Carrie and Nate - 05/06/17

I have known Carrie since high school and I was SO thrilled she chose me to be a part of her and Nate's special day! Their wedding was timeless and classic. 

Their flowers were all roses. Carrie carried a bouquet of all dusty rose colored roses, while the bridesmaids carried bouquets of all white roses. 

There was a lot of debate before the wedding on what color "dusty rose" is. There are so many varieties and I wanted to make sure it was going to match perfectly. I didn't want them to be too blush or too lavender. So, I sent her pictures of close to a dozen different roses for her to pick the perfect one. I think her pick was spot on - look how great they match the bridesmaids dresses!

The boutonnieres matched the girls' bouquets - dusty rose for Nate and white for the groomsmen. 

Nate and Carrie are super adorable together! I wish them the most amount of happiness in their future together. 

 
Live Love Flowers - Michele Signature (1).png

Ali and Chase - 06/03/17

Ali and Chase were another of my long distance planning couples. I met them a few weeks before their wedding to go over final details and enjoy a bottle of wine. I am SO obsessed with the vision we came up with, and I think you definitely will be too!

Ali carried a bouquet of white peonies, white roses, white anemone, blush roses, blush lisianthus, and succulents. 

The bridesmaids carried bouquets of white peonies, white roses, white spray roses and blush roses. It was a scorcher out but this bridal party totally rocked it!

The real star of the bridal party was their dog, Boomer. When I saw they were bringing Boomer up for pictures, I knew I needed to make sure he fit in with his parents. I sent Ali a picture of a dog collar of greens and asked if I could make that for him. Turns out, he loved it! And isn't he the cutest?!

We chose great pew ends of white roses, blush roses, blush lisianthus, white spray roses, white waxflower, dusty miller and silver dollar eucalyptus. The pew ends were later used as centerpieces at the reception. 

The other tables had tall centerpieces of white hydrangea, white roses, blush roses, blush lisianthus, white spray roses, and silver dollar eucalyptus. Huge shoutout to my mom, who came over and helped me make the tall centerpieces!

Their cake was covered in a collection of roses. I got to eat some of it as I was tearing down the reception late at night and it was as delicious as it was beautiful!

Ali found some really amazing lanterns that we used around the reception. The place card/guest book table had a large lantern and 4 small vases in the center. Ali has a great eye for design and we came up with so many cool pieces for the reception. 

A few months before the wedding, Ali sent me this incredible photo from Pinterest for something she wanted to do for the head table.

Image from Pinterest

Image from Pinterest

I quickly became obsessed with coming up with something totally awesome for their 38ft head table. There were a lot of (terrible) sketches and flower math. I seriously LOVE what we came up with! The table was covered in a wild garland with a variety of candles down the entire length. In the center, there was a large statement piece. There were a total of 7 arrangements down the table, getting smaller as it got further from the center. We used 2 sets of lanterns at the base of the table as well. I feel so blessed that she let me create something this magnificent.

Are you as obsessed as I am? I love being able to keep up to date with Ali and Chase via snapchat. One of my favorite weekend activities is now watching snaps of Boomer beg for pancakes. I would be a sucker for that face too!

Thank you SO much to Ali and Chase for trusting me with their gorgeous wedding! They were so wonderful to work with. I wish them all the best for their future!

 

Lindsey and Nick - 11/26/16

Lindsey and Nick got married Thanksgiving weekend. Most of you know that I work retail as well but I decided to take on this wedding anyway. I'm so glad I did because it was gorgeous!

The wedding was at Olde St. Anne's Church and Lindsey was walked down the aisle by her children. Is there anything cuter?

The Wednesday before the wedding, I participated in a Friends trivia night with some friends. I went over to the table that was our biggest competition and one of the girls recognized me and asked if I was a florist. She exclaimed that I was doing her brother's wedding that weekend. It was fun to get a chance to meet a lot of the people from the wedding in a casual setting beforehand. (BTW my team totally won trivia but they gave us a good run for our money!)

Images by Fetography Portraits 

Lindsey carried a bouquet of baby's breath, white roses and white mini calla lilies. The bridesmaids wore mismatched champagne dresses and carried bouquets of baby's breath. The bride's daughter carries a smaller version of the bridal bouquet. 

The groomsman on the left is a good friend of mine and I provided flowers for his wedding this June!

I wish Lindsey and Nick (and the kids) such a long and wonderful life together! They were an absolute delight to work with! Congratulations on your marriage and new family!

 

Elly and Nathan - 11/04/16

Elly is one of my brides that I didn't meet before her wedding due to them living out of town. I actually didn't meet her until the day after the wedding but we clicked from the very first phone call. Elly worked in the hotel industry so she's been around a ton of weddings and has a great eye for design!

Even though they got married in November, the weather was absolutely perfect! The wedding and reception were at Isle of Capri in Bettendorf but I'm glad they got a chance to go outside for pictures. 

The bouquets were white peonies, white roses, blush spray roses, baby's breath and silver dollar eucalyptus. Peonies are really rare in November and they did not want to open for me, but they turned out so lovely and perfectly on trend. 

The reception featured greenery, gold terrariums and tons of candlelight. It was a really romantic and trendy vibe. 

On half of the tables, there were triangle terrariums with ruscus and baby's breath around the base. On the other half, there were hexagon terarriums with roses, spray roses and eucalyptus around the base. 

The real showstopper was the ceremony backdrop that Elly and I spent months deciding what to do. It was truly stunning and one of my favorite pieces I've created. 

The design featured a variety of sizes of cylinder vases with flowers and candles. From the top down, the flowers were dendrobium orchids, white hydrangea, white carnations, blush spray roses and the small gold vased arrangements double purposed as the centerpieces for the parents' tables. 

Top images - Giraffe Photography , Bottom images - pinterest photos from bride

Top images - Giraffe Photography , Bottom images - pinterest photos from bride

After many discussions and email threads, Elly sent me the photos on the bottom and asked to do something similar. I'm obsessed with what we came up with. Our biggest issue is what we were going to sit all the vases on. We wanted the candles to really dance and sparkle so we didn't want to just use a table. We considered huge mirrors, but one this size would have run hundreds of dollars and that was out of the budget. We landed on using the glass top from my entertainment center! Never underestimate the use of random objects around the house. 

Since the wedding, Elly has started a business of her own. Lattz Travel Group focuses on romantic vacations such as honeymoons and anniversary trips. Elly is a delight so if you need help planning a honeymoon, you should check her out!

