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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

I'm your flower girl!

photo credit Joseph De Sciose 

a few things I wish brides knew about flower girls...

It’s personal.

I am your floral designer. To give you the wedding look you love, I “get” to get to know you! By the time the wedding day arrives, I have met with a Bride and her Mother several times and in most weddings, made at least one site visit to her reception location. It has been fun for me to receive stacks of pictures from you (Really!) You are in my phone and I have kept every “Screen shot” you texted my way. We have exchanged countless emails making sure we have your flower list perfect.

I truly want to give you the day of your dreams. It is very important to me that you love your flowers. When the day arrives, it is no longer business to me, it’s personal. If a couple of bundles of roses will put your arrangements over the top, I happily purchase more because I too am excited about your wedding day!

It’s business. 

I am a small business owner. That means I am involved in every detail of your experience with Lillie's. I answer the phone, schedule appointments, create the wedding concepts, sketch your flower pieces, count the stems, order the flowers, return your emails, manage a small staff, and take care of the day to day duties of the office. I tie your bouquet, tip the delivery drivers working on your wedding weekend and treat the team to lunch on wedding day.
It’s work.

My job is physical. Before your flowers arrive at the Church, we have worked to make sure the blossoms are at the perfect fullness on wedding day. We have opened the boxes, cleaned the stems and put in buckets of clean water. We've arranged the blossoms, packaged the arrangements, loaded the flower vans, delivered to the church, unloaded the vans, placed your arrangements, swept up the trash and reloaded the van. This process is then repeated for the reception site. We have a few hours rest before we come back to clean up the church and reception. We then break down, pack up, load the vans, deliver your flowers to the charity of your choice, clean and put away every last vase and candelabra. Yes, I even clean each and every tiny votive candle holder from your wedding. It’s hard work!
It’s valuable.

Flowers cost money. I purchase flowers the week of your wedding. The price of your wedding flowers is tied directly to the amount of flower stems in each design. Because of this, it is difficult for brides to compare apples to apples, no two designers will create the same wedding look. Designers really want to give you a good value. Allow us to give you ideas and make suggestions of ways to best use the amount of money you have budgeted for decor. Yes, you can change your mind about the initial design. Your price will change too. This is because the price is tied to the design and the amount of flower stems required to create the design. Also remember, too much DIY can backfire. Personal touches are charming however, be careful not to take on too much work in an effort to save money. ASK what we have before you rush to a craft store and purchase wedding decor. I am happy to bring the chalkboard signs, votive candles and baskets as they are already on the shelf in my workroom. It is sad for me when a bride arrives with bags of expensive items she will use only once when I would have been happy to share.

It’s art.

I want to create a wedding look more beautiful than you have imagined. Yes, it’s all about the details but…the details add up to create the total overall look. A professional designer has the ability to picture the final look of the wedding with all of the elements you have chosen. Believe it or not we can picture it in our heads! Florists are very visual. Don’t get so worked up about the details that you miss the big picture. Give your floral designer wiggle room with your choice. Talk to more than one designer. Choose the florist that you feel best “gets you!” If you have a good connection with your designer, you will not be worried about the way your flowers will “turnout.” If you are flexible and open you will allow your florist to give you happy surprises throughout your wedding weekend. You are the Bride after all! Relax and enjoy the beauty of your day.

photo credit arden photography
Portions of this post were featured on in February, here is the link:

Sunday, June 22, 2014

happy picture & happy anniversary

this picture makes me happy...

The little fellow wore a classic seersucker suit and carried a family Bible.

Allison married on Samford's campus at Reid Chapel. Thank you Brandon Gresham of Simple Color Photography, for the pretty pictures of the wedding day.

...first year anniversary wishes to Bride Allison xo

Ceremony | Reid Chapel at Samford University
Reception | The Club
Planning | AK Brides
Florist | Lillie’s
Dress | Ivory and White
Shoes | Bagdley Mischka
Hair and Makeup | Melissa Moore
Cakes | Olexa’s
Reception Lighting | Design Productions
Reception Music | Black Jacket
Leave Car | Coats Classics

Monday, May 7, 2012

Fourth Annual Bouquet Day

If you read last week's post, you know that Tracey and I whipped up a batch of fun bouquets for an event at Engaged Wedding Library marking the fourth annual "Bouquet Day." Today I thought I'd share some photos by Stacy Richardson from the day and add a snippet of back-story on why Engaged has such a special place in my heart.

 When Engaged first opened, Lillie's shared an office with the "Engaged girls" in the little sun room at the Engaged cottage on Oxmoor Road. With all-girl tenants in the house we were like a bunch of college roommates -- and even shuffled around once or twice as roommates do.

