Kelsey and Nick - 07/01/17

Kelsey has been a good friend of mine for almost 10 years and Nick is the perfect person for her to spend her life with. 

She gave me a lot of freedom when it came to her flowers. She knew she wanted white and Tiffany blue and picked out a few flowers that she liked. I don't think there is anyone else I would sprayed hundreds of flowers light blue for. All her flowers were roses, lisianthus and freesia.

Nick wore a boutonniere of a white rose and blue freesia. 

As a florist, I often get recruited for other jobs aside from flowers. Nick had a groomsman break his tux pants, and thanks to my tool kit, I was able to fix them. The process of me on the ground trying to fix pants was heavily photographed by both the photographer, other groomsmen, and both the fathers. They all found it hilarious. I liked this photo because it looks like we were having a moment. 

Their pew ends were white hydrangea with blue bows. The flower girls wore little corsages with long streamers and tossed petals. Sofia (pictured in front) was such a little helper. Because we were using hydrangea out of water on a hot day, I needed to spray them with a hydration and protection spray. Sofia was watching me and wanting to help so she was in charge of spraying all of the pew ends for me. She did a great job!

The altar had 3 arrangements on the altar and a unity candle. 

Kelsey said she knew Nick was "the one" the first night she met him. They met at a wedding and they talked all night. Even though it was late, he said he had to get up early for church the next morning. And with that one sentence, she knew he was a keeper. 

Kelsey and Nick both grew up on a farm so it only made sense to take some pictures out on Nick's farm! Ironically Nick's family farm backs up to farm land that belongs to my mom's cousin. 

The baker added the florals to the cake based on the photo Kelsey loved. But isn't this stunning?!?! It was delicious too!

The outdoor tables all had vases with blue hydrangea in them. The inside tables had centerpieces of a cylinder vase and a mixture of all their flowers (I don't have a picture of those) 

Kelsey's bouquet was wrapped with lace from her mother's wedding gown. I love when brides add a personal touch to their flowers!

Happy Anniversary (plus 1 day due to technological issues)! Thank you for including me in your special day, both as a vendor and as a friend. I wish you a blessed marriage and life together!

Live Love Flowers - Michele Signature (1).png

Shannan and Steve - 07/01/17

I absolutely loved Shannan and Steve's bright summer palate. I have had so many neutral weddings that this was a fun change.

Image by  PhotoFrog

Image by PhotoFrog

The girls wore pool blue dresses and carried coral and peach bouquets. The bouquets were coral charm peonies, white stock, light pink spray roses, coral spray roses, coral ranunculus, coral hypericum berry and white waxflower.  The bridal bouquet also had blush calla lilies. 

Image by  PhotoFrog

Image by PhotoFrog

Image by  PhotoFrog

Image by PhotoFrog

The flower girls carried bouquets of baby's breath and light pink spray roses 

Image by  PhotoFrog

Image by PhotoFrog

Steve wore a boutonniere of a blush calla lily and peach hypericum berry. The groomsmen wore boutonnieres of a light pink spray rose, coral spray rose and peach hypericum berry.  

Image by  PhotoFrog

Image by PhotoFrog

Shannan and Steve got married in the Christ the King Chapel at St. Ambrose University where they attended. That was my most popular ceremony location of 2017.

Image by  PhotoFrog

Image by PhotoFrog

The wood sign is made by CraftSavy and was my wedding gift to the Campbells.

Image by  PhotoFrog

Image by PhotoFrog

It's been almost a year, so instead of wishing you the best on your future, I'll wish the Campbells a Happy Anniversary :) 

Image by PhotoFrog

Image by PhotoFrog

Live Love Flowers - Michele Signature (1).png

Becca and Tommy - 06/24/17

Becca and Tommy were such a treat to work with for their summer wedding! We changed our plans several times to get the exact vision they were dreaming of, but I'll make as many revisions to our plan as you want to make sure you get everything you want. 

I didn't realize how many purple weddings I did this year until I sat down to blog this one and it was the 3rd in a row with purple! It's the pantone color of 2018 but I think my brides got a jump on things. Becca and Tommy got married at the chapel at St. Ambrose University, which was my most popular church of 2017 (I think I was there 4 or 5 time). Their reception was at University Club in Moline, which was my most popular reception venue of 2017 (I was there 7 times).

Becca carries a bouquet of lavender stock, lavender roses, white freesia and purple lisianthus. I LOVE doing a whole color palate instead of trying to match the exact shade of every flower.

The bridesmaids carried bouquets of lavender stock and white roses 

The groomsmen wore boutonnieres of a white rose and lavender freesia. Tommy wore a boutonniere of a white rose, lavender freesia and purple lisianthus. 

