Monday, January 28, 2013

Murphy Mondays: Paying for Flowers - What Boys Should Know

So, by now it’s been well-established that I’m a shop dog. But don’t forget, I’m a BOY shop dog. Which means that not only can I relate to my canine peers, but I can also relate to the male humans in my life - and that includes the grooms that sometimes come into the shop. We do get our share of men-people who come to Bouquets of Austin. Sometimes they are really happy to be here. Sometimes they just want to hang out with me (and really who can blame them?) so I consider a part of my executive duties to be keeping them entertained. Not that I don’t like the ladies - because I do. I really, really do. But sometimes a guy needs a wing dog and that’s me.

When I hang out with grooms, it also gives me the opportunity to explain some things about how wedding flowers work. You see, sometimes brides and grooms come here and they know that they are paying for their flowers together, which is totally cool. And sometimes, one of their family members wants to pay for all the flowers. That’s cool too. And super generous. And sometimes, the bride and groom’s families want to split the cost of the flowers the way that it’s traditionally done. Tradition is a tricky thing because sometimes things change along the way; but when it comes to wedding flowers there are some pretty standard ways that brides and grooms split the cost. Most of the time, brides seem to know the deal (girls really know their wedding stuff, huh??) but the boys don’t seem to know a lot of the time. This is where my executive lab status really comes into play; this is how I earn all my treats (although I still insist that I am seriously underpaid in this regard). I can share with the guys how this traditional flower payment works. Here it goes:

Traditionally, the groom pays for the bride’s bouquet, all the ladies’ corsages, and all the boutonnieres except his own.

The bride pays for her bridesmaids’ bouquets, flower girl pieces, the groom’s boutonniere and all the ceremony and reception flowers. Not fair? Probably not. But this is how it’s done traditionally. But it’s okay to do whatever is best for you. That’s why some couples decide to split it more equally. My people are really good at helping couples figure it all out so don't be afraid to ask lots of questions!

That’s my tidbit of information for the day. Feel free to send me any questions you have and I’ll try to answer them the best I can. But do me a favor and put in a good word for me for more treats. Seriously. More. Treats. It’s the least you can do. Have a great week!


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Trending in 2013

What’s New in the Year Ahead

Those of us who are in the wedding industry love what we do. We thrive on the energy of designing gorgeous events and we plug into the personality of the couple, allowing their vision and happiness to drive our creative process. And it is very much a creative process in our shop; one that is both very personal and individual to the designer and collaborative, as we enjoy working as a team and bouncing ideas off of each other to create the richest design possible.
Our design begins by meeting with our couples - all of whom bring to the table their vision of their wedding and all the pieces and parts that entails. Of course, what we have seen year after year is that these ideas are heavily influenced by the trends of that particular time. Each year, fashion changes - whether it’s incrementally or dramatically - and overall design, including wedding floral design, follows suit. So it’s no surprise that what most of us see on the red carpet is seamlessly absorbed into wedding trends.
This is exciting for us as wedding floral designers because we can anticipate what is to come; we are in the unique position of being able to watch the evolution of wedding trends in real time. It’s energizing to us to be able to incorporate these trends into designs that are still unique and individual so that our couples have flowers that are both on trend and in line with their personalities. Throughout the year, we will blog about the trends that we see developing month to month. So far, here is one of our favorite trends showing up 2013:

Black & White, 1920s Old Hollywood
Nothing says glamour like old Hollywood with its simple elegance and sophistication and we are definitely seeing a return to 1920s Hollywood glamour. That’s great news because this design can easily extend to many different locations, giving couples the ability to customize this look to a venue they love.
Vera Wang’s 2013 collection is full of black details - a nod to the current trend that we will continue to see on red carpets and, ultimately, incorporated into wedding designs.  In terms of weddings, this means sophisticated black dresses, linens, and chair covers. 
And for us, this means lots of gorgeous white flowers with simple black details. What’s great about black and white is that we can easily add a pop of color or accent it with any of the fantastic metallics that are currently available.
Ultimately, trends offer a palette on which couples can - and should - paint their individual expression of their perfect wedding. If you stay true to what you love, what makes you happy, and what best illuminates your personal style, you can’t go wrong in creating a beautiful day you’ll always remember. We’re here to help!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Love Me, Love My Drool

Murphy Mondays

There isn’t much I don’t like about being a shop dog. I mean, what is there to complain about really? I get to watch my people in action making pretty flowers, I get two warm beds to keep me comfortable when I’m there, I get plenty of water and walks, and I’m given run of the shop to give a wag and a hello to people who come by to visit. But I’m only canine, so of course there are some things I would change. In my opinion, these are really non-negotiable because they are basic needs that every dog should be afforded, especially if they are working on the executive level like me. Here is my list of - I think - very reasonable needs:

This is the appropriate distance the heater should be to my butt.

