Vendor Love

Photogen Inc. 2013 Press!

2013 was a REALLY incredible season for our real weddings here at Photogen Inc. and also a great year for getting published! I've had a bit of time to gather some highlights to share with you, but to see more places we have been published, you can always visit our press page on the website! BRIDES.COM was an exciting place to be featured this year! They published Nate & Nicole's gorgeous wedding online. Minnesota Bride magazine published not one, not two, but THREE of our weddings in their current issue! Both the Cadogan and Bonfante weddings are featured in an article all about museum weddings and the Friendshuh wedding is part of the Great Outdoors spread. Wisconsin Bride magazine also gave us some love this year by publishing two weddings. Clare & Ryan's gorgeous wedding at the Enchanted Barn was part of a 4 page story, which talked all about mid-west destination weddings. The Evans wedding was also a big part of an article talking about the new trend in wineries as wedding venues. Another HUGE honor was to be a part of Ceci Style's online issue! Jacey & Aaron's wedding photos + invitation design were a part of this world-wide post! Lastly, our friends over at followed up Kayla & Erick's engagement session post with a new blog feature all about their wedding on the site!

Every year, I strive to get our wedding work published, because I love to share it, in hopes to inspire future brides. We also have the BEST of clients and work with the best-of-the-best vendors. Special thanks to all of the creatives that have contributed their amazing talents to make these weddings magazine-worthy!


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Vendor Love // Gateaux Inc

Gateaux Inc evil cake genius teeshirt Gateaux Inc is one of the most inspiring bakeries in both our local Minneapolis market, but also around the world. Their vision is not to mass-produce cakes, but rather to make every piece a work of art and literally bring your design to life. We have seen their work plenty of times in person and we are always amazed and in awe by what they create. When you have a Gateaux Inc cake at your event, you don't just have a cake. You are giving your guests an incredibly unique experience, and one that they will continue to talk about for years to come!  The best part is that baked goods from Gateaux Inc go beyond weddings and add the perfect surprise touch to any occasion! After all, who doesn't love a to a WOW factor at their party?



Q. With the wedding industry being so full of bakeries and cake artists now, how do you find that you are able to stay true to your original mission?

A. It's easy.  When we started Gateaux, 17 years ago, there weren't any other bakeries doing completely custom cakes for weddings.  It was a great niche for us in the Minneapolis area, and still is.  Truth be told, it is not a particularly good business model to do what we do, so most bakeries limit their designs to variations of cakes that they can produce quickly and in large quantities.  That's never been our style.  While it would be a whole lot more efficient to limit the designs that we create, it would bore me to death!  Fortunately, we have found a market of clientele who appreciate the uniqueness and intricacy of our cakes and are willing to pay a little more for  a truly unique cake.  I've been asked about mass marketing and expanding under Gateaux's name, but I refuse to expand the business to a point that will compromise our quality.  That covers design, as well as flavor...we'll never mass produce or freeze our cakes or desserts.

Gateaux Inc cakes at there storefront Gateaux Inc cake details at there storefront Q. Aside from your amazing and renowned Cakes, you also do custom invitations! Can you tell us a little bit about that?

A. I started offering custom invitations as a way to balance out the cash flow in winter months.  It was a natural fit.  We simply transferred the methods that made us successful in wedding cakes over to invitations.  I have a number of invitation companies around the US who will customize fully to my specifications.  This way, we can design invitations completely unique to the client's wedding.  If we can 't find a company that does what we're after, we'll do it ourselves.  The handmade ribbon rosettes on the attached invitations were made by our cake decorators.

Gateaux Inc team photo Q. Your designs are one of a kind and so intricate.  How many artists do you have on staff?

A. As any good control freak would, I keep my staff small.  I have Jenna, Julia, and myself to decorate, and in the summer, we hire a part time dish washer to help keep us moving.  I'm lucky to have two decorators who are not only talented, but creative problem solvers, and passionate about decorating.  You have to love this job or you won't last.  It is long hours, and a lot of responsibility. But the rewards outweigh the stress.  I love it when we finish a cake and we manage to impress ourselves.  You'd be surprised how many times "That's a cake!" is uttered at the shop.  It still amuses us to no end.

Gateaux Inc Apple themed wedding cake Gateaux Inc theater themed wedding cake Q. Each bride and groom are so unique, as are their weddings.  Would you say that one of your favorite parts would be the customization of all your cakes?

A. It's what makes my job the best job in the world!  People always ask me how I come up with such unique designs.  I don't.  My clients bring them to me (whether they know it at the time or not).  Each wedding has it's own distinctive look and design scheme.  I'm just a really good copy cat!

Gateaux Inc Taj Mahal themed wedding cake You can also check out Gateaux Inc on Facebook.

Vendor Love // Pressed Cotton

Millie Holloman headshot Millie Holloman is a great friend of mine. I seriously love this lady with my whole heart and whenever we get to see each other, life is just much happier! I also have a great deal of respect for Millie - she is a true business woman. She has a few companies under her belt and she is definitely an entrepreneur who I look towards for inspiration. What I also admire about Millie is that with every project, event, photo shoot, or company that she creates, she brings together the perfect team who really makes the finished product SO well done. She never compromises quality and you know that whatever Millie is a part of is going to equal brilliance. Her latest company is called Pressed Cotton, which is an online shop, focused on detail pieces that can bring together one cohesive look to your home or event. It's even a great place to purchase a gift for someone! We caught up with Millie to learn more about this new adventure and more behind the vision of Pressed Cotton!

(All photos taken by Millie Holloman Photography)

Q. Tell us about Pressed Cotton. What was the inspiration behind starting this company? 

A. We decided to begin this adventure over a year ago because my friend, Jennifer, owner of Salt Harbor Designs was always saying there wasn't one place she could go to purchase the things she needed to create a cohesive wedding. As we became friends, I noticed she put a great deal of time and effort into creating items because she could often not find anything of the quality she wanted already made. Also, she was spending many hours making things from scratch when she could have been spending that time on other things. We also were doing lots of styled shoots and often received emails from people asking if they could buy the pieces she was creating. With Jennifer's gift of design and styling and my love for details and photography, it seemed like a natural extension of our talents and so Pressed Cotton was born! We asked our favorite graphic designer (who also happens to be my brother), Brent Holloman, to be involved and now here we are!

Pressed Cotton, Goods for Gatherings Q. You have been a wedding photographer for years, all the while keeping your entrepreneurial spirit alive and growing your businesses organically. What is the secret of 'branching out' from photographer to pursuing other business endeavors?

A. An amazing team! Seriously, without my team I could not do any of this. When one puts the right people in the right position, and allow them to exercise their strengths, beautiful things happen. It also helps that I am super organized and love to automate things and create system that produce efficiency and get the job done in as little steps as possible.

Wedding Tablescape by Pressed Cotton Q. What is the difference between coming to Pressed Cotton or shopping on Etsy?

A. At Pressed Cotton we have tried to think of every element you could need on your big day from the ceremonial moments such as the sand ceremony to the guestbook. We have goods that can be used individually or paired with other items to create just the right look for each couple. We have created a one stop shop for party host's and brides, a place where they can come and find items to use for their event. While Etsy provides a wide range of products, the difference is that our team of designers and artists are working together to create a cohesive look, we are using our experience and expertise to put it together for you!

