2014 Year In Review!

As we count down the last few hours left in 2014 I can’t help but reflect on all the wonderful events I had to privilege to be a part of this year. 2014 was full of beautiful and memorable weddings and special events and I am happy to share that I doubled my business from 2013!  I could not be more thrilled!!!  This year’s weddings took me from my home town of Roanoke, Virginia to Baltimore, Maryland and many places in between throughout Northern Virginia, Maryland and Washington DC. I delivered flowers to several new venues this year and I worked with several new industry friends who helped pull off some amazing weddings.  Here are a few snapshots of some of the venues we had the pleasure of working in this year.

Hotel Roanoke, Four Seasons Baltimore, Women In the Arts Museum, Belle Grove Plantation, Woodlawn Bed & Breakfast, Olde Bretton Inn, Historic St. Mary's City, River Farm Alexandria, Sotterley Plantation, wedding flowers

I love to look back through images of my designs at the end of the year and see how my style has evolved and how I’m growing and improving my design skills. Year after year I see a difference in the quality and level of designs I am producing and that makes me proud. The time and money I am investing in the development of my skills and my business are paying off.  The conferences and workshops I attend not only feed my soul with the great relationships that I’ve made but the advice, techniques and mechanics I learn are crucial to my growth.  Here is a look at some of the bouquets my brides carried this year.

bridal bouquets, wedding flowers, southern Maryland weddings, southern maryland florist, washington dc florist

Centerpieces and ceremony decor went to a new level this year as well. Everything from gold candelabras to custom made wood planter boxes to pipe and drape poles covered in greens to gilded basketballs and whelk shells filled with flowers.  The creativity was flowing in 2014 and I am so thankful my clients were willing to let me think and create outside the box. Here are a few images of the designs I created for ceremonies and receptions this year.

blush wedding, lime green and blue wedding, christmas wedding, pink weddingOver the past few years I have had the opportunity to connect and work with some incredibly talented photographers.  They work very hard to capture every element of a wedding for their clients as well as the details that florists, planners, bakers and caterers put so much work in to for the client.  Their willingness to share the images with me for use on this blog and my website and the laborious efforts they put forth to get images ready for publication is always appreciated.  I am very grateful to all the photographers I worked with this year and for the beautiful images they captured. Here are a few of my favorites shots of the little people that help make weddings even more precious.

children at weddings,

Along with the adorable children at weddings come the other special guests of the day… Mothers and Fathers.  They button up the dress, they hook the necklace, they wipe a tear and they escort their daughters down the aisle.  Weddings are an emotional day for brides and grooms but they are also emotional for the parents.  This year two of my brides were family friends and I know their parents well. It was extra special to be a part of their daughters’ weddings and watch them share in the happiness of the day.  Here are some of my favorite moments of my brides with their mothers and fathers.

mother of the bride, father of the bride

And none of this would be possible without my brides and grooms. THANK YOU!  You trusted me to be a part of one of the most special events in your life and I am truly honored. It was a pleasure to work with each and every one of you and I hope you have many wonderful memories of your wedding day.  May 2015 bring you much love and good health and may you have many years of happiness together!

wedding flowers, brides & grooms,  washington dc florist, southern maryland weddings, northern virginia florist

Last but not least … thank you to my family, friends and colleagues who have supported me this past year.

To my flower family of Chapel Designers…. you are a constant inspiration and source of strength, education and HUMOR! Thank you!

To my industry friends/vendors… your referrals of business and professionalism in working together is exceptional and I wish you continued success in 2015! Thank you!

To my family and friends… you listen to me drone on about flowers and the perfect shade of blush and mercury glass containers… you get excited with me when I book a new client… you help me deliver and set up weddings when needed…you drive out of town to help me… you stay up into the wee hours of the night if I need to finish designing… you bring me food to keep me going… you wear my silly AJF shirts even when they don’t fit… you let me come crash at your houses while I wait to strike a wedding…you lift and carry heavy things and climb ladders when I am afraid to… you clean wax out of candle holders… you hide in electrical closets with me during ceremonies… you refer business to me from your friends and contacts… you love me, encourage me and want to help me in any way possible and for that … Thank you!

