Everything's Coming Up...Peonies!

It's been a little while since I talked about flowers.  Last I mentioned them, I was just gathering information and taking note of all the fantastic florists in the Charlottesville area.

This is when I actually started to collaborate with another bride who was also getting married at Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards.  She found me through blogging and we chatted now and then by email about the planning process.  We even met up at the vineyard for lunch one afternoon.  Does that make us venue twins?

We're both busy with time intensive jobs and were able to "divide and conquer" a little bit when it come to vendor research.  For example, she had already spoken to one florist on my list and knew that she only took jobs where the flower budget was over a certain amount. That amount was a little over my budget, so I crossed her off my list.  There were a few cases where we had both met with the same vendor (floral and otherwise) and it was helpful to compare notes after those meetings.

One afternoon, I visited a florist that my venue twin had planned on speaking with by phone a short time later.  I pulled up to the shop and was immediately happy with what I saw.  There were all sorts of rustic urns and flower pots.  I passed some vintage looking pieces of furniture in the entrance and settled into a cute reception area that was full of accessories and photo albums.

I was a little early, so I flipped through albums as I waited.  I knew her work from the wedding blogs, but it was fun to see images that hadn't been blogged.  A little orange cat joined me and wound up sitting on my lap as I turned the pages.  I was already loving the appointment.

Then I met Pat Roberts.  Pat and her daughter, Sherry Spencer, run Pat's Floral Designs.  I assumed working with them would blow our budget and I was happily surprised when Pat told me some ideas for getting the most out of wedding flowers.  She suggested moving flowers that would be on the ends of the aisles during the ceremony into our reception space during the cocktail hour.  Bouquets could be worked into the decor on the table where we'll sit with our bridal party.  Pat was also enthusiastic about alternating the look of the flowers from table to table.  Some tables could have one, large arrangement and some could have three, smaller arrangements in a cluster.

One of the best things I heard was that our wedding was during the perfect time to get peonies from the area growers.  I've got a thing for peonies.

We went off on a few tangents.  Since we both love fabric and trim, she let me see her ribbon library.  She has hundreds of spools of ribbon arranged in racks on a wall.  Her prize ribbon was bought from France and matched the embellishment on a Carolina Herrera gown that a past client wore.

Pat also showed me the shelves and shelves of vases she has collected and I got to meet her golden retriever.  At this point, I was thinking Pat was pretty much perfect.

When we went back upstairs, Sherry was coming home from a delivery and remarked that we had to work together because of my car.  We all drive the same, unusual car.  I bought my Honda Element for hauling dogs and they bought their two for hauling flowers. 

When I left them that afternoon (after a hug from Pat), I remember hoping that the flower proposal would be within our budget.  I didn't just like Pat and Sherry's flowers, I liked them.  I was excited by the idea of having them involved in our wedding.

Well, you know I wouldn't have written about this if things didn't work out.  The proposal came in, we moved a few things around, and wound up signing a contract.

Oh, and my venue twin?  She talked to Pat over the phone and then went to meet her shortly after I emailed her about my visit.  Our wedding styles are completely different (she's talking about trees inside the venue...so cool!), but she wound up signing with Pat and Sherry as well! 

Did you have any pleasant surprises when you met with a vendor?


  1. Sounds like it was a great appointment! And it's always nice when you really click with your vendor personally and professionaly. Makes for a wonderful working relationship! I know your flowers will be gorgeous!

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  4. Hi there,
    just became alert to your blog through Google, and found that it is really
    informative. I am goanna watch out for Brussels. I will be grateful if you
    continue this in future. A lot of people will be benefited from your writing.

  5. It's so smart to work in bouquets on the tables. I did that and it worked out so well, otherwise the maids (and me!) would have just left their bouquets laying somewhere. Might as well get double use! Sounds like an awesome vendor.


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