Q. Pressed Cotton is a company that is targeted towards both Weddings and the Home. I think this is brilliant, but why did you decide to market both?

A. Brides put a lot of time and energy into create the perfect day. They dream about it for years and also typically spend quite a bit of money on their wedding day. Each event should reflect the couples personality and style. If the couple chooses items that reflect their style the ability to re-use them in the home not only maximizes their investment, it creates less waste. Plus, when starting a new life together, what better way than to fill their home with warm and cozy items that are reminders of their beginnings and full of memories while serving a purpose!

Wedding details by Pressed Cotton Q. How important has the collaboration process been with you, Brent and Jennifer to bring Pressed Cotton to life?

A. HUGE! Brent and Jennifer do most of the product design and development. I typically run the business side of things. I love the business and creative side so I have fun giving my ideas and then helping it all come to life. Jennifer's styling and designing experience as well as years of being a wedding planner and designer help us know what works and what won't. Brent's graphic design background and education provide us with a never ending resource of amazing graphic design ideas and the ability to bring them to life. My marketing experience and love of business help the gears we've set in place work so we wind up with a well oiled machine. I would not want to do this without them and I think they would say the same!


Q. What is your dream for Pressed Cotton?

A. Our goal is to make the lives of wedding planners and brides easier by providing items they love at an affordable price. Our dream is to be constantly developing new ideas, creating new products, and to expand our team by adding other brilliant minds. In addition, we have a wholesale division so we aspire to engage large wholesale accounts and help bring some solutions to planners in the industry while giving brides more options. Our dream of being an international business has already materialized, we are shipping to France and Australia and have had website visits from over 78 countries. We just want to listen to our heart and to our clients and create something that we are proud of.

Wedding details by Pressed Cotton Q. Do you hope to grow your product range?

A. Yes, we have big plans for everything from custom wedding invitations to an entire line of favors (coming soon) and many more fun areas we will fill in!


Q. What will keep brides and shoppers, in general, coming back to Pressed Cotton?

A. We'll be releasing new items all of the time, new collections, new pieces and new ideas. We have a notebook full of things ready to implement. Party hosts can come to our site for small or large parties. As mentioned earlier many of our items also double as home decor making our site a great place to visit for just about anything event related or home decor. We also have a blog coming within the next year which we hope to have so packed full of content, ideas, and gorgeous design you won't be able to stay away!

Wedding details by Pressed Cotton

Q. What are some of your favorite products that you carry at Pressed Cotton? Most unique?

A. I really love our pillows, they are custom designed and sewn in house and they've been a hot seller! I also love our wire card holder, and vintage table number holder for holding photos and other fun objects in my home. The favors we have coming are also some of my favorites. I find myself indulging in them on a regular basis, in fact that is why we will be carrying them, they are too good to keep to ourselves. Our garlands are super cute too, they make me smile. Our lavender smells amazing, you'll just have to order a bag for yourself!

Q. Anything else we should know to share the love?

A. Right now we are just trying to get the word out that we are here. We are so happy to see our idea become a reality in Pressed Cotton and that it's working! We are incredibly grateful for the support that the industry has given us so far and we can hardly wait to see what is to come!


You can also check out Pressed Cotton on Facebook.

Vendor Love // Starlight Orchestras

Valerie Romanoff Headshot The very first time I saw Valerie and her band, Starlight Orchestras perform, I was blown away. I mean, they sang Beyonce better than Beyonce. They had every single person in that room up on the dance floor, busting a move the entire night. This group is FAR bigger and better than any wedding band you can possibly imagine. They are full of incredible musicians, artists and performers that come together to completely entertain you. I have had the pleasure of getting to know Valerie Romanoff, who is the founder and leader of her band, Starlight Orchestras. Valerie is an amazing musician herself, and even more motivated business women. I love her pure passion for what she does and the way she can literally lead her crew into a performance that guests will remember for a lifetime. We caught up with Valerie and wanted to learn a little more about her vision for Starlight – and how she became to be such a bad ass!


Q. Starlight Orchestra is such a unique and incredible thing.  And with that, you really form together based on what is best for the event that you are at.  Can you explain a little bit further  on how exactly you work?

A. Years ago when I first started, I developed a roster of talent and a repertoire of material that would give me a wide range of exciting and useful tools to please a variety of audiences. As time went on, not only did more music come out, but entirely new genres of music were born. We were challenged to continue to expand our musical styles; both in sound and presentation. Starlight excels in producing a high level of live performance that is custom crafted and geared for each specific event. It takes a team of great minds to produce and a group of uniquely talented performers to execute the concept that is Starlight.


More specifically, we start with the question, “how good can it be.”  Then we create the tools needed to put forth this vision. We source and train musicians, singers and dancers; we design wardrobe; we create popular yet unexpected musical arrangement of songs; we study psychology, learn about energy, and hone our intuitive skills so we can tap into the hearts and minds of the guests. We use all of these tools to create a platform for celebration, and we gear each performance to each specific event. An enormous amount of work goes into planning for each party, and we delight in how much joy it brings people.


Q. You guys cover such an array of music, from jazz to the Beatles. Do you find that one is more popular than another?

A. Each client has a different vision for their event. We like to get to know everyone so we can best represent their personal style and merge it into our playlist.  This means that the ratio of songs in different genres is completely different for each event.  We actually specialize in being able to cross genres yet seamlessly weave them  together into one cohesive performance.

It is interesting to note that although much of the music we play is for dancing, there is another aspect of “underscoring” meaningful moments, and using music to create different moods throughout the different rooms and segments of each event.


Q. Your clientele is broad, and you’ve worked with some seriously big names.  Would you say a perk of what you do is meeting people from all over the world?

A. Absolutely! It has been a thrill to be chosen to entertain some of our biggest musical heroes. Playing for Jimmy Buffet’s birthday party was one of those amazing nights where we shared the stage with Billy Joel,  Jon Bon Jovi, James Taylor, among others. There have been so many highlights over the years. I must say though, some of my happiest moments have been performing with the incredibly talented people that make up the Starlight family!




Q. You are based out of New York, but traveling is also part of the gig. Any places that you can recount that were a favorite?

A. Minneapolis of course, because there are the nicest people!! (and because you can get anything on a stick!) Ha-ha! (that wasn’t for the article.) We are so honored when clients go to such great lengths to fly us all over the country and all over the world.  We love traveling because it bonds us together in the spirit of adventure, and also because it widens the reach of our sharing and spreading love.


You can also check out Starlight Orchestras on Facebook.

VENDOR LOVE // Rocket Science Weddings and Events

Gretchen Culver of Rocket Science Weddings Headshot by LaVie Photography Gretchen Culver is a women who I've known for years in the wedding industry. A few years ago, she started her own company, Rocket Science Weddings and Events, and business is booming for this lady! One of the things I appreciate most about Gretchen is that she started her own company to really be different and challenge couples to take risks with their weddings. She's bringing out the fun and no idea is too crazy. Of course, Gretchen brings in her great taste and advice to the couples she works with as well, to ensure that their wedding is equally memorable and one great party! We interviewed Gretchen to see what makes Rocket Science Weddings and Events so different and how she just might be your perfect wedding planner.

