Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Jen & Charlie: Boutonnieres

If you've ever been to an asian wedding, you'll see that everyone in the (immediate) family gets a boutonniere. It's sometimes a pain because there's lots of wiring involved. Jenn wanted 24 boutonnieres. I almost died (just kidding, I love taping and wiring. Who wouldn't?)
We kept it simple. Just two green Dendrobium Orchids and we decided not to put a bow for the women's. I like Dendrobium boutonnieres because they look better than a big bulky rose. If you must use a rose for family boutonnieres, try to use sweetheart or spray roses. Keep in mind they are much more expensive.

Groomsmen/Officient boutonniere. There were only 5. I used a jade rose, green dendrobium, and kermit mum. I was only going to use a mum OR orchid at first, but I couldn't decide which i liked better. Turns out using both looked best since the rose is so much larger.

Charlie's boutonniere. Jen saw the succulents in a bouquet online and fell in love. I found the small one to use in Charlie's boutonniere so it would be different from everyone elses. There's also a white dendrobium orchid and two lisianthus buds in there. I thought the colors mixed together made it really pretty. Instead of wrapping with floral tape, I used the ribbon from her bridesmaid bouquet as well as a pretty blue wire.
More to come from the wedding soon!

Jen & Charlie: planning

When I booked Jen's wedding, it was about 5 months before the big day, which was great! The reason that I say this is because it gives you time to really figure out what you want, without too much time to change your mind.

Now, first thing that you florist should ask you is what your budget is. It's always best to be realistic and it's much easier to figure out what's the absolute best that you can get with what you can afford. I could never be one of those florist who talk about all the gorgeous things that she can do then find out that its not possible because it's not within the budget (talk about heartbreak!). So Jen and I figured out what she wanted to spend, then looked through her pictures to see if it was possible. Keep in mind that most creations that you see in magazines are pretty extravagent, but it doesn't mean you can't get anything similar. Ask your florist if theycan replicate the piece, but on a smaller scale. See if they can use less expensive flowers. Or do both!

Another way that Jen and I were able to get in everything she wanted was by her providing the vases. Some florist won't let you, but it never hurts to ask. Jen was smart enough to use her 40% off coupon at Michael's to get her vases, it ended up being cheaper than if we went to get it at the wholesalers.

And my most important piece of advice? GET A FEW QUOTES. Make sure you take your time to talk to different vendors. Sometimes even if one vendor is a bit cheaper, but you get along better with another, it may be better to book the one you like. It's really important that you like your vendors (and they like you!).

Pictures in my next post. I promise!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Meet Jen & Charlie

I met Jen while doing flowers for another wedding ...she happened to stumble into our area looking for a florist for her wedding. I could tell when I met her that she was pretty organized. She had a nice binder with pictures of flowers that she was interested in. I have to admit, sometimes you get those brides who have pictures and want EXACTLY what's in the picture and that's not always a good thing. Luckily for me, Jen was not one of those brides (can you imagine having someone show you a bouquet of peonies when their wedding is in November? Or if their budget is really small??). She was really open to suggestions and really took my advice, which I am very grateful for. On top of that, her and her fiance Charlie were super nice! (just some words of wisdom, if you treat your vendors nicely, they will sometimes go the extra mile for you...) I have lots of pictures from their wedding...coming up later :) I'll leave you with just one of the happy couple!

Congrats Jen and Charlie!


Okay it's been a while since I posted. It's been a little busy :) But since I (kind of) have the weekend off, I should take the time to update a bit!

I'm sure many of you are wondering what pomanders are. My friend Jenn recently told me that at my wedding I should have those cute "flower balls"...and after informing her that the correct term was "pomanders", I assured her that I would have plenty because I love them.

Pomanders can be used for a lot of different things. I like them attached onto the chairs for the ceremony (or on shepherds hooks if you're having a garden wedding) or if the cute little flower girls are holding them. I've seen brides and bridesmaids carry them also. You can do pomanders with a lot of different flowers. If you have a smaller budget, I would suggest doing them with button or pincushion mums. Carnations are also a good idea because they fluff open and cover a lot of space. Keep in mind that pomanders require a lot of flowers and work so they are usually quite expensive. They may look simple, but trust me they're hard work!

Did this for a wedding last year. we had to do 10 of these and it was a pain. Then this year I had to do 12 with carnations. That ended up being a wedding from hell (we dealt with the wedding planner only). The kermits are lovely aren't they?

Easiest way to do these is by pinning them. I used black pins with the brownish/orange mum.

What a difference the pro shot makes!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Under the Sea

So this year I was going to participate in the OC Fair for the first time. But due to some unfortunate events my entry didn't make it there. Too bad because I really liked it.

The theme was "Under the Sea".
Better luck next year I guess!

Pink and Purple

Sorry I haven't posted in so long :( I didn't have much going on for a while then of course everything hit me at once and I had quite a few things going on around the same time.

The last wedding I did was hot pink and purple with some green accents. While you might think those are weird color choices, the flowers came out gorgeous.

I can't remember what the bouquets had...I believe they were just roses, gerbers, lisianthus, alstromeria, carnations and button mums.

The only other thing I did for this wedding was the archpiece....which then moved to the sweetheart table! (great way to save money)

*all photos are courtesy of Christopher Bishow Photography.

Saturday, June 13, 2009


A month or so ago I got a request to do a wreath for a wedding. I don't usually get these so it was actually kind of fun. The wreath I did was for the door of their church. I think it turned out pretty well and the bride LOVED it...which is pretty much all i care about :)

Her colors were green and white. The wreath is a double heart with carnations, mums and cymbidium orchids.