Love me, love my drool. I am a passionate lab with a hearty appetite and an acute sense of smell. Are they cooking burgers ten miles away? YES. How do I know this? Because I can smell it. I can’t help that the instant I smell something delicious (or you open a bag - any bag, even if it’s not food - open a drawer, heat something in the microwave, make coffee, or just say the word treat) I start to drool. Nor can I help the fact that my drool will drip, continuous and uninterrupted, until I am dragging it behind me. I am talented like that. Quit complaining. Everyone is pretty good about grabbing a paper towel and wiping me up when necessary but when they’re not paying attention, my very, very favorite thing to do is to wipe my drool on them - or their stuff - when they’re not looking. It’s a good game. Oh, left your chair? Well, guess what will be waiting for you on the seat or armrest when you get back? That’s riiiiiight. I’m sly like that so don’t mess with me. I’m not naming names (Becky).

Treat me. No, seriously, treat me. This is very simple to understand. There are never too many treats. NEVER. TOO. MANY. Why are you people so stingy with the treats. Listen, I’m not one to wait around for my due which is why so often I have taken it upon myself to sneak out the back door and head on over to the vet’s office a couple of doors down. They have treats. And they are very generous with them. Especially for dogs who wander in lost and “confused”. I’m not stupid. This can easily be solved by my people providing the appropriate number of treats on a daily basis. Also, visitors to Bouquets of Austin are encouraged to bring me a snack. Things will be easier for you that way. I’m not saying that I can influence your pricing (but I can influence your pricing).

Take it easy on the cardio. My people are fit. They go to the gym and the shop even closes for an hour on Wednesdays so everyone can do yoga. That’s fine but why do you need to involve me? I’ve worked hard on this physique and increased cardio is messing with my hard work. My cousin Jennifer likes to take me on walks. I’m good for a mile but beyond that I ask you not to drag me into your obsessive behavior. I’m embracing my curves. That is all.

Make your decisions. This goes out to our visitors. Here’s the deal...I’m allowed to greet you when you come in but I’m not allowed in the conference room. Like licking you non-stop will somehow interfere with your ability to talk about wedding flowers. Sheeeesh. Anyway, my point is, the longer you are in that conference room, the longer I am kept in the back shop or in the front office and everyone knows that dogs just want to be where they can not be. So move it along people. I can forgive you if you have a lot to discuss. But when you come in with no idea what you like, what you want, or the difference between a rose or a hydrangea, well...that just makes me want to drool you.

That’s all for today. If you can start working on this immediately, I would really appreciate it. Thanks flower peeps! Have a great week!


Monday, January 14, 2013

Murphy Monday

It’s All About Me

A lot of humans ask me what it’s like to be a shop dog. Well, actually they ask me “Who’s the best dog ever? Who’s so cute? Who’s a good boy?” But, obviously that answer is ME and I’m sure they’re really more interested in finding out more about what makes me tick as a modern day executive labrador retriever. The truth is that I didn’t choose flowers but they chose me. Actually my owners chose me and they already had a flower shop, so it was kind of part of the package. I love it though. And I think it really loves me. I’m sure a lot of humans come to Bouquets of Austin because my owners and their team make beautiful wedding flowers. But I also really think a lot of them come because of me too. I’m the official greeter and everyone is always really happy to see me. Some of them even come back just to see me.

When we don’t have visitors, I hang out with the humans who work at Bouquets of Austin. They’re all really nice but they don’t give me their food when it is so obvious that I am starving. And also that I deserve the Jimmy John’s Italian Night Club Unwich. Other than that, they’re pretty awesome. My owners, Stephanie and Looch bring me with them to work and I have two beds. One in the front office and one in the back shop where all the flowers are. I like both but when it’s really cold, I like to be in the front because Dara at the front desk puts the space heater on for me and then moves my bed really close to it so I’m toasty warm.

Becky is allergic to me so sometimes I like to get really close to her on purpose. It makes me laugh. I mean, come on, who could be allergic to ME???

