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A little about what's happening in our big flower world...

Living & Loving Local, A Lavender Wedding | St. Helena, California

When Lindsey contacted me about designing flowers for her and Rico's wedding celebration, to say I was excited would be an understatement. Lindsey is the owner of a wonderful farm-to-table restaurant in town, Backdoor Bistro. Naturally, we have become a pretty big fans of Chef Lindsey, her restaurant, staff, and delectable dishes (the wine isn't too shabby either of course). As Lindsey and I were both starting our new businesses around the same time, we had a few opportunities to work with one another and support local, woman-owned, small businesses. I consider Lindsey a friend, wonderful colleague, and simply a genuinely kind person. 

Lindsey and Rico were married late in May on Rico's family vineyard, Stony Hill Vineyard in St. Helena, CA. They wanted a classic, romantic, fresh, aesthetic that resembled French country chic. Lavender filled the venue from potted topiaries on the dining tables, to the gorgeous dried lavender wreaths that hung on the vineyard doors, freshly cut stems for bridesmaid bouquets, and flower girl baskets filled with dried lavender grains for tossing down the aisle. Silver dollar eucalyptus garland accented the head tables along with tiny sprigs of lavender at each place setting. What was even more special? All the lavender we used in our designs was grown locally, right here in Vacaville. Dried lavender sprigs and wreaths were provided by our dear friend Denise of Girl on the Hill. A lovely lavender farmer and vineyard owner perched a top of Mount Vaca. We also cut several varieties of fresh lavender from the fields of Soul Food Farm on Pleasant's Valley Road owned by another dear pal and colleague, Alexis. Alexis is a truly amazing and hard working farmer raising chickens, grow lavender, and olive trees amongst many other exciting side projects. In addition, we tied in fresh herbs such as rosemary and sage cut right from my home garden. Need less to say, we were elated to be able to source the freshest, most fragrant products right here in our hometown. Not many other floral designers have that luxury outside of Northern California.

Then came the bridal bouquet...Lindsey's bouquet was one of our favorite yet! She wanted a real statement piece that incorporated all California grown blossoms in white, ivory, and lavender with accents of silver hues and green. She wanted something wild, fun, and whimsical but also refined and classic. Fluffy peonies, garden roses, Queen Anne's lace, lisianthus, ranunculas, stock, nigella, dusty miller, and seeded eucalyptus all danced together in this bouquet that fit Lindsey's personality just perfect.

What came together for this celebration, was just magical. Take a look for yourself...

Thank you to Lindsey & Rico for including us in your special day! It was an honor to design for you two! And another huge applause and thank you to Jaimi Lynn Photography for the beautiful images. We LOVE them! Local food, wine, flowers, vendors...This wedding truly featured what Living & Loving Local is all about!

Venue: Stony Hill Vineyard | Photography: Jaimi Lynn Photography | Day of Wedding Coordination: Fearon May Events | Floral Design: The Pollen Mill

 

 

Bright & Classic Park Winters Wedding | Winters, California

Stephanie & Scott were married on a warm spring evening at the gorgeous Park Winters. This fun couple reached out to us looking for floral designs that were clean, bright, classic, with a "fresh from the garden" ease to them. Each arrangement contained touches of soft silvery green, lime green, and white fluffy blooms, & whimsical movement pieces. Stephanie & Scott's celebration included their closest friends and family for a genuine, intimate celebration. Thank you for allowing us to be part of your special Day Scott & Stephanie! Everything was just perfect.

Venue: The Inn at Park Winters, Winters, CA | Event Planning & Coordination: Alluring Events & Design | Photography: Sweet + Marie Photography | Floral Design: The Pollen Mill


Being an Island.

“Feel your emotions, Live true your passions, Keep still your mind.”― Geoffrey M. Gluckman

This week I was able to spend a few hours with some of my dearest lady friends. Strangely, these are people I've only known for the last year or two since starting The Pollen Mill. Each of them own a small business as well. All completely different fields of work, but self-employed none the less, and all have been in business for much, much longer than I.

Over wine we talked shop (taxes, payments, paperwork, and all the crap), life (kids, friends, husbands, girlfriends/boyfriends, sickness, travel, parents, death), and moving forward (with our businesses, with people we love, with plans), and just that urge to take the next step & keep going.

