Wedding Planning 101 – Meeting with a Floral Designer, with Guest Blogger Nancy Liu Chin

I’m just giddy working on this post…not only do I get to spend some time on my very favorite topic (I’m the flower girl here at Junebug amongst a die-hard group of loyal photography junkies!), but I get to share one of my favorite designers with you too! Junebug member Nancy Liu Chin is brilliantly talented, and as an expert in the industry she has a lot of great ideas for couples as they are planning and working with a floral designer. Today she is sharing some of her beautiful designs AND tips on what you can do to ensure a successful meeting with your florist!
From Nancy Liu Chin: Perhaps it is naive of me to think that all people who are newly engaged should know how to work with a floral designer. After all, there are endless wedding planning books, articles on how to plan the perfect wedding, and plenty of blogs…yet, today, a bride asked me if it was necessary to meet with me in order to get a floral proposal. Of course, meeting a floral designer is a must unless you are planning a destination wedding and even at that, I recommend a phone interview.
So to help newly engaged couples, I’m writing this post on how to prepare for your meeting with your floral designer. I truly hope this is not only helpful for engaged couples but for all event planners, floral designers, wedding enthusiasts…and many more. I will be using the term Floral Designer in this post for simplicity. Keep in mind that I am using both these terms – florist and floral designer – to mean someone who will be creating wedding flowers. It’s interchangeable!
So, the question is, what should you prepare for when meeting with your floral designer? Follow these steps, and your floral desgn
1. Flower Knowledge – Do you need to know the names of all the flowers?
My God, I hope not! If all clients knew the name of all cut flowers, then most of the floral designers around might be out of a job. To me, it’s like asking if a patient needs to know all the medical terms before they see their doctor. It would be unproductive and a waste of one’s time. If gardening is a hobby, I can imagine that you might want to know more about how flowers are produced, cultivated, and cared for. However, for someone who is planning a wedding, there are more productive things to spend your time on.
Keep in mind, a good, knowledgeable, informed floral designer should have a portfolio with plenty of flowers for a couple to look through. I keep a “deck” of colorful cards which are coordinated by color and alphabetized so that I can “flip” through it during meetings and show clients what flower I am describing.
Here are some good examples of the type of phrases that would be helpful for you to use:
  • Romantic, fluffy, large head flowers like roses and peonies that evoke a garden feel.
  • Modern, architecturally interesting blooms that have beautiful, shapely stems. French Tulips in a single vase are very elegant to me.
  • Something unusual with lots of spiky tips, fussy, different. Something that wouldn’t be fun to touch but would look very different from the standard fluffy flowers.
  • Simple, happy flowers that make me smile, like sunflowers, daisies, mums.
  • Bold, dramatic flowers that work for a grand ballroom.
Bottom line: Describe characteristics of what you want the flowers to look like!