So most of the time, when I’m not greeting humans when they come to the shop for an appointment or sleeping (or playing with my cousin Whiskey when he comes to visit), I stay in the back and watch all the flowers turn into really pretty arrangements or bouquets or boutonnieres. Sometimes they even make flowers for dogs like me - so pups can walk their owners down the aisle, or carry a ring in style. It’s pretty cool.
Me & Whiskey
Now that it’s January, there will be a lot of humans coming in for appointments to talk about their weddings so I’m going to be pretty busy with greetings. But I’m going to try to give you an update every week so you know what’s happening. After all, I pretty much see it all. So check back with me and, if you want to come in for some doggie love, come on by! I’m always happy to see you!!

Friday, January 11, 2013

It’s Booking Season Baby!

Tips for super efficient wedding planning.

It’s finally happened - you’re engaged! He liked it, he put a ring on it, and you’re happily ensconced in the details of planning your wedding (an event you’ve probably been secretly planning for years). The weeks flip past as you revel in the excitement and celebrations; and, before you know it, you’re back in your normal routine - working, the day-to-day of running a household, and the myriad activities that you do on a normal basis. Wow, you’re busy. How do people fit wedding planning into There are so many details. So. Many. Details. “But that’s okay,” you think to yourself. “I have so many months. Months and months and months.”

Pretty Peonies
And this, ladies and gentlemen, is how we come to meet those we refer to as LMBs - Last Minute Brides. How does this happen? How does an otherwise organized, go-getter find herself so far behind on her wedding planning? The short story is this - she thinks that she has plenty of time to book a, b, and c and, then, almost without her noticing, the months flip past and she’s scrambling to schedule vendor appointments.

You missed the booking season, lady!

Much like any other industry, the wedding industry rides a wave throughout the year during which business ebbs and flows. We have times of year that are traditionally busier than most - and that is certainly impacted by our location; while mid-summer weddings are quite popular in the Northeast, they are less-so here in Texas where the heat is more of a consideration. Conversely you’re less likely to see a surge in November outdoor weddings in the North, while here we’re taking advantage of our spectacular weather.

March through November are busy wedding months here in Austin and we’re fortunate to have such a long season. Wedding professionals across the board are out doing what they do best - putting together fabulous weddings for their brides and grooms. This means, of course, that we’re less available for meet with prospective couples. Don’t get us wrong, we offer a variety of weekly consultation times throughout the year, but our time is far more limited than when we’re in the full swing of wedding season; which can mean less convenient meeting times for those looking for evening or weekend appointments.
By process of elimination, of course, we are currently smack in the middle of booking season - December through February. Our wedding schedule is slower and we have much more flexibility when it comes to appointment options.

If you’ve just gotten engaged and you’re getting married in six months to a year, it may seem too early to start your planning, but now is actually the perfect time. Keep these tips in mind:

Early planning means more options. We all have a particular picture in mind when it comes to our weddings and we can very easily get married to those ideas - pun intended. If you have specifics that you just can’t live without - there is simply no way you can get married if you are not able to stand outside under that tree with that arbor and those flowers - then early planning is imperative. The longer you wait, the less likely that you will be able to coordinate every detail to your specifications.

Remember priority planning. We’ve talked about this before - wedding planning has a particular order to it. Book your wedding planners, venues, caterers, and photographers first - vendors that have more date limitations because of the number of events that they accept per day - and follow that up with florists, musicians, bakers, and more. When you book in this order, everything falls into place the way that it should. Think of the first four vendors as the foundation of a house; they provide the structure on which everything else is built and ultimately drive the overall design.

Consider the calendar. When it comes to scheduling time with wedding vendors, consider the time during which you’re requesting these appointments. If your expectation is to schedule Saturday appointments with wedding vendors in the middle of April or May, you’re likely going to be disappointed. We want to meet with you! We just ask that you understand the seasons and that you’re as flexible as possible when scheduling appointments. On the flip side, we won’t be meeting with prospective brides and grooms on your wedding day!
In the end, will we take a LMB? You bet! We realize there are many circumstances that can lead to delayed planning; and we’re always happy to meet with couples, no matter how close their wedding - if, of course, we’re available for their wedding date (if we can toot our own horn for a moment, we’re actually quite masterful at pulling off a last minute floral extravaganza!). However, if you have some time on your hands, do yourself - and your vendors - a favor and start your planning sooner rather than later. And, if you have some time right now, by all means, come see us and let’s get to work planning an amazing floral design for your wedding. We’re ready when you are!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

New Year, New Shows!