Family Collage

All professional images are courtesy of the following photographers:
Amanda Adams Photography
Asico Photo
Birds Of A Feather Photography
Brandon S. Warren Photography
Chelsa Yoder Photography
Genevieve Leiper Photography
Jodi Miller Photography
Photo Lady Love Photography
Robin Owen Photography
Sandi Foraci Photography
Stacey Windsor Photography

B is for BABY!

I had the pleasure of providing some beautiful blooms for a baby shower last weekend. The flowers were the perfect accent to this well planned event by Laura Ritchie from Events In The City.  She thought of so many little details for her client. Everything was coordinated perfectly right down to the bite size cookies that matched the invitation.  The look and style for the shower was inspired by Restoration Hardware.  The colors were neutral tones of ivory and pale grey with hints of blue for the expected BABY BOY!  Here is a partial view of the invitation. Out of respect and privacy to the client I have cropped all the details.

Baby Shower invite croppedA lovely spray of flowers adorned the mailbox to help guests find the house.
baby shower flowers, mailbox arrangment

A fresh square floral wreath welcomed the guests to the shower. The cool November temperatures will definitely keep this design looking good for several days!

baby shower flowers, fresh floral wreath, square wreath, blue flower wreath

In keeping with the grey color and lighter wood tones I used white washed wood boxes as the containers.  Flowers included large leaf dusty miller, rice flower, light blue hydrangea, white veronica, spray roses, wax flower, eucalyptus and blue thistle. Laura’s additions of the felt animal book ends and wooden blocks were perfect!

wood box container, dusty miller, rice flower, white veronica, spray rose, blue hydrangea, blue thistlewood box container, blue hydrangea, white spray rose, white verionica, grevallia

When Laura first contacted me about the shower she had a great idea to display some very simple and delicate baby items on the buffet with a touch of flowers.  I took her idea of using a frame to display the items and decided to remove the glass and cover the back with batting and light blue fabric so the white linen bib, bloomers and onesie would really pop!  The frames were lightly distressed grey wood and the light blue fabric was made from jute.

framed baby items, grey wood frame, white linen bib, white linen onzie, white bloomersEverything was so carefully thought out from the presentation of the flatware to the table linens that coordinated with the home’s existing decor. Catering was provided by Design Cuisine. 
burlap bag for flatware wood box container, blue flowers, baby shower flowersbaby shower flowers, blue flowers

How adorable are these ABCs and felt garland on the food table?!!!

ABC letters, baby showerAs a “Thank You” to the guests for spending the afternoon showering the mommy-to-be they received a tiny little favor beautifully wrapped by Laura.  Hang tag calligraphy by Meant To Be Calligraphy and favor boxes from Sweet LuLu.

baby shower favors

Inside those little favor boxes were the cutest handmade cookies I’ve ever seen!  Fresh Bakes did such a great job!

Fresh Bakes Cookies, baby shower favors

It was a pleasure working with Laura on this event. I have gotten to know the ladies from Events In The City over the past several years through various industry events and working on special projects together.  They are top notch event planners with an incredible eye for detail!  If you need a planner for your wedding or special event please check them out!

Events In The City team-AJ

Pretty Pumpkins 2.0 (Review)

pumpkin, floral workshop,

Hosting this year’s Pretty Pumpkins (Halloween Theme) one month earlier made a HUGE difference in the weather!  No one’s fingers were frozen!!! It was a great turn out of friends and family in Roanoke, VA this past Sunday.  The workshop was held at the clubhouse at The Village at Tinker Creek which has a great back deck that is just perfect hosting a hands on workshop.  Everyone in the group introduced themselves and said how they know me which is always fun! I have some really wonderful friends and family that are so supportive of my workshops and I am truly grateful. There were several people that joined me for the Spring Flower Fling workshop back in April and they returned  this fall for more fun with pumpkins!