I loved working with Elly and Nathan for their special day and have been lucky enough to keep in touch via FB. I hope they continue to live a blessed and happy life together!

 

Katie and Michael - 10/22/16

This wedding is extra special to me. You may be wondering why. The groom is one of my brothers and I FINALLY have a sister now! I'm also sharing this on my FOURTH business anniversary, so it is definitely going to be a ton of pictures :)


I can't remember the first time I met Katie many years ago. If I was going to give it a guess, it would probably have been on our family boat. She fit into our family from the very beginning so our first meeting doesn't stand out in my memory. 

Images by The Bearded Studio

Katie's family has always been welcoming to me. They live about 2 blocks away from me so I see them when I'm out walking the dogs. I've texted Katie the morning of the Turkey Trot and ask to run with her family, they've invited me to family dinners - all around great people that I'm glad to be connected to forever. 

Images by The Bearded Studio

I DO remember the day I found out they were engaged! I got a text early in the morning with a picture of the two of them showing off a gorgeous new ring. Michael's caption told me he "finally locked it down," After 5 years together, I'm sure they were getting nagged a lot about when they would finally tie the knot. A few weeks later, Katie texted me late on Thursday night asking if I wanted to run the Bix with her on Saturday morning because her partner backed out. 

Images by The Bearded Studio

We were running along the course and we were talking about various wedding related things. I remember asking if she had thought about how many bridesmaids and who they would be. There was a long pause before she said, "well, you, hopefully." I was so thrilled, suddenly the last half of the race was a little easier. 

Images by The Bearded Studio

I was lucky enough to be included in the planning process, even getting to visit their venue before they booked it. Because I was doing the flowers as well as being a bridesmaid, they wanted me to be able to ask any questions I may have about being able to use the space. The Iowa Events Center is a huge room that we added lounge furniture in part of the space.

Images by The Bearded Studio

On Thanksgiving, Michael and Katie asked all of us to be a part of their wedding. Brothers Nick (middle) and David (left) got fun "socks to help me tie the knot" and were asked to be Best Man and Groomsman. I got a little bottle of champagne and a Michelle koozie officially asking me to be a bridesmaid. We were all so excited to be asked to join their special day. 

Images by The Bearded Studio

Katie carried a bouquet of white roses, free spirit orange roses, orange asiatic lilies, mango calla lilies, and orange ranunculus. I'm kind of obsessed with the free spirit roses so I hope more brides choose to use them!

Images by The Bearded Studio

The week of the wedding, my mom and I loaded up a fully packed SUV to head to Des Moines to work on the flowers. When I say fully packed, I mean my passenger seat was fully forward and there was a box in my lap. 

Images by The Bearded Studio

The venue was gracious enough to give us a studio room right across from the reception hall to be able to work in. Having my mom there to help made everything run smoothly and quickly. We were both surprised that we didn't bicker or anything the whole weekend! Having an "assistant" who used to run her own floral shop was a HUGE blessing. Even though I was in the wedding and doing the flowers, I don't think I have ever felt so relaxed about a wedding weekend.

Images by The Bearded Studio

When David flew in, we put him to work too. He even made the toss bouquet! The boys loved their duties of filling vases with water beads. If you've ever run your hands through a bucket of water beads, you know it is a weird feeling (and definitely something boys would love messing with). David even mad the toss bouquet - it took him almost an hour because he is such a perfectionist, but he did a great job! If the whole doctor thing doesn't work out for him, he has a job waiting for him at LLF.

Images by The Bearded Studio

After the rehearsal dinner, we recruited the cousins to help us put all the centerpieces out. This is when the male cousins learned that holding a vase of lilies (that has bloomed after arranging) close to their bodies leads to pollen on their shirts. They weren't super happy to learn that info, but recruiting a big group of people saved us a ton of time setting up centerpieces on Saturday. 

Images by The Bearded Studio

Friday night, after helping me set up centerpieces, we decided to go out for a couple drinks with all the cousins and my parents. It was a lot of fun to let loose with family for a little bit before the big day!

Images by The Bearded Studio

Saturday morning, we had to be at the salon bright and early. Mom and I were first to get our hair and makeup done. From there, we left to put the finishing touches on the reception and then meet the rest of the bridal party at the church. 

Images by The Bearded Studio

Images by The Bearded Studio

When Michael and Katie asked the groomsmen, with fun socks, to be in the wedding, their intent was for the guys to wear them on their wedding day. Everyone understood that, except Adam. So Adam proudly rocked his Nike socks, while everyone else was wearing fun socks. 

Images by The Bearded Studio

After the ceremony, the bridal party had a blast frolicking around downtown Des Moines for group pictures. 

Images by The Bearded Studio

The bridesmaids had bouquets of free spirit roses, orange asiatic lilies and mango calla lilies. Who looks better with the bouquets? I think the boys rocked the bouquet shot!

Images by The Bearded Studio

Of course, we had to recreate the classic Bridesmaids pose. It was harder than you might think to put your knee up and bend over awkwardly like that. The photographer, Alex, from The Bearded Studio had the movie cover out on his phone and made sure we were exactly right. That is some serious dedication!

Images by The Bearded Studio

We were late for our Grand Entrance into the reception because we spent a ridiculous amount on time on these escalators. But it made for some pretty cool pictures!

Images by The Bearded Studio

Our Grand Entrances were worth the wait. I wish I had seen my mom's face while I walked in with a grown man on my back, because I'm pretty sure it was a heart attack face. I didn't drop him and I didn't throw out my back!

Images by The Bearded Studio

The whole weekend was a blast and I'm so happy to finally call Katie a member of our family! I feel extra blessed that I could be such a big part of their day on so many levels. 

Michael trying to dip was one of the funniest things I've ever seen! I hope they spend the rest of their life laughing as much as we all did on their wedding day.

Images by The Bearded Studio

A little LLF update because it is my business anniversary! I gave up sweets for Lent so I'll be celebrating tonight with some wine and Texas Roadhouse takeout and wait to buy myself a cake until Sunday. 

My goal for the year was to book 30 weddings and I am proud to say that I have 32 on the books for the year! 3 of them I am a bridesmaid (or MOH) and a florist! It's going to be a wild year! I do still have some available dates for July - December if you're still looking for a florist. 

