There can never be enough bling. As far as I’m concerned, the more the better! Today’s bridal accessories are full of rhinestones, crystals, beads, brooches and more. Take for example these Martinez Valero pumps.

"Martinez Valero Rhinestone Pumps Combo"

Don’t you just love the vintage-style rhinestone brooches?!

"Martin Valero Rhinestone Pumps"

I stumbled upon the ultimate line of bridal purses in a small, local shop. Designed by Bougainvillea, these clutch purses are swimming with pearls, rhinestones, and Swarovski crystals.  Can you say bling-deluxe?!

"Bougainvillea-Rhinestone-Pearl-Clutch"

The attention-to-detail is unmatched. Each purse is meticulously hand-sewn and embellished with only the finest beads, pearls and crystals.

"pearl Swarovski crystal clutch box"

The craftsmanship is superb!

"pearl swarski crystal clutch details close2"

Hello gorgeous! Which one would you choose? Are you an edgy bride that gravitates towards sparkle and glitz or are you more of a traditional bride that loves pearls and beads? Whatever your style, there’s no shortage of options to choose from.

Until next time, here’s a kiss and a smile!  :)

Nancy and Jorge’s wedding will definitely go down as one of my all-time favorites! Take one adorable couple so in love, add their gracious and hospitable families, wonderful food, a unique location, fun-filled Portuguese dances, and you’ve got yourself one spectacular wedding fete!

I invite you to stroll through the images. Take your time, linger if you want to. I just can’t get enough of this wedding and I’m willing to bet, neither will you!

It started out gray with steady rain showers on Nancy and Jorge’s wedding day, but this love-smitten couple never let the weather dampen their spirits for a single second. Their love shined through those big ominous rain clouds and happily the sun made a pleasant surprise appearance later in the day.

"Jorge"

Jorge’s carefree and positive attitude said it all. His enthusiasm wasn’t about to let any inclement weather rain on his parade.

"Nancy Jorge Rolls Royce"

They look so regal posed against this elegant white Rolls Royce.

"Nancy's Grazia Shoes"

Nancy wore one of my all-time favorite pairs of silk bridal shoes — Valentine by Grazia Shoes. I simply adore the sparkling rhinestone accoutrements above the cute peep-toe opening of the shoes!

"Nancy and George by Pool"

The rain subsided just enough for us to grab a few portraits out by the pool.

"Nancy-George-Walk-Beach-Combo"

We had just enough of a window before the reception to take a drive to the beach to do a few photojournalistic shots.

"Nancy-George-Embrace-Beach-Combo"

So romantic!

"Nancy George Cake Combo"

The cake featured filigree and sugar calla lilies throughout the tiers to match Nancy’s wedding gown and bridal bouquet.

"George in Lights"

Kudos to the lighting crew that set up the neon signs that rotated Nancy and Jorge’s names. It really added to the ambiance of the event!

"Nancy and George Dance"

"Nancy and George Kiss"

So in love! Congrats guys. We wish you much love and happiness!

Until next time, here’s a kiss and a smile!  :)

"Diana Exhibit Poster"

I was an avid admirer of Diana’s from the time she became engaged to Prince Charles on February 24, 1981 to her untimely death on August 31, 1997. I was one of the 1 billion T.V. viewers that watched the royal wedding on July 29, 1981. I still remember waking up at 5:00a.m. and being glued to the television set along with my Mom and sisters, watching Barbara Walters’ and Peter Jennings’ live coverage from start to finish of the event. It was something truly magical and something I will never forget!

Last Saturday, I had the privilege of attending the Diana Exhibit’s exclusive northeast engagement that is currently being held at the Great Cedar Hotel at Foxwoods in Mashantucket, Connecticut from September 16, 2011 – January 15, 2012. For me, it was the equivalent of a die-hard Elvis Presley fan being able to finally visit Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee.

The description on the official Web site says it all:

“Diana, A Celebration is an award-winning exhibition that chronicles the life and work of Diana, Princess of Wales. On loan from the Althorp Estate, the Spencer family’s 500-year-old ancestral home in England, the exhibition contains 150 objects, ranging from Princess Diana’s royal wedding gown and 28 of her designer dresses to family heirlooms, personal mementos, paintings and rare home movies and photos.”

“Princess Diana’s beauty and grace touched so many people worldwide during her short and complex life. The stunning collection of her personal items invites visitors to share the milestones of her many roles, ranging from schoolgirl and athlete to kindergarten teacher and royal bride to devoted mother and charity advocate.”

