Franklin Bridal Ball

Last night was The Franklin Bridal Ball. I was there to see what was up and catch any trends I could. As you can see I was in great company. Those are two really good friends of the Dish, Vicki Sanders of Branching Out Event Florists and Ashley King-Carter creator of Ashley’s Bride Guide. Yes, we apparently all got the memo: Green is tonight’s color!

There were many beautiful things there but I was inspired by some of the tabletops and centerpieces. It seems that ‘Shiny” is in!  I’ll have more dish on the people and things for last night in the days to come. Stay tuned.

Living Centerpieces for Flower Friday

If you are looking for a more interesting idea for your centerpieces than the standard cut flower arrangement why not go live. I ran across a press release for The Wedding Greenhouse’s new website. The Wedding Greenhouse specializes in live potted saplings to be used as both favors and decorations.

Their offerings range from miniature palms to coffee plants. I wasn’t really keen on the way they try to dress up the pots with cheesy ribbon. I know my DIY readers could improve on that 100%. What I was really taken with was the idea of using a cluster of these to surround a tall candelabrum at center table.

What’s more it got my little brain going on other options along the same lines.

I love African violets and I have one of the largest growers in the world right under my nose. Holtkamp Greenhouses grows the internationally acclaimed line of Optimara Violets. Their miniature line would look fab clustered as a centerpiece for a more casual wedding. They are available in a wide range of colors, including blue. Tiny potted violets would be so sweet and romantic for not only your centerpiece but also as a favor for your guests.

Unlike the plants from The Wedding Greenhouse you would have to order these through your florist to get specific colors in any quantity since they don’t sell directly to the public. One thing I do know about Holtkamp’s is that they only ship plants currently in bloom. No worries about having them not ready to go for the big day.

You can view the Optimara collection in their catalog. It may inspire some ideas of your own.

If you have used violet in your wedding decor, please drop me an image with some images, send to christine(at)

Mad about Green

Maybe it’s the season, but I am suddenly mad about green. A pretty place to start to pick the colors for your wedding is to choose a base of one or two related greens, then add cream and an accent color for pop. You can almost not go wrong. This works especially well if you are planning an outdoor wedding.

For more inspiration, go to COLOURlovers and type green into the search box.

Centerpieces for a Casual Wedding

Last weekend was busy, busy. I wanted to share with you some shots from Friday night’s rehearsal dinner.

The goal was to have a casual country feel to the event. It was held in a beautiful location, the carriage house at Belle Meade Plantation. I know you wouldn’t think that using burlap for the table clothes would work for anything but in this setting it was spot on. Combined with the black chairs and black napkins it looked easy yet elegant. What do you think?

Vicki at Branching Out, along with the mother of the groom gathered a massive assortment of blue glass bottles and rustic lanterns. The vases were filled with simple individual stems to evoke a very ‘wildflower’ look and the lanterns withstood the strong breezes to add a bit of candle light. It was just perfect.

I particularly liked the use of mason jars for water glasses. I completed the look to give everyone a casual vibe to enjoy the late spring evening before the more formal events of the next day.

Branches and Centerpieces

I get a ton of inquires about DIY centerpieces. Some of the easiest and my favorites are the ones made of bare branches. The possibilities are seemingly endless. They run the gambit from simple branches from flowering trees like cherry or crab apple to elaborate confections dripping with orchids, crystals and candles.

Here are a few to get your creative synapses firing.

The first group I took at The Special Event in Atlanta. Granted these are a little over the top.

The Wedding Luncheon, 2. IMG_0156, 3. The Wedding Luncheon, 4. IMG_0157

These are from Lifia & Alex’s bio on the Knot.

This really simple one came from the Japanese Wedding Favors website.

This one is from Floral Rush in Los Angeles

To get you started on your own creations here are some helpful links.

Nettle Hollow has some how to’s along with being a source for all things twig.

Ethereal Décor has a few how to’s and is a source for the crystals.

The blog Twigs and String has some helpful how I did mine type notes.

Now that you are inspired…send in your designs to share with the class.

Goodies from Around the Blogosphere

I have been completely swamped for the last week and just today have gotten a chance to catch up on my blog reading. As usual I found some wonderful things to show you. So let’s get to it.

First up flowers:

Kristin Newman Designs Not a blog but still a worthy stop as you surf for ideas for your wedding décor. Kirstin is an event coordinator in Charleston, South Carolina. Her website has enough photos to keep you delighted and inspired for hours.

Michelle Rago Ltd Michelle is an event designer and florist on West 28th, in New York. I was lucky enough to find her blog thanks to a couple of the blogs in my reader (see the list at the right). Sorry that I don’t remember which one, like I said last week was crazy. If whoever originally posted about Michelle would leave their link in the comments I would be grateful. Thanks to Michelle for all the inspiration. That is her creation an the left. Very cool.

Oh Happy Day! Wants you to bring the love back for carnations.

On to DIY

Abby Larson’s blog, Style Me Pretty always comes up with marvelous ideas for DIY. You may remember a while back she held a contest to submit your DIY. You can see the entries here. This week she is showcasing some DIY design idea from Matthew Mead. Here, here and here.


Oh Happy Blog some great ideas for a chic modern wedding inspired by all things Ikea.

Finally, Liene is running a quick two question survey on her blog, Blue Orchid Designs. Take a moment and show a fellow blogger the love. Besides, I am dying to see the results


Sunday found me at the Monogram Shoppe having a meet and greet with the brides of Fort Wayne, IN. It was a delight to be able to talk to these woman one on one and dig a bit into where they were having difficulty planning.