Many of your have met my assistant, Kelsey, over the years. LLF is both overjoyed and sad that she is going to be welcoming a new baby in June so that means she won't be around for the majority of wedding season. With that, I am training some newbies to help me out this year!!

Lexi helped me out at the Bridal Expo this year so some of you may have met her already. Jordan and Megan are former brides of mine that are also going to join the LLF team. All 3 new minions will not only be training to help with day of wedding set ups, but also will be learning how to make corsages and boutonnieres so they can help with some design work. They are the reason I am able to take on so many weddings this year! 

Year 4 is going to be full of new challenges, some really cool designs and a ton of amazing weddings! I've had one wedding in January of this year, but wedding season really kicks off the last week of April! If you don't have me on Snapchat, add me to see behind the scenes footage of weddings (and usually some cute dog pictures). I'll of course continue to post bouquet pics on wedding weekends and blog posts after I get images, but Snapchat is a great way to see the whole messy process. Snapchat name is liveloveflower (no S on the end because that was too many characters). 

I've been so blessed on this journey so far and I can't wait to see where the next year takes me!

 

10 Questions to Ask Before Hiring Your Florist

Recently, I saw an article on The Knot about the 10 questions you should ask your florist. I thought I would take a bit to make a blog post with those questions and the answers to them! You can find the original article here, but I'll go through the questions, why they want you to ask and then the answers!

1. Have you done many weddings?

Why you want to know: This is really code for: Do you know what you're doing? Experience is usually a good indicator of expertise, and that's important since it will mean they'll be able to guide you through the process easily—even if you throw in some curveballs, like asking how to create less expensive alternatives or which flowers are in season or grow in the region.

Answer - On my own, I have done 47 (with 28 more scheduled this year). Prior to owning my own business, I worked in a local flower shop for about 4 years.

Image from my 2nd wedding as a business owner - Image by Fetography Portraits

Image from my 2nd wedding as a business owner - Image by Fetography Portraits

 

2. Can I see photographs or live examples of your work?

Why you want to know: Be wary if the answer is no. Pictures of past bouquets and centerpieces will give you a sense of whether you and the florist have the same taste. Seeing photos of their work will let you know exactly what they're capable of and how it compares with your inspiration bouquets. The trick here, though, is having them tell you if the photo was something they consider their style or if it was the couple's vision. Neither answer is bad—if you love the look, you know they're capable of making it again; if you hate it, ask to see something they think is reflective of their own style

Answer - Absolutely! My website is full of professional images of my work. I do have other photos as well that I haven't gotten around to blogging yet or in books at my house when we meet. I don't typically have fresh flowers around because I only do special event work. If you happen to be meeting around a time when I have something you are considering in stock, I would be happy to pull it out for you!

3. Have you done weddings at our ceremony or reception site before?

Why you want to know: If they have, they'll be knowledgeable about what sizes, shapes and colors work in the venue. It's also a great way to see how other couples transformed the space. If they haven't, ask if they'd be willing to do a site visit to scope it out and note any limitations. This isn't as essential as general experience and style, but it's super-helpful and could save you time and money.

Answer - I have worked at almost every ceremony and reception site in the QC. Chances are you have a color scheme before you meet with me as far as colors to work in your venue. If there is something extensive we are planning or I haven't been there in awhile, I do drop by for a site visit to check things out. If there aren't pictures of their pews on their websites and we are planning pew ends, I definitely drop by to make sure I know the proper way to make them beforehand. 

 

4. How many weddings are you handling on the same day or weekend as mine? Will you simply be dropping off flowers, or will you be helping set up too?

Why you want to know: If your florist is handling multiple clients, you'll want to ensure they have enough staff and time to go around. Make sure to discuss your vision with the person who will actually be working on your wedding flowers. You'll pay more for a full-service florist who makes sure everything is in order the day of, but it's often worth the peace of mind.

Answer - I typically limit myself to 2 weddings per weekend. I do have one weekend this summer where I have more than that, but only because some of them are very small. I'm bringing in a designer from another home based shop in Peoria to help out. I handle all important details of your wedding. I am bringing on helpers this year for corsage and boutonniere work. 

 

5. How do you like to work with clients?

Why you want to know: Maybe you can picture your bridal bouquet, right down to the number of stems—or maybe you have no idea and would like some serious hand-holding. Find your floral match. Some florists love input from their clients, while others work better with more freedom to handpick the freshest stems or stretch the palette a little. Hire someone whose creative process matches your needs. It will make this planning step better for everyone involved.

Answer - I like somewhere in the middle. If you have pictures of what you want things to look like, that's great! It makes my job easy! Unless it is of specific significance, I prefer not to have my stem counts dictated. You may think you want specifically 22 roses in your bridal bouquet, but that may be an awkward shape. I like a little freedom to suggest flowers that fit your style and budget if you aren't set on exactly what you want. 

6.  Are you willing to work within my budget?

Why you want to know: This seems obvious, but it's not just about making sure the florist will take the job. If your budget is low, talk openly and honestly about how much you can spend at your initial meeting. Sometimes hearing "no" is a good thing, because then you can figure out how to compromise early on. Maybe it's impossible for anyone to accomplish what you want within that price range (read: you want a lush flower wall on a shoestring budget). Most florists can work with you no matter how much you have to spend, but it's important to start the conversation early—and to be open to new ideas and alternatives.

Answer - I make an effort to work within any budget. However, if you're set on a bouquet that would cost $400 and the budget for all your bridal party flowers is $500, I can suggest changes to give a similar look but on a lower budget. It's ultimately dependent on the client to determine if they like those options or if they want to try to find someone else. On my contact form, I ask for your floral budget. This helps me be prepared for cost saving ideas in our meeting, if necessary. If you need insight on floral pricing before planning our meeting, you can check out this blog post I wrote about the cost of commonly requested Pinterest items.

7. Will you be responsible for working with my venue to find out about any restrictions they may have in terms of décor and installation?

Why you want to know: You don't want to be the middleman—florists have a better idea what's needed to carry out your vision, be it indoor topiaries or a 10-foot-tall floral chuppah. Ideally, your florist will communicate with your venue directly to be sure your plans don't interfere with their policies. You also want to make sure they're comfortable handling setup and breakdown without having to involve you, since you'll be pretty busy on your wedding day.

