I was at the Glendale Hilton again last weekend. I'm getting better at this posting recently thing. Watch, next time, there's going to be just one day turn around, rather than just a week.

I love this photo. I was initially irritated that the guy got in my photo, but I realized that his presence gave scale to my mom's huge flower arrangement adorning the entrance.

Want more?
The purple (not the pastel type, but a jewel purple) looked really good with champagne.

But the really exciting thing was that my mom used cherry blossoms in these arrangements.

Cherry blossoms, if you didn't already know, only bloom once a year and for only eight days or so. So you can imagine that these were pretty expensive. But they sure are pretty!
And here's a picture of my mommy!

Next week will be a most interesting weekend. I'm supposed to cover (for work) the Long Beach Grand Prix and help my mom with a wedding in Pasadena. Crikey.

Read More......

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Color indecision at the Ramada Suites in Covina

Look. Do us all a favor. If you're having a big party, choose one color. If you like pink, go with pink. Or, if you like baby blue - go with the baby blue. Both are great colors. But the two should never be paired together outside of a nursery, but maybe not a personal nursery, since that baby may not know if s/he is supposed to be aligning him/herself with the pink or the blue. Anyway, just choose one, especially since the hotel may not have napkins that are your exact color of pink or blue.

This was an 18th birthday party/debut, but I could've sworn it was a baby shower for boy and girl twins.

Read More......

Friday, March 02, 2007

So much to like at the Friendly Hills Country Club

Ah, the Friendly Hills Country Club in Whittier. I literally grew up down the street from this place. When I was told I was going here, I knew I'd been here before, but I had no memory of the place.

There was a lot to work with here. Check out the huge fireplace...

...and the amazing scenery...

With all our stuff, can you imagine what we could do with this place? Well, I suppose you don't have to imagine.

I couldn't seem to stop taking pictures of this place. I mean, not only was it a beautiful day, and not only was the place gorgeous, the colors of the wedding were perfect - a light, yet high-impact champagne color that was more an elegant complement to the scenery, as well as the room where the reception was held. Plus there were those huge, bay windows - absolutely beautiful. The Friendly Hills Country Club really turned out to be a hidden gem.

Oh, but you know I'm not all about work, right? I absolutely loved that there were all these ducks waddling around. I absolutely love ducks.

Ducks, unfortunately, don't love me. I kept trying to get closer to take their pictures, but they kept waddling away from me.

Oh, but of course that's not it. I saw this sign as I was on my way out to my car. A unicorn crossing sign. I love it. I love it! A place that has a sense of humor gets high grades.

Read More......

Family at the Long Beach Airport Marriott

Just now, as I was gazing at these pictures, I remember why I felt so tired on this particular morning. I had just worked a 4-midnight shift, but not only that - my tire on my new car had gone flat. So my husband had to come from Ventura to pick me up after my shift, and we drove back home together to Agoura Hills. Then, because I needed to get all the way to Long Beach by 8 a.m. to decorate this wedding, then get back to my work's parking lot, where I left my car, to take care of my tire - I needed to take my husband with me. I felt really bad for him, seeing as how he needed to do so much extra driving, so I left him sleeping in the car as I finished decorating. Anyway, this is the before.

Here's after. There are no flowers yet because they're still at the church - a money-saving tactic.

I forget exactly what was going on this day, but I believe there was some sort of function going on in the rooms before the actual reception. So all of the table arrangements were outside, waiting, but ready to go.
Of course, the requisite happy couple pictures on display, plus my mom's oh-so-fabulous arrangements.

I really wish I had been able to do more for this wedding, since the bride was my second cousin, Vanessa, below. She has really turned out to be a hottie! I couldn't even stick around to see her in her bridal gown, but ah well - I know I left her wedding behind in good hands.

Read More......

The Pacific Palms in the City of Industry

It has been probably a year since I posted, so I apologize. So as a gift, here's one, no, two, no - three! - posts in one fell swoop. Unfortunately, I believe I had to leave for work before finishing this particular wedding, so I have a few closeups of the bridal flowers my mom crafted for this wedding.
Above is the bridal bouquet and my mom's brightly flowered blouse. Every bouquet is different, so while the long, trailing ones look pretty, they're murder to carry all day, so keep that in mind, all you brides shopping around for ideas.

I remember when we used to have to use those bouquet holders - the ones with plastic handles often with lacy collars. I am so glad that trends change, because those were a big pain in the you-know-what - they have to be put in special boxed holders because they couldn't be laid down, plus they were super heavy. These types of bouquets I like much more, and heh, they're easier to transport.

I'm proud to say I assisted my mom with developing her system of organization for bridal flowers. Remember - when you have a florist doing bridal flowers for you, make sure she labels everything so as to head off any fights. Heh. No, that hasn't happened on my watch, but I can just imagine a bunch of perfectly-coiffed, satin-draped bridesmaids, flower girls and sponsors fighting over....well, you know what I mean. Anyway, I helped my mom by first printing out each of her labels. My printing is very neat, but I got tired of it, so I began using computer labels, and a trend was born.

Putting baby pictures and portraits of the happy couple out for entering guests to peruse is no new thing, but my mom now likes to make it a big display. It's kind of a cool trend, but not one for my own personal preference. I do love those arrangements, though.

The backdrop - but instead of using the usual wedding color, which was green, with a compliment as the backdrop, I was given two types of silver to augment the very green arrangements. Different.

Most sweetheart tables are either round or half-moon. I prefer half-moon. This happens to be a piece of a banquet table, I believe. But it was not an unpleasing effect - at least the newlyweds don't have to scrunch their dinner settings together on a round table that's too small. Plus, I ended up getting a lot more real estate with which to work with.

This hotel, by the way, used to be known as the Sheraton Industry Hills and was also the site of my sister's debut/18th birthday party. Also, as a fan of the show Las Vegas, I believe its the hotel used for the show's hotel room scenes.

Read More......