Q. How did you start Rocket Science Weddings & Events and how long have you been planning /designing weddings?

A. Although I have been planning weddings in some capacity or other for ten years now, I only started my own company in 2009. It came from the desire to work more closely with brides and grooms, plus shake up the wedding industry a bit. I was tired of seeing the same old thing and I thought that I could bring a fresh take to weddings that people would respond to. I started the company out of my house with a shiny new laptop, website and two clients.

Q. What were the first steps a couple should take in designing their big day?

A. Have a glass of wine. Or beer. And then take a look at your surroundings. What is in your home? What do you wear? Are you drawn to certain colors, patterns, styles? Look for inspiration everywhere, not just in "wedding world". My best design ideas come from everyday life.

Of course I think it is helpful to have a professional designer/planner because I think they are a great collaborative resource for couples. They can refine and curate your ideas so that only the best ideas get implemented, but also bring ideas to the table that you may not have thought of that are brilliant. Additionally they will know how to find you the right vendors for your budget to execute your ideas.

Q. How do you help your clients choose your vendors?

A. I look for the right style in their budget and give them limited choices. No one wants to be overwhelmed and that can happen very easily in the wedding planning process. I also feel it is important not to work with the same vendors every time, because not all vendors fit every couple. The personality of the vendor and the client need to mesh.

Q. What kind of resources did you use to gather inspiration for your weddings?

A. You name it, I use it. The Restoration Hardware catalog is phenomenal. But I can find ideas anywhere, hotel lobbies, the sidewalk, shopping, watching Kung Fu Panda (there is some fabric on a jacket a goat wears that I love!)… art is a major inspiration for me too. Pretty much my client is always in the back of my mind and when I see something that works, I take a photo or tear the page out of the magazine to add to their idea board.

I rely heavily on my Pantone color swatches when creating the perfect palate. Of course I use wedding magazines, books, blogs and online resources like

Q. Describe the difference between a wedding planner and designer? Where do you fall in this?

A. To over simplify, a designer makes things pretty, a planner makes things happen. I think I am an unusual balance of creative and logical, right and left brain. I love the creative aspect of colors, design, new ideas... but equally love making timelines and spreadsheets. I could never be a "designer only" or a "planner only", because I like to be in on the whole picture. By doing both I am giving my clients a better end product.

Although I really love the design aspect, I do sometimes collaborate with other designers, which is fun and takes some work off my plate. The result is a cool fusion of Rocket Science, the designer and the couple.

Q. What was your philosophy in investing in the details of your day (money wise)? What were the priorities for your clients?

A. I say pick three things that are important, invest your money there, and the rest doesn't matter. I heard a really good piece of advice a long time ago, I can't remember where I heard it even, but they said, "Go to a wedding as a guest and try to soak it all in. Then two weeks later sit down and write out what you remember from the wedding. Those elements should be important to you in your planning process." It is amazing what people don't remember, even two weeks later!

If I had my wish, people would ALWAYS prioritize photography AND videography. I hear all the time, "Oh I wish I had hired a professional videographer."

I am a big foodie so I think that good food and beverage are important, and of course the entertainment. Nothing kills a wedding like a bad DJ or band.

Q. Describe the perfect 'Rocket Science' Couple.

A. I had one client fill out on their evaluation (I make all clients fill this out prior to reserving my services) and in the "other comments" section they wrote: We are awesome!

That pretty much sums up my ideal client.

I enjoy working with people who are laid back and fun, that really want to do things differently and plan a memorable wedding.

Q. When it comes to choosing a venue, what are the most important things to keep in mind?

A. Choosing a venue is SO hard. There are so many things to think about. First, size. Will it fit your guest count. Many venues list their total maximum occupancy, not is what is actually comfortable for seating. If you don't want tables on the dance floor or your guests to be bumping elbows, you need to ask what the venue can realistically seat.

Second, does the venue fit within your budget and find out what the actual total cost is to have your event there. There are a growing number of venues that don't have on site caterers, so couples think they are inexpensive because there is no food and beverage minimum. Then they realize they are spending the venue's rental fee PLUS a huge amount on food and then they have to cut and sacrifice other elements of their wedding.

NOTE: you CANNOT venue shop without an accurate guest list and budget. Selecting the wrong venue for your size and/or budget is the most common mistake I see couples make.

Q. What do you, as a planner, want in collaboration with your vendors on a wedding day?

A. I want everyone to have fun. When all of the vendors work well together, the client feels it and can enjoy the day more. I think that lends to more successful end results for the vendors and clients, i.e. better photos, staying on time, etc. Also, I want everyone to be respectful of the others working the wedding. When everyone understands that their job will be easier and the client will be happier if they work together, the event is the better for it.

Q. What advice do you have for brides who are planning a stylish wedding that incorporates so many details?

  1. Hire a planner, obviously. But in all seriousness, sometimes it is better and more cost effective to hire a professional.
  2. Personalize and forget what everyone else does. If you like it, do it. Tradition doesn't matter anymore.
  3. If you have a lot of DIY projects, plan accordingly and don't procrastinate. And assign people small, manageable tasks to help execute your DIY ideas (or see #1). You can't rely on people to problem solve or take on a lot, even if they volunteer to help. Make sure someone is in charge of tearing everything down and it isn't you!

Q. What are some innovative trends in weddings right now?

A. This is always the toughest question! Are there any new ideas? I would really like to see place mats catch on. I also love pattern, I think pattern is the new monogram.  I am hoping to bring in houndstooth to a fall wedding I am doing.

Q. Hiring a wedding planner and designer in Minnesota is a bit of a new concept. Why is this important?

A. When you hire a wedding planner, you are hiring an expert. You haven't planned a wedding before, they have. Their experience is invaluable. A good planner will save you time, money, and stress while taking your ideas and making them better than you ever imagined. The end result is an overall cohesiveness to your wedding visually (like you see on Pinterest or in magazines), but also in how you and your guests experience and "feel" the day. Every detail is thought through and executed like magic.

If you had to get major, once-in-a-lifetime surgery, you would want the best doctor… you wouldn't think of doing it yourself. Same goes for weddings. (This may be an extreme analogy, but I like it.)

You can also check out Rocket Science Weddings and Events on Facebook.

Vendor Love // Lisa Roy of Flora Bella

Lisa Roy of Flora Bella headshot Lisa Roy is one of our favorite people! The woman has a smile that is just as warm and inviting as her flower arrangements and she is just as awesome of a vendor to work with as the work she creates! Her work is simply gorgeous and each bouquet, centerpiece - you name it - is handcrafted with a lot of love! We think that your flowers add SO much to your wedding and that they are also a big reflection of your personal style. We wanted to catch up with Lisa and learn more about her company, Flora Bella, and we also wanted to pick her brain on what inspires her as an artist!





Q. You have incredible style. Hands down. What kind of resources did you use to gather inspiration for designing florals for your clients?