2. Get Organized and Create a Check List
It is very helpful to create a check list of things you need. Emailing a copy to your floral designer ahead of time is wonderful. You can also bring a copy with you to the meeting. Of course, since you may not know all the flower pieces that you might need, here is my check list.
Personal Flowers:
  • Bridal Bouquet
  • Bridesmaid Bouquets
  • Groom’s Boutonniere
  • Groomsmen’s Boutonnieres
  • Usher(s) Flowers
  • Reader(s)
  • Officiant
  • Mothers and Fathers
  • Grandparents
  • Sponsors
  • Ring bearer, Coin bearer, other little boys who need flowers
  • Flower girls, Junior Bridesmaids, other little girls who need flowers
Ceremony Flowers:
  • Altar or Ceremony Large Pieces
  • Chair or Pew Decorations
  • Aisle Decor
  • Welcome Table
  • Gift Table
  • Foyer Arrangement
  • Door or Entryway
  • Car Decor
Reception Flowers:
  • Centerpieces
  • Head Table or Sweet Heart Table
  • Bride and Groom’s Chair
  • Bar
  • Food Stations
  • Dessert Stations
  • Cake Table
  • Dance Floor Decor
  • Cocktail Table
  • Place Card Table
  • Door Ways
  • Lounge Decor
  • Walkways
  • Fireplace Mantels
Bottom Line: Get organized and have a list ready!
3. Style, Color, Concept
Of course many couples go to meetings thinking that they will see something in a floral designer’s portfolio and instantly love it. I wish this were the case. But it is so NOT.
I think many couples come for inspiration. That’s wonderful! However, to make your wedding flowers truly unique, come with as many ideas and examples of things you love as you can. There are so many resources filled with ideas! Some things to bring:
  • Tear-sheets from magazines
  • Tagged images you love in wedding and floral design books
  • Images from wedding blogs, and individual blogs from wedding professionals
  • Pinterest boards
  • Swatch samples of fabrics you are using – your dress and bridesmaid dresses
  • Color swatches – you can go into Home Depot and pick out some “paint” chips so that you can clearly communicate your wedding colors. I guarantee you, when a bride walks into my office and tells me her wedding color is green, I ask her, “is it moss, forest, sea, celery, pea, chartreuse, apple, lime, sage, vivid, Kate Spade, Kelly, spinach, or pepper green?”
  • Your wedding invitation
  • Photos of your venue
Bring all the things that you think are useful for someone who is creating your weddings flowers. And it doesn’t have to be a whole novel – a few printouts, consolidated into something concise is perfect.
Bottom line: Go to be informed, and be prepare to show and tell.
4. Ask and you shall receive
In advance of your meeting, be sure to have a list of questions that you need answered. During the meeting, many will be addressed. However if you don’t have a prepared list, you might forget a few important questions. Jot down at least a few key questions. Some things you might want to ask:
  • Can you suggest a few cost saving tips?
  • What flowers hold up the best during the month of my wedding? (This question will show if the floral designer is truly knowledge about flowers and thinks off the cuff.)
  • Have you worked at my venue before? If not, would you mind going to do a site visit. (This question shows that a floral designer is attentive to the details and wants to be prepared. It also reflects their experience level.)
  • Do you drop off the flowers or does your staff or crew do the complete setup? (This question will answer what type of day of service you will get. And if the price for such service is warranted.)
  • What was your favorite wedding? Do you have an example in your portfolio? What made it so special? (This question will show you what the floral designer deems tasteful, interesting to them. I love this question because only a couple brides have ever asked me this and I think this one is by far the most interesting. It shows me that a couple wants to get to know me as a designer. )
  • How many events do you do a week? Will my wedding be the only one that day? (This question might be important to some of you if you feel that you need your team to focus on just you for that week.)
  • Have you ever gotten so ill that you couldn’t complete a job? If so, what would happen to my wedding? (It’s important to know if a floral designer has contingency plans. I know that we do, so I think others should be prepared as well)
Bottom line: Whatever quality is important to you, make sure you leave that meeting feeling that you get a good sense of a floral designer’s values, creativity, knowledge, and depth.


Wedding Planning 101 – Planning a Rehearsal Dinner

Besides the all-important wedding day, there are a few other events surrounding your wedding that will need planning, and they can be just as fun, memorable, and beautiful as the big day itself! One such event, the rehearsal dinner, is usually held the night before the wedding. It is an opportunity to welcome guests, thank your loved ones for supporting you, and to kick off the festivities! Today, I have a few planning tips and ideas to get you started, illustrated with Michèle Waite’s beautiful images of Kate and Tony’s celebratory dinner at The Corson Building.

Purpose: The rehearsal dinner can serve several purposes! Following the actual rehearsal, where the business of fine-tuning and practicing the wedding ceremony took priority, the rehearsal dinner is a time to unwind and enjoy the anticipation of the next day! It also is a “welcome dinner” of sorts for any special out-of-town guests that have been invited. Many of your guests (and even the two families) may be meeting for the first time, so it is a time for introductions, mingling, getting to know each other. Maybe most importantly, the dinner is an opportunity to thank your families and bridal party for supporting you throughout your wedding planning and upcoming marriage.

The Hosts: First things first…who pays for the rehearsal dinner? Traditionally, the groom’s family hosted the dinner as the bride’s family was footing the bill for the wedding. All of the “rules” surrounding wedding planning have definitely loosened over the years, including the rehearsal dinner, but this is still a good place to start. One great benefit to this is that it gives the groom’s family a chance to be part of the planning fun and feel included, even if they aren’t as involved in the wedding.
The Guests: Anyone that is participating in your wedding and was part of the earlier rehearsal is traditionally included on your guest list. Besides your wedding party and immediate family, you may want to invite a larger circle of family members, any out-of-town guests who traveled a long way to be at your wedding, or close friends that are not in your wedding party. The wedding day is busy, so the rehearsal dinner is a great way to get a little more time with loved ones and to connect with people who you don’t get to see as often as you’d like.

Location: The rehearsal dinner is a great opportunity to introduce out-of-town guests to one of your favorite local spots. You could hold your dinner at one of your favorite date restaurants, or just choose a type of cuisine that is a local specialty. Kate and Tony selected the Corson Building, which specializes in farm-to-table dining, so their guests enjoyed the bounty of the season and local farms. The party doesn’t have to be at a restaurant though. A relative’s beautiful home, a favorite park, a boat that offers cruises on a local waterway, or a museum are just a few ideas of alternative venues.
Design: First and foremost, the rehearsal dinner should be unique and different from the wedding and reception. In my own experience in event design, I’ve met with a lot of groom’s families that are planning the rehearsal dinner, and the first thing that they tell me is the color palette of the wedding, or a particular motif that is guiding the design of the wedding. I try to offer some alternatives in this case; the last thing you want your wedding to be is a rerun or look recycled from the night before! This is your chance to use that OTHER color palette that you loved, or bring in the custom calligraphy place cards that were beyond your budget for the larger wedding guest list, or include the moss and acorns that your outdoor-loving fiance had his heart set on!