One of the hardest parts about working alone is feeling like you are an island. Don't get me wrong, standing in my studio in elastic waist pants and smelling glorious flowers isn't really something to complain about... But, that feeling of being alone so often that you forget how to have an adult conversation, it's just the weirdest thing. Sometimes it feels like I can take on the world without a question. While other times I feel like the world just has it out for me. You know, it's just kind of how it goes; feast & famine all at the same time. One thing stands out from my visits with theses ladies... true passion, a kind of passion that words don't really explain. The kind of passion where you wake up at any hour to do the silliest tasks like make that one little edit to a photo, search and pull the tiniest of weeds, or just checking in on a client to make sure they are feeling ok. Meanwhile, forgetting to eat meals, working so much you have to call your mom and say "Yes, I'm still alive." Those things that make us real people, fighting our own fights, with relationships of all levels. True passion and in exchange, real customer service. It's not something you can put a price on.

You've heard me tout over and over again about strong, successful women who have my back. They're real. They inspire, they teach, they support, they bounce ideas back to me. Real, no bullshit, friends who when they say "you're doing such an good job," I actually believe them. Because they know what it's like to be an island. They know how much bills, taxes and paychecks come and go. But more than anything, they hug you after a glass of wine and say "thank you, I needed this."
So, I guess my entire post today is a quick thank you to those people who are full of passion, share their passion, and keep this little machine going. You are appreciated.

PS- I feel I should come clean... 76% of the plants in my yard are dead, like crispy and brown. I can claim that it's because we are in a drought and I'm conserving water. But in real life, it's simply because of neglect. So don't feel bad. Even the floral designer's yard looks like royal shit. And I can't lie, it's pretty embarrassing.

English Garden Inspired Late Spring Wedding in Blue and Yellow | Vacaville, CA

Tony and Kristin have a love that beams bright. These two are fun-loving adventurers who wanted their wedding day to feel classic, comforting, and natural. They requested an English garden aesthetic for their floral designs with soft blooms, vines, and variation of blues, yellows, and accents of white. As you can see in their photos, these two are just madly in love! They headed from their wedding celebration to our favorite place in the whole world, Bali, to start off their new journey as husband and wife. Enjoy a few images of their perfect late spring celebration. Thank you for including us in your special day! XO

Venue: Ulatis Cultural Center & Vacaville Opera House | Photography: Brett Hickman Photography

Hiddenbrooke Golf Course Wedding in Blush, Pink & White | Vallejo, California

Thea & Grant were married on a warm January afternoon in Fairfield, California. Their wedding ceremony was held at Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses followed by reception and dining at Hiddenbrooke Golf Course in Vallejo, California. Thea and Grant are a sweet, kind, and easy-going couple with a big family surrounding them with love. Thea wanted lush pink and white flowers with pops of bright pink focal flowers for her maids of honor. She loves hydrangeas and the soft billow of large romantic blooms like ranunculas and Icelandic poppies. For Grant's and his groomsmen, we incorporated unique seasonal flowers of blushing bride protea with the gentle silver of dusty miller. Here's a little peek at our floral designs for their very special day.

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Thea & Grant~ Thank you for allowing us to be a part of your special day. We hope you are enjoying newlywed bliss!

XO~ The Pollen Mill Crew

Event Details~ Ceremony: Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses Fairfield, CA | Reception: Hiddenbrooke Golf Course in Vallejo, California | Photography: Josh Sado Photography Maui, HI | Floral Design: The Pollen Mill

June in Bloom

I know I write this every blog entry, but where does the time go? Just yesterday we were delivering Valentine's flowers and then in a blink of an eye it was Mother's day. Now we are already in the depths of summer wedding season! Sheesh, I guess we just get lost in flowers.
My sincere apologies for not updating more often, but here's a little glimpse of what's been going on in our little flower world! More posts about individual events to follow so keep an eye out!

Enjoy!

Blue, white and yellow memorial display in an antique Asian vase (the picture does no justice to the size of this hefty lady)!  Event: Wedding at Private Estate in Green Valley, CA

Blue, white and yellow memorial display in an antique Asian vase (the picture does no justice to the size of this hefty lady)!

Event: Wedding at Private Estate in Green Valley, CA

Bright purple hues with yellow & orange accents for these dinner party centerpieces.             Event: Dinner Party, Vacaville, CA

Bright purple hues with yellow & orange accents for these dinner party centerpieces.           