I had noticed at my seminar on Saturday at the bridal show that one of the biggest things standing in the way of many brides getting from vision to completion was a theme. I have talked about it here and here and even here so it came as no big surprise.

On Sunday I had a chance to take one particular couple by the hand so to speak and walk them through the process.

Lisa and Nick are planning a summer wedding on an unbelievably tight budget. When I asked them what their theme was Lisa pulled two skeins of embroidery floss from her purse and said “Well these are our colors.” Argh.

Digging deeper I found that they wanted a casual garden feel to their day, very summery and natural. Looking at the colors and hearing what they said I immediately thought of Provence. That lends itself well to the rustic outdoor feel they were going for and the colors just scream France. They had already settled on French blue linens and 16’ long banquet tables. Next they said they were thinking of using floating candles in yellow! My mind flooded with images of too many poorly done church basements, so I started offering alternate ideas.

Thinking “Provence”, I suggested that they hit Target or World Bazaar and get a handful of inexpensive square white plates in a variety of sizes. Next, it’s off to the local produce broker or warehouse club to buy a bunch of lemons and blueberries. Mound the fruit on the white plates with a few sprigs of thyme or rosemary tucked in as the main centerpiece elements, maybe 3 per table. Add some white baskets of rustic artisan breads, small bottles of olive oil, little dishes of imported black olives and simple white pillar candles to form a runner down these long tables.

Once Lisa and Nick got the idea the whole event began to come into focus for them. What might have been the same old worship hall reception just lept into fabulous with out much more effort or expense; all because they focused on a theme instead of just colors. Oh, I hope they think to serve tall slender glasses of lemonade with blueberries in it. How cute.

A Candlelit Event

Yet another fabulous installation from the very creative ladies at Branching Out. This time they transformed a formal vintage ballroom in an historic hotel into a hip lounge. Because of the size of the guest list (480) a sit down dinner was out of the question. Instead the ballroom, lobby and veranda were turned into one massive cocktail space with tables and banquets. The guests were served seven courses as passed hors deouvers and danced the night away to two different bands.

In all, over 500 candle were used to create an amazing ambiance. Beginning with luminaries outside the church and ending with candle lit stairways for the getaway, the entire evening was a-flicker.

Can’t we all agree that everyone looks better in candlelight?

Edited to add:

One of the reasons I started this blog is to show the real world behind the beautiful events in life. Well I got to thinking that this is one of those times. The photo and the description above is indeed what the bride and her guests experienced. This is what they didn’t see:

This was the day of the possessed candles. From the beginning they refused to behave. It started at the church. We had 4 candelabrums, 2 3’ tall and 2 4’ tall with mechanical candles all from the rental company. The taller ones were fitted with bowls in the center to hold flower arrangements of freesia, stocks, hydrangea, Casablanca lilies and vendala roses. Unfortunately the candles were 13” and they should have been 15” or more, so the tip of the candles nestled perfectly in the middle of the floral arrangement. Great; flowers were trimmed or removed to prevent forest fires. That however was the least of our worries. The damn things fit funny and kept leaping out of the candle holders. Not falling mind you, LEAPING! Each time with a resounding CRASH as these metal monsters hit our glass table tops. Again, great. That doesn’t account for the one that seemed more possessed than the others; something was wrong with the locking mechanism that keeps the sleeve on the holder. At random times and for no apparent reason the lock would fail sending the spring loaded cover flying like a demented missile. This was the scene as we tried to finish the rest of the décor: place a flower, catch a candle, leave message for the rental company, duck to avoid missile. This was repeated quite a few times. Eventually 3 rolls of florist tape, a lick and a prayer later and the décor was finished. Yet another save the day moment. We still haven’t heard from the rental company.

On to the reception venue and the votive candles from hell. First off any time you are planning on using over 500 candles on an event you know what you are up against. At this particular venue there is a ledge surrounding the entry stair. The ledge is marble and there is an ever so slight downward angle to it. Because of its location it can only be reached by hanging over the edge of the railing above to place the candles. We have done this many times and knew it was a big job but didn’t foresee any problems. Silly us, we should have known better.

We placed all 150 candles on the ledge and the minute we turned our back they turned on us. As I said we have done this many times before, but never in January. Something about the winds outside and the air pressure was causing them to move each time the doors would open sending random glass votice holders crashing anywhere from 4’ to 10’ to the marble floor below. Well holy leaping flames Batman!!! You can’t have guests arriving at a 5 Diamond hotel being pelted with flaming hot wax and shattering glass. Off come the candles. Ya think? We distributed then around the venue and began the tedious task of lighting all these things.

That is until we told the event planner. She was not about to loose the lovely detail of a candlelit entrance. Say what? Hon you can’t really expect us to bomb the guests like invaders storming the walls of a citadel. Apparently she did.

By now we had started the task of lighting all 500 plus candles at the hotel when the call comes in saying that the hotel had been contacted and they would indeed have to allow us to put the damn things back on the ledge. Quick blow out the candles you have lit so the wax will harden and they can be moved—back to the ledge. Still possessing some semblance of sanity we insisted that we would only place them on the very nearest 1/3 of the ledge, the section farthest from the draft.

That’s when the event planner called from the church…

“The church lady won’t let us light the candles”

“Why Not”

“She says they will drip on the altar”

“No they won’t, they are mechanical candles.”

“She doesn’t care. She won’t let us light them until you get back here and wrap the altar in saran wrap”

“Do what?”

“You heard me. She is demanding that you wrap the altar in saran wrap or we can’t light the candles”

“Oh sure why not I have absolutely NOTHING better to do.”

Off half the team went to custom wrap an altar across town.

Of course it turned out to be the beautiful event you see above, but never believe that it didn’t have its trails.

It’s all just on a days work.

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