Welcome to my blog.....

This is a place where I will share my love of flowers, cooking and baking, gardening and fashion (shoes! lots of shoes!) I would love for you to stay a while and take a look and leave a comment if something catches your interest.
(ps...photo on my background is courtesy of Union Photographers)

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Have You Asked the Important Questions?

Last year, through the wonder of the net, I found this published in The New York Times.  Asking questions BEFORE you get married is important, IMPORTANT!  After 14 years of my own marriage I cannot stress it enough!  My husband and I come from Western European countries, we're both first generation Canadians and we have a few of the same goals but really it ends there.....and it has sometimes been bumpy trying to figure it all out....here are some great questions, with the writer's answers, that her priest asked in their marriage prep course.....

Before you book the Church, buy your dress and order the flowers make sure this is the right decision for you both
Father Mark was in seminary school back in 2006 and since then all his classmates have been using this as part of their pre-marital sessions… because it works! In our final session, Mr. Lobster and I went through every. single. one. It generated some very enlightening discussion. Here are a few of the more interesting ones and short versions of our answers:

Have we discussed whether or not to have children, and if the answer is yes, who is going to be the primary care giver?

While we have not explicitly discussed this we do both want children eventually. I assumed I’d be the primary caregiver but Mr. Lobster says he doesn’t mind being a stay-at-home dad.

Have we discussed our expectations for how the household will be maintained, and are we in agreement on who will manage the chores?

Since we have lived together for 2 years, we’ve definitely hashed out the chores over many (many) fights. Recently we splurged and hired a cleaning lady which… let’s face it… if you can manage the extra cost is so worth it if chores cause tension between you and your S.O.

Have we fully disclosed our health histories, both physical and mental?

Yes. This was an especially sensitive question for me since I know Mr. Lobster’s family has a history of heart disease.

Is my partner affectionate to the degree that I expect?

Yes and yes. Mr. Lobster may even be overly affectionate. :)

Will there be a television in the bedroom?

I want one. I really REALLY like TV. But Mr. Lobster has heard it’s bad for sleeping (so have I)… I still want one.

Do we truly listen to each other and fairly consider one another’s ideas and complaints?

This was one of those that generated some talk especially since I owned up to the fact that I didn’t think I considered Mr. Lobster’s ideas/complaints as much as I would like.

What does my family do that annoys you?

For me, this was a difficult question because nothing Mr. Lobster’s family does “annoys” me. We have quite a formal relationship… maybe just a difference in upbringing since my family is not… so formal. Case in point, Mr. L said that my mom asks ways too many questions sometimes to the point of inappropriateness. This is true.

Are there some things that you and I are NOT prepared to give up in the marriage?

This is where we’re supposed to answer, “my motorcycle, “my friends,” etc. but neither of us really knew what that would be for us but agreed that “alone time” (without each other) would be one of them.

Does each of us feel fully confident in the other’s commitment to the marriage and believe that the bond can survive whatever challenges we may face?

Mr. Lobster simply said, “Yes.” Aww, my sweetie. I knew this would be a controversial question because I said “Yes, I believe we are both fully committed to the marriage but I cannot say I know 100% we can survive any challenge.” Mr. Lobster looked at me kinda shocked and said “What?” in a quiet tone. However, Father Mark was not at all surprised… he said we were not the first couple that answered the question like that (phew!). I didn’t want to be dishonest but I think it’s normal to be uncertain about some things.

Despite that surprise, we did end the session on a good note. Even though we haven’t explicitly discussed a lot of these questions, Mr. Lobster and I so far been on the same wavelength that we ended up agreeing on a lot of things. But we also walked away knowing which areas needed more thought and discussion.

Additionally there were racier questions about sex, religion, parental relationships, etc. that I didn’t include in this post. If you have a couple hours, it might be worth sitting down with your significant other to discuss some of these. Better to avoid the surprises now according to this other New York Times article.

Have you and your S.O. asked each other the tough questions? How do you think the discussion would go?
A fun little moment during a wedding I serviced a few years back
Like I mentioned earlier I've been doing this married thing for just over 14 years now so here are a couple of more questions that have come up at my house......