As business grew, Lillie's moved to a second office at Engaged -- a butler's pantry boasting built-in shelves and sweet glass front cabinets where I displayed all of my treasures. This was the location of the second official "Bouquet Day." 

That first year I made these tiny bouquets to match my tiny office where they all lined up quite nicely on the butler's pantry shelves.

 If you look closely you can see the bouquet descriptions on the shelves.

This year's "Bouquet Day" has grown and so have our bouquets! While the first event featured a handful of local floral designer's, this year the number of designers participating has doubled from the first Bouquet Day.

And though Lillie's has a home of its own now, we still got to spend some time with our friends Katie and Stephanie (The engaged girls) creating this window display for "Bouquet Day 2012" at their wonderful new location on Oxmoor Road in Homewood.

It's always great to see the variety and imagination of the designers. After all, there is no such thing as "one size fits all" when it comes to a bride's bouquet!

Bride's-to-be got to hold and have their picture made with dream bouquets, and there was something for every style and budget this year.  

. . . before you know it we will be planning our bouquets for Bouquet Day 2013!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Local Color : designs using native flora

A couple of months ago Pat Sholund of the always fascinating and stunning botanical garden, Aldridge Gardens, called and asked me to help her with an article on the use of native and local flora in wedding bouquets. Well, of course, nothing could please me more than to brag about native Alabama plants! 

Serendipity! It just so happened we were pulling together a few bouquets for an event at Engaged Wedding Library and were able to share these images as examples. This bouquet we named "Clementine" contains both native and locally grown ingredients such as hellebores, yarrow foliage and wild blackberries.

Bouquet "Charlotte" contains locally grown blueberries, baptisia, hydrangea and lamb's ear.

"Evangeline" bouquet features local Solomon's seal, hosta, waxleaf ligustrum buds, viburnum, the fernlike foliage of yarrow. Though these spring tuberose were brought in, this hot August we will have the most heavenly tuberose in bloom, grown locally in Sand Mountain, Alabama.

Below, a bouquet we call "Elizabeth" is composed of pale garden roses accompanied by silvery artemisia and lamb's ear.

I admit it...I'm partial to local green. Wherever local is.

There is a wonderfully authentic quality to design where the local landscape is considered. It is as true in architecture as in flower design. One of my favorite designers, Francoise Weeks has made her signature weaving the plant life of her Northwest woodlands into every exquisite design.

You see, where many floral designers came in through the front door, I truly came in through the back - the garden gate you might say. 

I was born into a family of prolific gardeners. My Daddy teaches our county Master Gardeners how to grow the perfect tomatoes and my Mama keeps the most exquisite perennial and native wildflower garden. Early on, I logged hours hauling, potting, and creating container gardens at a local nursery, all the while, learning about essentials like hardiness and bloom time from the "ground up." Friends often ask why Lillie's bouquets have a natural look about them. I really believe it is because we include Alabama green in most of our bouquets. I guess my love affair with Southern plants was destiny.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Real Weddings : A Peachy Perfect Couple

Sure... Georgia might be called the peach state, but Lauren and Ryan know the truth. 

Alabama peaches  =  love!

And, to be sure, their wedding was a celebration of everything dear to the heart of a true southerner. True romance, the scent of sweet flowering trees on a warm breeze, oodles of friends and family gathered around food and backyard games, and - of course - fresh peach pie!

 Lauren's rustic but elegant bouquet leans against a picket fence in front of an old Presbyterian church. The bouquet had the perfect finishing touch with burlap and delicate ribbon.

Bridesmaid's nosegay bouquets of peach roses and tiny white spray roses, stock, seeded eucalyptus and scabiosa pods. 

We loved all the little details Lauren and Ryan sprinkled throughout their reception such as apothecary jars filled with peaches and adorable hand-painted signs for stations where guests played games like cornhole and badminton.

What better way to show off this peachy perfect wedding cake than a huge peach basket and sugared peach leaves.

Did you know that the peach is the official state fruit tree of Alabama? 

Or that Alabama's peach industry is the state's leading commercial fruit crop? As a matter of fact, peaches have been grown in the state since the early 1850s.

So if you're making you summer travel plans and you love big, juicy peaches, then be sure to check out this like to this Southern Living Magazine article on where to find the best peach stands in Alabama. Mmmmmm!

A special thanks to photographer Jessica Messer and wedding planner Alene Gamel.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Flower balls and Osiana roses : A photo shoot for Alabama Weddings

Loving the outdoors as I do, a photo shoot outside is always my first choice. This was just the case when Alabama Weddings Magazine contacted me about creating a bridesmaid's luncheon for a shoot. 

A stately old oak tree provided the perfect framework for us to set our tables and hang the large, ribboned balls of green hydrangea. 