Flower crowns continue to be super popular for flower girls and thank goodness I have gotten faster at making them! This little one also carried her very own bouquet of baby's breath and purple statice. 

I created a large arrangement for the ceremony with white hydrangea, purple hydrangea, lavender stock, white roses, lavender roses and purple lisianthus. This was transported to the reception for their place card table. 

Image from my phone 

Image from my phone 

Becca provided the wood boxes for these centerpieces. I have them in grey but they preferred the whitewashed versions. This centerpiece has white hydrangea, white roses, purple alstroemeria and purple statice. The alternate version had purple hydrangea and lavender roses. Becca also provided the silver mercury glass votives around the outside. 

Image from my phone

Image from my phone

The other centerpieces were these very tall grey lanterns with eucalyptus, purple alstroemeria, purple lisianthus and white spray roses around the base. Becca provided the candle and gems inside as well as the purple mercury glass votives around the outside. 

Image from my phone

Image from my phone

Their head table was lined with a combination of eucalyptus and ruscus with the bridesmaids bouquets scattered for a pop of color. 

Thank you so much for being such a great couple to work with and having a great eye for what your wedding vision was! I wish you the best of luck on your future together, and a huge good luck to Tommy in med school! Thank you for including me in your special day!

Live Love Flowers - Michele Signature (1).png

Laura and Paul - 06/17/17

I have known Laura for our entire lives so I was honored when she asked me to be a part of her and Paul's special day! Thank you to JW Wedding Photography for all the gorgeous images!

Laura carried a bouquet of white hydrangea, white roses and just a hint of baby's breath. I am SO glad I experimented last year so I can provide hydrangea bouquets that live - especially in summer!

Image by JW Wedding Photography

Image by JW Wedding Photography

Laura and Paul got married at First Congregational Church in Moline. I may be biased since I went there my whole life, as has Laura, but I think it is the most gorgeous church in the area. I'm obsessed with the stained glass windows and how dark and moody it is. 

Her bouquet was wrapped in the lace from her mom's wedding dress. I always love when couples incorporate something special into their flowers. Part of mom's dress or veil and grandma's jewelry are the most popular items, but we can use anything that is special to you! 

I love the contrast of the dark purple dresses with the lavender flowers. Purple is the color of the year but its a hard color to match so I love when brides are open to doing a color palate instead of just a specific color.

The bridesmaids bouquets were white and purple alstroemeria, lavender stock, lavender roses and white roses.

We did pew ends of puffs of baby's breath with a purple bow on the church candelabra. We later transferred the puffs of baby's breath to be a part of the centerpieces at the reception.

Paul wore a boutonniere of a white rose and white altroemeria. The groomsmen wore boutonnieres of white and purple alstroemeria. Because alstroemeria is a type of lily and smashes easily, they decided to add on an extra boutonniere for Paul to wear for pictures. After you hug 200 of your closest friends and family, your boutonniere can look rough so adding on an extra is a cost effective way to make sure your wedding photos look perfect. 

I don't have photos of the centerpieces but one set was a variety of cylinder vases, two with baby's breath puffs and the other with a bouquet of alstroemeria. The other tables had lanterns with petals around the base. The reception was held at The Radisson in Davenport. 

Thank you so much to Laura and Paul for including me in your special day! I can't wait to watch your love to continue to grow in the future. Congratulations on your life together! 

Live Love Flowers - Michele Signature (1).png

Jennifer and Grant - 06/17/17

Jennifer and Grant were another one of my couples during my 4 wedding weekend this summer. Julie from J. Blu Design out of the Peoria area helped me out for that weekend to make sure everything ran smoothly. Thank you to Seneca Epley Photography for these gorgeous images! If there was ever a wedding that looked like a perfectly curated Pinterest board, it is this one. Every single detail was absolutely on point. 

Everything was very heavy on greenery, which is definitely the current trend! The ladies carried bouquets of white peonies, white garden roses and white ranunculus with silver dollar eucalyptus and laurel greens. 

Image by Seneca Epley Photography

Image by Seneca Epley Photography

This is a seriously stunning group of ladies! We are going to be seeing a lot of purples in 2018 so I hope to see this look more often. 

The paper products such as invites and programs all had touches of greenery on them to pull the look altogether. The men wore boutonnieres of white roses, white waxflower and laurel greenery. 

Here is an indoor view of her bouquet :) This was the first wedding that made me fall in love with a new bouquet technique that makes it easier for me to hold when I'm working on and lighter for the brides to hold. Often with this garden type bouquet, you can do minimal flowers on the back side of the bouquet, which also allows it to be less expensive than full flowers front and back. 

