Our Fall 2019 End of the Year Review

September through December always seem to bring crazy busy times here at Parkway Florist. We’ve been producing flowers for so many weddings that we often don’t take the time necessary to show you the finished work. Here are a two trends we noticed in 2019…

Cascades are back!

 

Brides are loving a more organic, greenery, flowing aesthetic!

If you’re getting married in 2020, we would love to speak with you about your wedding flowers. Call us soon to schedule a free consultation – (412) 937-1100.

It really does take a Village…

“Love recognizes no barriers,

It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls

to arrive at its destination full of Hope.”

(Maya Angelou)

(As we area ready to “Leap” in to 2020,  and we are receiving so many calls about wedding flowers, I thought it might be helpful to translate 35+ years of advice into a  roadmap for our newly engaged couples.  If there is anything you need, or any questions that we can help answer, please feel free to call me.)

Planning a wedding ceremony and  reception these days really can become a daunting task. It is a task that many  people have little experience in, and are  reluctant to ask for help or advice.  It is not that anyone is “dumb,”  it is a matter of not knowing what questions to ask.  Hillary Rodham Clinton stated that: “It takes a Village to raise a Child.”  Today, it takes a Village to Plan and Execute a wedding!

Many times today, a wedding planner or a Day-of Event Coordinator, is hired near the beginning of the process.  Sometimes the “chief planner” role  falls to the Mother of the Bride, or Groom or the Big Sister or the helpful Aunt to shepherd things along, and keep  everything on track.  Sometimes,  the wedding couple is almost entirely on their own…..and need to rely on the words of wisdom given to them by many knowledgeable vendors & friends.

So, in planning a wedding, where do you start?

Step one: Start by compiling a rough guest list. Approximately how many people do  you  want to share your wedding day with? Knowing roughly how many people might be invited or attending helps to narrow the choices of ceremony and reception sites.     Moms and Dads will have input as well. Finances and budgets will be discussed extensively at this point and agreed upon.  (Remember that not everyone who is invited will be able to attend your wedding).

Develop a “guideline budget” for each item or service that you  will need to purchase. You may not know the exact cost yet, but you need to at least have a “goal number” in mind. This is not cast in stone, and may  change as the process evolves…. but it is a place to start.

If you are employing the services of a wedding planner, this would be the point that the wedding planner is hired. They will guide you through all the many next steps, including being realistic about each budget item.

Step Two: What is the vision that you see for your day? Are you planning on a wedding inside a church, or a barn or another type of all inclusive facility?  Do you want to be married in a meadow, or in a grand Cathedral?

Step Three:  What time of year would  you like to get married? Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter?  Each one of the seasons has its advantages and disadvantages. There are often financial incentives offered for winter weddings. Special Holiday weekends, such as Christmas, New Year’s Eve, Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day can mean that certain items (such as flowers or  food)  will  be more costly.

Step Four:  Now that you have answers to 1, 2, and 3, you can begin visiting churches and reception venues and hopefully book something that will accommodate your tentative plans. Book and get under contract the ceremony & reception site  that best fits your needs. Deposits or retainers will be required for both, and are generally NON-REFUNDABLE…………choose wisely, and read the contract before you sign on the dotted line.

Step Five:  Now that you have a date, church and/or venue booked, begin shopping for Dresses. Your bridal dress should be the first priority, with bridesmaids dresses second.  It’s your day. You get to pick! Have fun shopping! Be sure to ask for color swatches, and take lots of pictures for the florist and other vendors to see. Your shopping should also include veil or headpiece, shoes and the appropriate undergarments needed for your dresses.

Step Six:  Now begin booking your other vendors.  All require a  retainer/deposit to book their services.  Needed vendors  may include: caterer (if not part of your venue package),  photographer, ceremony musicians, DJ or band, florist, make-up artist, hair salon or hair stylist, transportation, videographer,  photo booth,  bakery, minister or officiant (if you are not getting married in a church.) Your venue can often give you a list of preferred or referred vendors. These are vendors that have proven to be reliable and trustworthy.

All of these vendors generally have information available online about their services. Pricing is often customized to fit your requests and timing. Many will require face-to-face meetings or Skype or similar to make sure that they understand what you want each of them to provide.  (This is not a “shop online” process.  You really do need to talk with the vendors in person, and interact with them.)

The Photographer may offer you an engagement session;  The florist may need to meet with you one or two times;  The bakery needs you to taste the flavors of their cakes and pick one; there will be food tastings, and many other decisions to make along the way. Our advice is to make the decision on each item — check that item off  the list and  move on to the next item.  If you agonize over the decisions, or  are  indecisive, then you will make you, your fiance and everyone else working with you a basket case.  You want to enjoy planning your wedding…..and not find it distasteful for years to come!

This is usually the point where some of your earlier choices may begin to have a positive  impact your budget. For instance, if everything is taking place at Rosemary’s Long Lost Sunny Acres Barn (ceremony & reception), you will generally not need a limo or a bus to get everyone there. Family members can drive the bridal party to the event,  or they can drive themselves.  If you are at one location,  your DJ may be able to handle the ceremony as well as the reception music. (Translation:  Savings on transportation and ceremony musicians).

Your florist may offer items that can be used both for ceremony as well as reception decorations. Again,  potential savings for  you.

Your “venue package” may include:  cake, linens, up lighting, flower centerpieces for your tables.  Try to use everything that  comes with your package. Often you will not get a deduction from your venue price  if you do not elect to have a wedding cake, for instance. (However, you may be able to change the cake to cupcakes, instead).

There are a couple of things that you do not want to skimp on:  Food,  Liquor and DJ (or music). It is quite the norm these days to serve only beer & wine at a wedding reception.  However, if you are planning a non-alcoholic reception, please be sure to make that known to your wedding guests on your wedding invitations.

