Behind The Scenes At One of Our Favorite Past Weddings
Check out what it took to pull together one of Lola Creative’s favorite summer destination weddings!
We thought you’d like a behind the scenes peek into how things were made, installed, delivered, all that not-glamorous hidden stuff that you may want to know about.
Maybe you want to do a big DIY feature for your own wedding (beware and read on)…
Maybe you are just starting your own floral or event design company…
Maybe you are just curious…
As for me, I just want to have an excuse to look at these gorgeous photos. Nonetheless, here is a look behind the scenes at a fabulous destination wedding.
Jana and Troy got married at Roche Harbor Resort in Washington’s San Juan Islands (Friday Harbor to be precise). All these light filled dreamy images are shared with us from Laura Gordon Photography. Thanks Laura!
A Luxurious Journey
The day went something like this: our staff catches the 6am ferry from Anacortes. This means we get in line sometime around 5am to be sure not to miss it. Which means we have left our houses sometime around 3:30am. (ugh). We sleep on the ride over.
We arrive, eat some breakfast, and head over to the resort to be let into the reception hall, a charming, white washed room filled with light and easy vibes.
Everything Went According To Plan
The van floor is awash with water. Since we don’t use foam often the water from our pre-made floral arrangements sloshes out. The first thing we do is find a shady spot for the floral arrangements and refill them with water.
Kokedama? Yes Please!
Four people get working on hanging an iron gate to the beams that will be the structure from which our kokedama balls will hang.
(Our bride introduced us to kokedama and now I am obsessed.)
The bride and mother of the bride supplied us with pearled wire and baubles to hang from some of the kokedama. We hand made the tassels days earlier in our studio. Kokedama are made by wrapping plants with roots in a well draining soil wrapped with moss and then hung.
Some Assembly Required
Two people get to work on assembling the sweetheart table backdrop. It was inspired by a fabric display in an Anthropologie window. For a ten foot wide and 7 foot tall display, it took over 400 yards of fabric and four people 3 full days of ripping and tying.
TIP: This is good info for you folks planning your own DIY feature for a wedding. These things take lots and lots of time, and often much more materials than you may think. The individual fabric strips are pre-tied to a rope so that just the individual strands need to be attached.
We attached the back to two adjustable height coat racks so that they could be moved behind the DJ after dinner. A shorter strip was attached to the ceiling to create a frame and layered effect.
The couple sat on a vintage loveseat behind wooden farm tables with luxurious garlands. The loveseat was provided by our dear friends at Vintage Ambiance.
TIP: Vintage furniture is often lower to the ground than contemporary furniture. We solved this by building two 4″ height risers to prop up the bride and groom to normal height.
Next we hung the kokedama balls.
TIP: If using kokedama or any hanging plant with soil, make sure you have watered it a couple of days before. Do not water it on the day of your event, or it will drip or be unnecessarily heavy. Also, pre-tie your individual plants to an S-hook so you don’t have to adjust the height in the air.
Making Sure Everything Is Right
One of our team takes the bouquets and personal flowers over to the couple as they prepare for photos. We want to make sure they are perfect and that they love them, know how to hold them, and remind them to dry off the exposed stems when they are out of water. We leave little vases with them so that the bouquets can stay hydrated when they are not in use.
We hustle down to the chapel to get the ceremony in order before heading back to the reception hall. We assemble the giant bird cage and fill it with candles and vines. Attach two giant swags to the door (both created without foam), and attach the adorable pew ends. Simple and beautiful.
Once the ceremony is complete, we head back up to place the mixed greenery garlands on the tables, flowers, and add decor to the indoor and outdoor fireplaces.
We tie sweet feathers and leather straps to candles, light all the 10 hour tealights, and fine tune any wayward flowers.
13 Hours and… It’s Break Time
We get the “okay” from the mother of the bride and are off for dinner around 5pm. So far, my team has been working for 13 hours.
After dinner, two of our team arrive back at the reception. After the guests have finished eating we roll the backdrop behind the DJ and take down the hanging layered piece.
Two people stay overnight and wake up early to tear it all down, pack it up, and catch a ferry home.
What It Takes
Wedding sets, especially destinations, are usually long days.
This one took two staff 8 hours and two more 16 hours.
But sweet, trusting families, light-filled rooms, gorgeous pieces to make, and dreamy photos like these are worth the sore feet!
And moments like these…
Five Sustainable Floral Products to Green Your Designs
Let’s face it, weddings and corporate events can be massively wasteful. But your floral shop doesn’t have to be. In fact, in the upper left corner of this country, it’s a selling point to operate a greener floral studio with sustainable products and techniques. Our clients seek out ways to live more responsibly and love knowing that their decor isn’t unnecessarily wasteful.