Our scoop on the Bridal Extravaganza and how to be a great bridal show guest…

This past weekend, the Bouquets of Austin team was thrilled to participate in the Bridal Extravaganza, held at the Palmer Events Center. It’s always a great show but this year they took it up a notch with an appearance by David Tutera - wedding planner extraordinaire and star of the hit show, My Fair Wedding with David Tutera on WE tv. We were able to attend his dinner presentation and we were blown away by his honesty, generosity, and knowledge of the industry. To boot, he was lovely about posing for pictures which made this star-struck crowd pretty happy!
Me & David Tutera
The Bridal Extravaganza is, without a doubt, one of the premiere shows of the year. In the case of their January show (they host two more shows throughout the year - in June and September), it is the first of the year – essentially marking the beginning of the wedding show season. For vendors, this presents some of our most effective opportunities to meet with brides and grooms face-to-face and really show them our work. For engaged couples, this is a rare opportunity to have vendors across the wedding industry - from venues and photographers to florists and bakers - under one roof.

Becky & David
We love bridal shows because we love what we do and we’re excited to share our work. Websites are great, email is a necessary convenience, and we’re always happy to talk with an out-of-town bride and groom by phone; but nothing is better than being able to talk to you in-person. We count on bridal shows to be able to connect with couples we may not have otherwise been able to meet.
Bridal shows can be equally effective for you. Let’s face it - planning a wedding is time-consuming and it can be a challenge to locate and vet a multitude of vendors. Having everyone collectively at your disposal in one place can be enormously helpful.
In this manner, wedding vendors and you - those in the market for our services - come together during these well-planned events. There is absolutely no denying the effectiveness of bridal shows and we always encourage brides and grooms to attend whenever possible. Get out there, meet us in person, and see our work. However, we will ask that, if you do participate, you are a good bridal show guest.

Yes, yes...we know. But trust us - it makes a big difference and it can make all of our participation that much more effective. Here’s how..
Know what you're looking for on that day.
What many couples may not realize is that there is an order of importance when choosing wedding vendors. First and foremost – after you’ve set a date, of course – consider choosing a wedding planner. You cannot underestimate how much help a professional planner can provide you – saving you significant time, money, and stress. Next is your venue, which should be booked before absolutely anything else and followed closely by a caterer and a photographer. Planners, venues, caterers, and photographers often do not handle more than one event a day so there is obviously less flexibility in their dates. Once these vendors are booked, you can move on to additional services such as florists (that’s us!), bakers, and more. From our perspective, these details are very important, as the time of year determines the type of flowers that are available and drives the overall design. The venue also very much determines design and greatly impacts our delivery/setup schedule, as does a choice of caterer and photographer. We work closely with caterers to ensure that we schedule our setups for when the linens have been put down and we also schedule deliveries to coincide with the beginning of photography.
Come armed with good information.
Having a strong sense of the colors that you want can go a long way towards helping us plan accordingly. So it always helps when you have colors in mind – and especially helpful if you’ve already chosen your dress and your bridesmaids’ dresses. Of course, if you know that there are particular flowers that you would like to use (or some that you definitely don’t ) that is always good information to have so we can guide you towards appropriate seasonal flowers. The conversation we have at a bridal show may be an abbreviated one, but if we all use the time efficiently we can give you a good idea of what you’re wedding flowers may look like and you can get a quick sense if we’re a florist you’d like to work with on your big day.

Provide accurate contact information.
We know you would never dream of doing such a thing…but, believe it or not, some people who attend bridal shows provide inaccurate contact information – ON PURPOSE (gasp!). In the end, this doesn’t do anyone any good; nor does it benefit you to opt out of email contact. Bridal show attendance is an investment on both ends. You’ve invested your time to attend the show and allow us to provide you with information. We, in turn, have invested our time – and a considerable amount of money – to be there so that we can introduce you to our services. When we return from a show, we compile the contact information that we receive so that we can keep in touch, provide accurate pricing, schedule appointments, and keep you informed of upcoming specials. We realize that email can become overwhelming so, if you haven’t already done so, consider setting up an email address specifically for wedding information. This way you won’t miss out on gathering the information that will help you make the best decisions for your wedding. And, it will save us – and other vendors – from managing inaccurate contact information.
One of Our  Table Arrangements at the David Tutera Dinner Presentation
With a new year upon us, we look forward to many more bridal shows where we can meet all of you in person. Be a great guest and a strategic planner and you will dramatically increase the efficiency – and enjoyment – of your wedding planning. And don’t forget to come by our booth and say hi; we can’t wait to meet you!