“Throughout nine galleries, heirlooms, paintings, letters, videos and photos provide historical and personal context. Other items include 28 designer suits and evening gowns worn by the Princess in her public life; two diamond tiaras and other priceless family jewels; the original text of the Earl Spencer’s moving tribute to his sister at her funeral in Westminister Abbey; the score and lyrics of the Elton John/Bernie Taupin composition, adapted from “Candle in the Wind;” original heritage family paintings; and books of condolences left by people throughout the world.”

The highlight of the exhibit is definitely Diana’s magnificent royal wedding gown with its 25-foot train. When I saw the gown on display, it simply took my breath away! It is absolutely stunning even after all of this time. Being there in person is almost like stepping back in time to the day of the royal wedding. The decorative elements of the dress, the pearls woven into the veil, and the astounding attention to detail in the shoes can be seen in ways that no video or DVD could have shown. If photography was permitted inside the exhibit, I probably would have been there for days!

The royal jewels and tiaras, beautifully lit and presented in glass display cases, are a close second — and since I’m a bit of a jewelry junkie, I recognized many of the pieces from particular events and photographs.

Another highlight is the Style gallery, which showcases Diana’s fashion with 28 designer suits and dresses. When I saw the gowns and suits, my mind instantly flashed back to the books and magazine articles I had read which featured photos of Diana in these very outfits.

It was a day I’ll never forget. Thank you to my wonderful husband for making it all possible.

Until next time, here’s a kiss and a smile!

Stephanie and Craig’s wedding featured so many beautiful details! I thought that I would share a few of them with you. For your viewing pleasure.

"White Callas Bouquet Vase"
Stephanie gave her mother this lovely white calla lily bouquet to carry as she walked down the aisle.

Bridesmaid's bouquet close

Her bridesmaids each carried these beautiful purple, pink and green bouquets.

Stephanie's bouquet

Stephanie’s gorgeous bridal bouquet consisted of white and dark pink calla lilies, as well as orchids.

Blue Wedding Cake

I loved their modern, blue and white, polka-dotted wedding cake! I especially loved all of the details surrounding the cake including the blue, frosted votive candleholders, the pink rose petals, and of course the crystal cake topper! As far as I’m concerned, there can’t be enough bling.

Their dessert bar featured a chocolate fondue. Check out these condiments for dipping.

"rice krispy treats and strawberries"Who doesn’t love rice krispy treats? They’re a childhood favorite! Chocolate and fresh strawberries, a perfect combination.

Wish I could have partaken, but alas, I was working.

Until next time, here’s a kiss and a smile!

I recently second shot a wedding for Wavecrest Studio. Stephanie & Craig are such a sweet couple and you could see just by being around them how truly in love they are with one another. We all had a wonderful day together and even though it started to drizzle at the park, the soft, overcast lighting made for some fantastic photographs! Thank you both for letting me share in your special day!

Here are some highlights from their beautiful wedding day.

Stephanie Combo

Stephanie wore a rouching, mermaid-cut gown with a sweetheart neckline. It was a very contemporary wedding dress that flattered her slim figure. The back of the gown featured a symmetrical line of fabric-covered buttons. A rhinestone sash was sewn into the dress’s bodice to give it that extra wow factor. Her veil included a touch of Swarovski crystals which completed her ensemble.

"Stephanie & Craig at Park"

We all piled into their “party bus” which was like a nightclub on wheels and made our way to the park. We were able to capture some gorgeous, romantic images in between raindrops. It was definitely worth the trip!

Until next time, here’s a kiss and a smile!

Bouquets are lovely in their own right. The flowers chosen can evoke a particular mood, demonstrate a specific meaning, or reflect the holder’s style.

"Three rose bouquets windowsill"

French braiding a bouquet handle can not only serve to protect the holder from the stems’ possible thorns and/or other uneven surfaces, but it can give a bouquet that extra panache and flair!

"French-braided-brooch-bouquet-horiz"

Add your personal touch of style to your bouquet with this easy method.

1) Hand-tie your bouquet with wire, floral wrap or even a simple rubberband will do.

2) Measure 5 to 8 yards of ribbon, (wrap the length around the bouquet before cutting to ensure that you have enough ribbon). The ribbon can be 5/8 inch to 2 inches in width.

3) Start at the bottom of the bouquet and begin to wrap the stems. As you bring the 2 ends of the ribbon to the front, crisscross the ribbon, alternately switching the ends to the other hand.

4) Bring the ribbon around the back after each crisscross in the front, keeping the left side under the right side. Repeat this as you move up the stems. Slide the ribbon down the stems as you go so that the braids are closer together.