Flower balls have been so popular with brides, but most are tight and a bit contemporary looking. My idea was to loosen up the look with luscious antique hydrangeas in varied textures and shades. Even the balls are slightly irregular in size and shape. I love the effect. So soft, these flowers almost beg to be touched! 


Our color inspiration for the bride's luncheon was the perfect melon of the osiana rose. 

Osiana is a Lillie's favorite because, in addition to her ladylike color, she carries large blossoms of velvety petals that curl back as they open like old-fashioned garden roses.

We were grateful to have great team members on this shoot. Cantaloupe colored linens were provided by BBJ Linen and the delicately wreathed china "Rothschild" was courtesy of Bromberg's. The sweet invitation and calligraphy place cards were designed by the talented Melissa Hill of Weddings Etc. in Homewood, Alabama.
Melissa also shared the little birds nests with us.

The tiny script banner on the moss-filled birds nest at each bridesmaid place setting reads:"Thank-you for being my bridesmaid"

In the South, no bridesmaids luncheon is complete without a beautiful bridesmaid's charm cake. Angel's Cakes designed this one just for this shoot. When I called Janet to ask for the cake, I struggled to find  the best name for the color of the shoot. It wasn't pink, it wasn't, I told her it was the color of cantaloupe. 

When Janet arrived with her wonderful creation, she announced, "Here is your canta-loupey colored cake!

Imagine my excitement when the image of her beautiful cake made the cover of the Fall issue of Alabama Weddings Magazine.

Lush swags of spray roses, osiana roses, daisies, ropes of green hanging amaranthus and tiny kermit mums make these chivari chairs look fit for royalty.

The air was filled with the most delicious scent thanks to our own Alabama-grown Sand Mountain tuberoses.

Perhaps the real magic of the event was Terry Bruno's photography. By looking at these serene and breezy images, you'd never guess the mercury in Saint Clair County hit 100 degrees that afternoon! 

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Color Bouquets 2

Color color color . . . Spring has surely arrived early this year!

~ bride Sarah ~

Marrying in early March 2012, Bride Sarah asked me to "Rush Spring" a bit when creating her bouquets. The color of her bridesmaid's bouquets came from purple veronica, yellow jonquil, peach tulips and apple green athos mums. The wedding bouquets popped against the white wooden frame chapel of Altadena Valley Presbyterian Church in Vestavia Hills, Alabama. Sarah carried a rainbow of color in her bouquet as well.

In early March our trees were still bare but "rushing Spring" came easily with all of this bright color.

 ~ bride Rachel ~

I have only named a bouquet once or twice in over 10 years of business. However, I could not resist giving this feminine nosegay of sweet pink akito roses, tiny pearled stephanotis and a collar of camelia japonica a name! 

The bouquet, "Sweetheart" had to be lovely next to the stunning diamond bracelet bride Rachel wore on her wedding day. The bracelet was a gift from her father.

Image ~ Arden Photography

~ bride Trameika ~
Often one tiny ingredient serves as design inspiration for an entire bouquet. 

Such was the case with this bouquet for a bride whose signature drink was a blood orange martini. The bright orange reiger begonia was the a perfect starting place for us to design the bouquet in Trameika's wedding colors of clementine and firecracker. This one is composed of tulips, calla lilies, Big Fun roses and protea.

The setting for Trameika and Joe's wedding reception was a rustic building on the river's edge in historic Demopolis Alabama that perched over the water perfectly so that just as guests settled in, it captured a sunset view echoing every hue in this bouquet.

image Jerrod Brown Studios

This yellow and gray garden bouquet with cream evening stock, yellow parrot tulips and yellow rannuculus takes it's inspiration from the lovely silk ribbons with happy stripes.

Lillie's was happy to deliver this bouquet to our friends at Engaging Celebrations booth during Birmingham Fashion Week.
Image Carnaggio Photography

~ bride Ann ~

The firery rannuculus steal the show in this red rose bouquet with dusty miller and magnolia for a cajun throw down at American Village in Montevallo, Alabama.


~ bride Laurie Anne ~
This blue bouquet is for a bride marrying at Aldridge Gardens in Hoover, Alabama. There of course is no more appropriate flower to use in a Bride's bouquet at Aldridge than hydrangea. This bouquet for a Fall wedding had a collar of seeded eucalyptus.

Stephen Devries Photography

~ bride Caitlin ~

I have always thought the color red looks especially pretty on brunettes. The bride on this day shows off freedom roses in her bouquet when she married at Shades Mountain Baptist Church. Bride Caitlin knew at our first meeting together exactly what she wanted in her bouquet, "Red roses!"

Image Simple Color Photography

Here is a picture one of my all time favorite rose bouquets. Thank you David for taking the picture!
David Shirk of Unplugged Photography

Welcome spring!