Last month, we were in New York for a couple of weeks to shoot our new DIY wedding book with co-author and stylist Shana Faust and photographer Joseph De Leo. It was an amazing and overwhelming experience, and has largely been responsible for the slow-down in blog posts!!
Picture this - It’s August in California and it’s 100 degrees. You’re transporting flowers to a big hotel, and the loading area is in a boiler room of all places. You pray that your flowers survive the moist, sticky heat as you wait for the teeny tiny elevator to arrive so you can bring your flowers to the reception… two centerpieces at a time. This happened to a colleague of mine who is an amazing photographer and graphic designer, but who also dabbles in the floral arts occasionally. This experience left her traumatized.
I’ve been there, too! A few weeks ago, my assistants set up an outdoor wedding in 103 degree weather. The bride’s favorite flowers are orchids (yay! sturdy!) and dahlias (uh-ohhh). My sharp assistants followed my instructions carefully and added the dahlias to the arrangements at the last minute. Except the ceremony started an hour late , and by then the blazing sunshine had taken its toll! Of course, my girls brought extra flowers along and fixed the arrangements just in time. Everything looked beyond gorgeous, but you can imagine the stress levels!
Any couple getting married in the summer months in California is ultimately taking a risk, not only with flowers, but with melting cakes, running makeup, flattened curls. I got married in August, so I totally understand! But I owe it to my clients (and my own sanity) to take the following precautions to minimize the effect of heat on delicate flowers. I can’t do miracles, but I do all that I can do to make sure that even if I look like a sweaty mess by the end of the day, my flowers still look fabulous.
1. Choose Wisely: I create my floral recipes and place my orders about 2 weeks before the wedding. When I do that, I check the weather forecasts. If it looks like it’s going to be sunny and/or hot, I try to choose sturdier flowers for outdoor arrangements. If a bride LOVES delicate flowers like dahlias, tulips, or gardenias, I’ll try to reserve those flowers for indoor arrangements or handheld bouquets that can stay in vases indoors until the last possible second.
bromeliads, orchids, and china berries- virtually sunproof
Photo by The Image is Found
Well, here is my second cake from my trip to Chicago where I attended Bronwen Weber’s class at the French Pastry School. Bronwen first made this cake for a chef’s conference -it was a chef’s head on a plate! This cake was quite tricky since almost all of the face design is done by using your hands to sculpt the fondant covered cake into a realistic face before the fondant dries on you. I hope you enjoy seeing the photos from the class and realize just how much of a cake genius Bronwen really is!
Say the phrase hand-painted wedding invitation and most do a double take…then ask “for small orders right?” or inquire “well you reproduce each one on the computer?”. All of these are valid responses I admit as the thought of individually hand-painting hundreds of pieces is initially mind boggling. Let me be the first to tell you, it is mind boggling, requires tremendous patience and skill, but YES, here at Momental Designs we have been hand-painting each and every invitation since our beginnings in 2003.
I thought I would take a moment to further explain the painting process and give a peek into the world of a Momental Invite.
Shortly after my wedding in 2000, I began Momental, very humbly. I worked another full time job, where my lunch hours were spent crafting the perfect business name, reading business books and sketching invitation ideas. My goal was to offer artistic invitations, featuring my original artwork, but to take the concept one step further. While many invitation designers at the time offered original illustrations none were individually hand-painting each invitation, exclusively, so the Momental Invitation was born! I sat for hours perfecting simple little illustrations that could be repeated entirely by hand over hundreds of pieces. Last month, I blogged about Kelley’s hydrangea invitations, where I shared a sample hydrangea from the very beginning. We still create invitations that are entirely hand-painted much like Carrianne’s, where over 30 strokes per invite were used!
After spending a lot of time with other wedding professionals this past month, I seem to see a recurring issue. Many of us have been adversely affected by the economy. One vendor friend of mine recently told me that she was hopeful about 2010 until several of her brides started to cancel their consultations. Other professionals who are very well established and seasoned veterans asked me what they should do to drum up business, while another reduced their fees to be competitive and still continues to have issues with their bottom line. A few are puzzled that some are doing great while others are tanking. The question that everyone seems to ask is how to drum up business in this tough economy. Is there a solution?