A. Thank you!  We draw inspiration from so many sources.  The top industry blogs, current fashion trends and Pinterest are chock full of goodness but we also draw from modern, timeless and classic design/art from the past.  Our natural environments also have plenty to offer.  A walk through a busy city can be just as inspiring as a quiet walk in the woods.

Q. What are the first steps a bride could should consider when booking their florist?

A. Experience and expertise are extremely important elements to consider as well as personal compatibility with your florist.  An exceptional florist will be able to work within many different styles while still expressing elements of their own design aesthetic.  As with any good designer/artist/stylist, over time they will develop a strong, consistent, prolific body of work while maintaining the ability and openness to collaborate with a client.  Hire a florist whose work you love and whose personality is compatible with your own.  Hire who you trust and in turn, trust who you hire and the entire collaboration will be a smashing success.

Q. How would you describe the style of Flora Bella?

A. We love to create lush, textural and vibrant floral with unusual or unexpected elements.  We strive for an artful balance of color, texture and form.  We work with modern, clean and classic elements as well as textural organic, natural forms with lots of movement and depth - all while staying true to the honestly of the materials.  Our emphasis is on handcrafted floral and personal attention to details.

Q. You tend to go above and beyond as a florist. What is a unique piece you have made for a client?

A. We tend to attract our perfect clients - smart brides and grooms who share our obsession with good design, quality and attention to details.  With the help of several Minneapolis talents, we recently dramatically transformed a local cafe into a stunning environment for Joynoelle's latest collection debut and runway show called the Caged Bird.  Our installation was complete with vintage furniture vignettes, bird cages bursting with floral and garlands dripping with amaranths, seed pods, roses, hydrangea, moss, unusual orchid varieties and pheasant feathers.  We carefully curated collections of flower and feather filled apothecary bottles, urns and cloche covered orchids, succulents and oddities.  The result was a warm, candlelit, unforgettable evening.

Q. How does the venue choice and time of year effect the choice of flowers and design?

A. The choice of venue is extremely important.  Choosing one that fits your style and the vibe of your day will make it much easier to provide complementary floral elements, resulting in an integrated feel throughout.

Choose a time of year consistent with your favorite blooms.  If you're in love with peonies, then plan a May or June wedding.  Choosing seasonally available blooms is not only cost effective, but also an environmentally responsible choice.

Q. What was your philosophy in investing in the florals / details of a wedding day (money wise)? 

A. Be honest to your season.  In-season blooms are not only best in size, color and quality, but also a smart investment.  Trust your florist and allow for flexibility in seasonal flower varieties as well as color tones within your desired palette.  We know our materials and will always have your vision in mind.

Q. How many weddings to you do each year?

A. All of our floral elements are laboriously handcrafted with love, and that takes time and skill.  This number can shift from year to year, but generally we like to take one large wedding per weekend in order to offer the best personal attention to our clients.  Sometimes we take several smaller weddings per weekend depending on the details involved.

Q. What are some hot trends for florals right now?

A. Although I've been working with succulents and various unusual botanicals and foliage my entire career, they seem to be a hit again lately.  In recent seasons, I've noticed a shift to more eclectic, variety rich decor elements, which we find inspiring.  Vibrant, textural, natural bouquets with movement have replaced compact, round bouquets.  Organic elements with an abundance of texture, depth and pattern have also been in vogue.

Q. What advice do you have for brides who are planning a stylish wedding that incorporates so many details?

A. An experienced florist will have the ability to see the entire picture and can style your wedding with grace and artistic integrity.  Allowing us flexibility and freedom to create beautiful floral and decor will result in a more beautifully unified wedding.  Use quality vendors, and trust their expertise.  Grant them the freedom to do what they do best.

You can also check out Flora Bella on Facebook.

VENDOR LOVE // Kristy Rice of Momental Designs

I first met Kristy at a conference called Engage, and yes, if you have noticed, this is the place where I have met so many fabulous people in the wedding industry. I remember when I first saw Kristy, I was sitting behind her during some speeches and she was doodling. But this woman's 'doodling' was pure art and I noticed that she was really drawing every speaker that took the stage. As it turns out, all of these little drawings were for a specific purpose during the conference and that Kristy was the genius behind Momental Designs and her blog Rice Ink.

Kristy turned her incredibly talent into custom, hand made wedding art and invitation design and has since launched a lifestyle line of pillows and iPhone cases! She has been a brilliant business woman and also collaborator with other designers to create unique and timeless pieces for brides and beyond. Whether you are getting married - or just adore her style, there's a place for you to have a piece of Kristy's wonderful designs!

Q. What was your inspiration for starting Momental Designs?

A. I’ve always been a level-headed gal so the decision to follow an art education program in college was an easy one, even though I was instinctively more artist than teacher. Doing the safe thing, at that stage in my life was paramount so off I went towards a life in teaching, or so I thought. Very soon after graduation, struggling to land a teaching job and not being too upset about that fact, the realization came. Teaching wasn’t for me and I swiftly started looking deeper into my lunch break sketches for career inspiration!

Married only a few months and fresh off late night DIY projects for my own wedding in June of 2000, I wondered, “could I make a living doing this for others?”. Quickly I noticed stationers online were limited to staunch catalog types or uber expensive design houses where nothing too artful or handcrafted met in the middle. I saw my opportunity and never looked back.

Q. How did you begin as an artist?

A. All artists have that profound moment from early childhood where they just knew what they were meant to be. Mine was drawing cartoons at age 7 by flashlight on cold bathroom tile, way past bedtime. When my mother found me, flashlight and watercolor pencils in hand with a mischievous 2 am grin on my face, she knew too. So it is hard to say where my art stops and my life begins because I don’t know one without the other.

Q. We are all about collaboration and working with a team. How does your staff allow you to best serve your clients?

A. Building a team was quite the purposeful decision and had to be made years ago to ensure Momental could grow.  Embracing the idea that I, as the owner could not to do it all was key.  The need to cultivate and inspire a team came as a surprise and is a skill that takes practice!  There are 9 human beings, living, working, breathing in this studio everyday.  That is a lot of passion, voice and verve all in one place.  To channel our varying talents and energy takes strong process, first and foremost.  We developed systems and spreadsheets that keep us constantly in sync with each other.  A favorite to be honest is Wunderlist for keeping our tasks and schedules easily accessible whether we are in studio or mobile.  Part of the magic in developing and sustaining a strong team is having the right person in the right job.  Matching talent to task is key and ultimately is what allows me to flourish with my growing painting and licensing projects.

Q. Where do you gather inspiration for your custom designs?

A. It can be difficult to stop the inspiration.  I find my mind spinning with ideas in most places, but especially when I travel or rummage through a vintage shop.  Lately I've been incredibly moved by old book covers from the Victorian Era.  The embossed artwork and gold edged pages are captivating.  Travel keeps my creative juices flowing too.  Recently I toured the Physick Mansion in Cape May, New Jersey and fell in love with the textured/pattern treatment of the walls. You will likely see remnants of both in upcoming collections launching later this year/early 2013.