Answer - If there are installations you want done (like things hanging from a chandelier) I will definitely contact them separately to plan that out. However, if your venue has rules about things they told you about, please bring them up in our meeting. Some don't allow real candles, some requires candles to be pre-lit and blown out ahead of time, some churches don't allow fresh petals on the aisle. With hundreds of venues in the area and ever-changing rules, I can't keep up with them all. Likely when you signed your contract, they went over those items with you to share with whomever is in charge of your decor. 

8. What other services do you offer?

Why you want to know: Most florists are actually more like event designers. You may be able to get extras, like fabric draping, lanterns, chairs, candelabras and lounge furniture, from them. Why is this a good thing? Dealing with one wedding pro rather than four or five can simplify the process and alleviate stress (sometimes you can save on delivery charges too). If they don't offer these services and you're interested in them, see if they regularly partner with a rental company. Oftentimes florists have a friend in the industry, and you can be assured the two work well together.

Answer - I have a plethora of lanterns and a few backdrops. I have a few favorite companies I like to work with for items I don't have. I have an ever growing inventory of centerpiece items but I'm not looking into expanding into furniture type items due to space restrictions. The companies I recommend are all great at what they do and easy to work with! For a complete list of who I recommend for different areas, click here

9. Who will handle setup and delivery? What about breakdown? How long will you need for both, and what are the fees?

Why you want to know: These are the sneaky line items on a proposal that can add up. A florist usually assesses your budget for flowers and labor only, so ask about these "extras" you can't really avoid. Also, make sure arrangements for pickup have been made for any rented items, like vases and arches.

Answer - Unless it's something wild and crazy, I include delivery and setup in my prices. If it's not something that delivery would included (example - flower wall), we will discuss it in your meeting. I do offer a discount if you choose to pick everything up and do your own setup. For delivery outside 20 miles, I do charge a delivery fee.

Tear down is your responsibility, but I do offer it for an additional charge. Tear down fees would be dependent on how difficult it will be. When I send you your final questionnaire, I will ask if you want to include tear down for XX amount. Sometimes, it sounds like a good idea to do your own tear down when you're planning months ahead of time, but as it gets closer, you may rethink that. Some receptions sites allow you to leave your items there overnight for me to pick up on Sunday or Monday. If they don't, you're responsible for returning them to me by the Monday after your wedding.  

10. What happens to the flowers after the wedding?

Why you want to know: When you hire a florist, you're typically quoted a price that includes not only the flowers but also the vases or other containers you'll be renting to display the stems. This means that while those pretty blooms are yours to keep, the urns or candelabras go home with the florist. If you're interested in repurposing the arrangements for a day-after brunch, you'll want to discuss the details with your florist. They can often work the additional cost of vases into your initial proposal.

Answer - Just like this states, the flowers are yours to keep, I need the containers back. Depending on what your centerpieces are, you could have family and friends pull the bouquets out of the vases and take them home, or you could bring random vases from home to keep everything. If you want to use things at the morning after brunch - go for it! Just return everything to me afterwards. If you want to keep one of each item as-is, I can definitely charge the extra for the containers for you to keep those items. You are also welcome to supply any containers you would like to use for centerpieces, as long as you get them to me ahead of time. There are also options for donating your remaining flowers to funeral homes, nursing homes and hospitals for tax deductions. Those are options you can look into if that's something you may be interested in. 

 

I am always happy to answer any questions you may have, but I thought this would be a good way to get a lot of questions answered before we ever meet! My FAQ page also has answers to a lot of questions not covered in this post. 

Jordan and Kendal - 09/24/16

Jordan and Kendal were referred to me by a friend and past client of mine. I've always had a rule about not working on my birthday, but I broke it for them. I am so glad I did! They turned out to be perfect clients and Jordan has grown into a friend. I've even recruited her to help with weddings. Their pictures are to die for, so I'm not even sorry for how many I'm going to post. There were too many good ones to narrow down for this post, I don't know how they decided which ones to print/order!

Jordan carried a bouquet of baby's breath, white roses, blush garden roses, white mini gerberas and silver dollar eucalyptus and a last minute addition of white snapdragons. I usually have a vision when it comes to making bouquets. With this one, I started out hating what I was doing but then I started falling in love with it

I just love special moments - like a father walking his daughter down the aisle, when a groom sees his bride coming down the aisle, and a mother helping her son get ready.

The bridesmaids carried bouquets of baby's breath, white roses, white gerberas, and silver dollar eucalyptus

Her toss bouquet was baby's breath and silver dollar eucalyptus with blush streamers.

Her flower girl had a baby's breath flower crown with blush streamers. I love this picture where she is in the middle of all the girls. You can definitely tell she was in heaven being the center of attention.

This bridal party seems like a lot of fun! The girls wore dresses with convertible tops so they could wear whatever was comfortable for them. With a color scheme of blush and navy, they were perfectly on trend for 2016.

I'm not sure if it was the photographer or these girls have natural bouquet holding talent, but with a group so large, it is refreshing that none of them were holding them awkwardly or at a weird height.

I always love a shot with a groom holding the bouquet. I love the juxtaposition of the classiness of Kendal with the bouquet and the girls chugging a beer. 

I'm truly thankful I broke my "no work on my birthday rule" for this couple. I love following their married life on Facebook and Snapchat. Their dogs remind me SO much of my own. You'll find Jordan helping me with weddings in 2017 and I'm very excited to have her on my setup team! I'm so thankful they let me be a small part of their happily ever after :)

 

Jessica and Jeremy - 09/04/16

Jessica and Jeremy got married at Lavender Crest Winery on a perfect Labor Day Weekend. With colors of red, orange and brown, it was the perfect mix of summer and fall, just like the weather was that day. 

In 2016, I didn't do many double wedding weekends, but the Suits wedding was the 2nd of a double wedding weekend. I couldn't have asked for a better couple on a weekend like that. Jessica was so laid back during the whole planning process, So, when it was 11pm the night before the wedding, and I got a call from her, I was panicked about what it could be. They were using water beads in all their centerpieces and one of the tubs of water beads tipped over in the front yard. She was calling me to see if I had any or if I had any idea of where you could get some that late. They ended up staying up late to pick up water beads out of the grass and off the driveway. Even though they were up super late, Jessica still looked fantastic! I loved her burgundy hair with her color scheme!

Jessica carried a bouquet of red roses, orange roses, and sunset colored roses with sunset calla lilies. The bridesmaids carried bouquets of sunset calla lilies. She came to visit me at Claire's and I helped her pick out all of her wedding jewelry. Thank you so much for supporting me in all avenues of life.