Who is paying for what?
Do you have a joint bank account?  separate? both?
How important is your religion?  Will you bring any children you may have in it?
What school do you hope to get your children into?
What kind of house/size of property do you want?
Where are you going to live?  How close should your in-laws be?  Will elderly in-laws move in with you?
What are your life long goals?  What are you both working towards?
Who is in charge of dinner and laundry?  (BIG ones at my house! haha)
What is the bride's last name going to be?  What about any children?
How will extended family conflicts (don't kid yourself-there will be something at some point) be handled?
What do you "expect" from the other in your marriage?

There are, what I call, the "non-negotiables" like whether or not to have children....you cannot force someone who does not want children to have them and you cannot deny someone who longs for them either....I've known many people to squash their desire and it comes back to haunt them later on.....everyone has these non-negotables and you need to know what yours are and really talk about them.

Me & Jean and our 2 1/2 year old on our wedding day-oh if we knew then what we know now we'd still have gotten married but would have talked a lot more!
I know there are a lot of couples that say "oh we live together it's all figured out" well the stats say differently.  Did you know that with a 50% divorce rate it's actually higher with people that lived together before they married?  You need to do the work too.....and just think all the hard stuff will be done and your marriage will be nothing but a "happily ever after"  (well, maybe not but at least you both know where you stand!) haha

What are your non-negotiables?  Was there a question you both discussed and you were surprised by the other person's answer?

Monday, 18 July 2011

"My Pastor Said No!"-Flowers for a Church Ceremony

My floral teacher, we'll call her Janet, once told us a story about a bride, her parents and their priest:
The bride had gorgeous floral arrangements that hung off of 5ft candle stands that were attached to the end of each pew-must have been impressive!  BUT when the priest saw them he informed Janet that the candles were not to be lit.  Janet was stunned and went and told the parents and the bride, who immediately started to have panic attacks.   Janet went back to the priest and begged but he refused and Janet ran back to the parents, the music was starting now, and the father of the bride told Janet to light the candles "Who is paying you?" is actually what was said.  So just before the bride walked down the aisle Janet and her assistants ran down the aisle and lit all the candles while the priest looked on and fumed.  I had a priest, my own priest actually at my cousin's wedding, tell me that we were not allowed to close the inside doors.  My cousin wouldn't get out of the car until they were closed and Fr was being adamant-I finally begged and the rest of the service went on without a hitch.  I've had wedding planners tell me that they don't deal with pastors-they don't want to fall into that hornet's nest.......noticing a trend here?

Places of worship, because this includes any and all religions, have protocol based on religious beliefs, past experiences and, well, the pastor's own personal thoughts (and this also works for the "event" lady who can sometimes yield even more power).  Just like any building that you would enter you must respect the fact that you are in someone else's "home" and not just home but their place of worship....it doesn't always make sense but chances are you need to accept the rules if you want to be married there.
Instead of 2 arrangements on either side what about one on the alter table
Photo by Sweet Pea Photography
When I meet with a couple my first question is always "What are the rules" and if they don't know we move forward with the consultation but I always tell them they must find out if what we're discussing is permitted.  Most places, even out door venues, will not allow real rose petals but on the whole arrangements at the front and back of the church are permitted.  Pew markers, that do not use tape or some other pew marring attachment, are generally allowed and if your church has a main alter or any religious statues you're usually OK in placing floral arrangements at their base.

We were not permitted to move the four yellow arrangements but because the couple's arrangements were neutral it worked out
Whenever I walk into a new church I always try and make friends with whomever is there, really just to let them know I respect where I am and am in no way trying to call the shots, it can really be helpful for future events and if I need a favour, well, I'm already on their good side (I hope:))
Modern coloured flowers in a traditional church-works!

Heritage church calls for modern design-don't you think?
Photo by Union Photographers

Some churches ask that you leave arrangements behind so you can always promise to bring your arrangements back, if you're planning on using them at the reception, or you can have your designer arrange something small but still fits into your design scheme.
Less expensive container and smaller but still the same flowers as the main arrangements

Even simple pew markers can be left behind....these lilies can easily be removed from their hooks and the bow removed and lilies can be placed in a vase the church already owns

Sweet Pea Photography
The moral of the story is ask, ask, ask....no vendor wants to be put on the spot like that (we really kinda hate it actually) and you don't want to be stressed out, or worse yet, have all your arrangements sit in the van outside.

Do you have any stories to share?