PumpkinEvent10.26.2014-8 PumpkinEvent10.26.2014-9

The floral pumpkin centerpieces all turned out so beautifully and included a Halloween twist.  We added black spider lace to the designs along with a few non-floral elements as inserts. Some chose to wrap the lace around the entire pumpkin securing it to the center with push pins and then adding their floral foam on top. Others made a skirt with the lace bunching it in the center near the removed stem, securing it with push pins and then adding the floral foam.

pumpkin floral workshop, halloween workshop, lace covered pumpkinpumpkin floral workshop, lace covered pumpkin

We used a variety of orange, copper and bronze colored seasonal flowers in keeping with a traditional Halloween look.  Flowers included, high and intense roses, orange unique roses, safflower, cushion mums, dahlias, seeded eucalyptus, willow eucalyptus, grevallia, copper amaranthus and dusty miller.

pumpkin floral workshop, orange roses, safflower, halloween floral workshop

safflower, high and intense rose

It’s so amazing to see how different the designs turn out. Everyone works with the same flower recipe yet has their own style and interpretation for their arrangement.

pumpkin floral workshop, halloween workshop

pumpkin floral workshop, halloween workshop

My good friend Kelly, who I’ve known since the 6th grade, brought her mom Donna to the workshop. I think they enjoyed a mother/daughter afternoon together (without kids!!).   I remember Kelly’s artistic skills from back in middle and high school. You can tell she has an eye for color, shape and scale.  She and Donna made some pretty rock’n pumpkin centerpieces!  Here they are hard at work.

kelly and donna CollageOne of my 2014 brides even made it to the workshop along with her mother and grandmother. The new Mrs. States lives in Charlottesville these days with her new husband (and new puppy Kady) but she happened to be in Roanoke last weekend so she tried her hand at floral design. I think she was glad she didn’t decide to DIY the flowers for her wedding back in August!

pumpkin floral workshop, halloween workshoppumpkin floral workshop, halloween workshop, orange flower centerpiece, pumpkin centerpieceAnd what would a get together be without snacks?

pumpkin floral workshop, halloween workshopLast but certainly not least…. I would not have these awesome images to remember the event without the talented work of Chelsa Yoder Photography. I met Chelsa this past August at Whitney and Noah’s wedding at the Hotel Roanoke. She captured their wedding so beautifully and I can’t wait to share those images!  Chelsa has such a sweet personality and a calm presence about her which is exactly what you want in a photographer. Someone that puts you at ease in front of the lens. If you are in need of a wedding or family photographer in Southwest Virginia then I highly recommend getting in touch with Chelsa!  She is an incredibly talented photographer and not too bad at floral design as evidence by the pumpkin she made…

chelsa yoder photography, pumpkin floral workshop, halloween workshopChelsa had to run to a maternity photo session before we finished up and the group shot was left to me and my less than stellar photography skills. Everyone got a good arm workout holding those heavy pumpkins for the shot!

pumpkin floral workshop, halloween workshopThank you to everyone who attended Pretty Pumpkins 2.0!  I hope you all had as much fun as I did spending the afternoon working with flowers. Happy Halloween!!

pumpkin floral workshop, halloween workshop

- AJ

 

Real Wedding: St. Mary’s Hope, St. Inigoes, Maryland

This past June I had the pleasure of providing personal flowers for a lovely wedding at the beautiful St. Mary’s Hope in southern Maryland.  I first met Melanie last August at a bridal show in Solomon’s Island, Maryland.  She was very excited about her wedding flowers and wanted to know how I could use various shades of purple incorporating different textures and flowers.  Several months passed and I ran into Melanie again at the Historic St. Mary’s City bridal show and she still had not decided on a florist for her personal flowers. We spoke again about the various shades of purple flowers that would be in season in early June and Melanie was eager to book the date.   Melanie ended up winning my give-away of a free bridesmaid bouquet at this bridal show and that sealed the deal!  Sandy Foraci is the incredibly talented photographer that captured these beautiful images from Melanie and Tyler’s wedding.

