A REASON TO GET MARRIED IN AUGUST: LOCALLY GROWN DAHLIAS

colorful dahlias

It’s the middle of August and I love this time of year because that means locally grown dahlias are available. Washington, I’ve been learning, has a similar growing season for dahlias as does Colorado. Dahlia season starts at the beginning of August and goes through the end of September. Every once in a great while you can still get locally grown dahlias in early October, but that all depends whether the first frost of the season has occurred. Yes, you can get dahlias that are not locally grown at other times of the year, but dahlias do not transport well and many times the flower is compromised. The good solid two months of locally grown dahlias, however, is absolutely fabulous. I will take two wonderful months with these beauties!

Back in Colorado my go-to farm for locally grown dahlias was Arrowhead Dahlias. Julie and Calvin, the owners, grew so many beautiful varieties and always were a joy to visit. Being at Arrowhead you always felt like you were immersed in a sea of color and beauty. It was one of my absolute favorite places for flowers! Here in Washington there are a few dahlia-only farms and many other farms that grow dahlias, along with other varieties of flowers. The Seattle Wholesale Growers Market is a central point for locally grown Washington dahlias.

If you are getting married in August or September, I encourage you to consider incorporating dahlias into your floral arrangements. Here’s why I love locally grown dahlias:

  • There are SO many colors to choose from!
  • They are fresh, strong, and hearty.
  • They have a high petal count and often a full, bulbous shape – they make a great focal flower!
  • They go well with many different event styles: natural, organic, garden, boho, rustic, classic, elegant, etc.

 

Below are some of my favorite designs using these magnificent, special flowers. Enjoy!

bridesmaids in burgundy

Picture courtesy of Jessica Christie Photography

colorful bridal bouquet with burgundy dahlias

Picture courtesy of Caitlin Hamilton Photography

Indian mandap with white flowers

Picture courtesy of Dylan Burr Photography

wedding reception dinner tables with flowers

Picture courtesy of Dylan Burr Photography

jewel toned bridal bouquet

Picture courtesy of Drake & Co. Photography + Films

colorful and unique bridal bouquet

Picture courtesy of Mallory Olenius Photography

 

 

FLORAL INSPIRATION TO COMPLIMENT A PICTURESQUE VIEW OF SEATTLE

This past weekend I helped another Seattle Wedding Florist. The east side venue where their wedding took place  was located on top of a hill and had an incredible view of Seattle, Lake Washington, and the surrounding area. It was gloriously breathtaking.

While the ceremony was located at a different part of the property, I thought how lovely it would be to say your vows with this incredible view of Seattle as the backdrop. From a design point of view I wouldn’t want to block the view, but rather incorporate flowers and greenery to compliment the view.

The first design I sketched out involves Queen Anne’s Lace…lots and lots of Queen Anne’s Lace. In Colorado during the summer you’ll notice wild sunflowers everywhere. The wild flower of the Pacific Northwest is Queen Anne’s Lace. Delicate and unassuming you could easily overlook it, but once you notice it you cannot un-notice it. And the simplicity of just the Queen Anne’s Lace is beautiful. And, at least in Woodinville where the studio is located, it’s everywhere. How perfect would this ceremony backdrop be for such a spectacular view of Seattle?

simple and elegant wedding ceremony flowers

The next design I sketched out was inspiration that evolved from the idea of an infinity pool popping into my head with how blue and expansive the sky was. The idea then evolved into inspiration of ocean waves, which I loved. This ceremony decor would be built using all shades of blue hydrangea and then incorporating false spirea for added wisps of movement. Are you loving the blue on blue as much as I am?

Blue hydrangea wedding ceremony backdrop

 

Incorporating flowers into your wedding ceremony, even if you are getting married somewhere with a beautiful backdrop, can make the setting unique and even more stunning.

WEDDINGS ARE AWESOME – AND I’M NOT JUST SAYING THAT BECAUSE I’M A WEDDING FLORIST

My husband and I recently celebrated our second wedding anniversary. Our wedding feels like it was yesterday, so hitting the two year mark reminded me, again, how fast times goes by. I still think of myself as a newlywed. Can one still be a “newlywed” after two plus years of marriage? That is a debate for another day, I guess.