I also did a wreath with silk flowers for my desk at work. I had seen it in one of my floral magazines and wanted to try it out.

Aside from flowers, I used those decorative ornaments to take up space. The good thing about doing this with silk flowers is I could use many different flowers and have it not be super expensive. I did a heart because it was around Valentine's day when I made it...I'll probably do another one when the fall rolls around.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Simple Boutonnieres

People always think that floristry is really fun...which it is. But I'm not going to lie, there is a lot of work involved when dealing with flowers. Unfortunately, when I picked up my flowers from the wholesalers, they don't come striped, wired and taped. Just ask my friend (and boss) Kathleen! . When she was interviewing for help, she got a lot of "I don't know anything about flowers but I am a fast learner" people. Flowers can be simple to do but there IS a correct way to tape, wire and put this stuff together. When doing weddings, we are helping people celebrate one of the happiest days of their lives. We definitely do not take this lightly (mainly because we do not want screaming brides who want changes at the last minute).

As wedding season goes on, I will hopefully get to share with you my work. Please feel free to email me any questions. I am more than happy to offer any advice!

I believe these orange roses are "Tropical Amazones".
  • Tropical Amazone with white statice. The boutonniere has a bow because it was for a female (similar to a pin on corsage, but smaller and less elaborate).
  • Isn't the flower beautiful? I love it when roses open like that.
  • The boutonniere for the groomsmen were very simple, just a rose with a lemon leaf backing.

  • The groom's boutonniere was a white vendula rose with lemon leaf backing. At the tip of my roses I like to do a little swirl. These boutonnieres are all wrapped with floral tape which comes in an array of colors. Other options are available such as ribbon or wire but floral tape is definitely the most simple (and probably cheapest)
  • Boutonniere for one of the ladies in the groom's family.
  • Boutonniere for one of the gentlemen in the groom's family. Similar to the ladies one except with no bow. Both boutonnieres were a single vendula with green hypericum berries.

  • Ring bearer's boutonniere. Green mum with hypericum berries. For the ring bearer's, it's usually best to choose smaller flowers since it is usually for someone small :) Any "mini" flower (calla lily, daisy, etc) or spray/sweetheart roses are usually good. Also, if you are putting this on someone younger than 5, I recommend using a safety pin as opposed to the pin with the pearl on the end for safety reasons!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


I used to love to scrapbook, but it's quite an expensive habit so I try to refrain myself. i have two completed ones and one that is still in the works (which I don't think will ever be done since my sister has to send me the rest of the pictures).

But since my friend has been blogging about her scrapbooking, it's made me slightly nostaglic.

I think we went to Disneyland on a Thursday. I don't think I've ever been to Disneyland for a full day on a Thursday ever since (or ever??)

  • My family!
  • Closer look of the stickers
  • Layering usually looks pretty nice
  • In case you can't read that, it says: L O V E , enjoying each other's company
  • Because we wanted to remind our parents of our achievements (kidding, I couldn't complete the scrapbook without a "daughters" page!)
  • Isn't Cocoa precious?? (Cocoa is the dog, by the way. Just in case. We're pretty sure my parents love her more than they love us.)
  • My kid is a genius! My sister's graduation (mine is the next picture). My sister is quite smart, so she got that sticker.
  • No caption needed
  • My kids are cuter than yours :)

So this is the unfinished scrapbook. Hopefully after my sister reads this she will send me pictures...the pages are already complete I just need to plop the pictures in there.

Next post: back to flowers! I have more weddings coming up since we're "in season". If you're looking for a florist please email me at flowers.by.helen@gmail.com !

Gift Wrapping Ideas

I've had a lot of birthdays to attend recently and birthdays=gifts. Good thing I enjoy gift wrapping. A nicely wrapped gift really says a lot. Of course you could always just buy a gift bag and throw the gift in there with some tissue paper but taking the time to gift wrap (and trust me, depending on what you're trying to wrap, it can take a really long time) just seems more thoughtful. Here are some simple ideas that people really enjoy:

I did this for a co-worker a while ago. Adding flowers to the box was a nice touch. In this case, I used mini calla lillies. She loved it :)

This was for my sister's birthday. Stacking gifts is always fun because I can use an assortment of wrapping paper. Good for if you really need to get rid of some paper (so you have more room for new ones). It's usually nice to have the papers match or have some sort of drastic contrast (but don't make it ugly...)

This was for my boss's son's 1st birthday. The cute tiger was from Target. I know he turned one and was probably too busy trying to go into to the pool than notice my gift but everyone else at the party loved it and I got compliments all day.

This was for a friend's newborn baby. The bear peeking out is actually a rattle that I tied to the bow. Makes a cute ornament for the gift and is useful for later!

Some pointers if you want to stock up on gift wrap:

Make sure you check out Target (my favorite!) after Christmas. I usually stock up then for the year(s). Try to pick some that are neutral (i.e. doesn't have christmas trees or snowflakes) so that you can use it year-round. Costco also has some great rolls that will last you forever. Some of the Costco ones are reversible so it's like you get two wrapping papers in one!

Happy wrapping!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Simple Mother's Day Arrangement

mothers day 2
Originally uploaded by helen tao
Just wanted to share with you guys an arrangement that I made for my mommy for Mother's Day. This is a simple arrangement that isn't too costly.

Roses (Harmonic)
Asiatic Lily

I used a clear bubble bowl and I covered the inside with green ti leaves. The best thing about ti leaves is that it hides the stems so you don't have to make it nice and neat...good for beginners.

Make sure your stems are long enough and that you're filling the bowl with enough water to make your flowers last longer!