Wedding Florist's Advice | Bride's Planning Guide


My guest post today is from my good friend Kristine from Flowers by Kristine. We met a few years ago at a bridal expo and since then have worked a TON of weddings together!  She one of the florists on my Preferred Vendors List (email me if you'd like a copy!), and she does seriously amazing work.  She keeps herself educated on current trends in the industry and while I know she has certain styles she gravitates toward, her work is always different and no two weddings are the same.  I asked Kristine a few questions about wedding florals and her business. gold white tall floral centerpieces

Q: What is the first thing people should consider when planning their wedding florals?

A: The first decision to make when you begin planning your wedding flowers is your color scheme. A palette with 2 or 3 main colors and 1 or 2 accent colors is ideal.

blush and wine wedding bouquets

Q: What are the hot trends in wedding flowers right now?

The biggest trend I have noticed recently is a focus on lush greenery. Bridesmaids bouquets and centerpieces with more greenery than blooms and long greenery garlands down the center of the table have been very popular. I even designed several greenery chandeliers which has been so much fun!

long head table with floral greenery gold charger plates

Many brides are also choosing looser more organic design styles as opposed to the more round and compact designs that were the norm several years ago.

white ivory neutral bridesmaid bouquets

Q: What is your favorite part of your job?

A: My absolute favorite part of my job is designing the bridal bouquet. No matter how big my business gets in the future I will always be the one to design each and every bridal bouquet!

satin ivory wedding dress with ivory green bouquet

Q: As a florist, what is your dream job?

A: I feel that I got so lucky in that I found what I love to do so early in life. My job allows me to be creative with an already beautiful product. I love hearing about each bride’s vision and seeing their vision come together on their wedding day. I love that every week is different because no two weddings are the same.

Pear Tree Estate floral wedding bouquet photography

Q: What are the most popular flowers or colors for brides in our area?

A: In the past couple years I have designed a ton of weddings with a color palette of pale pinks, neutrals, whites and ivories. My entire Instagram feed was filled up with that color scheme for a while there. That palette is still holding strong but I’m seeing many brides are choosing to add rich saturated colors like burgundy, marsala, plum, and sangria to the mix. Personally, I love the contrast of neutrals and rich colors together so I am definitely on board with this trend.

greenery chandelier hanging from ceiling

Q: Any questions I didn't ask?

A: Is it counterproductive to look at Pinterest? In my opinion, not at all! Some people believe that Pinterest gives brides unrealistic expectations. While it is true that the bride on the average budget may not be able to afford some of the huge, elaborate designs packed with blooms, it is still a great place to find inspiration. And even more importantly, since planning your wedding flowers is the first time many brides will really delve into the world of floral design, it is a great place to figure out your tastes in floral design and the styles and blooms you prefer and don’t prefer.

tall floral centerpieces on long farmhouse tables

One of the most helpful methods I use to get a good feel for your tastes is browsing your pins other pics you have gathered and talking about them. I ask broad questions such as “what draws you to this design?” and more specific questions like “what do you think about those berries in the design?” or “ how do you feel about the amount of greenery in this bouquet?”

Thanks Kristine for sharing with us today!  I can't wait to see what you design in 2017!

2017 Wedding Trends | Midwest and Beyond


With 11 years of photographing weddings under my belt, I consider myself somewhat of an expert when it comes to weddings. I’ve seen all kinds of trends as well as beautiful, unique elements from both ends of the spectrum. One-of-a-kind ideas are always welcome to me as a photographer to help keep things fresh and keep me on my toes. Many brides want to stay with classic tones and themes though so that their wedding and the photos and videos of it will stand the test of time. I thought I’d share today some of the current wedding trends that I’ve noticed myself either at real weddings I have photographed or via Pinterest and social media. Many people start by looking at the Pantone Color of the Year, which this year happens to be “greenery,” a bright, almost apple green color that translates well to weddings obviously through greenery in the floral arrangements, but maybe less obviously in the outdoor photos. I take nearly all of my couples outside for a portion of the day and in the warm months of the year, the greenery shows up in the form of grass, ivy, and sometimes weeds in the background of my photos.pantone greenery color of the year

Other colors that are still very prevalent in the wedding industry currently are blush/light pink, navy, gold (and other warm metallics like bronze and copper). Blush is a neat trend because while it is trendy, it is also a neutral and a classic that is timeless. It works very well in flowers and usually works well for bridesmaid dresses as floral and blush place cards and seating arrangements

When it comes to attire, it is definitely more common to see navy and gray suits now as opposed to stark black tuxes, though black tuxes will never go out of style and are essential to high-end, black tie affairs. And both bridal gowns and bridesmaid dresses are using more plunging, necklines, backless designs, and cutouts. Mismatched bridesmaid dresses are gaining popularity, and I’ve been seeing more metallic in bridesmaids as well.

gray and navy wedding suits with blush boutonneires

Couples are also opting to go digital more often and sending save-the-dates, and sometimes even invitations and RSVPs via the internet. Reasons for doing so include conservation efforts (less paper!), possibly more economical, and ease of record-keeping and spreadsheets. Many wedding couples opt for a website now with information for their guests — how they met, photos of the couple, things to do the weekend of the wedding, a schedule, directions, and registry info.blush neutral bridesmaid dresses

Next we’ll move on to reception and celebration trends! There are a ton of cool things happening in the wedding industry right now, and I definitely have a few favorites! First is signature drinks. Pear Tree Estate is big on this and especially with open bar receptions, they will have a little sign at each bar listing “his & hers & theirs” drink options. This is fun because it gives the ladies a more girly or fruity drink to enjoy and the guys get something a little stronger and manly. Moscow mules are really big right now and there are tons of variations on them so they are very versatile. Plus, they are served in a copper mug! Win win!gold flatware with pear signature drink

green gold and copper wedding place settings

Most of my weddings still have a large tiered cake, or at least a small tiered cake for the couple to cut and save the top tier (for the first anniversary). More and more though, I am seeing dessert bars with any sweets you can think of — pie, brownies, cookies, tarts, cheesecake bites, donuts, macarons, etc. I myself am a cake lover, but I never met a bit of sugar that I didn’t like!! Another fun addition to this is a hot drink bar for fall weddings — hot chocolate and cider with mix-ins like caramel sauce, peppermint, infused simple syrup, marshmallows and more.dessert bar and popcorn bar

In addition to the dessert options, I sometimes also see a “late-night snack” option. These have ranged from Curtis Orchard donuts and apple cider to a popcorn bar to s’mores bars to pizza to grilled cheese. And though I haven’t actually seen one in person yet, I CANNOT WAIT to see one of these new DONUT WALLS! WHAT?! A wall of donuts?! Sign me up!

finger food appetizers with gold mimosa glasses

Occasionally I also see lounge areas which have become more popular over the past year or so. These are usually set a bit away from the dance floor or even outside on a patio where the guests can go to relax a bit or cool off and have a quiet place to chat. Vendors like Something Old Event Rentals can hook you up with vintage or funky or modern couches and seating, plus rugs, end tables and coffee tables to make your lounge space super cozy and charger plates with navy sequin tablecloths gold chivari chairs

Lastly, one of the things that really brings the whole reception space together for me is the lighting. I am a huge fan of warm uplighting (or downlighting!) to add a ton of color to your space (even if it’s just amber, it will make a HUGE difference in the aesthetic and photos). I also love any time that twinkle or Christmas lights can be incorporated, but bonus points if they are cafe lights or Edison bulbs to give you that statement look and bit of extra oomph to the lighting. For more rustic or vintage weddings, marquee signs with your names or initials are an additional way to make a visual statement and complete your look or theme.blush white bridal bouquet

blush white neutral tones bouquets

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and gotten a few ideas for your own wedding. Any questions? I’m happy to help with finding past photo examples from other weddings or recommending vendors who can make your wedding vision a reality. Happy planning!!


Winter Stylized Shoot | Alto Vineyards | Champaign


A while back I collaborated on a stylized wedding shoot with florist Kristine Evanson. We put our heads together and came up with what we hope is a fresh, unique take on wedding design. The inspiration for this stylized shoot was an idea of a fair-skinned woodland princess with a lot of earthy neutral colors (creams, silver, brown and white were used) and greens with the faintest hint of blush. We knew the shoot would take place in December, so we really wanted to put into play the stark winter and bare vineyard branches we knew we’d have in abundance. The feel of the shoot from the models to the clothing to the sweetheart table was intimate and organic. We found the juxtaposition of the rough, raw, and stark natural elements with the soft, feminine, delicate and refined elements very unique. We decided early on that the primary model (the bride) should be a long-haired redhead with fair skin, so she was the puzzle piece we chose first, and then everything else fell into place. We wanted her to wear a floral hairpiece and a slightly messy, long fishtail braid. We love how her hair matches the color of the fallen pine needles.

The Ysa Makino gown had a blush pink underlay with a full beaded bodice that complemented the bride’s fair skin tone perfectly. The groom wore a tan three-piece suit with white Windsor tie and brown shoes. The bridesmaid wore a beige chiffon strapless dress with a natural waist.

The antique sweetheart table was decorated with a white chandelier centerpiece that served as a pedestal for the greenery that draped beyond the edge of the table. Kristine was especially inspired by the bare, twisted and tangled grapevines, and we loved the images of the bride gazing out from among the vines. She also wanted to show a different take on rustic elegance and focus on designing with textures.

The bride’s bouquet consisted of white hellebore, white waxflower, seeded eucalyptus, gunni eucalyptus, israeli ruscus, olive, rosemary and hypericum berry. The centerpiece contained seeded eucalyptus, gunni eucalyptus, israeli ruscus, Italian ruscus, olive, rosemary and hypericum berry. Kristine kept the use of actual floral components to a minimum. She only used white hellebore (late winter/early spring seasonal) and white waxflower. Rose gold fit the theme perfectly, so an engagement ring of rose gold, complemented by a rose gold bracelet with pink pearls adorned the bride. This also tied in with the blush undertones of the dress and the waxflower buds. A light dusting of snow fell the morning of the shoot, which further emphasized the stark winter feel we were going for. The couple and bridesmaid were photographed around the grounds of Alto Vineyard, a local venue that hosts small wedding celebrations and live music in the summer, including the Christmas-light adorned ceremony deck and a nice dormant row of grapevines. Alto also provided one of their white wines and one of their rose wines for the table setting.

groom with evergreen trees groom in tan suit by Elite Bridal groom with light snowfall groom portraits in tan suit winter stylized wedding shoot floral crown redhead bride with fishtail braid beaded gown from Elite Bridal wedding florals with greens and white flowers light pink wedding gown with fair-skinned bride December winter shootout green floral crown with evergreens simple rustic young fair bride bridesmaid with beige Bari Jay dress Strapless ruched Bari Jay dress brunette bridesmaid with soft waves bridesmaid headshot portraits bridesmaid with light snowfall bare trees with ground snow cover hellebore, waxflower, eucalyptus, ruscus, olive, rosemary, hypericum bride with bridesmaid winter session bridesmaid with beige strapless dress light snow bare branches photo session Alto Vineyards wines Sweetheart table with white candelabra Stark winter barren trees table setup winter comfort food menu ivory and brown print suite details rose gold solitary diamond ring artisanal cheeses and fresh baked bread place settings and escort cards bridesmaid greens bouquet with wooden chair model couple with winter fur wrap bride and groom snuggled Alto Vineyards wedding stylized shoot bride and groom with sweetheart table romantic winter wedding posing bride and groom with beige cream and green couple with greenery floral accents florals by Flowers by Kristine redhead ginger bride with fishtail braid bride with fur blanket and trees Evergreen images with fallen brown needles Evergreen location at Alto Vineyards Alto Vineyards wedding images Rose gold ring from Champaign Jewelers rose gold rings and pear bracelet macro ring detail images wedding couple with outdoor sweetheart table neutral palette wedding table decor Alto-Vineyards-Champaign-stylized-winter-wedding-shoot_0098 Bride under arbor with twinkle lights Bride with beaded light pink gown Bride with green floral crwon Bride and groom with beige suit Adorable stylized wedding shoot couple Wedding shoot outtakes bride and groom with winter vines dormant vineyard wedding portraits romantic winter vineyard photos cuddly bride and groom at Alto Vineyards greens and white bridal bouquet bride and bridesmaid with light snowfall black and white Alto Vineyards wedding wooden arbor with twinkle lights couple with wooden arbor Winter wedding session at vineyards Bride's hair and makeup by Studio 9 Hair Design adorable wedding couple florals by Flowers by Kristine groom's greenery boutonneire winter wedding couple caramel apple pie with crew

Amazing vendor team: Venue: Alto Vineyards Hair & Makeup: Studio 9 Design Gowns & suit: Elite Bridal Bridal gown designer: Ysa Makino Bridesmaid designer: Bari Jay Florist: Flowers by Kristine Jewelry: Champaign Jewelers Print suite: Feathered Arrow Designs Photographer: Holly Birch Photography