With corn fields and a winery for a backdrop, Jessica and Jeremy's wedding was picture perfect. I'm so thankful for the opportunity to work with them. I wish them the best of luck on their future together! 

Bridal Expo 2017

Almost a year ago, I decided that I would participate in the Jaycee's Bridal Expo the following January. I spent the next year scrolling through Pinterest and coming up with ideas and plans for what I wanted to do. I'm sure some of my friends and family are tired of listening to me talk about those plans, but this past weekend, I got to put those plans in to action! 

Image by Cadenza Photo Imaging  Whiskey barrels rented from Gracefully Vintage Events

Image by Cadenza Photo Imaging 
Whiskey barrels rented from Gracefully Vintage Events

With ombre color schemes and greenery everywhere, and my love of bling/glitter, I came up with a garden glam theme for the booth. I had a vision for what I wanted. I wanted greens and pink everywhere. I wanted a big statement piece to draw people in and I wanted to do social media promos to get my name out a little more. 

I attached brochures and business card magnets to flowers that we passed out. Brides could take a photo with their ring and promote it on social media to win a discount on their wedding.

Image by Cadenza Photo Imaging Brochures designed by Leesa Dykstra Designs

Image by Cadenza Photo Imaging

Brochures designed by Leesa Dykstra Designs

The other thing I knew I wanted to do was to build a flower wall. You may have seen flower walls in celebrity weddings and all over Pinterest, and I knew I wanted it. I had a family friend build the structure for me and recruited my brother for help on the math on how many flowers to order. This wall is full of about 1500 carnations and took 3 people 5.5 hours hours to construct on site. It was the perfect showstopper piece I had been dreaming of! Flower walls are definitely an investment, but would be great for a photobooth or behind the head table at your wedding. This wall is a little over 7 feet tall and 4 feet wide. It is in 2 panels so you can use it to frame something or only use half if you want the drama it brings, without as big of an expense. The wood frame can be painted or stained any color to match your decor. 

We used this flower wall as another social media promotion, encouraging girls to take a picture with the wall and our sign to win a discount on their flowers. Our promotion side had a garland of greens around it with floral details on top. 

 

2 lucky girls won $300 off their wedding, and 2 lucky girls won $100 off their wedding! Check out the winners!

Hashtag sign by Craft Savy

Hashtag sign by Craft Savy

I had a custom Snapchat filter designed for extra fun! I had it available Friday and Saturday throughout the entire River Center. 

Snapchat filter by Leesa Dykstra Designs

Snapchat filter by Leesa Dykstra Designs

Snapchat Filter by Leesa Dykstra Designs

Snapchat Filter by Leesa Dykstra Designs

We displayed a cube system with centerpiece examples in all the spaces, and a variety of bouquets on top. I wanted to showcase a number of different styles to try to appeal to brides with all different styles. 

Image by Cadenza Photo Imaging

Image by Cadenza Photo Imaging

The other side of the booth had a table set up like a dinner table with a large centerpiece, 2 box arrangements, 2 spray rose mound arrangements and a lush garland down the length of the table. It had chairs with custom Mr. and Mrs. wood signs with floral details 

Image by Cadenza Photo Imaging Chairs from Laladoodles Boutique Wood signs by Craft Savy

I was on vacation from Claire's last week, but logged about 60 hours of labor prepping for this show and it was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. I literally couldn't have done it without the help from family and friends with setup, tear down and running my booth. 

Photo by Cadenza Photo Imaging

Photo by Cadenza Photo Imaging

This booth was everything that I have ever dreamed of and more! I would be lying if I said I didn't tear up when I stepped back and saw it all finished. We were absolutely slammed all day! There was a line to get in my booth almost the entire day. 

SO many people texted me to wish me luck and have been supportive of me during this time. I am thankful for everyone's kind words and well wishes. 2016 was a great year and 2017 is looking like its going to be even better! I have 24 weddings booked for 2017 so far. Here's to many more!

We ran out of flyers with our promos on them so I wanted to make sure I listed them here as well!

Any wedding booked before Valentine's Day is eligible for savings!

- Weddings under $1000 receive $50 off

- Weddings under $2000 receive $100 off

- Weddings under $3000 receive $150 off

- Weddings over $3000 receive $200 off

I have 24 weddings booked for 2017 so far. Here's to many more!

 

Bailey and Gavin - 07/09/16

I have known Bailey since 7th grade and although we kept in touch via Facebook after high school, it wasn't until the last 3 years that we reconnected. I have watched her love with Gavin grow from the beginning. He was there for her and her son in the time she needed it most. Truly her Prince Charming.             

Bailey chose a bouquet of cascading Phalaenopsis Orchids. It was extravagant, elegant and absolutely stunning. I mean, seriously, look at that thing :) She absolutely looked like the princess she deserved to feel like. 

The bridesmaids carried bouquets of white Casablanca lilies and the groomsmen wore boutonnieres of coral calla lilies. Both ceremony and reception were at the Elk's Lodge in Davenport. 

Bailey and Gavin had a huge bridal party full of family and friends. Bailey's son, Tanner, was the most adorable Best Man and both Bailey and Gavin had younger siblings as flower girl and ring bearers. 

Gavin is a Davenport Police Officer so of course they had to get a few pictures with his car.  Event though it was about a million degrees out, their wedding day was absolutely perfect. I love watching them be in love, but also be silly with each other. Marrying your best friend is truly a dream come true. 

I was lucky enough to not only do Bailey and Gavin's wedding flowers, but also to be able to attend their wedding as a guest! I'm excited to watch their love continue to grow for a long, long time. I wish them a lifetime of happiness together! 

 

Kayla and Ray - 06/18/16

I met Kayla (and her mom) when I launched my website! I posted a link to my site, asked for feedback and offered prizes for that feedback! Both Kayla and her mom, Lori, visited my site and gave me some much appreciated feedback. 

Kayla picked up her flowers before her wedding so I never had the chance to meet Ray or their beautiful daughters who were jr. bridesmaids and flower girl. 

Kayla carried a bouquet of orange roses, orange lilies and blue delphinium with a few silver accents. 

Congratulations to Kayla and Ray! I wish you the very best for your future together! Thank you again for choosing me to be a part of your special day!

 

Hailey and Nate - 06/11/16

I have known Hailey since middle school and I was lucky enough to meet Nate at their appointment last fall. I could definitely feel the love between the two of them, even in just an hour long appointment. 