Though my time to be a bride has come and gone, I often look back at our wedding photos to relive the profound joy that we experienced. I felt compelled to write this post, because there is an abundance of articles on the internet about wedding regrets, why elopements are better than formal weddings, and even why weddings are a complete waste of money. I am in the wedding industry, yes, but putting aside my Wedding Florist hat, I wanted to share with you why I feel that weddings are important, amazing, and worth the investment. Because I loved my wedding so, so much, here is my case for having a grand celebration.

Deep Expressions of Love; Shared, Heightened

The two parts that I love most about a wedding is the ceremony (I always, ALWAYS cry at wedding ceremonies!) and the reception speeches. I love the raw, authentic feeling of personal vows and getting to see a glimpse into the depths of love and emotion. There are not many occasions in life that allow for such intense, public displays of affection. And while I think the act of saying your vows out loud to your significant other is profound in and of itself, I feel that saying them out loud in front of those who know you best transcends a new level of connection, which extends to everyone you love. Vows are incredibly powerful!

groom saying wedding vowsbride and groom saying vows

Wedding speeches can also be raw and emotional. The importance of a wedding – the joining of two people and of two families coming together creates a collective bond. Wedding speeches and toasts are one of the expressions of this union. I love how every speech has a different feeling to it, given by the person delivering the speech. Every person that stood up at our wedding to say something delivered a message of love, thought, and heart. t was so beautiful to hear.

wedding speechbride crying at a wedding reception

The Epitome of Beautiful, Personalized Decor + Delicious Food

I cannot think of other celebration that would call for an abundance of flowers and decor that has been designed for specifically for you, with your particular style and taste at the forefront. The transformation of a space that reflects you and your partner is incredible to see realized. Wedding reception food, as well, also adds to this elevated experience. The food you eat on your wedding day will have been created for you, specifically, with intent and your preferences. Meaningful, beautiful things draw us in and can enhance our experience.

outdoor wedding ceremony

You Get to Dance Like No One is Watching

The last time that I had a full-blown dance party was at our wedding reception. That’s two years too long!! Especially so, because I love dancing. But as life evolves there seem to be less and less opportunities to dance without any inhibitions. And dancing with those that you love to commemorate your wedding is one of the most joyful things that I have witnessed. Everyone is together, having fun, and celebrating. Being silly. Being free.

people dancing at a wedding

I am pretty sure this was the moment I realized a Michael Jackson song was starting to play.

bride and groom dancing at a wedding reception

Being Surrounded By Loved Ones

There has never been another occasion where I have had so many significant, special people in one place at one time. They were all there to have celebrate and support our marriage (and to have fun!). It was the most incredible, magical time that I don’t think could ever be recreated. And that makes it even more special.

outdoor wedding ceremony

 

As a Florist in the wedding industry for several years I knew that weddings were lovely and beautiful. I was part of that behind-the-scenes transformation process, after-all. I would feel that deep contentment and peace with being a wedding guest. But I didn’t really know how fun, amazing, and truly magical a wedding could be until my own wedding experience. The memories of that day and of that weekend will be with me forever. It is truly a gift that keeps on giving.

Have I convinced you yet to have a formal wedding?

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FLORAL INSPIRATION AT TWIN WILLOW GARDENS

I recently joined a professional networking group, the Snohomish Wedding Guild (SWG). The SWG resides in Snohomish, WA and includes wedding vendors in all categories: venues, caterers, planners, florists, officiants, hair and make-up, deejays, rentals, and so on. While the Guild is open to all businesses, venues and event spaces have to be physically located in Snohomish County.

Every year the Snohomish Wedding Guild hosts the Snohomish Wedding Tour, a self-directed tour of multiple Snohomish venues, each venue with a team of exhibiting vendors. It’s an incredible display of professionalism, talent, and creativity. It’s a wonderful opportunity for couples who are thinking of having their wedding in Snohomish County to meet with potential vendors in person and to get a feel for their style and personality.