Event: Dinner Party, Vacaville, CA

A fluffy sweet pink & coral bridal bouquet surprise for a special elopement.  Event: City Hall Elopement, San Francisco, CA

A fluffy sweet pink & coral bridal bouquet surprise for a special elopement.

Event: City Hall Elopement, San Francisco, CA

White, butter cream, & blue bridal bouquet with of tiny accents of privet and chocolate cosmos for a sweet, romantic wedding.  Event: Wedding, Private Farm, Sonoma, CA

White, butter cream, & blue bridal bouquet with of tiny accents of privet and chocolate cosmos for a sweet, romantic wedding.

Event: Wedding, Private Farm, Sonoma, CA

Some of our bright & bold spring deliveries we couldn't help but want to keep them all!

Some of our bright & bold spring deliveries we couldn't help but want to keep them all!

Soft pastels and billowy roses in this English garden themed bridal bouquet.  Event: Private Vow Exchange, Fairfield, CA

Soft pastels and billowy roses in this English garden themed bridal bouquet.

Event: Private Vow Exchange, Fairfield, CA

A couple classic and simple white and twine boutonniere & corsages for a warm spring wedding.  Event: Wedding, Park Winters, Winters, CA

A couple classic and simple white and twine boutonniere & corsages for a warm spring wedding.

Event: Wedding, Park Winters, Winters, CA

Pink & Purple Mother's Day delights went out to some happy Mommies.

Pink & Purple Mother's Day delights went out to some happy Mommies.

Peony season came in quick along with massive amounts of gorgeous organic product! This entire arrangement 100% organic, 100% Northern California Grown. :)

Peony season came in quick along with massive amounts of gorgeous organic product! This entire arrangement 100% organic, 100% Northern California Grown. :)

A request for something "fun & spunky" for real estate home staging.

A request for something "fun & spunky" for real estate home staging.

A streaming bridal bouquet for a staged photo shoot at one of our favorite local wedding venues, Soul Food Farm.  Event: Photo Shoot Soul Food Farm, Vacaville, CA

A streaming bridal bouquet for a staged photo shoot at one of our favorite local wedding venues, Soul Food Farm.

Event: Photo Shoot Soul Food Farm, Vacaville, CA

We foraged all the materials for these rehearsal dinner centerpieces from the expansive onsite garden. Need less to say, we fell in love with this venue!  Event: Rehearsal Dinner, Private Estate, Napa, CA

We foraged all the materials for these rehearsal dinner centerpieces from the expansive onsite garden. Need less to say, we fell in love with this venue!

Event: Rehearsal Dinner, Private Estate, Napa, CA

Coral pink with navy and white stripes for this bridesmaid bouquet for a Park Winters Wedding.  Event: Wedding, Park Winters, Winters, CA (photo courtesy of Crystal Lynn Photography).

Coral pink with navy and white stripes for this bridesmaid bouquet for a Park Winters Wedding.

Event: Wedding, Park Winters, Winters, CA (photo courtesy of Crystal Lynn Photography).

We are booking well into 2016 already, so don't hesitate to call or email for a consultation. Much love from the depths of the flower world! ~The Pollen Mill Crew

Oakland Country Club Wedding with Summer Corals and Blush | Sequoia Country Club | Oakland, CA

Monica and Phil knew just what would look perfect for their August wedding in Oakland, CA. Fresh and romantic blooms in soft corals, white, and blush to highlight the Mediterranean-style clubhouse at the Sequoia Country Club. The sun was warm, the breeze light, and these two were just so much fun! Whitewashed birdcages rested alongside milk glass vessels on the dining tables with tiny succulent guest favors at each place setting. Monica's bouquet was filled with cafe au lait dahlias, blushing bride protea, spray garden roses, and scabiosa balls all hand-tied with Silk and Willow plant-dyed flowing ribbon. And what can I say about the resurrection of carnations...these coral carnies will kill all your dispositions about 80's carnation boutonnieres paired with baby blue tuxedos and mullets. All in all, it was a gorgeous day to celebrate an awesome couple. Thank you Monica and Phil for letting us be part of your special day! Cheers to endless years of laughter and love together.
 Venue: Sequoia Country Club www.sequoyahcc.com
 Day of Wedding Coordination: Ann from Lux Premiere Events www.luxpremierevents.com
 Photography: Wild About You Photography www.wildaboutyouphotography.com

 

Sacramento Winter Wedding | McKinley Park & Club House | Sacramento, CA

Aggie and TK are the kind of clients a floral designer dreams of working with. They are so fun-loving, sincere, easy to talk to, and obviously head-over-heels in love. They had a clean/modern vision for their wedding day that was reflective of their interests and style. Chalked full of personal touches and well... simply stunning, they requested jewel toned floral designs with a wild, gathered, and edgy feel.