Their wedding was very garden inspired and all the girls wore flower crowns that matched their dresses (pink, green, blue and purple) and Hailey's had all the colors as well as a few succulents. The flower girls also had all the colors as well as long streamers down the back. I'm kind of obsessed with the picture of the flower girl twirling. 

Images by Photofrog

Images by Photofrog

Images by Photofrog

Images by Photofrog

Hailey and Nate got married outside on one of the hottest and most humid days of the year! Thankfully, there was a good cloud cover because I almost melted setting up their arch. They got married at the Botanical Center with the reception at Renwick Mansion. They were very traditional and chose to not see each other before the ceremony. 

Images by Photofrog

Images by Photofrog

Each of the bridesmaids carried a bouquet of different flowers and then Hailey carried a collection of all of them. The girls carried light pink spray roses, dried green hydrangea, light blue delphinium, and light purple stock. All the bouquets also contained baby's breath and white waxflower. Hailey's bouquet had succulents. 

Images by Photofrog

Images by Photofrog

Images by Photofrog 

Images by Photofrog 

 I didn't attend their ceremony but it looks like it was pretty emotional. Can we agree that Nate's reaction to seeing Hailey walk down their aisle is major relationship goals?

Images by Photofrog

Images by Photofrog

I can't imagine how hot Nate was in that suit, but they looked great! And they are so cute together! 

Images by Photofrog 

Images by Photofrog 

I went to middle school and high school with all of the bridesmaids as well. They are a great group of girls that have stuck together for life. The personal attendant in grey also joined in on a lot of pictures :)

Images by Photofrog

Images by Photofrog

That's one good looking bridal party! I loved the pastel color scheme!

Images by Photofrog

Images by Photofrog

I made all the bud vases and teacups for their centerpieces and they placed them on tables. 

Images by Photofrog

Images by Photofrog

Since their wedding this summer, Hailey and Nate have announced they are expecting a baby boy! I can't wait to watch their little one grow up! I was hoping for a girl because I wanted to make little baby flower crowns, but I know this little boy is going to be adorable!

Congratulations again! I wish them all the best on their future :) Thank you for including me as a part of your special day! 

 

Pinterest Project

Pinterest Project

I started the Pinterest Project as a way to explore the expectation for the cost of wedding flowers vs. realty. Use this as a tool to help set your floral budget! Guess the prices of the arrangement to see if your budget is on track with your desires! 

Samantha and Jake - 05/28/16

Samantha and Jake were a referral from my mom! Samantha is my mom's massage therapist and my mom suggested she reach out to me during her wedding planning process. One of her bridesmaids also used to work for me at Claire's. Our paths were destined to cross. 

When we first got together, Samantha pulled out pictures from my Facebook page and showed me a bouquet from a previous wedding that was exactly what she wanted. Ironically, they were getting married in the same church as well! 

Images by Kelly Cook Photography

Images by Kelly Cook Photography

Jake was one of the few grooms to attend a floral appointment (they are always welcome!). To incorporate Jake's personality into their wedding, the groomsmen had their boutonnieres in shotgun shells. He found pink shotgun shells so they would match the wedding!

Images by Kelly Cook Photography

Images by Kelly Cook Photography

Samantha and her bridesmaids carried bouquets of baby's breath with white and light pink ranunculus. Ranunculus is definitely a hot flower right now and I'm so glad, because it is gorgeous!

Images by Kelly Cook Photography 

Images by Kelly Cook Photography 

Samantha and Jake are super cute together and are some of the nicest people. They took pictures with their dogs on their wedding which is clearly the greatest thing. After their wedding, Samantha and Jake sent me a thank you note that used a photo of her bouquet as the background. Ironically the couple that inspired their wedding flowers did the same thing! I don't get a lot of thank you notes so it was a huge coincidence!

Images by Kelly Cook Photography

Images by Kelly Cook Photography

Thank you so much for choosing to work with me for your wedding! I hope your marriage together is as perfect as your wedding day was! 

 

Jenna and Jeff - 05/07/16

I met Jenna back in high school through a mutual friend. She did cross country and track with my friend Rachel from church (Rachel is now my running partner). When Jenna was a senior, I actually did her hair (and several of her bridesmaids' hair) for prom! I searched really hard for a picture but that box of pictures seems to be missing from my house and the girls have managed to keep prom pictures off Facebook. :) It meant so much to me that she chose to work with me for yet another milestone in her life! 

Jenna met Jeff when they were both coaching cross country. They soon clicked as running partners and now as life partners! It was only fitting for them to take pictures by the Augustana track, where they both ran in college. Jenna's love of running is only surpassed by her love of Jeff. 

Their wedding was "Starry, Starry Night" themed so we tried to incorporate that into the flowers. We selected white stock, white spray roses, yellow roses, yellow gerbera daisies and brought in stephanotis for the stars. Her bridesmaids carried baby's breath to simulate the stars in the night sky. Jenna made all her own boutonnieres! 

I love the simplistic look of all baby's breath for the bridesmaids. It makes the bridal bouquet really pop! 

When a girl named McAdam starts dating a boy named Adams, you know its destined to be forever (and full of jokes about hyphenation). 

I look forward to running in to (quite literally) Jenna and now Jeff at many more events in the near future! Be sure to look for the set of 3 girls pictured above every year during the Bix, because they create some incredible costumes to run in! 

Congratulations to Jenna and Jeff! Thank you so much for choosing to work with me for your wedding! I wish you all the best in your future together! 

 

Chloe and Blake - 05/06/16

Chloe emailed me in early February when she was frustrated with her selection of florists near her. Her wedding was fast approaching and she lives in the Waterloo area. We did all of our communication via email but I knew she was an awesome girl from our first few emails. She was completely prepared with everything she wanted (including flower names, quantities, and photos).

Due to Chloe living over an hour away, she wanted to come pick up her flowers a few days before. That provided me with a challenge for how to keep flowers fresh for several days without water. I learned about tupperware being able to keep boutonnieres and corsages fresh for quite some time. That has greatly made my life easier because now I can get started on all my weddings sooner (you're my hero Chloe)!