St. Mary’s Hope sits on the banks of Church Cove off St. Inigoes Creek in St. Mary’s County, Maryland. It is a beautiful setting for an outdoor wedding.
St. Mary's Hope, Maryland, southern Maryland weddingsSt. Mary's Hope, Maryland, southern maryland weddingsSt. Mary's Hope, Maryland, southern Maryland weddings

Melanie knew she wanted a mix of white and purple flowers for her bouquet including dark purple callas and peonies which were in season. I also included some white ranunculus for a variation in size and texture.  To balance the dark purple color from the callas I lightened things up a bit with purple agapanthus and limonium and then hints of grey with dusty miller.

View More: http://sandiforaci.pass.us/boekel

st. mary's hope, maryland, southern maryland weddings, purple bouquet, purple and white bridal bouquet, purple callas, white peonies

purple bouquets, white peonies, purple callas, wedding flowers

The bridesmaids carried small hand-tied bouquets made with a mix of ocean song roses, dark and light purple stock, limonium, purple lisianthus, agapanthus and dusty miller.

purple bridesmaid bouquet, ocean song rose, purple lisianthus, purple stock, purple statice, purple agapanthus

purple bouquet, purple bridesmaids

purple bridesmaids bouquets, purple stock, purple lisianthus, dustry miller, ocean song rosepurple and white boutonierrest. mayr's hope wedding, southern maryland weddings, purpel and white bridal bouquet

Melanie’s mother wanted a small nosegay of flowers to compliment her stunning lavender gown. I just love this photo of the bride and her mother!

View More: http://sandiforaci.pass.us/boekelMelanie and Tyler hired Classy Chassis Limousine to drive them in style on their wedding day.  If you are looking for a beautifully restored classic car and a top notch driver then you need to call Dan Simpson in Lexington Park, Maryland. This car is gorgeous!
classy chassis limosine service, southern maryland weddings, limosine rentalclassy chassis limousine service, southern maryland weddingsclassy chassis limousine service, southern maryland weddings

Thank you Melanie and Tyler! We loved providing the personal flowers for your wedding.  Best wishes to you both!

-AJ

Pretty Pumpkins 2.0 (Halloween Theme)

I know it’s hard to start thinking about fall and pumpkins when it feels like 100 degrees outside.  ‘Excuse me Mother Nature, summer takes place in June, July and August… you had your chance, now move along until next year.’  It’s time for pumpkin spiced this and that, college football and cool autumn weather!

Last fall we had such a great time at the Pretty Pumpkins event that I have decided to host Pretty Pumpkins 2.0 (Halloween Theme). I am moving it up a month this year in hopes to have slightly warmer weather and put a Halloween spin on the design.  I have also decided to include the kids in this event and will have a child appropriate design for them to make and take home.  This year’s event is being held in my hometown of Roanoke, Virginia at the clubhouse at The Village at Tinker Creek. This is the same location of my Spring Flower Fling back in April.  If you missed the spring event and would like to try your hand at Pretty Pumpkins I would love to have you!  Here is the link to last year’s event at Mount Republican in Maryland.

Pretty Pumpkins, halloween florals, All fresh flowers, pumpkins and materials will be provided and the arrangements are yours to take home at the end of the event.  There will also be some light refreshments provided. Space will be limited so be sure to sign up soon!  There is a link to Paypal in the upper left-hand side of the blog under my profile picture.

Hope to see you there!