We gauge wastefulness by weighing the material’s life cycle. Start of life, during life, and after life. So with this in mind, something like bioboard is less wasteful than styrofoam or foamcore. Floral Soil is less wasteful (if at all) than floral foam.
At the start of life, how was the material created and what pollutants and general yuckies were created by its production? Was it grown? Super. Was it grown locally without chemicals and practices that might pollute waterways and harm insects? Super Duper!!! Was it made from previously recycled content? Love that. How was it shipped?
During it’s life in our studio, how many times can we reuse it? Can we make it into a quality, long-lived piece that our clients will want to keep? Does it give me a mysterious rash? Can my dog eat it?
When we are done with it, where does it go? Can it be recycled? Can it be composted? Can we rent it out again?
Now I’ll admit there is a stockpile of adhesives and paints in our studio that are nowhere near Super Duper, Gold Star Life Cycle Rating, but we do what we can where we can and are always on the lookout for materials that better fit our goals.
Here are a few materials you can be confident in and start using immediately that won’t raise eyebrows.
1. Bioboard: Made originally for printing, this stuff comes in 1/4 inch to 1″ thicknesses and 4X8 foot sheets. It’s extremely light and strong. We use this in place of foam-core, styro sheets, masonite, and even sometimes wood. Don’t get water on it though, because it will dissolve fast. We use this to build scenes, 3D shapes, and support for flower walls. Photo is provided by Laird Plastics, our Seattle source for BioBoard.
2. Floral Soil: currently ramping up production is floral soil solutions, a water- holding, bio=based compound that will replace toxic floral foam. Get on the list to get your own stash and experiment with how it works, including tall arrangements that were once so improbable in a studio without foam. It can be reused for a time, and then tossed into your compost nary a concern. Photo sourced from the Floral Soil Website .
3. Sticks: So versatile, seriously. ‘Le Stick’ is practically used everyday in our studio to create volume and a transport- proof armature in which to stick our stems. Even in low, wide arrangements, a tape grid and a stick armature is all you need to create a secure centerpiece with volume. Haven’t mastered ‘Le Stick’? Try it out in our centerpiece workshop Coming up May 7th! Click Here.
4. Moss: Nature’s natural sponge that holds moisture for days. Use as a matrix for holding stems in place over an opaque container or mass into a ball for a natural sculpture. Both uses eliminate the need for floral foam.
5. Local Flowers: They’re not just prettier but they haven’t traveled long distances. Local allows you to have greater knowledge of how your flowers were raised and supports local business. With the right growers, you can work together to ensure you are getting all those great, strange flowers that are extra special. Nothing conveys specialness than pointing out a flower and telling them about the person who grew it for them. That’s just love and specialness all over the place.
Again, if you’d like to learn more about sustainable floral design practices and all sorts of behind the scenes fun, join our community by subscribing to our email list. Also, if you know of someone else who may think this is helpful, please send it to them!
How to Make a Glorious Springtime Bouquet
“Don’t make things ugly.” This is really the only rule we have at Lola Creative, unless we’re going for ugly-pretty or ugly-scary/cool. But when it comes to bouquets for weddings, pretty-pretty is the minimum. What we really try for is more like, “HOLY HANDFUL OF DRIPPING EARTHLY MAGNIFICENCE!” – or something of that nature.
My first bouquets were barely pushing pretty-pretty. Mainly because I learned from the You Tube. My roses weren’t fully open, flower diversity was so-so, and the shape looked like my bouquet had been squeezed through my sweater sleeve. This changed while on a business trip to New York. I snuck out of my then ‘real’ job to take an intro bouquet class at the New York Botanical Garden. I learned a couple of simple tricks to get a full bouquet that looks like each flower could just continue on growing. We’ll go over that at our GARDENESQUE BOUQUET WORKSHOP. Register here.
But today we’ll just breeze over some terms for different types of flowers and how they are working in this bouquet, inspired by St. Patty’s Day.
And here are the yummy, American and Lower Left Canadian flowers.
Base: These are flowers we start out with, I typically start with three. Their main purpose is to support the other flowers ON TOP OF THEM and be a barrier for flowers around them that want to squeeze into the center. So don’t get too attached to them because you aren’t going to see very much of them. They are back up dancers. Now you could use them also as secondary, but I did not.
Focal: This is the one or two flowers to drool over and often the most expensive. We don’t want too many. These are typically near the middle and typically one is smack on top of my base flower so it has maximum room to stretch out and be fantastic.