Left - centerpieces of milk glass and baby's breath, Right - Daisy bouquets for grandparent memorials Images by Alaytra Photography

Left - centerpieces of milk glass and baby's breath, Right - Daisy bouquets for grandparent memorials

Images by Alaytra Photography

Unfortunately, like a lot of brides, Chloe learned she had selected expensive flowers that didn't quite fit in her planned budget. I drew up another estimate for her substituting some of the flowers for less expensive ones. Chloe decided to splurge for the bouquet of her dreams and save some costs by choosing the less expensive corsages and boutonnieres. They opted to not have a bridal party to be able to invite more people to their celebration (50 tables worth!)

Ringshots - Images by Alaytra Photography

Ringshots - Images by Alaytra Photography

Chloe carried a bouquet of blush garden roses, blush ranunculus, coral hypericum berry, coral carnations (mounded together for a peony look), white spray roses, baby's breath, succulents and dusty miller. It's one you would definitely want to "pin" on Pinterest. 

This wedding was amazing. Perfect weather, fabulous details (that dress and ring!!) and a couple (probably mostly bride) that knew what she wanted and where she was willing to splurge and save. I love the following picture, because weddings and the photos are so often all about the bride, but this is all about Blake. 

Since the wedding, Chloe has helped me on a project I'm working on about what people think flowers cost vs. what they actually cost. So many couples (again probably mostly brides) get swept up in Pinterest and have no idea the cost of what they desire. Stay tuned for that blogpost coming in the next few weeks!

I hope their future together is as perfect as their wedding day was! It brought so much joy to me, knowing that Chloe and her mom drove over an hour to come pick up her flowers, especially when she had never met me. Sometimes, you just click and those are my favorite weddings to be a part of. Thank you again for choosing to work with me!

 

Clare and Lucas - 04/30/16

I met Clare late 2015. She was a referral from my favorite group of people to work with: Diamond Wedding Services. I was SO excited by this because I know that Twisted Mic's would keep the party going all night and Mike from Fetography Portraits would capture my work beautifully. 

I was a little concerned when the roses came in and they were a little brighter than planned. They were supposed to be coral and blush but the blush came in more of a medium pink. When Clare saw her bouquet, she absolutely loved it! AND the brighter pink really popped with her blush colored dress. She seriously looked incredible!

Her bridesmaids were super sweet and many of them got a little teary when they saw Clare in her dress for the first time.  

Clare used medium pink and coral roses, white spray roses, navy thistle, white waxflower and eucalyptus. And can we talk about her blue eyes?!?! She seriously looked like a model! 

I found out Angelique from Laladoodles Boutiques would be doing her reception styling and rentals and knew her reception would be beautiful. I provided the flowers, Angelique provided and set up everything else. Her reception flowers were a white hydrangea and white waxflower in a mason jar. 

Images by Fetography Portraits, Event Rentals and Styling by Laladoodles Boutiques

Images by Fetography Portraits, Event Rentals and Styling by Laladoodles Boutiques

Mike always knows what I want for detail shots and I can always count on him for a new cover photo for Facebook. He did all of the photos for my website as well. So, when I say I recommend him as a photographer, it means I use him for myself as well. Its a real referral.  

Clare had my dream team working for her for her wedding. Every one of her vendors was on my preferred vendor list, that's how I knew her wedding would go off without a hitch. I saw photos of the reception from the DJ and the guests via their hashtag on Instagram. It looked like an absolute blast! I hope their marriage is as fun as their wedding!

I am so thankful she chose me to be a part of their special day. I wish Clare and Lucas a lifetime of happiness together. 

 

A Johns Hopkins "Graduation Adventure"

I've been looking forward to my brother David's graduation from college for a LONG time. We've been planning the trip for over a year. The trip definitely didn't go as planned. 

I've always said that David has everything going for him. He's brilliant, athletic, good looking, artistic and musical. He's even been known to assist me with floral arranging. When he graduated high school with a 4.0 GPA and was heading off to Johns Hopkins, I knew the boy was destined for great things. I had no idea the great man he would turn in to. 

David played baseball from the time he was 7 and played in college. He started as a pitcher but later switched to catcher in high school and college. He told us at the beginning of 2016, if his baseball team went to regional playoffs, he wouldn't be at graduation. Their team motto was, "Appleton or bust!" for the college World Series. We all thought, "What are the odds of that?"

Over Spring Break, David hurt his neck and has been unable to play since. They had a great season and were in a tournament over Mother's Day Weekend to see who would be going to the regional tournament. Hopkins lost and we all assume we are going to graduation. David skyped with us and told us there was still a chance they would be going to regionals if they were picked up as an "at large" team. Again, "What are the odds of that?" Only 16 teams get picked up nationwide. So, I carry on my week excited to go to graduation. 

I went to my mom's house for dinner the day before we were scheduled to leave. I asked what time our flight was scheduled to leave. My mom tells me, "That depends on where we are going." Turns out, there was a 65% chance of going to regional playoffs. My step-dad was in the other room printing a ton of maps of different locations. "If playoffs are here, we drive this far. If playoffs are here, we won't go." At this point, I'm stressing. I don't know where I'm going on vacation or how to pack aside from "bring clothes for a baseball game." My mom promised me an adventure. And an adventure we sure had. 

I arrive at my parents' house early on Monday morning to drive to Chicago to fly out. This is the point where I learn we are going to baseball playoffs. In Pennsylvania. Which is not at all the same as Baltimore for graduation. 

Monday, we drive to Chicago and then fly to Baltimore. The baseball team was scheduled to depart for Pennsylvania at 7am on Tuesday. As David couldn't play and was going to be inducted into Phi Beta Kappa honor society on Tuesday at 10am, the coach allowed him to attend the induction ceremony and ride to playoffs with our family. Phi Beta Kappa includes the top 5% of the graduating class and a few select juniors. Roughly 90 people were inducted on this day. Phi Beta Kappa will give David a lot of great connections in the intellectual community. 

Phi Beta Kappa induction - From top left - David and I, David receiving his PBK certificate, David and his roommate Jack, David, mom and I 

Phi Beta Kappa induction - From top left - David and I, David receiving his PBK certificate, David and his roommate Jack, David, mom and I 

The journey from Baltimore to Washington, PA was about 4.5 hours. With me riding middle seat. My aunt sitting spread eagle on one side of me and my mom with her legs on top of me, using the center console as a footrest. This was not the vacation I had been planning on. 

The first game was on Wednesday. It was overcast, windy and about 50 degrees. None of us brought appropriate clothes for that, but luckily there was an outlet mall down the street from our hotel. Kevin spent the day working while us girls went shopping. The game was definitely a cold one. They played hard but unfortunately they lost. The only perk of them losing, was that now their game on Thursday was at a time we could attend instead of during a time we would have to be on a journey back home. 