For the reception, single bottles gathered placed randomly along farm-style tables for a clean and unique aesthetic. Eucalyptus garlands accented welcome tables and buffet displays. While Aggie's bridal bouquet and Maid-Of-Honor Claire carried vibrant eye-catching bouquets. TK's distinctive boutonniere combined masculinity with playfulness in a hue of brilliant marsala (the 2015 Pantone color of the year).
Thank you Aggie & TK for including us in your celebration of forever. May each day be filled with bliss!                                                                                                                                                   Here are just a few images from their special wedding day.

Photography courtesy of Kris Holland Photography // krishollandphotography.com

Venue: McKinley Park Rose Garden and Club House Sacramento, California

Claire (Maid Of Honor) and Aggie (Bride) carried jewel tone bouquets featuring winter blooms of amaryllis, ranunculus, anemone, narcissus, chocolate cosmos, jasmine, chocolate, Queen Anne's lace, geranium, and scilla white Havana lily.

Claire (Maid Of Honor) and Aggie (Bride) carried jewel tone bouquets featuring winter blooms of amaryllis, ranunculus, anemone, narcissus, chocolate cosmos, jasmine, chocolate, Queen Anne's lace, geranium, and scilla white Havana lily.

TK's boutonniere included blushing bride protea, chocolate cosmos, and safari sunset for a masculine yet romantic appeal.

TK's boutonniere included blushing bride protea, chocolate cosmos, and safari sunset for a masculine yet romantic appeal.

Aggie's asymmetrical bridal bouquet with blush roses and jeweled blooms on a bed of jasmine and gardenia.

Aggie's asymmetrical bridal bouquet with blush roses and jeweled blooms on a bed of jasmine and gardenia.

Long farm-style tables draped in white linen with craft paper runners were decorated with various bottles containing flowers, candles, and geometric shapes made of paper for a clean, simple, and unique feel.

Long farm-style tables draped in white linen with craft paper runners were decorated with various bottles containing flowers, candles, and geometric shapes made of paper for a clean, simple, and unique feel.

The head table with framed with paper spheres was just so sweet.

The head table with framed with paper spheres was just so sweet.

Aggie looked timeless in her fur coverlet with side swept hair. Gasp.

Aggie looked timeless in her fur coverlet with side swept hair. Gasp.

They are just perfect.

They are just perfect.

Billowy Blooms for a Yountville Autumn Wedding | Bouchon Restaurant | Yountville, CA

We just love when our inbox is filled with lovely photographs from our wedding clients! This November wedding in Yountville was classic and breathtaking with lush, billowy blooms and sweet personal details. Naturally, we had to share these stunning images of our designs captured by Vicen Forns Photography. Thank you Vicen Forns for sharing! Enjoy!

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Venue: Bouchon Bistro (Yountville)   Photography: Vicen Forns Photography (Napa)  Hair & Make-Up: Carrie Aldous (Napa)  

5 Things to Know Before You Decide to DIY Your Wedding Flowers

We live in the age of Do It Yourself. There are entire websites, television networks, and magazines devoted to the Do It Yourself-er in all of us. I totally get it! I have DIY’d a ton of projects, particularly when it came time to plan for my own wedding. We spent months making fabric buntings, hand-painted table runners, and even stationary for our big day. Our mothers worked tirelessly hand-sewing napkins and baking cakes and pies solely because of our DIY enthusiasm.

I know what you’re thinking…“you’re a floral designer, so of course you would not suggest doing your own wedding flowers.”  My response: “Exactly!” I didn’t even design the flowers for my own wedding (my husband wouldn’t let me and boy am I ever so thankful!) We’ve had a lot of inquiries about Do It Yourself wedding flowers lately. With that said, here are 5 tokens of insight if you are thinking you would like to DIY your wedding flowers.