Secondary: These are flowers to add color and build your bouquet out. They go all over the dang place. I typically choose one or two types.
Sprouties: These are flowers that are smaller and hover over the other flowers giving it some movement and lightness. For gardeney bouquets I use a lot of these and place them throughout. The stems need to be longer than your base and focal flowers. Sprouties can be flowers, pods, or small, delicate foliage.
Foliage: Here I use a few foliage to get a good garden variety. the rigidity and loveliness varies. For example, the box, which goes a bit unnoticed is rigid and will help keep flowers from squishing in and can help in supporting big floppy flowers. The delicate geranium is used a bit more like a feature because of its graceful arch.
Drapey bits: Not shown in the image above is drapey bits like the pieris, Placed near the outer ring or along the outside, they will make the profile of your bouquet look fab, add grace, and an elegant drippy quality.
Special bits: These are the pieces that I add last, after most everything is secured and I’ve had a chance to inspect the bouquet in a full length mirror. I then decide where these go to bring focus and character to where it needs it.
And THAT, flower friends, is the anatomy of a gardenesque bouquet. sign_up. for our bouquet workshop on March 28th to put all this good stuff to use and play with some of the lushest flowers and foliage our local farmers have to offer.
Design Secrets Revealed! Lola Workshops
Need to refresh your design approach or looking to learn the floral design methods that have made Lola Creative stand out? Come jam with us at one of this spring’s Design + Floral Workshops! Registration is ON by clicking on the workshop you would like to attend. You will be able to order them individually or as a package for more cost savings.
Bold Design Principles for Stand Out Events– Saturday March 7th 2pm to 4:15or Tuesday 10th 3:30 to 5:45pm
This is the core of how we see and our ongoing obsession. The Bold Design Principles Workshop is not your typical floral design theory class. It blends our knowledge of painting approach, sculpture, and landscape design, and melds it with some fascinating science about how the eye makes sense of information. You will leave knowing how to conceptualize any piece, what to focus on for various effects for different situations, and what not to (spoiler alert: IT’S NOT COLOR!!!). You will also get the chance to experiment making floral designs with these new principles in mind. (and you get to take them home). Feel like you never know where to start with your designs. Consider that done! This class is open to students of all experience levels. Click the main image to be transferred to the registration page.
The Gardenesque Bouquet– Saturday March 28th 10am-12:30pm
Lush, textured, and arranged like it was gathered from the side of a sun-swept mountain by a maiden in a flowey skirt; her unicorn’s mane floating with the wind….. sigh. Really though, if you are of the Northwest in reality or in spirit, you will want to know how to make this bouquet. In this hands-on class, we will use 100% local and responsibly grown flowers and foliage for a diverse, lush look. You will learn techniques to make a full look, how to choose plant material, design principles for bouquets, and tips to ensure your bouquet looks as great in photos as in person. This class is open to students of all experience levels. Click the main image to be transferred to the registration page.
The Romantic Compote Centerpiece– Thursday May 7th 2pm-4:30pm
Nothing exudes romance and luxury like an overflowing bowl of fresh flowers and trailing foliage. It’s also one of the most photographed look on wedding and floral blogs. Learn to make this essential piece with sustainable design methods and local, responsibly grown flowers and foliage. Learn techniques to include unexpected elements and live plants. You will take home your own creation. This class is open to students of all experience levels. Click the main image to be transferred to the registration page.
Advanced Designs with Sustainable Methods– Thursday, April 9th 10am-4pm
Thinking about marketing your floral endeavor as a green business but hesitant to make the leap? This advanced class will give you the know-how and confidence to build sculptural pieces without the use of flower foam and source responsibly without sacrificing wow-factor. This is a full day course and includes a local, organic lunch served by the chefs at 21 acres. The hands-on projects include flower walls, tall no-foam centerpieces, cascading bouquets with armatures, moss infrastructures, and a slew of methods and techniques to get your creative juices going. We will also go over green business topics that will include information about materials costs, sample markups, educating your clients, and transporting finished work. Students take home at least a bouquet.
This class is open to advanced students who either have experience in the floral trade or new students who have taken our Design Principles course. Click the main image to be transferred to the registration page.
All classes will take place at 21 Acres in Woodinville Wine Country, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting sustainable agriculture and building techniques. All class materials and tools are provided including 100% responsibly grown flowers and foliage. Students MUST pre-register for these workshops. Carpooling is encouraged.
I simply cannot WAIT to meet you,
How to Make a Wintery Holiday Centerpiece with Easy-to-Find Evergreens.
Short on holiday decor but have a lots of greenery?