-AJ

Alicia’s Garden 2014

When I started this blog I hoped to include an occasional post about plants, flowers and vegetables that I grew at my house. I am finally getting around to sharing the fruits of my green thumb labor. I don’t have a large property in which to have a nice cutting garden for flowers nor do I have a huge garden for vegetables, but I try!  This year’s attempt with the garden is proving quite fruitful with tomatoes and peppers. The squash and zucchinni are taking their time or a bug or disease has attacked them and I won’t see anything this year.
Given the small size of my garden I decided to install a wood trellis to let the plants that vine grow up rather than snake out all over the yard.   Here is a picture of this year’s garden. It measures approximately 12 feet long and 3 feet wide.  The crop includes parsley, a variety of peppers, spaghetti squash, crookneck squash, rosemary, tomatoes, cucumber, zucchini, and chives.

garden grown, backyard garden,

tomatoes, garden grown

cucumbers, garden grown

crookneck squash, garden grown

peppers and herbs

Since tomatoes have been the only thing from the garden that is ripe for picking, I decided to make some homemade salsa this week. It has quite a kick with jalepenos and bannana peppers!

fresh salsa, garden grown tomatoes

After countless summers of trial and error with my window boxes I think I have finally found the right mix of flowers that can tolerate full sun. Sadly we’ve lost the trees that used to line the sidewalk in front of our house due to storms.  Those trees provided a bit of shade to our house from the afternoon sun. With the full force of mother nature’s heat beating down every afternoon it is challenging to keep anything alive on the front of the house. I’ve tried so many different things each year only to watch them wilt away and die quickly. This year I planted yellow lantana, sweet potato vine and red verbena. They are thriving in the sun!  They still need a dose of water twice daily but so far so good! A little bit of Miracle Grow “Bloom Booster” also helps!

window boxesThe front porch pots are even doing well despite the grasshoppers that keep nibbling on the sweet potato vine. Grrrr!
_MG_5442

Sadly my endless summer hydrangeas are not holding up so well this year. The horrible, snowy winter killed any growth on the old wood and it’s all new growth coming from the ground which will not produce any blooms this year.  I look around my neighborhood and I see much the same in everyone’s yards. One of my neighbor’s has a luscious deep purple hydrangea bush that sits sadly with no blooms this year either.  In fact, I’ve consulted with several friends in the mid-Atlantic and northeast region of the country and their plants were also heavily damaged.  The new growth on the bush may not produce immediate blooms but it will thrive again one day.  As with life “strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle” – Napoleon Hill

hydrangea

What’s growing in your garden this year? I’d love to come see!

-AJ

 

Real Wedding: Brandywine, Maryland

This past April I participated in a special wedding giveaway with several talented industry friends. The contest was initiated by my friend Stacey of Stacey Windsor Photography. Alicia Jayne Florals was joined by Heather of Hitched by Heather and Paul Kwak of Paul Kwak Productions.  We donated our services to one deserving couple in the DC/MD/VA area.  Our lucky winners Tori and Jamari from Southern Maryland had a great team of wedding professionals to help make their day even more special.

Alicia Jayne Florals provided all of the personal flowers for Tori and Jamari and their wedding party. The vibrant shades of purple and lime green were fun colors to design with and looked great with the bridemaid dresses. Tori knew exactly what she wanted right down to the little green cushion mums for her bridesmaids. She and Jamari were a pleasure to work with and I wish them many years of happiness together!

Here are a few images of personal flowers we provided as well as the great videography work of Paul Kwak Productions.

purple bouquet, purple lisianthus, purple carnationsPurple lisianthus, statice, purple carnations, purple alstromeria, purple stock, queen anne’s lace, purple freesia
purple bouquetpurple bouquet
green button mum boutonierreGreen button mums, puruple statice and purple freesia

purple bridesmaid dress, lime green bridesmaid bouquet, purple bouquetGreen button mums, green tea roses, purple statice and purple stock
lime green bridesmaid bouquet
flower packaging


-
AJ

 

Practice, Practice, Practice

Practice doesn’t always make perfect but it sure does help improve your end game.  I am no stranger to practice. I grew up participating in activities like dance and cheerleading and basketball (short lived but I tried).  Along with the fun of a recital or performance or a sporting event to cheer for, came the countless hours of practice. Several hours a week were spent rehearsing and learning new techniques which ultimately made me and my ensemble and squad better performers.