Q. What is the coolest invitation / piece of art you have designed for a wedding?

A. Most recently this project for Melanie and Rob was a big hit!  Each invitation was designed around a vintage Nancy Drew book.  3 different book covers were featured throughout inspired by the Bride's love of Suzani fabric, all done in a watercolor technique.  The main invitation featured our original artwork inspired by Chagall paintings:

Q. What do you love about designing for a wedding day?

A. The wedding day is about so much more than a day. It is about all the time in anticipation of that day.  Those hours and weeks and months filled with planning the intricate details of an emotional celebration where two people decide to join their lives, is what I appreciate most.   Helping a couple discover and learn more about themselves through stationery design is empowering for all involved and I'm grateful to be part of that process.  Telling our couple's beautifully intricate, complicated and profound stories with paint and paper has become the joy of my days.

Q. You have expanded beyond paper products. Tell us about your new lines!

A. Licensing my artwork is a natural extension of what I do everyday in the studio.  Being able to share my artwork with a larger audience is a dream come true.  I began my licensing career with the well know paper brand Envelopments®, with a pattern named Trellis.  Trellis was built entirely from my watercolor painted elements.  We have a new pattern in the works set to launch in January 2013.  Papyrus, the much respected name in artful stationery and gift wrap commissioned a custom painting for a card release later this year.   We're also enjoying our most recent collaboration with Wildflower Linens and soon to follow is an exciting project with a well know gown designer! Creating artwork for another brand teaches you to be a better version of yourself as an artist.  It forces you to see your art outside of yourself and your ego.  Licensing requires incredible patience and a thick skin, but can be incredibly rewarding.

Q. What are some trends happening in the paper industry right now?

A. Unique materials are huge. A simple brushstroke of watercolor won't wow our couples any longer.  They want meaningful techniques, innovative materials and emotional statements involved in every aspect of their stationery ensemble.   A few examples: We recently designed invitations mailed in cigar boxes with glass specimen jars inside, filled with the couples favorite things, from beads to bug wings.  We're currently water coloring sheets in deep, murky shades to be letterpress printed with the couple's white save the date text.

Q. Describe the perfect 'Momental Design' client.

A. Decisive and confident, someone who is curious about fine art but doesn't necessarily need to be educated in art, grooms who love details and lots of choices.  Brides who enjoy the minutia of wedding planning and love mulling over every last detail or couples who don't like to sweat the small stuff and want an artist to vision for them all make the very best Momental client.

Q. What is the best part about your job?

A. I love what I do because each day is different.  In my world, boredom and monotony don't exist.

Q. How do you hope to inspire others?

A. My words and actions are just as important as my art and hopefully equally as inspiring.  I want to inspire a bride and groom by wowing them with an unexpected moment of art or impromptu phone call during their process. I want to inspire a fellow creative with an impactful blog post.  I want to energize my employees by my own example of devouring life and work with enthusiasm.

You can also check out Kristy on Twitter.

VENDOR LOVE // Lindsay Piram Creative

Lindsay Piram of Lindsay Piram Creative headshotLindsay Piram is the genius behind her new company Lindsay Piram Creative. Lindsay has had a very successful career as an event stylist and is now launching her own company! Let me start off by saying that Lindsay is SO much fun! This girl knows how to throw a party and bring a ton of personality into your event. Whether it's a birthday part, a wedding or maybe you are simply looking for a stylist to collaborate with on re-designing your home, Lindsay is your girl! Her style is very bohemian inspired, with lots of colors and very design oriented. We wanted to catch up with Lindsay and hear all about her new direction and what inspired this incredible designer!




Q. How did you start Lindsay Piram Creative and how long have you been planning /designing weddings?

A. I started my event career in Miami in 2004 and have been planning and designing weddings and events in Minneapolis since 2007. I started LINDSAY PIRAM CREATIVE in January 2012. After working at a premiere event firm in Minneapolis for 5+ years, I decided it was time to go on my own. I was at point in my life and career where owning my business was the right thing to do. I can set the pace and take on events that really resonate with me as a designer.

Photo Credit: ATELIER JOYA

Q. What were the first steps a couple should take in designing their big day?

A. First off, I think it is important to discuss the overall budget. A planner can help you make sense of what things cost in our market and allocating amounts to different categories. This way, your designer is showing you things you can actually afford to have and that make sense in the big picture. Knowing what your budget is inclusive of is important too. Things change and your budget could go up or down during the planning, but having a range is helpful to work within. Secondly, I think it is important to reflect on your style as a woman {and your groom as a man} as well as a couple. I like to look at couple’s bridal registries to see what they’ve chosen. Is it modern? classic? whimsical? all three? These style preferences are really important to me as I begin to style and design your day.

Q. How do you help your clients choose your vendors?

A. We have amazing vendors here in the Twin Cities. It's not hard to do! When it comes to products and rentals, my job is to have my finger on the pulse of the inventory in our industry, locally and nationally, so that I know where to find what we need, at the price we need it at. That said, I help select vendors that I think have similar styles, personalities and their products align with the style we’ve identified for the couple. You cannot put a circle in a square ... the really trendy avant-garde photographer just might not be right for our traditional, romantic bride, and that's OK. We can find a photographer {florist, stationer, etc.} that just fits from jump.

Q. What kind of resources did you use to gather inspiration for your weddings?

A. Inspiration is everywhere. The first place I look to for inspiration is the couple themselves. Interviewing them, getting to know them, seeing them in action together...that right there is golden when it comes to articulating who they are into their wedding day. I like to know the best meal they've ever had, where they met, their favorite films, the book on their bedside table. All this really helps me get going on their design. From there, I find personal design inspiration of course at museums, architectural digests, nature, theater. Children’s art really inspires me in its expressiveness. Flea markets, antique stores and restaurant menus inspire me. I follow some really amazing people on Instragram and love the rawness that comes through in their amateur photos. Wedding magazines don't do it for me, it's like wedding plagiarism.


Q. Describe the difference between a wedding planner and designer? Where do you fall in this?

A. I began my career as a planner who designed. Now I see myself as a designer who plans. Design to me is innate. It’s who I am. But of course, you cannot design without a plan. You can create a really amazing bar facade but if people cant get a drink, you failed. Both are equally important. Your wedding should look amazing but your guests should also feel amazing, and this is where planning and design collide.

Photo Credit: WWW.HOUZZ.COM

Q. What was your philosophy in investing in the details of your day {money wise}? What were the priorities for your clients?

A. Every couple prioritizes things differently. We discuss this in our first meeting. Rank photography 1-10. Rank floral 1-10. Items with high rankings tend to get more of the budget because they mean more. Spend where you feel like you are getting a great return. Don't spend a ton on one thing because you think you should or are “supposed to”. Hiring a planner early on in your planning process will help you make sense of your budget and what things cost in real time. Ask questions, get quotes, compare and contrast.

Q. Describe the perfect 'Lindsay' Couple.

A. The perfect couple for LINDSAY PIRAM CREATIVE is one who appreciate design and what it can do for an event. A couple who want their personalities to emerge in their wedding and who want people to walk into the room and say “wow, this is so {Melissa and Dustin}”. A couple who pick vendors because they know they know.