Toasts: After everyone has dined, the evening often includes toasts to the bride and groom, though it seems to vary by region how elaborate and involved the toasting can be. I’ve attended several rehearsal dinners in the south with 3+ hours of toasting and the opportunity for any guest to speak. (And I have to say, many of them have taken that opportunity! Settle in for a long evening of spontaneity, laughter, and tears!) In the Pacific Northwest, toasts tend to be short and sweet, and are usually just offered up by parents and maybe a few members of the wedding party. The traditional time for the bride and groom to say a thank you to everyone, and distribute any gifts they are giving to their wedding party and parents, is immediately following the toasts.
Favors: Though they are certainly not required, I’ve seen some very thoughtful couples plan a sweet little care package for their guests as they head out the door at the end of the night. A cute bag with a few scones, homemade jam, and a little good morning note make a lovely and easy breakfast for guests staying at hotels or in a hurry to get to scheduled events the next day. You also could do a tiny, delicious truffle for everyone to enjoy as a special “nightcap”, just as luxurious hotels leave a chocolate on the pillow.

Final words of wisdom: Make it an early night! Everyone should get a good night sleep before the big day tomorrow.


Junebug Book Preview- Your Wedding, Your Way

Junebug Book Preview- Your Wedding, Your Way: Junebug Book Preview- Your Wedding, Your Way

Junebug Book Preview- Your Wedding, Your Way

It seems like a lifetime ago when Blair, Kim and I got a call from the Globe Pequot Press, asking us to write a wedding planning book for their new how-to series called the Knack. JunebugWeddings.com had just launched, we were busy photographing weddings and fashion, and it would have been ridiculous to try to fit another project onto our plates. Naturally we said no (or so we thought). But it turns out that if you say no to a book deal, everyone you’ve ever met will tell you that you’re crazy. Apparently you just don’t do such a thing. (Who knew?) So eventually we said yes, and spent the next nine months of our evenings and weekends turning our wedding planning philosophy into an easy to use how-to book that we hope youre going to love!
The book, Planning Your Wedding: A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating Your Perfect Day, is scheduled to come out on December 8th and be distributed throughout the U.S., Canada and the U.K. Were thrilled to have an opportunity to reach a wide audience of couples and to share what we know about turning wedding inspiration into reality. It’s a thorough, encouraging and easy to use visual guide to planning a stress-free wedding, and it has a great big focus (of course) on finding your personal style.
All this week well be bringing you excerpts from the book, beginning with todays post from Chapter 1 that shares our philosophy about how to get started planning a wedding thats totally you. Enjoy!
 Chapter 1: Wedding Style- Your Wedding, Your Way
Stress-free wedding planning tips to help you have your cake and eat it, too!
There are millions of ways to creatively express your love and celebrate your marriage. Finding your own way can be one of the most rewarding things about wedding planning and one of the most challenging. You want to hang on to the euphoria you felt when you first got engaged without having it turn into worries about planning your wedding. So before you begin to make the many choices that will make your big day unique, stop and spend some special time with your partner, focusing on these simple steps to stress-free wedding planning.
Step one: Share your dreams and expectations of what it means to have a wedding. Talk about the people and traditions you want to honor and the things youre looking forward to.
Step two: Make a top-ten list that emphasizes what each of you considers most important about your wedding day. Then share your lists with each other. Understanding each others dreams will help you make decisions youll feel good about when you get married and throughout your years together.  
Step three: Once you have your priorities set, decide on a wedding date and whom you want to tell about your engagement and when to tell them. Consider making your announcement special by hosting an engagement party, sharing it at a family event, or putting it in the paper or on a Web site. 
Step four: Last but not least, have fun finding ways to celebrate your preferences, your backgrounds, and your differences. Use your love and imagination to find new ways to work together. Remember: The partnering skills youll learn while planning your wedding will be a gift youll both be grateful for as you share your lives together.

Congratulations, You’re Engaged!

  • You said Yes! Youve made a commitment to spend the rest of your lives together. Revel in the reality of how lucky you are before you begin making plans.
  • Say I love you and count the ways. Let your partner know that youre thrilled to be getting married and share all the reasons you think this is the best decision for your life. It will do you both good to hear it.