Timing.
Professionally created wedding designs take at minimum two to three full work days (10 to 12 hours) to construct and often even longer. With these perishable items, floral designers understand time constraints pertaining to flowers. Florists know best practices to get wedding flowers looking their finest for their grand appearance. Many of these techniques revolve around timing. Your beautiful peonies do not come from wholesale marketers blown open and fluffy. Garden roses are tightly budded and can take from several days up to a week in the perfect environment to open into their full glory. And the hours it takes to coerce poppies out of their pods, forget about it!  These are just the facts about timing for getting flowers to look their best. Constructing the floral designs is another beast.

There are bridal bouquets where I have spent upwards of 3-4 hours just designing their formation. Bridal bouquets require  intricate details to really "pop" and photograph well. When designing a bridal bouquet, I am often re-evaluating materials, building an aesthetic, and finding the perfect trellising movement piece that frames a gorgeous focal flower. Next hand-tying each bouquet, adding ribbon or twine, and finally personalized accent decor. Then you have the packing, labeling, the game of car Jenga, safe transporting, and unloading. All of these things take time, lots of it. And if there is one thing a couple does not have a few days before their wedding, it is time!

Technique & Knowledge.
There’s no appropriate price tag for knowledge. It is simply like the MasterCard commercials say, knowledge is priceless. Technique and learning all about plants and design are skills that take many weeks, even years, of practice, research, experience and collaboration. Floral designers are in constant cycle of practice-learn-practice-change-repeat. New techniques, products, fads, and even new types of plants and flowers are introduced several times a year!

Those simple hydrangea centerpieces you think you can just plop into a cylinder vase, think again. Many flowers require a certain finesse in order to keep them looking beautiful and healthy. Those hydrangeas happen to be rather finicky and require proper techniques for preparation responsible for delivering loads of hydration to each stem. Moreover, what works for one flower, does not necessarily work for another. Some stems even require searing the end after cutting with a flame or torch. Crazy right?!

Precision.
Many couples explain that they simply want “that wild flower feel.” While simply placing greenery and flowers in a vessel can look great, you likely will not receive that same aesthetic more than once. With bridal party flowers and wedding centerpieces, there’s  typically more than one bouquet and arrangement. Replication plays a huge role in floral design. Creating pieces that work well with one another while accenting tiny details in dresses or cakes are a designer’s specialty. A floral designer can look at your wedding dress, groomsman attire, stationary, even your guest favors and make suggestions for arrangements that will showcase the important aspects of your wedding. Flowers tie together the entire “feel” of the event. Cohesiveness between designs keeps the overall aesthetic of the wedding clean, full of impact, and precise. Without cohesion, flowers can appear disjointed or effortless, not quite the lasting impression you’d want your guests to walk away with.

Selection.
Flower selection is a fine art. Floral designers have relationships with their wholesale marketers and even growers. They know which flowers will be fresh and available the day of your wedding. With many options now to purchase flowers online, it remains a huge gamble to order flowers sight unseen. Worst case scenario, flowers will arrive wilted and sad just a few days before your wedding. Leaving you no option but to scramble to source more blooms or even more costly, hire an expert last minute. Floral designers select their materials directly from growers or wholesale markets not available to the public. They have in mind exactly which perfect flower will be showcased in the bridal bouquet as soon as they lay eyes on it. They oftentimes will reach out to their markets well in advance looking for a specific color or shape of plant that will give their artistry its significance. Since not every flower is created equal, your floral designer will know how best to test for freshness and select accordingly.

Sanity.
This one is my favorite! I cannot emphasize the value of maintaining my own sanity on the days leading up to my wedding day. Instead of worrying even a little about my wedding flowers, I was able to focus all my energy into my husband-to-be and our loved ones who traveled far and wide to celebrate the most special day of our lives.
Floral designers are well equipped with planning, delivery, and executing the perfect wedding flowers all without the couple ever knowing any difficulties or slip-ups. Part of your florists job is to problem solve and keep the bride(s) and/or groom(s) as relaxed as possible. Meanwhile, sticking to schedules and creating the breathtaking decor that will have a bride in tears the moment she enters the room. Your wedding day should be a day where you can revel in the joy of love, support, and excitement for your future with your partner. Let the professionals help to keep you on a cloud of wedding bliss!

I hope these 5 details assist you in your wedding flowers decisions. Best of luck in all of your planning. Enjoy every minute along the path to forever!

Warmly,
The Pollen Mill