anniversary

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.

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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!

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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. 

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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!

 

3 Year Anniversary!

3 years?!?! THREE YEARS?!?! I'm torn between, "Has it been 3 years already?" and "Has it only been 3 years?" It has been an absolute whirlwind of falling in love with the 26 couples I have worked with so far.

Many of you don't know how I got started in this business and I figured my anniversary would be a great time to share! 
Many, moons ago, my mom worked in a local flower shop in high school. Several years later, when I was in pre-school, she owned a flower shop that I spent time in after school. This is why I always say that my love of flowers is in my genes. When I turned 16, I started working in the same local flower shop my mom worked at in high school. I worked there for about 4 1/2 years through high school and part of college. I left when I got promoted at Claire's.

Fast forward a few years, and friends started getting engaged. They all knew of my previous employment and asked me to brainstorm ideas with them before their appointments (this is when Pinterest was just starting out). After appointments, some of them showed me their floral estimates and asked what I thought of them, how they could save money, etc. In March of 2013 (the 14th to be exact) after I was giving corsage ideas to a friend, while at work, I decided I should be charging for my advice! I even made it FB official that I wanted to get back into florals in the near future. 

I spent the next few weeks brainstorming ideas for business names with my best friend (now turned day-of assistant) Kelsey. I knew I didn't want to use my name, maybe because my name is already alliteration but honestly I have no real reason I didn't want to use Michelle as a part of my business name. I love the phrase "Live. Laugh. Love" (because what 20-something hasn't at some point) and I just kept coming back to Live. Love. Flowers. I knew one of the reasons I kept coming back to it was because I knew I wanted to feel like a friend to my couples. I often share photos of my own life on my FB page and I wanted them to feel connected to me as more than just a wedding vendor. I had an idea for a logo using a gerbera daisy and the colors black and hot pink. 

I made a mockup of the logo that I wanted using a Google stock image and an app on my phone (high tech right?!?!). On April 6th, I had a "lady date" with Kelsey and she brought me hot pink gerbera daisies. One of those became part of my original official logo . Kelsey's boyfriend (now husband) Daniel created my original logo and business cards for me! You can check out my cell phone logo and Daniel's original design here! 

My original vision on the left, Daniel's image on the left using a real flower :)

My original vision on the left, Daniel's image on the left using a real flower :)

On April 14th, I decided I had nothing to lose and decided to just go for it! I bought a bunch of flowers from grocery stores and made various mockups of arrangements all night. I also started my FB page that night. I thought I might do a friend's wedding here or there but had no idea it would take off like it did! 

My first picture on my business page. A bucket of various flowers and my 2 happy helpers checking it out

My first picture on my business page. A bucket of various flowers and my 2 happy helpers checking it out

A few weeks later, I officially became a business when I filed for my TaxID number. Within 3 weeks of making my Fb page, I had my first inquiry! AND it was from a total stranger. We emailed back and forth for a week or so and I learned her wedding was in June, just a few weeks away and she was unhappy with her previously selected florist. I met with Tonii and her mom at Panera and we talked through some details and got to know each other. I am forever grateful she chose to take a chance on me!

That year, I took 2 more weddings, ironically the same weekend at the end of September. Both of them were friends with Kelsey and Daniel. The 1st wedding of the weekend never had an in person consultation. Since then, I have had 4 weddings book with me without an in-person consultation, so if you are long distance, I am totally comfortable doing things without physically meeting. The 2nd wedding of that weekend was the girl to whom I gave corsage advice to prior to opening. During the summer and the fall, bookings for 2014 started taking off. I was so shocked when a lot of them were strangers! I goaled myself to do 10 weddings in 2014. I fell a little short of that goal and did 9 weddings, but was still very proud of myself. 2014 was also the summer when I did the flowers for Kelsey and Daniel's wedding AND stood up as the Maid of Honor. I was seeing serious growth and many of my couples were taking advantage of my referral program. With this in mind, I set my goal for 15 weddings in 2015. I did larger weddings in 2015 than in previous years and ended the year with 13 weddings. 

At the end of 2015, with 11 weddings on the books for 2016 already, I set my goal of 16 weddings and decided to go through a little rebrand. I wanted to spice up my logo and finally invest in a website. It seemed like my business was here to stay and investing was a good idea. I found Leesa Dykstra through a small business professionals group on FB (The Rising Tide Society). Buying her branding services as a Christmas gift to myself has been on of my all-time favorite purchases (I always tell my dog, Armani, that he is my favorite purchase). We still have a few items we are working on and I'm so excited to wrap up this project soon. 

My beautiful brand board!

My beautiful brand board!

I am SO proud to say that I have MET and SURPASSED my goal for 2016 and I am still booking! I've already done 1 wedding this year and this week officially starts wedding season. I have lots of weddings to look forward to this year, but I think I'm most looking forward to my brother's wedding in October! July of 2016, I have been asked to teach a class on flower arranging at the library. I am SO honored to even have been asked to do that! More details will come soon if you want to sign up! 

I have 2 already booked for 2017, including being a Maid of Honor in one of them! 

NOW, it wouldn't be an anniversary post if we didn't talk about celebration! I'm having a celebratory cake (obviously!) BUT I am also reserving my booth for the Bridal Expo in January! I've always wanted to do it and I am committing to it!

 
 

 

I am also celebrating by disabling the messenger on my business FB page. It will now have a Contact Me tab (see below) that links to my contact tab on my website. I much prefer to communicate via email and this will keep everything in one place. It makes it so much easier when I want to reference something later on. Email is much more reliable that the FB Pages app (on my end) because it doesn't always give me notifications. This is going to help keep my life more organized and keep me more sane. You can always email me at live.love.flowers1@gmail.com!

Computer View on the left, Cell Phone view on the right

Computer View on the left, Cell Phone view on the right

I would like to invite you to celebrate with me by giving away $30 off every new booking priced between $500-$1000. For new bookings over $1000, you will get 3% off your wedding! Weddings must be booked (contract signed and deposit paid) by Mother's Day! This is an exclusive offer for people who care enough to read my blog. I will not be posting any fliers on FB, just a link to this blog post. 

3 years. 26 couples. Strangers. Friends. I feel like all these couples have made my lives just as beautiful as I made their weddings. This has been the adventure of a lifetime and I can't believe how fast my business has grown. Thank you all for your support over the last 3 years. Here's to MANY more! Here's a look back at some of my weddings over the last 3 years! 

In summary, not every business starts out with the perfect business plan, the perfect branding package and website. Sometimes you just have to give an idea a shot and grow and learn at the same time. I knew that I wanted to do flowers as a hobby, I had no idea it would grow into such a successful business. If you have something you want to do, go for it! What's the worst that can happen, you give it a shot and it doesn't work out? Best case scenario, you grow into a great business and do what you love! Thank you all so much for all of your support for the last 3 years! Now, time to eat some cake and prepare my flowers for Saturday's wedding! :)