5) Finish by tying a knot, then a bow over the knot. You can spiral-wrap the stems first with one color and then overwrap the ribbon with the French braiding technique using a ribbon of a different color. By making widely spaced braids, you can let the bottom layer show through creating a beautiful look of contrast.

"french braided brooch bouquet combo"

There are many bouquet adornments to choose from. In addition to the French braided ribbon handles in the bouquets above, you may have noticed the lovely vintage brooches. We’ll explore more of these beauties in an upcoming post. Stay tuned.

Until next time, here’s a kiss and a smile!

Color can bring life and dramatic impact to any floral design. Here are a few images of a very colorful and vibrant bouquet that I shot at a wedding a few years ago. It was designed by Keyth, Managing Floral Designer and Consultant of Lovin’ Oven Floral Designs and still remains one of my all-time favorite wedding bouquets!  It contains coral roses, fuschia calla lilies, yellow-spotted orchids, reddish-orange glorious irises and fuschia sweet peas with a white, french-braided, ribbon handle. The colors and textures create a very dramatic statement.

"Tropical Bouquet Bodice"

"Tropical Bouquet Bodice Combo"

Here are a few definitions to keep in mind to help you maintain color harmony:

1) Hue: This is color in its purest form. The true color.

2) Tint: Adding white to a hue. For example adding white and red to create pink.

3) Tone: Adding gray to a hue.

4) Shade: Adding black to a hue.

5) Monochromatic Color Harmony: A color harmony made up of tints, tones and shades of the same hue.

6) Analogous Color Harmony: A color harmony created by using three  to six colors that are adjacent to each other on the color wheel. It uses a range of colors forming a 90 degree angle on the color wheel including one primary color.

7) Complementary Color Harmony: One of the most dramatic color harmonies created by using colors opposite each other on the color wheel. For example red and green, purple and blue.

8) Triadic Color Harmony: Three colors that are equidistant from each other on the color wheel. The three primary colors: red, yellow, and blue are a color triad.

You can learn the basic concepts of the color wheel with tips from HGTV.com.

Until next time, here’s a kiss and a smile!

I recently learned two different bouquet-making techniques in my floral arranging class. The first technique is called Binding or Bundling. This is the process of physically fastening three or more stems together. The bunches formed by using this technique are restricted and supported by the substance binding them together, for example a piece of ribbon.

I created the bouquet below by using the binding or bundling technique.

"Fall Bouquet Combo 2"

"Fall Bouquet Close"

Here’s how I created this bouquet:

1) First, I separated out the different groups of flowers that I was going to be using, keeping like stems together.

2) Then, by holding the flowers in my left hand, I fed the bouquet with my right hand.

3) I continued doing this in a counter clockwise direction.

4) By keeping the stems all in the same direction, I started to get a round form.

5) I used ferns to collar the base of my bouquet.

6) Next, I secured my bouquet with a jay cord, (a piece of string covered with wax). You can use floral design tape, a piece of ribbon or even something as simple as a rubber band to secure the stems.

7) Finally, I wrapped the jay cord tightly around the stems 3-4 times, securing the cord with a knot. Voila — the bouquet was completed.

The second bouquet-making technique is called the Lacing Bouquet Design method. In this type of design, the stems of the bouquet appear in a crisscross fashion.

"Crisscross Bouquet Sample"

Here’s how to create a bouquet using the Lacing Bouquet Design method:

1) Start at the bottom of the stem with the foliage.

2) Move your hand up the stem, holding the stem at an angle. From one side, go directly opposite with the next stem.

3) Create a crisscross pattern as you go along.

4) Turn in a clockwise direction.

5) You’ll start to get a round form.

6) Again, you can use ferns to collar the base of your bouquet.

7) Finally, secure your bouquet by wrapping a jay cord, ribbon, or other fastener tightly around the stems 3-4 times. Tie yourself a knot, and your bouquet is finished.

I hope that you’ll find this information helpful and that it may even inspire you to give it a try. Happy bouquet-making!

Until next time, here’s a kiss and a smile!

Hi everyone! Here’s the latest chapter from my floral arranging adventures.

Professional floral arrangements come in many shapes and sizes. There is always a plan for the design and this concept shines through in the final shape of the arrangement. Without a plan, the finished product is a mishmash, rather than a controlled design.

There are 11 basic arrangement shapes that professional floral artists should be qualified to create. They are:

1) Symmetrical: When creating a symmetrical design, there must be equal visual balance apparent on either side of the central axis. If there were an imaginary line running from top to bottom through the center of the design, it would visually divide this type of arrangement into two equally balanced parts.

