Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Wedding Thoughts Part 1

all photos by Cappy Hotchkiss

 In February once we get through fashion week and valentines day; two traditionally difficult money losing business endeavors - we focus on spring wedding season.

We've been talking internally about the wedding industry and what we like about it and what we'd rather see fade into the sunset...

What I love about weddings is the momentum - the process of building a big celebration from ideas, images, ephemeral feelings -- to then the muscle and grit of actually creating it all on the day.

You can imagine that on our team theres a lot of us that are good at the dreaming and scheming, and then a lot of us that are good at the grit. (Imagine Deanna, all dressed up inside the belly of a giant box truck lifting cast iron urns on the day of the wedding...)

I also am - and you may find this hard to believe - a complete sucker for ceremonies. As someone who used to vow against the 'institution' of marriage, I now am the person that purposely avoids mascara on wedding days; and makes sure none of my staff are near me through the ceremony. People change, sometimes for the better.

Obviously I love the flowers at weddings. The big, over the top-ness that we get to create for weddings -- the way flowers become this momentous visual marker for the celebration and remind us of brief, ephemeral quality of life. For most people, a wedding is a once in a lifetime opportunity to engage with flowers in this way.

I love the opportunity to give clients an education on the flower world - and nature by extrapolation. Often times brides are eager to know the names of all the varieties of flowers we design with and now grow ourselves (!) and they are hungry to know why certain things grow in certain places or certain seasons.

Some of my brides over the years have needed explanation on why they can't have flowering branches in Autumn. This provides us an opportunity to explain the sexual processes of trees to them! Next time they are walking through central park and see crabapples or other fruiting branches, they feel excited and educated about WHY...remembering that trees flower in spring, leaf out (to collect energy) photosynthesis in summer and then make fruit in the fall.

So working so intimately with our clients gives me great pleasure to have that dialog about nature and the process of flowers.

I also really love my crew. At my research residency in Mexcio last week with a bunch of strangers (now friends) we talked a lot about our lives, our jobs. Towards the end of the week someone commented; 'you really love your staff, you talk about them constantly!' I do. In so many ways they are like the big family that I don't have; and when we produce events I get to have them all together in one place. 

I have more to write about the wedding thoughts we've been mulling over, including the things I want to change about the wedding industry (bet you can't wait for that) and how brides can feel better about the whole process. The funny thing is that I never thought I'd be in the wedding business, and yet here we are, and now I realize instead of being always critical about the industry, we can make it BETTER.

I also need to fill you in on the rest of my PLANTLAB! research from Oaxaca...

[PHOTOS by Cappy Hotchkiss from Jess and Adam's October wedding at a private estate in Husdon, NY with AAB CREATES, who are some of my favorite people in the wedding industry.]


Anonymous said...

I'm looking forward to the rest of your thoughts on weddings

Lydia said...

Dang, in general I hate weddings, but you're making a great case of appreciating them...hmmm. Excited to hear about plantlab. :)

Karissa said...

I can't wait to hear how you'd make weddings better! My family lives near Santa Barbara, CA, where people (at least people on websites and magazines) have extravagant weddings. Our family is not wealthy (our entire wedding cost $9,800, which still felt like loads of money) and I HATED planning my wedding in 2011/12 because I wanted it to be special and beautiful, but the cost and the stress were overwhelming. I called off our original wedding because I felt that we were losing focus of the goal being marriage, but ultimately my mom cajoled me into a small courthouse ceremony. My sister got married June of 2015 and as I tried to help her (also a Santa Barbara wedding), I was reminded of how revolting this process has become. Everyone was so angry by the end that it left a horrible taste in my mouth (generally, we are a close knit and amicable family unit). I've always loved conceptual wedding design (I was thrilled with my flowers that we did ourselves from the Los Angeles flower district), but I'd love to see some big shifts in the expectations and general workings of weddings.
Here is a picture of my flowers, I love to show them off!

wildflowerchildnyc said...

Can't wait to hear about PLANTLAB!!
It's on my birthday weekend! :)


Shari Steelsmith Duffin said...

You write beautifully. Even if I didn't love flowers, I would read your blog.

Rachelle said...

I've been reading your blog for years but I've never commented. I felt compelled to thank you for writing so much lately. My mom and I both love it and we always reach out to each other when you publish an update.

gathered garden and home said...

Sarah, you nailed it. Thank you for your honest comments about wedding 'industry'-[like mini Ayn Rand greed and impersonal!] I have done a few weddings and have relied on a sustainable flower co op in Seattle,our own yards and the generosity of gardener friends to let us gather. The industry does a disservice to love and commitment by taking advantage of folks at an emotional time. I would love to see it topple and recreated to actually serve individual folks desires. I have also consulted with DIY venues.Like you, educating folks about seasonal availability and how greens and blooms in real time create a divine magic all their own....like exuding fresh new air and inspired possibilities...ethereal!gathered garden