The reception was at the Stern Center in Rock Island. It featured several different styles of centerpieces. This is the head table, but we did a garland of greens down the center of some long tables as well. On the long guest tables, we included some flowers tucked into the greenery as well. These were garlands of silver dollar eucalyptus, Italian ruscus, and laurel greens. The cake featured laurel greens between the layers. 

On other tables there were a variety of different gold terrariums - one with a candle inside and one with flowers inside and greens around the base. All of the tables had gold mercury glass votives around the centerpieces - remember when I said total Pinterest wedding?!

The third centerpiece was a gold compote vase with greenery, white hydrangea, white garden roses, white spray roses, white snapdragons and white waxflower.

Congratulations again to Jennifer and Grant! If your wedding is half as picture perfect as your wedding, you're in for a great future together! I hope I get to do more weddings that are this stunning because I'm still obsessed with this one! Thanks again to Julie for her help :)

Live Love Flowers - Michele Signature (1).png

Amber and Kevin - 06/17/17

I feel like I met with Amber to book her wedding a lifetime ago. They were originally supposed to get married a week later but when they switched, it made for a quadruple wedding weekend for me! I called in to Julie from J. Blu Design in the Peoria area for help. She designed Amber's bouquets and I did the corsages, boutonnieres and aisle decor. 

I knew I had promised to use hydrangea in Amber's bouquet and I KNEW there was a way I could make it stay alive for more than a few hours. I did a bunch of experiments and found a way to combine a few different chemicals to ensure it doesn't wilt for almost 24 hours! I'm so excited by this because I have been adamantly opposed to hydrangea in bouquets until this year!

The bouquets were white hydrangea, white freesia, white lisianthus and blush spray roses. It smelled divine and was gorgeous! Great design, Julie!

This was a wedding with all of my favorite people! After meeting with me very early in her planning process, I gave Amber a list of recommended vendors and she booked with almost all of them! The wedding was at Duck Creek Park and Pavillion. 

Kevin's boutonniere was blush spray roses, white freesia and white lisianthus. The groomsmen's boutonnieres were blush spray roses and white freesia. 

Amber quickly became not only a part of the LLF family but also made herself at home with my Claire's girls. Many of my brides find it convenient to drop things off to me there so they don't have to schedule a time to meet up with me. When I wasn't there, Amber got to know my staff very well and drops by whenever she's in the area to say hello. 

Thanks for allowing me to be a part of your special day!

Live Love Flowers - Michele Signature (1).png

Lexi and Brian - 06/10/17

Where do I begin with Lexi and Brian? I remember the first time I met Lexi - I was interviewing her for my assistant at Claires. It was Halloween and I was dressed up as an angel. Despite that, she decided to not only work for me at Claires, but to become one of my best friends and now she works for me doing wedding setups! 

Avenue Studios Photography

Avenue Studios Photography

I don't remember the first time I met Brian, but he treated me like we have known each other for years. I was blessed enough to be the Maid of Honor AND the florist for their wedding! I'm not even sorry for how many pictures I'm going to share!

Brian wore a boutonniere of a wine colored mini calla, blush astilbe, white waxflower and a paper flower made from book pages.

I would just like it to be known that I am a regular sized person and I wasn't even wearing heels yet. All dresses were from Storybook Ending in DeWitt

Lexi carried a bouquet of blush peonies, wine mini calla lilies, burgundy garden roses, wine dahlias, white anemone, blush astilbe, white waxflower, book page paper flowers and silver dollar eucalyptus. A total pinterest worthy bouquet!

Their ceremony featured my new lighted backdrop with Italian ruscus draped from the top. I love how it softened up the dark room and made it look so romantic. Ceremony and Reception at River Center Davenport.

As bridesmaids, we carried smaller versions of the bridal bouquet but with white peonies. Lexi's were SO blush they almost looked white so it's hard to tell the difference. 

At the end of the aisle, were 2 arrangements of white hydrangea, wine snapdragons, blush stock, blush peonies, wine calla lilies, wine dahlias, burgundy garden roses, white waxflower and assorted greens. 

The front of her bouquet included an Origami Owl brooch with special charms inside. 

In between these 2 photos, the bottom of my dress got stuck on the bottom step and I took a tumble while throwing my bouquet across the room. I now have a pretty sweet scar on my elbow from the rug burn. I'm honestly disappointed that it wasn't caught on video or in photos because it was hilarious. 

My elbow rug burn became a conversation piece for the rest of the day and made it into my MOH speech. Bridal Party pictures at Hotel Blackhawk

I tried to do classic "Brian Duck Face and Point" but I turned my hand and now I look like I'm doing finger guns. 

Thank you both for letting me be a part of your special day in such a big way, and be a part of your life! You're stuck with me now!

Live Love Flowers - Michele Signature (1).png

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!