Q. When it comes to choosing a venue, what are the most important things to keep in mind?

A. I've always said, pick a venue that you like as is. Anything we add is a bonus. Don't pick a venue solely on price or location if you hate the maroon carpet and brass sconces. I can't make those go away {oh, how i wish i could}. We can spend a ton of money covering them up, but at that point you should have chosen the venue that was a little further out of the way that you loved + a bus. What catering options each space has is important too. Some you can choose any caterer, a few from a list of preferred or you are required to use the in-house caterer. This is very important to consider when you are thinking of your event comprehensively, not just from the design perspective. Lastly, what comes with your venue is important to consider and can save you money {or cost you money}, depending. Are tables and chairs included? What do they look like? What are the labor, delivery and details? Ask questions and read contracts carefully.

Q. What advice do you have for brides who are planning a stylish wedding that incorporates so many details?

A. Hire someone to take care of those details so you {or your mom, or your sister} don't have to! Its important to stay organized, manage your planning timeline and FOCUS ON WHATS IMPORTANT {i.e., each other!}


Q. What are some innovative trends in weddings right now?

A. A huge trend is creating living spaces within your space. To bring that residential quality to your event through furniture groupings, lamps and chandeliers. Its that pop of unexpected when someone walks into a tent and they see what looks like a living room. Its comfy and cool and helps people relax and enjoy. Long communal tables are very now {and have been for a bit}. They create an intimate atmosphere and from a design perspective, they look amazing. Custom, boutique bars, maybe just serving Manhattans, for instance. Cool signage, cool glassware, funky bar front. Its that simple attention to detail that really wows. Nostalgic nods:  s’mores, candy, popsicles, popcorn. All these treats we enjoyed as children and enjoy indulging in. Guests have fun with it and all can be presented in cute and clever ways. And mid-century anything. Its my current love and makes everything just a little cooler.


Q. Hiring a wedding planner and designer in Minnesota is a bit of a new concept. Why is this important?

A. A planner can help you every step of the way....keeping you in budget, managing your timeline, telling you what to do when. A planner will pay for themselves with all the money you save by doing things right the first time and the potential savings they can pass on to you through their relationships with local vendors. Day of, they allow you to enjoy and focus on things that your groom and your guests. A designer will help make your day you by sourcing and styling, ultimately illustrating the book of love you have written.

You can also check out Lindsay Piram Creative on Facebook.

VENDOR LOVE // Think Splendid

Liene Stevens of Think Splendid photo  

I first met Liene at a wedding conference I attend, called Engage. At the time, I knew nothing about her company, Think Splendid, and from the moment I was introduced to it, I've been a total fan! Liene is an expert in social and consumer psychology and has been studying, analyzing and forecasting what makes people tick and ultimately, why they make the decisions they do - specifically in the wedding industry! She has also focused much of her studies on the Millennial generation, who are our current and up-and-coming clients. Liene is a wealth of information and I am so honored that she took the time for this little interview to share some insights with us all on her current findings! If you work in the wedding industry in any capacity, I highly encourage you to read on, Liene has some fantastic information for us!



Q. First off, you are a totally-cool-nerd about stats. How did you begin your interest with data and how why the wedding industry?

A. I'm not so much a lover of stats as I am of people. I am obsessed with figuring out what makes people tick, why they make the decisions they do, how they behave. I believe that everyone has a story to tell and that it's a story worth telling. I love weddings because there are millions of interconnected stories in one room every Saturday evening and the human element is one of the very few things that even the most professional, experienced wedding professional cannot control.

Q. You are in expert in social behavior and also analyzing how couples spend and plan their weddings. What are some trends you are seeing?

A. Food is becoming important at every budget level. More couples are choosing quality and spending more on it than in the past. This is partly because millennials are foodies and place a high value on it, partly because of the "real food" and farm to table movements, and partly because of food television and how accessible it has made gourmet food in daily living.

Another change is that grooms are now more involved in the wedding planning and decision making than men were before (nerdy stat: 65% of grooms are actively involved in the planning process). They've researched their options and aren't just making the stereotypical band/DJ, catering decisions.

Q. What do you think the 'State of the Wedding Industry' is currently for those of us who work in this world?

A. The wedding industry is evolving, not dissolving. What worked just ten years ago won't work now, but that is nothing to be afraid of. It just means that professionals need to stay on their toes and in tune with how their clients behave and make decisions.

A Chicken Little approach to the census data about the drop in marriage rate sells news, but it's not really cause for concern when you look at the behavior behind the numbers. Today's young couples get married at a later age, but the majority indicate that they still do want to get married -- they just want to do it once. Nearly half of millennials are children of divorce and don't want divorce as an option for themselves. As for the long-term view of weddings, there's currently a baby boom in London, which bodes well for the wedding industry in about 25-30 years. People are getting married now (at an average of 40,000 weddings in the U.S. every weekend) and they'll continue to get married in the future.

Q. What do you think the 'State of the Wedding Industry' is currently for couples planning their weddings?

A. For couples, there's never been a better time to plan a wedding. Social media has leveled the playing field in terms of who can show off their talent (making it affordable and no longer solely at a magazine editor's discretion), so it makes it easier for couples to find professionals they love at every price point. If a couple does their homework, they can weed out the "all talk" pros from the talented ones.

Q. What is the most fascinating fact you have learned over the years about weddings?

A. A typical wedding has an average of 43 vendors working on it in some capacity.

Q. I find that couples are planning their weddings either very-globally or hyper-locally. Do you have any thoughts on this and what that means for vendors finding their 'perfect' clients?

A. Your experiences with this ring true industry wide. For vendors to take advantage of finding the clients they want, they really need to first hone in on what it is they want for themselves. Do they want to travel every weekend? If so, there are couples who don't bat an eye at spending an extra thousand dollars to fly in a florist, photographer, planner, band, officiant whose work they fell in love with. When some people hear the saying "go big or go home", they reply with "home please" and this is a legitimate decision. If they'd prefer to stay closer to home and put down roots, the easiest way is to really tailor their website and blog to showcase an expertise of their local area. If a wedding pro is trying to be everything to everyone they won't get the clients they want.

Q. The 'Millennial' Generation are our up-and-coming clients. Do you have any advice on what they are looking for?

A. They're looking for collaborators, not someone to delegate everything to. They grew up in an educational system that emphasized team work and group decision making, so choices and peer feedback are a way of life for them. They no longer take the planner's recommendations as gold, but as vetted options open to the feedback of their family and friends.

Millennials also see custom as a way of life, not a premium upgrade. They were taught that they could be anything they wanted because there was no one in the world just like them. They were taught that they are special snowflakes and they believe this. Using the word "packages" is a red flag because it shows you are cookie cutter and not able to accommodate their uniqueness. Your process as a wedding professional needs to FEEL custom to the client, whether the back-end is truly custom or not, and regardless of what budget level you are at.

Q. What is the most rewarding part about your job?

A. The most rewarding part of my job is when a business owner tells me that my research and work allowed them to grow and continue to put food on their table and the tables of their employees who depend on the paychecks the owner provides.