How do you drum up business? How do you keep one’s business healthy in this troubled economy? Why is one business doing well while another equal business is suffering?
I’m not sure I’ll answer all the questions but the first, most important thing to do in drumming up business is this:
Client Service is Key
Making sure that I take care of my clients is my number one priority. I use the term clients very loosely. A client to me could be a vendor, a direct customer (bride, groom, MOB), a purchasing agent, an editorial vehicle, a neighbor, a venue, etc.
Treating my clients with remarkable service has helped me to stay afloat during difficult times. There is a saying, “don’t bite the hand that feeds you”. It’s true. The better I service my clients, the better the health of my business. This also means going beyond, doing a little something extra.
(At the wedding pictured above, we ended up with two dozen extra roses. We decided to add a few to the chairs - it didn’t cost the bride a thing and it was a nice addition to these white folding chairs.)
On my blog, I love doing “behind the scenes” posts. It shows sneak peeks about what the IG team is working on.
You may remember the post I did about the Family Tree Envelope Liners and the Etched Mirror, well, these photos are from our staff at that same wedding. Since everything happened surrounding a master time-line, here’s a step-by-step of how the day progressed:
10:00 AM: Leave Brooklyn to pickup van @ UHAUL
11:20 AM: Load van with lots of boxes!
Stillmotion is a family. We’ve always felt that way, both on a personal and professional level. We are always sharing with each other. When one team has an idea, it doesn’t just stay within the cinema or photo team, it gets shared with everyone. This means growth. This means refinement. This means that no matter what, that idea is going to be better as a result of it passing through so many creatives.
For me, personally, it means that I get a lot of different perspectives. It means that I can talk to the cinema team and learn from incredible people that have the same passion for creating fascinating imagery, but have a very different medium in which to create it.
For them, it means the same. They can pass ideas through me, share something they are proud of, and get back something that is so much more than what it was before.
However, there is something they have that I do not -each other.
They are a collective of world class cinematographers who are constantly working together, whether in shooting, editing, brainstorming, critiquing, or educating. They are always building on each other. as individuals, they are all fabulous, but together, their creativity, drive, and focus is immeasurable.
I, on the other hand, don’t have another photographer that I can grow with. I don’t have someone that can constantly push me. Until now.
And so, with the collective good in mind, we have made an addition to our little family.
I always ask for your questions every week through e-mail or twitter, and you guys have been so awesome about giving me feedback. Many of the questions I receive merit long responses, but some can be answered easily with just a few sentences. Those questions and my answers are as follows, for your skimming pleasure.
Q: What is your favorite color combination to use for your flowers? (from Amanda)
A: It’s still too early, but I’m feeling fallish. Probably from working on so many autumn weddings right now.
What an awesome week! I could have done two photo posts because there is so much to mention.
The pillow was a great deal and much bigger than I expected, and it’s washable! The box was a great treat for Turbo, too.
You may remember the bride and groom sugar cookies I made for a dear friend’s wedding. I had an amazing time at their wedding and had the privilege of making their cake and cookies and even being a bridesmaid. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend trying to do both, but in the end it was all worth it!
I got the silhouette cookie cutters custom made to fit their profile from The Victor Trading Company. This company did an amazing job with the cutters and the end result was more than I could have asked for. The wedding theme was “Silhouettes” and my friend Karrie (the bride), who is a graphic designer, carried the theme throughout the whole wedding seamlessly. She even had the lady from Disneyland who cuts silhouettes come and cut each guest’s silhouette! Their wedding photographer, Amy Squires, from WeddingChicks was absolutely amazing!!! I highly recommend her to any bride-to-be looking for a fantastic photographer. I was also lucky enough to have a couple shots she took of my desserts and of the gorgeous bride and groom. I just can’t help sharing my joy with you all, so I hope you enjoy these photos!