I attended the Snohomish Wedding Tour this year as a guest and the first venue I visited was Twin Willow Gardens, which I fell in love with immediately. What an absolutely stunning location! At Twin Willow Gardens forest paths lead to gorgeous flower gardens and a tented reception area sits in the center of the gardens. There is also a full cement patio with a beautiful antique firehouse door backdrop. The beautiful outdoor setting actually reminded me of my own wedding, which was held outdoors in Colorado. I was flooding me with the fondest, most wonderful memories.

The Cedar Chapel, the main ceremony space at Twin Willow Gardens, is down a wooded path that leads to an opening with a large, hand-crafted wood beam arch centered in the back. This ceremony space is absolutely magical – you feel like you are in an enchanted forest! I was so inspired by this beautiful ceremony setting that I sketched out several potential floral backdrop ideas. The ideas just kept coming! I hope you also fall in love with this ceremony space and are inspired by the feeling of this stunning place just as much as I was.

 

Enchanted Forest Floral Lunaria Tree

For this backdrop I decided to “re-grow” the tree to the left of the arch by creating a “trunk” made of Combo roses, Quicksand roses, Champagne sweetheart roses, mood moss, and sheet moss. The branches would be made from curly willow and adorned with dried lunaria and fairy lights. I had come across a lunaria backdrop once in a wedding blog and was taken aback with its strikingly simplistic beauty. From that moment I, too, wanted to create something amazing with dried lunaria! And how perfect would a lunaria tree be at Twin Willow Gardens?? The cedar wood arch would get a lovely curtain of Spanish moss, white astilbe (you could also use Queen Anne’s Lace, Pepper Grass, or False Spirea), and ribbon, with Champagne rose blooms attached at the bottom of the ribbon strands.

lunaria tree with floral trunk sketch

Enchanted Forest Floral Willow Tree

I actually did this sketch before the dried lunaria tree. I thought it would be fun and oh-so-fitting to create a willow tree for Twin Willow Gardens. Instead of dried lunaria fixed to the curly willow branches I would use willow eucalyptus. An asymmetric floral curtain would hang from the arch behind the tree.

willow tree with a floral trunk sketch

Enchanted Forest Illumination

I love the look of old growth, undisturbed forest. To achieve a natural shape of growth movement I saw the cedar arch covered in moss, branches, and fairy lights. The curly willow would start from the ground and climb up the arch. Floral clusters would wind their way up the tree trunks, but also go part-way up the arch. The arch would be covered with a base of mood moss and sheet moss. Spanish moss and white delphinium would hang down from the top beam.

enchanted forest wedding ceremony

Patterned Quilt Inspiration

For some reason when I looked at the cedar arch structure I also envisioned a quilt. Probably because it has such a solid, rectangular shape. While I personally tend to gravitate towards asymmetric designs, I decided to sketch out a quilt-inspired pattern created from floral pomander balls, illuminated grapevine balls, and chevron-style lines of hanging delphinium, stock, and spray roses. The wood beams of the arch would be covered in mood moss, sheet moss, and rose blooms.

ceremony flowers hanging from arch

Diagonal Dried Lunaria

For this last sketch I decided to go with a very simple design, which goes against my tendency to incorporate lots of texture and lots of movement. Fairly recently in a wedding publication I had come across a backdrop of dried lunaria in the shape of a curtain. It was absolutely gorgeous and ignited a love of dried lunaria in me. In following the sharp angles of the cedar arch, I decided to split the arch into two pieces with a diagonal piece of wood, wedged in between two corners. Dried lunaria would stick out from either side of the diagonal piece of wood. This would be a modern, artistic interpretation of a feather or perhaps even of a fern.

wedding ceremony with lunaria

 

So which ceremony design do you resonate most with?? Are there other colors/shapes you would like to see? Let’s see what show-stopper we can create together!

THE EVOLUTION OF A CREATIVE BUSINESS

I was utterly new to the world of formal entrepreneurship when I first started my floral design business back in 2011. At first I was primarily focused on figuring out all the legalities with running a business. While the business name was important, I initially didn’t give it that much thought. I actually came up with my first business name relatively easily and quickly. It was a name that I thought was perfect: Designs Abloom.