Q. What kind of difference do you hope to make in the long term with Think Splendid?

A. Everything that we do at Think Splendid has to empower the wedding industry in some way, or we don't take it on. There are good but not great opportunities that I have passed on because they didn't fit that overall mission. I want my work to empower people to think critically and make smarter, more informed decisions for their businesses. Splendid is a very specific word and I chose it on purpose. You cannot make mediocre decisions and be splendid. You cannot half ass things and be splendid. Being, acting, thinking splendid requires a choice to step up and show up. I want my work to raise the bar. I want the industry to be more splendid because of what I do and what my work enables others to do.

Q. I'm not a political person, but Gay Marriage is a big one on the ballot in many states right now. What do you think the economic effects will be in the future with more states passing this?

A. It is more complicated than this, but the very simple answer is that gay marriage means more people getting married which means more money being spent on wedding related purchases by both the couple and the guests who will spend on new outfits, travel, gifts. The industry is not going to take a financial hit when gay marriage passes in each state. Straight people are not going to stop getting married in protest.

Q. Where do you gather your inspiration?

A. I'm a voracious reader. I find that good fiction inspires me in a way that nothing else does. I also like to visit museums and go on walks and just try and notice the every day details that often get overlooked - the curvy pattern of a flower's petals against the straight lines of a fence and things like that. I find that this stimulates my mind and gets my brain spinning.

You can also check out Think Splendid on Twitter.

VENDOR LOVE // Munster Rose

Bride with floral bouquet in hair The first time I went to the website for Munster Rose, I thought to myself, "Who is this? I MUST meet her!" For a florist site, it was bold, edgy and very sassy. Basically, it had SO much personality that I couldn't help but want to know more about this company! Fortunately, over the last couple of years, I have had the extreme pleasure of working with Jackie, the owner and artist of Munster Rose, on several jobs. Her work always blows me away and we've collaborated on everything from test shoots, engagement sessions, weddings and even editorial work for magazines and ad campaigns. In my opinion, Jackie is one of the most professional and also one of the most artistic florists I've ever worked with. If you give her an idea, she will totally go above and beyond to create something beautiful! We wanted to know what makes Munster Rose so special and also, what advice such a great florist has for all of you brides planning your big day!


Q. You have incredible style. Hands down. What kind of resources did you use to gather inspiration for designing florals for your clients?

A. Thanks so much! Well, of course we follow all the popular wedding blogs (Style Me Pretty, 100 layer cake, Wedding Chicks), but maybe more importantly we try to stay in touch with current fashion and design trends via websites like Trendland and Dezeen, which help us draw from an inspiration pool that lies outside of the wedding industry.

Q. What are the first steps a client should consider when booking their florist?


The kinds of flowers and style of the arrangements are in part determined by all of the other factors in your wedding—the venue, the dress, the shoes, the décor—so the better you understand the look and feel you want for your wedding day, the more productive you’re initial meetings with your florist will be. But most importantly: Find a florist whose work gets you excited about flowers!


After finding a style that you gravitate towards, make sure you hire a florist that you actually like. A good florist is a florist that “gets” you and your vision and that should be fairly obvious in your initial meeting. The planning process should be fun!

wedding floral bouquets

Q. How would you describe the style of Munster Rose?

A. We try to create pieces that are appropriate for each couple and their venue, using a “floral language” that is smartly-styled and up-to-date. Sometimes that means we do vintage and barnyard. Other times it means we create florals that are elegant and modern. Mostly, we just try to design flowers that help make your wedding a little more awesome.

wedding tablescape

Q.  You tend to go above and beyond as a florist. What is a unique piece you have made for a client?

A. We’ve been blessed with a lot of brides who are looking for something unique or extra- ordinary, but one of our favorite pieces to date was probably the bridal bouquet for Alyson Newquist. She asked for a “gigantic cascading” bouquet with tons of texture and earthy bits. In the end, the bouquet weighed 15 pounds and was 2 feet long--full of seed pods and petal-y goodness. We LOVED it!

Q.  How does the venue choice and time of year affect the choice of flowers and design?

A. The venue choice is HUGE! Venue affects the flowers probably more than anything else. I almost always advocate for adjusting your flower choices so that they are in tune with their surroundings rather than ignore the architecture and style of the venue to get a certain flower. Flowers are flexible and can be tailored whereas most venues just are what they are!

We also like to embrace seasonality. There are many blooms that are unique to each season. Generally, spring weddings warrant spring flowers; fall weddings warrant fall flowers.

wedding tablescape

Q. What was your philosophy in investing in the florals / details of a wedding day (money wise)?

A. You only get married once, so do it up! Decide what’s important and delegate funds to those aspects. Our top recommendations for investments are:

  1. Photographer (the photos of your big day will decide, in part, how you remember it. So get a good one!)
  2. Florist/designer (of course)

Details make the wedding day, and make your wedding unique. Pay attention to those aspects. And don’t forget that, as with most things in life, you get what you pay for.

Q. How many weddings to you do each year?

A. This season we have about 45 weddings on the books, but that number really depends on the size of the weddings. Some weekends we’ll only take on one wedding (if it’s a large event) while other weekends we’ll take 2-3 smaller events. We are hands-on studio and it’s important to us that each client get the attention they require and deserve.

Q. What are some hot trends for florals right now?

A. Ombre arrangements are pretty hot. Also, looser botanical designs with more depth and movement are on-trend this season. After a few years hiatus, foliage and fillers are making a comeback--people are straying away from the perfectly-compact bouquet of the Noughties.

Q. What advice do you have for brides who are planning a stylish wedding that incorporates so many details?

A. Three words: Hire a planner. Even the most organized bride or groom will need someone to keep things running smoothly on their wedding day. A planner is essential for organizing all those details and giving you time to enjoy the day rather than worry about whether or not the tables will be cleared in time for the band to setup.

Bride holding floral bouquet

You can also check out Munster Rose on Facebook.

VENDOR LOVE // Skinner Jones

Abby of Skinner Jones headshotI love meeting new people, and I especially love meeting talented new people. A few years ago, I met a woman named Abby who made some GORGEOUS bouquets for one of my clients. I was absolutely blown away by her style. It was fun, refreshing and easy! After the wedding, I had to know a little more about her and I found out that she was officially starting her own floral business under the name Skinner Jones! Several of my clients over the years have now used Abby and her team and we are always over the moon with her arrangements! We caught up with Abby to talk her about what makes Skinner Jones so special!


Q. Abby, you create some stunning arrangements. What kind of resources did you use to gather inspiration for designing florals for your clients?

A. I draw inspiration from books that my grandmother handed down to me (an outstanding floral designer herself!), magazines, art, gardens, current fashion trends, and it cannot be denied for quick, of-the-moment trends - Pinterest!

Q.What were the first steps a could should consider when booking their florist?

A. A connection w/ the designer and also loving photos of their past work - Your big day is personal and your florals reflect you! If you like what you see and feel comfortable with/love the energy of the designer then I think you should feel confident that they will create something spectacular and perfectly you for your special day.

wedding floral bouquets

Q. How would you describe the style of Skinner Jones?

A. The style of Skinner Jones is clean, fresh, wild and abstract with classic nuances. I like classic and traditional looks but I also like to throw them off and make them a bit unexpected with strange or more edgy details or combinations. Those unexpected bits are very often a nod to the bride's style!