Thursday's game was sunny and 70 degrees. Perfect baseball weather. The boys played well, but unfortunately lost again. Families of seniors stood around and said goodbyes to the friends they've made through watching Hopkins baseball for 4 years. We all applauded the team as they came out of the dugout. It wasn't the finish they were hoping for, but the team acted with dignity. They didn't scream and curse, they said goodbye to teammates and their families - lifelong friends they had made over the past 4 years. Various teammates invited each other and their families to visit over the summer. It was a true testament to the bond they had created and the character of each and every one of them. 

David (in white shirt) saying goodbyes

David (in white shirt) saying goodbyes

Thursday evening, we made the drive back to Baltimore to be able to fly out on Friday afternoon. On Friday morning, we met up with David and took my aunt on a tour of the Hopkins campus. David dressed in his cap and gown as we took pictures in some of his favorite spots. He spent far too long scouting for "the perfect pole" to recreate one of his high school senior pictures. Not a cloud in the sky, the vacation gods were definitely on our side that day. 

College on the left, high school on the right. 

College on the left, high school on the right. 

"This is where I lean" - Chandler Bing or David Mampre

"This is where I lean" - Chandler Bing or David Mampre

Bottom right corner is the top of his apartment building looking out over the baseball field

Bottom right corner is the top of his apartment building looking out over the baseball field

Left - standing in the catcher spot, looking out towards his apartment, middle - dugout, right - sitting in the catcher spot

Left - standing in the catcher spot, looking out towards his apartment, middle - dugout, right - sitting in the catcher spot

Despite spending a LOT more time traveling than previously planned, it was a great trip and I loved seeing David. It turns out graduation was 4.5 hours long (from 4-8:30pm. HELLO DINNER?!?!) and the speaker was absolutely awful. I guess I prefer a bunch of travel over sitting still and being quiet at a graduation. 

From being in 7th grade, trying on my cap and gown before my graduation, to his high school graduation to college graduation, I am beyond proud to be this man's sister. He gives his all in everything he does and encourages others to do the same. 

After we came home, David and the other 9 baseball guys had a private graduation. You'll notice the amount of "swag" David has compared to the rest of the team. You can definitely tell how proud their coach is to have that group of guys standing around him. Thankfully, Hopkins is very tech savvy and produced a video of the private baseball graduation so families like ours could stream it. 

Images of actual graduation

Images of actual graduation

David graduated from Johns Hopkins with a 4.0 GPA with a degree in Neuroscience. He will spend the next year doing research and applying for med school. With a near perfect MCAT score, he should have his pick of schools. I've spent the past few days proofing his med school essays and I have to say, I teared up a bit with pride. It's been quite some time since I have read something that he has written and to say he has a way with words is an understatement. It also turns out, he was involved in a lot more activities in college than I was aware of. I'm not sure how he managed it all, he says he hasn't slept in 4 years and I completely believe it. 

Mostly, I can't wait for him to become a doctor so he can fix my migraines but I'll pretend it is all sisterly pride. The day he graduated high school, I posted a FB status talking about his accomplishments so obviously for college, I had to outdo that and make a blog post. I ended my status with "I'm proud to call you my brother! Do big things!" and I can't think of any better way to end this blog post. His last 4 years of college has lived up to that and I know when he starts med school, he will definitely be doing some big things! He's going to make a difference in this world. Do big things, David! We are all so proud of you! 

 

Live. Love. Flowers. - NOW on Snapchat!

Many of you that know me personally, know that I have been boycotting getting a Snapchat. I figure if I want to send people pictures and messages, I can just send regular picture messages. 

Recently, I've been considering getting a Snapchat for business uses. So often, people ask to see behind the scenes floral arranging pictures or previews of wedding setups. These are not pretty things. When I arrange flowers, my entire house gets trashed. These are not things I want to advertise on my Facebook page or website. Snapchat is a great way to let people into the BTS of floral design while not displaying my mess for the whole internet to see! 

 

SO, I made a Snapchat!! Now, you can add me on there to see things that are not "brand worthy" to be on my Facebook! I'll be posting pictures when I get flowers, pictures of me in my pajamas arranging flowers, Otis eating my flowers and various other floral related things! I'm really excited for this! 

Ranunculus from a wedding last week.

Ranunculus from a wedding last week.

I also plan on using Snapchat for instant giveaways and to unload some of my flowers after weddings. Facebook is so limiting with it's algorithms and how many people it allows to see my posts without paying. So often, I have a great deal on leftover flowers and only a few dozen people see the post. With snapchat, everyone can see it!

Today, I dropped off my new business cards at La Belle Vie Bridal Salon. Betsy is awesome if you're in need of a wedding dress and you can pick up one of my fabulous new cards while you're there! My cards are covered in pink glitter. Is there anything better than that?!?!

When you work floral design part time out of your home, its not pretty and organized like you see on a tv show. It's me (usually in Christmas pajamas) designing floral arrangements until 3am. It's stems and buckets all over my house. It's one dog sitting on the couch staring at me and the other sneaking off to take flowers out of buckets. I'm glad that enough people care enough about me, and my workflow to follow me, because I think this is going to be a lot of fun! Thanks to everyone who encouraged me to do this!

Now, go add me! liveloveflower

 

 
 

Janelle and Zach - 04/16/16

Wedding season officially kicked off this weekend! It was sunny and 80 degrees! What more could you want from a wedding in the middle of April?!?!

I met Janelle through one of our local wedding swap groups. She's actually a fellow small business owner! She and her friend Emily own a linen rental company JEM Coverings, so if you're in need of linens for your wedding, you should definitely check them out! 

Jenelle knew EXACTLY what bouquet she wanted before we even got together for an appointment! There was a little bouquet mishap right before photography, so I rushed back to them and remade the bouquet. The trouble with cascading bouquet is that if you don't get it in just the right spot on the first try, it leaves a big hole and then when you put the stem in again near to that hole, it's not well supported in its new home. I'm so glad that Janelle was understanding and we got it taken care of quickly. 

 

After seeing her pictures, I think she made the perfect choice! They accented the bridesmaids dresses in just the right way! 

 

The wedding was at River Music Experience (Redstone Room) and the images were by Trisha K. Photography. It looks like their party was an absolute blast! 

 

I wish Janelle and Zach all the best on their future together!