I take the same approach with my floral designs. I continually practice making new designs with bouquets, centerpieces and little details like corsages.  I source new flowers that I have never worked with to see how they hold up and how their color blends with others. I manipulate leaves by wrapping them and looping them to create new shapes and dimension in an arrangement.  It’s necessary to push the boundaries and explore new concepts or your work becomes stale and dated and you are not growing as a designer.  If you consider floral design an art then  you understand that art is always changing, it is never done, it is never complete and can always be refined.  The materials used to create a balanced floral composition are always changing. When working with a natural product like flowers you learn to be flexible. The color of that rose may not be exactly as it was the last time you worked with it or the shape of the stock may not be as full as the last bunch.  Sometimes you have to let the flower direct the line and shape of the design.

Here are a few designs I made recently using new flowers and greenery I have never worked with before.

spring bouquet, hellebores, quicksand rose, pieris, midori ribbon, lavender bouquet

Image Courtesy of  Vicki Grafton Photography

pink and yellow bouquet, fever few, peonies, midori ribbon, yellow fressia,

flower ring
raspberry bouquet, agonis, pink roses, pink snapdragons, dusty millerImage Courtesy of Birds Of A Feather Photography

raspberry centerpiece, pink roses, pink and black flowers, palm leaves, red ti leaves Image Courtesy of Birds Of A Feather Photography

“To practice any art is a way to make your soul grow. So do it.”
- Kurt Vonnegut

-AJ

The Little Black Book

LBB badge

Some girls would not be thrilled with the idea to be listed in a little black book however, this is a whole different kind of black book. I am excited to announce that Alicia Jayne Florals has been accepted to Style Me Pretty’s ‘Little Black Book’ of vendors.  We are honored to be included among such an esteemed group of wedding and event vendors in the Washington DC Metropolitan area and Maryland’s Eastern Shore.  If you are not familiar with the Style Me Pretty blog and you need a daily dose of wedding inspiration then jump on over and check out the blog here.

SMP logo

The Style Me Pretty blog share images of real weddings from around the world, creatively styled shoots and tips on planning your special day.  Being accepted to the Little Black Book of vendors has been a goal of mine since starting Alicia Jayne Florals.  Big things are happening in our little corner of the flower world. This is just the beginning!

AJF LBB

-AJ

 

Paeonia Bartzella or Yellow Peony

It’s highly sought after by floral designers this time of year and its shelf life is so short. The Paeonia Bartzella is a hybrid or a cross between a herbaceous and tree peony. Its blooms are large and fragrant but they don’t last long.  I was lucky enough to land some of these beauties last week from my wholesaler just in time for Mother’s Day and they did not disappoint.  The Bartzella peony opens very differently from the traditional peony we all know and love like the pink Sarah Bernhardt with its layers and layers of petal deliciousness.  Bartzella peonies have long petals that open very large and flat when fully bloomed. They have deep yellow stamens in the center with red flares at their base. These flowers are just stunning however, they are definitely a statement bloom and should be paired with other smaller flowers and greenery in complimenting colors to balance the arrangement.  My friend and talented photographer Stacey Windsor Photography  met me in Old Town Alexandria one evening last week to capture these rare yellow peonies in all their glory.  Check out some of the beautiful photographs Stacey shot at the John Carlyle House.

View More: http://staceywindsor.pass.us/aliciajayneflorals

The peonies are complimented by purple lilac, purple frill tulips, yellow solidago, yellow spray roses, sea star fern, lucadendron and buplerum.

View More: http://staceywindsor.pass.us/aliciajayneflorals

The John Carlyle House in Alexandria has a great blue door for pictures. We sat on the steps and chatted for a bit waiting for the sun to go down to get just the right amount of light.

View More: http://staceywindsor.pass.us/aliciajayneflorals

This is such a great image against the brick!

View More: http://staceywindsor.pass.us/aliciajayneflorals

And the angle from above

View More: http://staceywindsor.pass.us/aliciajayneflorals

If yellow peonies are on your list of “must have” flowers then consider late spring and early summer for your wedding or special event.  A special thank you to Stacey Windsor for capturing one of nature’s fleeting gifts!

-AJ