Q.You tend to go above and beyond as a florist. What is a unique piece you have made for a client?

A. I love my work, and I have a hand in each piece I create. So it only feels natural to go above and beyond for all of my clients. A piece that I loved creating was the bouquet for a photo shoot for Anna Kristin's latest lingerie line. She gave me an idea of the looks she liked and the look she was going for but left it up to me to pick the combination of flowers, look of the bouquet and color scheme. I love all the different textures, colors and shape of this bouquet. To me this bouquet is juicy and perfectly messy - my idea of a stunning bouquet.

Q. How does the venue choice and time of year effect the choice of flowers and design?

A. I think that the venue choice should play a huge part in what flowers you choose and what your centerpiece design is. Work with your base and accent that instead of working against it. Use the venue as a guide for the 'feel' of the arrangements but would make sure that they centerpieces also reflect the personality and style of the bride and groom and their other wedding day details.

Wedding Tablescapes

 Q.  What was your philosophy in investing in the florals / details of a wedding day (money wise)?

A. Each bride places a different value on the flowers. So many of my recent brides have done very minimal centerpieces or add DIY touches off their own but I always encourage them to make sure to spend enough money on the bouquets and personal flowers so that they are sure to love the look because those flowers are the ones that will show up in your photos for years to come.

Q. How many weddings to you do each year?

A. Totally depends on the year. I have done 12 - 15 some years, and I have done 5 so far this year because I have just recently had my second baby. I only take on weddings when I know I can fully devote myself!

Q. What are some hot trends for florals right now?

A. Hot trends right now: lots of texture, vintage feel, little greenery, succulents, and anemones and peonies always seem to be a fave.

Bride with floral bouquet on bed

Q. What advice do you have for brides who are planning a stylish wedding that incorporates so many details?

A. Be clear on what flowers, colors, looks you absolutely want/need to include. Then let your florist also run with it and guide you. I feel strongly that you should hire people who you trust and whose work you love. Remember that you are paying them to do what they do best. So let those vendors, or florist in particular, work their magic and give them a bit of creative freedom to come up with a most gorgeous combination that is uniquely yours.

You can also check out Skinner Jones on Facebook.

VENDOR LOVE // Amy Zaroff Events + Design

Amy Zaroff

Amy Zaroff is the powerhouse behind one of the Twin Cities best wedding planning and event design team, Amy Zaroff Events + Design. We wanted to get some advice from Amy on what couple's should keep in mind when designing and planning their events! What I love about the Zaroff team the most is that no idea is too big. This crew can pull off magic by collaborating with some of the best vendors in the midwest to create the must stunning space for your event!



Q. Hiring a wedding planner and designer in Minnesota is a bit of a new concept. Why is this important?

A. Many people have the false impression that hiring a designer and planner is an extravagance. We believe it is quite the opposite.  The time and money saved typically pays for itself. Often, clients are concerned that they will end up spending more with a planner, but if you work with a fee based design and plan firm, the savings they receive from the vendors are typically passed on directly to the client.[quoteRight]Hiring a design and plan firm allows you, as a couple, to enjoy the wedding planning process while placing your trust in the experts to translate your vision in to a reality.[/quoteRight]

Q. How did you start Amy Zaroff  Events + Design and how long have you been planning /designing weddings?

A. Myriad career paths have led me to this high point in my life. An early career as a television producer and later as a marketing director allowed me to refine my skills in design, planning and time management. Along with my husband, I fine-tuned my skills in event planning at our authentic, New York-style delicatessen. In 2004, I purchased the invitation, stationery and gift store, Give My Regards To, and added full-service event planning to the company’s repertoire of services. Over the next several years, I  began to build an all-encompassing event planning company that would deliver exceptional customer service by working intimately with clients to understand every aspect of their special event. My vision, built on the vast possibilities that both my background and Give My Regards To’s 32-year reputation could deliver, came to fruition in June 2010 with the launch of Amy Zaroff Events + Design.

Q. What were the first steps a couple should take in designing their big day?

A. Solidify your guest list! Believe it or not, the list is the most important starting point because it determines everything from how far the budget will go to which venue the couple should choose to what decor will be appropriate with the size wedding that is planned.

Q. How do you help your clients choose your vendors?

A. No two clients are alike and that is why we work hard to match them with the appropriate vendors based on the couple's desired style, budget and personality as a couple.

Q. You create some pretty amazing spaces for your weddings. What kind of resources did you use to gather inspiration for your weddings?

A. Inspiration is everywhere! Magazines, blogs, window displays, museums, restaurants and industry events all provide great ideas, but getting to know the couple as individuals is truly the best way to exude their personality on their wedding day.

Q. Describe the difference between a wedding planner and designer? Where do you fall in this?

A. A wedding designer conceptualizes and develops the creative vision of the event while the planner organizes the design ideas to make them functional. The planner then acts as the master orchestrator to ensure the event runs smoothly and the design was executed flawlessly.

Q. Lets talk money. What is your philosophy in investing in the details of a wedding day? What are the priorities for your clients?

A. Every client has a budget, but each client has a different idea of how to spend it. When planning a wedding, it is important to prioritize the budget based on the personal preferences of the couple. Some will want decor to be the big ticket item while others will prefer photography. A foodie couple will put the dollars into the food and bar while some couples put it all in to the entertainment. While we definitely suggest that photography and videography are two of the expenses that produce a memory that will last forever, it is crucial for the clients to put their ranking on paper prior to meeting with a designer and planner.

Q. Describe the perfect Amy Zaroff Couple.

A. Our perfect client loves our personality and feels at ease with us from the moment they meet us. As with any chosen vendor, enjoying the time we spend together and knowing you can place your trust in us is the key to a great relationship. In many cases, we are connected for well over a year and sometimes will speak multiple times a day. Trust and open lines of communication are the two most important aspects of working well together and enjoying the design and planning process.

Q. When it comes to choosing a venue, what are the most important things to keep in mind?

A. When choosing a venue, remember that it is better to choose a space for what it innately is rather than choosing it to then completely transform.

Check out this amazing video by Capture Studios that shows the behind-the-scene action of what it takes to bring a Zaroff wedding together! I love the collaboration of all the vendors!

Q. What do you, as a planner, want in collaboration with your vendors on a wedding day?

A. The most we can ask for from our vendor partners is that they share the same commitment to excellence on behalf of our shared clients.

Q. What advice do you have for brides who are planning a stylish wedding that incorporates so many details?

A. Hire a planner! Whether you work with a start-to-finish, design and plan firm or opt for day-of assistance, a planner can help clients gain access to the best vendors for their desired style and budget.

Q. What are some innovative trends in weddings right now?

A. Designer furnishings and well propped tables are fast becoming a wedding trend for today's couples. We are seeing many more brides and grooms opt for unique accessories on the table that are both meaningful and functional. Think antique photo frames from your grandmother's collection or old books that double as tabletop decor. Furniture beyond the standard table and chair rental options now include decorative chaise lounges, over-sized couches and tufted chairs and assorted curios and mirrors to add whimsy and texture to the event space.

You can also check out Amy Zaroff Events + Design on Facebook.