Tis’ The Season-Wedding Season

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.

To read our reviews please visit our Wedding Wire site here

Sarah + Don

Sarah + Don

Meredith

Meredith

Travis

Travis

Nicole

Nicole

Katrina + Brent

Katrina + Brent

nancyray-megmatwed-3002

Lauren + Derek

Lauren + Derek

Kate

Kate

Melissa

Melissa

Stephanie + Bridal Party

Stephanie + Bridal Party

Tracy+Bridal Party

Tracy+Bridal Party

Carly

Carly

Mary Cameron + Brian

Mary Cameron + Brian

Janet

Janet

Lauri + Aaron

Lauri + Aaron

Groovy Gerberas

375674_10151626287334634_486629683_nNeed a way to brighten a rainy day? Consider a bountiful, beautiful bouquet of vibrant, colorful gerberas.

Iconic in shape and form; limitless in colors and varieties; gerberas are a wonderful addition to any floral palette. A simple vase of gerberas is a perfect, simple way to say “Thank You!” or “I’m thinking of you!” to a friend or associate. Larger scale bouquets of gerberas in either an assortment of colors or a modern, monobotanical presentation can add a dramatic statement to an office environment. And for weddings, few flowers offer the variety and price point of gerberas for today’s style conscious brides.

At almost any given time, you will find a wonderful mix of gerbera colors and varieties in the English Garden cooler. We always enjoy standard blooms in red, orange, yellow and pink, but flower growers now offer a wide variety of novelty blooms cultivated in an eclectic palette of fun and funky colors. The majority of gerberas are cultivated in California and Canada with California’s Sun Valley leading the way in volume production. In recent years, innovations by Canadian growers have taken gerbera variety to a whole new level. A few of our recent favorites from Canada and California include:

 

  

  A striking Canadian gerbera, Blue Skies, offers a vibrant purple option to the gerbera line-up.

 

 

 

 

 

  Marmolada, a fun tri-color variety from California grower Sun Valley blending red & pink petals.

 

 

 

 

 Crossroads, a vivid bloom perfect for summer with yellow petals radiating from a red and black eye  and cultivated both in the American and Canadian markets.

 

 

 

 

   Venice, a delicate pairing of creamy white petals with a rosy pink center.

 

 

 

 

 

     Bold and Big! The fabulous Power Play from Sun Valley offers a jumbo orange bloom.

 

 

 

 

Call us at 919-341-6650 to have our talented design team create a custom gerbera design for your special occasion or drop by our studio to check out what fun varieties are on hand this week.

Alice in Wonderland

Elva from The English Garden has been working hard on this Alice in Wonderland arrangement!  Pay attention to the miniscule sized details that she took into consideration when preparing this tiny little world!  I am in love with the Mad Hatter hat, but my favorite has to be the mushrooms!

This scene was made for a future photo shoot that the English Garden is doing pro-bono.  They are truly a wonderful crowd who strive for the best in customer satisfaction.  I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to show case some amazing work of wedding business in the triangle area.

–Nikki

Photo courtesy of Fancy This Photography !!

The Sutherland | Wake Forest, NC

The English Garden is a florist set up in Raleigh, NC that focuses on event decor and has just recently started their take on everyday delivery of flowers.  Working with all of the employees of the English Garden has certainly placed a stamp on my little heart, I have learned so much!  The employees are really the best in customer service and detail!

Below is an event that the English Garden catered to.  Pay attention to the detail of the flowers, especially under the reception tent!  There are buku’s of vases that each flower bouquet is humbled in, they are all different and unique.  It gives such a great vibe to the entire set up!

A big thank you to The Sutherland !! This is the venue of desire for the Saturday wedding!  It is a quaint place located in the heart of Wake Forest, NC.

Photo courtesy of Fancy This Photography !!

A Winter’s Walk

People don’t generally think of wintertime as a time for beautiful flowers. Gray skies and dormant fields don’t inspire visions of lush gardens and colorful bouquets. But wintertime offers its own unique type of beauty where rich textural elements, snowy white blooms and glossy green foliages combine for a sumptuous look.
To embrace the beauty of winter, we decided to launch our 2012 Design Series with a class entitled, Winter’s Walk. A talented group of flower lovers and budding designers gathered at the English Garden design studio for a class led by EG design instructors Myra Saylor and Renee Becker.
Using a simple design bowl and standard florist foam, participants created an elegant centerpiece from a palette of all white florals contrasted with rich brown lotus pods, gilded pinecones, glossy magnolia and aspidistra foliages. Fuji mums, chrysanthemums, star of Bethlehem, dianthus and roses in all white gave the budding designers an opportunity to see the simple elegance of a monochromatic palette. Myra and Renee instructed students on proper care and handling of the florals used, knife and scissor techniques for the proper cutting of flowers and foliage and the benefits of using floral foam for certain design styles. The design created also gave students a chance to work with a mix of fresh and dried materials while also experimenting with the design techniques of grouping and terracing. The finished bouquets have hopefully given each attendee a fun treat to enjoy for the week and helpful hints for enjoying flowers in the future! The 2012 Design Series continues with a rose care and design workshop on February 28th. Call 919-341-6650 or email us at classes@englishgardenraleigh.com to book a spot.

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Two for Tuesday

I am officially renaming Tuesday, Twos-Day, after today’s interesting kickoff to the work week. Following a restful three day weekend, I jumped into my pile of year-end paperwork; the dreaded red tape no one mentions when extolling all the virtues of small business ownership. An hour of paperwork turned into two. One set of copies turned into duplicates. A single shipment of tulips was doubled by a vendor. Two future brides walked in requesting consults at the same time (a situation we gladly welcomed). So in honor of an average Tuesday that quickly became some type of twin-set Groundhog double play, I’ll share some thoughts on two of my absolute favorite flowers! Two beautiful varieties that graced my desk today and inspired me thru all the madness!

First up, the proverbial symbol of all that is happy…the sunflower. Not often seen (or thought about) this time of year, there is no other flower that makes a work day seem like a beach day like the vibrant golden sunflower. In January and the remaining winter months, sunflowers are not as readily available as they are come mid to late spring. The local blooms generally start to “crop” up around late May to mid-June. Sunflowers during the off months are often cultivated in South America or in California making them slightly pricier than at other times of the year. But what impact! Few flowers can pack a sunflower’s punch! They are beautiful in combination with lots of other florals, but I tend to go the purist’s route- a few simple blooms perched sunnily in a simple vase.
And next, but certainly not playing second fiddle, the beautiful Chinese aster. Unexpected, somewhat quirky, as if Jim Henson had decided to cultivate flowers instead of create furry Muppets. Large aster varieties are still somewhat of a novelty but they are growing in popularity thanks to their budget friendly price, long vase life and unique look. The Matsumoto aster with its more distinct yellow center has become a florist standard and it’s fluffy ruffle cousin, the giant aster, is sure to follow. Perfect in combination with lush bountiful blooms of peonies and hydrangeas, the aster is also stunning shown simply in a glass vase such as this carafe.
If you haven’t perked up your desk or dinner table with one or both of these blooming beauties, snap to it. Whether its a Tuesday or a Twos-day, you are guaranteed a double shot of happiness!