After spending about six months formally as Designs Abloom (registering with the Secretary of State, getting set up with the Colorado Department of Revenue, printing business cards, etc.) I started having doubts about my chosen name. My mom would get confused and sometimes refer to my business as “Flowers Abloom”. I reasoned that if my own mother couldn’t remember the name of my business then how could I expect anyone else, who wouldn’t care half as much, to remember correctly? I decided that Designs Abloom, the name I had once thought was great, was actually so vanilla (vanilla – not bad, but nothing special or unique). To me, the most successful businesses had a company name that was either witty, cool, or sophisticated…or all three, and especially memorable. Hence, naming a business something silly or lame or vanilla was a precursor to utter failure. Naming my floral design business, therefore, was not something to be taken lightly.

What followed was two years of re-naming agony. For the first multiple weeks I brainstormed all the possible floral design names I could come up with. I had decided that using my name would be best (after-all, there was another Florist in town who had started her business a few years back and was more successful than me. And that Florist had named her business after herself). So I came up with a list of potential business names:

Holly Ann Floral
Holly Ann Floral Design
Holly Ann Flowers
Holly Kerr Floral
Holly Kerr Floral Design
Holly Kerr Flowers
Holly Floral Design
Holly’s Floral Celebrations
Holly Ann Floral Unfold
Holly Flourish
Holly’s Floral Radiance
Holly Flowers Designed
Holly Ann Designs Abloom
Holly Kerr Designs Abloom

All of my friends were included in the voting of these business names, which involved several rounds of emails: Pick your top three names. Which of these top three names do you like the best? Are you sure this name seems good?

 

While this was going on I happened to stumble upon another Florist whose business name involved a color + name of a flower, which I really liked. And another, though smaller, round of possible business names was generated:

Green Feather Floral Design
Silver Locket Floral Design
Crimson Locket Floral Design

After lots of indecision I briefly decided on Polka Dot Blossoms for my new business name, the idea coming from one of my brides who wanted polka dot ribbon for her bouquet wrap. I thought the polka dots were kind of cute. And my plan was to wear a polka dotted scarf to every floral consultation. Who could forget a Florist in polka dots?? Now that was memorable.

Not too long afterwards I then came to the conclusion that the best part of a wedding was the bouquet toss, and so I registered my business as Toss Floral Design. That name lasted for more than a year before I was informed of all the not-so-pleasant meanings of the word “toss”. A new business was needed.

In early 2013 I was sitting in my car on my lunch break fretting about what the heck I was going to call my floral design business. I literally felt like I was back at square one with any ambitions to build a successful floral design business. How was I going to do anything if I couldn’t even decide on a business name?? In typical Holly fashion I was looking online to other Florists for inspiration when a testimonials page caught my attention. The page was titled, “Love Letters.” In that moment my business became Love Letters Floral Design and stayed that way until the end of 2018.

One would think after all the time, attention, investment, and effort, that name Love Letters Floral Design would be forever. But with the move to Washington and having to start my business over, I decided to re-brand and settled on Holly Yee Floral Architecture. You can read more about this decision in a previous BLOG POST and learn the BACK STORY of why I chose the term “architecture”.

All the name changes and the aesthetic design changes that my business has gone through is *almost* amusing. This business journey has been quite the long and winding ride, you could say! I have learned that while the business name does carry some weight, ultimately, it’s just a small amount of weight. What’s more important is your craft, your customer service, your relationships, and your mindset. Take it from me – don’t let the agony of choosing a business name hold you back for too long. On the other hand, maybe it’s the slow and winding road that you need to take to get you to the place where you really need to be. You can be your own judge on that one.

Holly Yee

Hello and welcome! Thanks so much for taking time to stop by my part of the internet. I have been working with flowers for a long time and I just love helping people make their celebrations absolutely stunning. It is an honor and a priviledge to be a part of weddings and other special events. 

In addition to floral design my other loves are yoga, coffee, the outdoors, and my husband and all the amazing people in my life. 

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Email: holly@hollyyee.com

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