For a lot of the materials here, you won’t need to look much further than your backyard. Follow these steps to turn your in season greenery into a holiday crowd pleaser. For more of these sort of tutorials and info on local workshops make sure you subscribe in the top right of the page!
I picked up my greens from the Seattle Wholesale Grower’s Market– which to Seattleites, may as well be their backyard. They’ve got a wide variety of greens available that have all been grown locally. AND you don’t need a wholesale account to purchase on Fridays. It’s not important that you have the same greens, so long as you’ve got something in the same categories. Categories that I, ehem, have concocted after much experience, observation, and research….
- Fluffy stuff: any foliage with a full, voluminous look, really a space filler but I don’t want to hurt its feelings. You’ll need 3-5 stems depending on the size of your dish. I am using an 8″ wide gold compote with elk heads (!!!:) !!!:)!!!) You can use all the same variety or multiple but I wouldn’t go more than 2. Here, I’m using some sort of Korean fir (or something), and Bay Leaf.
- Armature Stuff: This can or doesn’t have to be pretty, since we don’t use foam, it’s a functional component to ensure all this heavy foliage has a nice tight structure to keep it in place. An armature is a term used in sculpture to give shape and support to a piece. You can think of them as bones. For my armature I’m using about 3 twigs cut down into smaller twigs of red huckleberry. You could use any small branch or even cut offs ends of the rest of the foliage.
- Sprouty things: These can be graceful or spiky and are used in small quantities to give the arrangement a punch. It’s like a cherry on top. Too many sprouties and your arrangement can look muppet-like which is totally good in many instances but we’re going for something a little more traditional here. Here I’m using just one lovely ivy vine with a nice curvy shape to it, and one curvey branch of Pine. The ilex is the red berry, and while it is spikey, it’s acting more as an eye catcher.
- Eye-catchers: These are bold elements that stand contrast more than anything else. You will want to severely limit these. I’ve used Ilex berry for my eye-catchers and though one branch has several twiggies, they are clumped in the same spot so the eye-catching is still only happening in one place. Just one ilex shown here.
- Drapey stuff: Not always necessary but nice in this instance to cover the edge of the bowl. This is helpful especially to help camouflage my chicken wire cage. Drapey stuff is just that, something that is heavy enough to hang down or something with a graceful bend. I am using about 5 sprigs of cedar.
- Other ingredients:
- wide mouth container
- chicken wire: approximately 10″X5″
- wire cutters or tin snips
- pruners or floral scissors
- floral tape, waterproof tape, or if your container has heads, you can use twine like me.
- Time: I’d give it 45 minutes once you’ve got all your materials if this is new to you.
First make a chicken wire cage, or floral frog by bending your chicken wire into a bubble. Loop the sharp ends over the connection points so the wire doesn’t slip. Shape cage into container.
Since this is a low dish, you will want to secure the cage in place from above. Typically I would use tape but since it can remove finishes, and I’ve got these great heads, I’m going to use twine. It’s not so important that the tape holds up during the entire process. It’s only there to get you started. As you go on, the stems themselves will hold everything up.
Next it’s time to make an armature. As mentioned before, this is a crucial step to ensure your heavy arrangement is supported. Don’t think too much about what the arrangement will look like at this point. This part will likely disappear into the arrangement. It’s got more functional value than aesthetic. Clip or pull off any little twiglets that will interfere with inserting your twig into the cage. Remove twiglets and cut the bottom so that the stem end touches the bottom of the container, and the first twiglet ‘Y’ rests right inside the opening for the chicken wire.
Remember, the point is to get a bunch of stems in place so your next step has a more secure support cage to be inserted into. More stems with less top growth are better than less stems with bushier top growth. So goodbye twiglets. We’re trying to jam up that base.
Go nuts with twigs. The friction of stem on container, and twig on twig will make your arrangement secure.
Next is the drapey stuff to cover the rim. Remove all the excess twiglets so what you are left with is clean and has its own clear shape. Cut the end and insert so the stem touches the bottom of the container.
This is the part when I got really into singing Mariah Carey’s ‘All I want for Christmas’ and forgot that I was supposed to photograph the steps. Basically I am adding the fluffy stuff and playing with placement on the sprouty bits. I know where I want my eyecatcher to sit so I’m leaving that open.
Tuck in the eye- catcher. I left a spot for a fluffy piece of bay branch, too.
And finally my sprouty ivy is the cherry o top of this pile of twiggy goodness.
This bay is super yummy.
Stay tuned for upcoming how to’s. Be sure to subscribe to learn about upcoming events and workshops around the Seattle, Eastside, and Puget Sound. And do comment if there is something in particular you’d like to know more about. And have a very happy happy holiday.