Monday, 11 July 2011

Bling isn't just for the Bride's ring anymore

Do you stop at every jewelry store window?  Do flashes of light catch your eye?  YUP, me too!  I am a true taurus and love anything sparkly (probably more than I should admit).....so for those of you like me why not add some light catching pretty to your bouquet??

John Heil Photography 

Sweet Pea Photography

All of the above photos are using Swarovski Cyrstals  so a little costlier but the sparkle factor is unbelievable....they really look like diamonds!  So pretty!!!
And there are coloured crystals as well.....which can add a completely different feel to the bouquet!

Sweet Pea Photography
Of course there are less expensive options as well and they can be just as pretty.........
Kim Christie Photography

These are corsage pins-looks great!
Black crystals in the centre of the stephanotis and crystals in the bouquet-DRAMA!

Even gerbera daisies look cute with their purple accent
Maybe crystals in the bouquet aren't your thing but the handle now that's a whole different story!
For the BLING bride-a complete handle of crystals!

Or just a few lining the handle

Or smaller crystals on the handle but still complete coverage

Or what about just a beautiful buckle?  John Heil Photography
Whatever your blingy style or budget there is an option for you so put your sun glasses on and have some fun!

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

FIVE Money Saving Tips When Choosing Your Wedding Flowers

Let's face it unless you book your floral designer early, and a lot of Bride's don't, by the time you get to choosing your flowers the money you had set aside has abandoned your bank account for places unknown:)

Here are some thoughts on helping to keep that budget in check.......

1.  Try and use a similar flower that can offer a similar effect.
"I LOVE PEONIES" I have heard that hundreds of times but even in season they can be pricey.  In late summer early fall why not use dahlias?  Carnations, I know but it really does work!!, grouped together can mimic a peony too.
Magnolia Photographic

Another popular, yet expensive, bridal bloom is stephanotis.  With a crystal or pearl centre it can run upwards of $4/ea.  White dendrobium orchids, yes an orchid, can be a fraction of the cost and look very similar to the small white bloom of a stephanotis-and your designer can always add a pearl or crystal if you still want one in there.

Sweet Pea Photography

2.  Choose only close friends or family to be in your wedding party
Bouquets are compact arrangements of flowers and their costs can, and will, add up.  Even a fairly inexpensive bouquet of $50 will end up adding hundreds of dollars to your total with a multitude of bridesmaids.  Why not choose just your sisters or 1 or 2 very close friends.....anyone else that truly cherishes you and your friendship will understand your decision.
Lucida Photography
3. Re-use. Re-use. Re-use
You've already paid for them so why not keep using them?  Place vases on your head table to hold the bouquets upright to mimic an arrangement.  Use your toss bouquet, again in a vase, on your sign-in table-by the time you're ready to toss it everyone is done looking at that table.  Ceremony aisle markers can be used on the cake, head table or even the women's washroom.  Arrangements used at the ceremony should also be used at the reception-behind or in front of the head table or at the entrance doors to greet the guests.
Kim Christie Photography

Pew Markers and Alter Arrangements were re-used

Empty vases for bouquets and hydrangeas from the pew markers on the head table
4. The Bride's Bouquet is the Most Important Arrangement!
This is my personal philosophy.....it's the Bride that all eyes will be on (sorry Grooms:)) and her bouquet will be in more photos than the groom (sorry again guys!) and you never want a woman to say, five years down the road, gee I wished I had.....(fill in the blank)  So if the bridesmaid's have to carry a single bloom down the aisle to make it happen then so be it and before you ask NO, they girl's bouquets don't have to be anything like the Bride's-those days are long, thankfully!, gone!
Bride's bouquet of roses, callas, mini-cymbidium orchids & stephanotis
Bridesmaid's Bouquets of carnations, gerberas and kermits
Bride's bouquets of roses, freesia, calla lilies, mini-cymbidium & dendrobium orchids
Bridesmaid's bouquet of gerbera daisies w/mokara orchid centers
5.  Keep Centerpieces Inside the Vase
Just like bouquets centerpieces will probably be the most expensive part of your floral total-they add up FAST!  An option is to keep the flowers in the vase because there is only so many you need and you can't exceed it so it really helps to keep costs in cheque.  Also, it helps with sight lines around the table so it's a win win.
Tulips inside the vase 
Mini-gerbera daisies

Stem of mini-cymbidium orchids with branches
I understand that you may not be able to do, or even like, some of these options but talk to your designer and work together to come up with ideas that work for you and your budget.