Share Your Dreams
  • Really listen and share to find out whats important to you and the one you love. 
  • Chances are youll be delighted, surprised, and occasionally challenged by what you find out, so stay curious and open-minded.
  • Share some stories about weddings youve attended. Focus on the elements that made each of them unique. What parts did you appreciate and find really special, and what parts didnt you personally connect with?

Share Your Good News

  • The hustle and bustle of wedding planning is on its way, so be sure to savor the romance of the moment and celebrate this big step together.
  • Agree on a plan for sharing your news before you start.
  • Tell both sets of parents at the same time and before anyone else. Hearing the big news directly from you will be important to them. Share your news with family, close friends, and acquaintancesin that order.

Celebrate for Years to Come 

  • Start living your vows now. Take advantage of opportunities to demonstrate the commitment for better or worse, for richer or poorer as you plan your wedding.
  • Make keeping perspective a family tradition. Give your wedding the weight it deserves without getting weighed down by it.
  • Make a pact to keep your romance alive now and forever, no matter how busy you get. Designate at least one night a week as date night and give your partner your undivided attention.


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Top Wedding Blog Posts from Kat at Rock n Roll Bride

(photo of Kat Williams by David McNeil)
UK based wedding blog Rock n Roll Bride is all about helping couples planning their weddings find their ” individuality and general awesomeness” – a mission we fully believe in! We asked the fabulous blogger Kat Williams, the rock n roll bride herself, about some of her favorite blog posts from the last few years, and she came up with some truly great ones! Take a look…
(vintage wedding from Rock n Roll Bride, photos by Ashton Jean-Pierre)


Naturally Beautiful Wedding Makeup from Lynn’s Makeup Art

Here at Junebug, we love all things wedding makeup related. From the pretty, pristine packaging, to the way it can transform and enhance your look, we adore it all. So, we asked makeup genius and super-talented Junebug member, Lynn Switzky from Lynn’s Makeup Art, to tell us how to get a clean, romantic and natural look for your wedding day. Using one of her recent brides, Hailey, as the perfect example, Lynn gave us all the details…
The Idea: This look is great on any bride. Hailey was going for a soft romantic look for her wedding day. She doesn’t wear a lot of make-up on a day-to-day basis, so she wanted to look polished but not too dramatic. If a bride is looking for something subtle that will showcase her natural beauty, it’s always best to stick with earth tones. You can’t go wrong with them because they look great on everybody! Golds and champagnes are wonderful too because they add just enough light and shimmer to make the bride’s wedding makeup sparkle.
The Eyes: We wanted to emphasize her eyes, so we went for a soft smoky eye; which I sometimes call a daytime smoky eye – not too dark and not too light, but a wash of a medium shade all over the lid. We used a beautiful bronze from MAC called Tempting, all over her lid and blended it out with soft brown shadow, also by MAC, called Soba. To add a soft shimmering highlight on her brow bone, we used MAC’s Ricepaper. For a less dramatic look, we lined her eyes top and bottom with a dark brown eyeliner from MAC, called Teddy. It’s a beautiful dark brown with a bronze shimmer to add a little more light and emphasis on the eyes. I love to use metallic eye liners because they add so much light to the eye that the the eye color really pops. I curled her lashes, and of course, only applied waterproof mascara. It’s a must for the wedding day! It’s also a pro secret: only waterproof mascara will hold the curl! If you try regular mascara the lashes will just fall back to normal. We used a denser false lash for tiny bit of extra drama. They were thick from base to tip, and flared longer at the outer corners. For a more natural look, use wispier lashes that are thinner at the tips.
The Face: I think keeping the skin as natural looking as possible really allows the bride to shine, not the make-up. I love using Youngblood Mineral Radiance Moisture Tints for subtle coverage, and Chanel Teint Innocence for a little extra coverage and a dewy finish.  Always set with powder, like Youngblood Hi-Definition Powder to ensure the make-up lasts all day.
The Cheeks: I love using peachy-pink tones on the cheeks for a rosy and natural look. Sometimes pinks look a little too “doll” like, and peaches and corals can look beachy, so look for shades that are a mix of both pink and peach. To bring out the shape of your cheekbones, contour the cheeks with a bronzer, and highlight the top of the cheeks with a light shimmer powder, then apply the blush to the apples of the cheeks. This technique will give you a beautiful rosy glow and bring out your bone structure in photos.
The Lips: Longevity is key for weddings, so I like to use a natural pink liner and fill in the entire lip, then I used a soft nude/pink gloss, like Love Nectar from MAC. Most of my brides want something sheer, soft and comfortable to wear on their wedding day, so they usually wear gloss. Lip gloss is also easy to re-apply throughout the wedding. 
A few of Lynn’s make-up picks: