The sun’s peeking through with glimmers of hope that snow has passed. Birds chirp a happy tune at the passing of the cold. Cherry blossoms tease us with their rosy blush. These signs can only mean one thing. It’s spring, right? Well, almost, that comes on March 21st, but for those of us in the wedding industry it is the beginning of “The Season”.
Engagements announced at Christmas and Valentines result in a frenzy of phone calls to book vendors for summer and fall weddings. Brides with Pinterest boards and inspiration albums begin their vendor search with visions of a perfect wedding day. And at the English Garden, we’ve been taking our vitamins and sharpening our design tools in hopes of matching the boundless energy and enthusiasm of our amazing brides-to-be.
At The English Garden, we do a lot of weddings. It’s become what we are known for, so much so in fact, that a friend quipped to me the other day that my staff and I are the “Wedding Queens” of the Triangle. Now this is also the friend who tells me I’m having a good hair day when my cowlick is standing four inches off my head and that my bottom looks smaller when I am obviously wearing my “Mom” jeans, but I’ll take her wonderful sobriquet as the great compliment to my staff that it is. Royalty or not, my staff is amazing and I believe that they are the most talented and knowledgeable around and they LOVE doing weddings. But for me, hearing the term “Wedding Queen” while wonderful is still a bit foreign & surprising and something I feel is more akin to calling Ebenezer Scrooge the “King of Christmas.”
Just like Ebenezer didn’t always understand the true meaning of Christmas, it has taken me awhile to learn just how much our level of service and care and attention means to our bridal clients. When I opened The English Garden, I didn’t set out for it to be wedding central. I grew up in a florist where funeral sprays outnumbered bridal bouquets 3 to 1. I in no way considered wedding flowers my bailey-wick, as a matter of fact, I didn’t much care for weddings. My close friends and family know this, but most people don’t know that my wedding day was more akin to a SNL skit than a day to record in the family album. Our conservative families didn’t see the need for formal, large wedding as we had lived together many years and it was Warren’s second wedding. So, my childhood vision of a simple ceremony on a country farm was traded for a harried “production” number in Vegas complete with a German Elvis clad in a translucent jumpsuit, a bumbling minister in a double knit brown leisure suit, towering bouquets of silk flowers, and piped in Hooked on Classics Muzak. Topped off with the fiasco of changing into my wedding dress in the middle of the afternoon on the Vegas Strip while our possibly tipsy limo driver treated us to a rousing rendition of “Don’t Stop Believing’”, my wedding day generated more guffaws than ahhhhs.
Overwhelmed by the frenzy of a whirlwind wedding, I failed to put the brakes on to make sure our wedding day reflected the things my husband and I love. As a love struck bride relieved that I was finally getting hitched, I didn’t feel entitled to ask for my favorite things-a bridal bouquet of Easter lilies and freesia, a bluegrass band playing Into the Mystic, an endless supply of banana pudding for dessert. Thirteen years later, I can certainly find the humor in my wedding day mayhem, but I’ve also found the poignancy of those “lost” choices and that has become an unexpected source of inspiration and solace. I realize that I’ve been given a “second chance” to make wedding dreams come true by having the opportunity to help brides and grooms create beautiful and meaningful weddings.
My talented team and I work tirelessly to help a couple find their design “voice” in crafting decor that is about their style, their vision and their budget. We ask the easy and hard questions-”What do you like? What do you not like? What is most important to you? What would be your dream wedding? What can you live without if budget becomes an issue?” We work with a couple every step of the way to ensure that every detail is not only covered but perfectly so. At the end of the day, our goal is to help a couple select floral and decor elements that align beautifully with their vision and within their budget.
In 2014, we will design flowers for our 1,000 bridal couple. Seven years ago when starting my business, I could never have envisioned arriving at this milestone. I don’t know if this makes us the “Wedding Queens” of the Triangle or not, but I’m truly honored that so many couples have extended an invitation to us to share in their walk down the aisle.
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