2) Round: All of the flowers and greens in this arrangement fall within the circumference of a circle, thus creating a round shaped design.

3) Asymmetrical: In an asymmetrical design, the central axis moves to the right or left of center. This type of arrangement resembles a right angle. The height of the design meets with the length to form a right angle.

4) Fan: In a fan design, the flowers are placed to form a semicircular shape, with all of the stems flowing into a central focal axis.

5) Oval: The typical oval arrangement is made with a primary flower to define the oval shape and other flowers and greens are used as fillers.

6) Vertical: This distinctive design shape emphasizes height. All of the materials used should be contained within the width of the container.

7) Horizontal: The horizontal line creates a pleasing arc shape, therefore it’s important to keep the arrangement low and ideally quite narrow to reinforce the horizontal impact of the composition.

8) Parallel Systems: A parallel systems arrangement is created by using two or more vertical designs in the same composition. There should be “air” between each parallel grouping of flowers. Sometimes the vertical groupings blend together, but usually the stems are separated into 2-3 zones.

9) Hogarth Curve: The interesting shape of this arrangement forms an “s” curve. A taller, cylindrical container is ideal for the Hogarth curve as it displays the full beauty of its shape. One important technique in creating the Hogarth is to extend the arrangement foam above the container, so that flowers can be inserted properly for the bottom part of the “s” curve.

10) Crescent: The crescent is one of the most difficult shapes to construct because it requires that flowers and greens are carefully shaped to form the crescent curve. Sometimes, materials can be shaped naturally into a crescent line, other times wiring is necessary. Branches, twigs, and bare grass are sometimes used in these arrangements.

11) Rectangular: This is a contemporary arrangement shape. The rectangular design is properly constructed when all flowers and materials fall within the line of an imaginary rectangle. It’s sometimes used in landscaping designs.

Once these basic forms have been mastered, modifications and creative license can be taken to create more contemporary designs.

Here is a bouquet that I created in our latest class. I’ll be describing how to make a bouquet in a future post. Check back soon to learn 2 different bouquet-making techniques.

"Fall Bouq Combo"

"Fall Bouquet Close"

Hope you enjoyed this newest lesson. Until next time, here’s a kiss and a smile!

Each week my instructor amazes me! His passion for floral design shines through and this latest lesson was no exception.

This past week we discussed the secondary design principles. These principles are an important consideration when creating your design. Each principle is related to one of the primary principles of design. The secondary principles are:

1) Scale: The size relationship of the composition to its placement. If you’re decorating a large area, you’ll want to create a large design to complement it. If it’s a small space, you’d want to create a small design that doesn’t overpower that space. Everything in the design should fit together.

2) Transition: This is the way that we relate one material to another within a design. We can graduate in size, shape, or color, (sequencing). Material is placed from smallest to largest, lightest to darkest.

3) Tension: Tension provides contrast. We can provide contrast through the use of color and through the shape of the flowers in our arrangement. It elevates a design to the unexpected, and provides an imminent release of energy. It’s slightly contrary to what we’re expecting.

4) Repetition: The repeating of like elements within a composition. This includes:  line, form, color, space, texture, pattern, or size.

5) Opposition: Most often seen in the design lines. We create contrast by creating tension because lines, colors or textures within our design are the opposite of what we expect. Opposites attract because their differences provide us with the highest form of interest. Opposition allows us to add excitement and a breath of fresh air to a design by mixing in contrast.

6) Depth and Emphasis: We can create depth in a design by placing elements at various heights in our composition. This will add interest and give the appearance of fullness, as well as more dimension. By adding interest, depth provides emphasis. It brings the inside of a creation into visual focus. Depth adds visual volume to the design. Textural materials are often used to add this dimensional element.

7) Dominance, Focal Area: This is an area within a design where added emphasis or visual weight commands attention. In a focal area, more than one element, or multiples of a single element can be used. It’s the dominant feature within your arrangement. An example would be a single red rose, like the one pictured below.

"Week4-Centerpiece-Combo"

My latest creation is a Biedermeier arrangement which is a very compact arrangement using flower bulbs with very uniform sizes arranged in tight concentric circles from the center outward. From the top it’s viewed like a target and from the side it looks like a top. Accents are hardly used, sometimes using two or more colors as an option.

In addition to the rows of pink carnations and yellow-orange daisies, I’ve used fruit and vegetables within this centerpiece including:  5 orange slices along the outer rim, 6 brussels sprouts and 5 grape tomatoes. It’s very organic and quite striking!  Don’t you think?

"Week4-Centerpiece-Horizontal"

Until next time, here’s a kiss and a smile!