Step Seven:  Invitations need selected, printed, and mailed approximately 8 weeks prior to your  wedding date, with a reply deadline of at least 3 weeks prior to your wedding date. Email invitations are not generally appropriate for weddings. You need to spend the money, address and stamp the invites and actually mail them via snail mail. If you have not received a response from someone when the response deadline is passed, plan  to call or text them to get their response. (Assuming that someone is not coming could mean that your guest shows up, with no place to sit and no food to eat.)  It has become OK to set up a wedding website & have the guests RSVP on the website.  Very easy for them to do, and actually brings in a higher response rate.

Step Eight:  The bridesmaids, friends, etc plan your bridal shower.  You should not plan your shower…  They can check the date with you, and ask what type of affair you would like to have. (Informal, picnic, formal, etc.) They are in charge; you are the guest of honor!

Step Nine:  The Bachelor and Bachelorette parties are planned;  The guys and girls give you and your fiance a nice night out on the town.  ‘Nough said.

Step Ten:  Arrange the seating of your guests with your reception site co-ordinator, including the placement of cookie tables, buffet tables, etc. Think of “traffic flow” at this point.  Try to avoid creating bottlenecks that will delay the start of cocktail hour or serving dinner.

Step Eleven:  About 1 to 2 weeks prior to your wedding, finalize your ceremony with your officiant and church or venue. Confirm delivery and set-up times with all of your vendors. Supply all items that you need to drop off, such as place cards, favors and cookies, when they are requested.

Step Twelve Finally,   Show up on your wedding day with a smile on your face, and a sunny disposition.  If something happens that was not as you planned, deal with it after your wedding day is over.  Do not allow a small hiccup to ruin your day. Enjoy your day, and the beginning of a lifetime of happiness together.  And afterward, be sure to thank the Village that helped you plan this most beautiful day!

Happy Planning!!

Cheryl @ Parkway Florist

 

 

 

9.20.2019 -Holly & Kyle say “I Do!”

Sometimes  we have the chance to really think outside the box with our floral designs., challenging our creativity as well as imagination.  Holly and Kyle love antiques and wanted to incorporate them into their centerpieces.   We can only imagine the hours the couple spent,  visiting antique stores and flea markets,  to find the gems they brought to us. One fun find was the Red Flyer  wagon that the ringbearer came  down the aisle in, pulled by the flower girl.

The newlyweds said their vows in front of friends and family in the beautiful Heinz Chapel. Two traditional altarpieces of stargazer lilies, pink and white snapdragons, pink and white larkspur, pink roses, and lush eucalyptus stood out against the rich dark wood of the altar.

heinz chapel 9_20

Holly’s bridal bouquet (#1047) really played with texture.  It included maidenhair ferns cascading among pink garden roses, cafe au lait and pink dahlias,  small touches of dusty miller, pink larkspur and calcynia.

bouquets 1047

The bridal party bouquets continued on the beautiful texture with flowers are  very seasonal  – calcynia and pink bunny tail!  The maid of honor carried a bouquet (#1048) of light and medium pink roses, pink dahlias, calcynia, and fluffy pink bunny tail.  The bridesmaids carried bouquets of light and medium pink roses accented with calcynia (#1049).

 

The ringbearer even got flowers of his own! Raggedy Ann and Andy took a ride down the aisle with him, and   white  flowered ribbons trailed behind the wagon.   Light pink miniature gerbera daisies and pink dahlias were fastened to the ribbons.

heinz chapel wagon 9_20

St. Nicholas Hall, just a street or two over from Heinz Chapel, was the setting for the wedding  reception.

Holly and Kyle’s centerpieces went beyond just looking beautiful.   They were symbols of important stories in their time together.   Next to each centerpiece,  the couple provided an  album with pictures and text to explain these stories. One centerpiece was made atop a baby scale, blooming with lilies, garden roses, pink larkspur, pink roses, pink bunny tail, and flowing eucalyptus.

centerpieces 647-2

Another centerpiece featured an antique rotary phone, which reminded us of Wilson Pickett’s romantic song “634-5789.” We designed this arrangement with white hydrangea, pink roses, burgundy amaranthus, ruscus, willow eucalyptus, flax and wild grasses.

centerpieces 648-2

The next centerpiece featured an antique camera, which we have focused in on creamy, full roses. Light pink orchids, green hydrangea, and bear grass made up the rest of the ring.  (Butterflies were landing on the roses as the camera focused for a close-up.)

centerpieces 649-2

It would be too fun if this antique radio could be playing Pickett’s tune! This arrangement (#650) featured white roses, maidenhair fern, billy balls, flax, willow eucalyptus, and other grasses which draped down elegantly.

centerpieces 650-2

On one side of this centerpiece (#651) you’ll find a distinguished antique clock, and on the other, a tall arrangement of white mums, pink dahlias, flax, ruscus,   gunny eucalyptus, and Russian olive.

 

We buried an antique sewing machine in blooms for one of the centerpieces (#652)!  Pink dahlias, pink bunny tail, baby’s breath, scabiosa, gomphrena, and eucalyptus created a tapestry of flowers beside the vintage Sewmor machine.

centerpieces 652-2

Both Holly and Kyle have very special fur friends in their lives, which they represented in one of the centerpieces (#653).  A cat can be seen looking into a little pond, in which we floated a rose.  Around the statue are light pink hydrangea, light pink larkspur, pink bunny tail, gomphrena, scabiosa,  gunny eucalyptus and bear grass.

centerpieces 653-2

The final centerpiece (#654) featured a vintage typewriter which displayed a portion of Elizabeth Barrett’s classic sonnet “How Do I Love Thee.”   Curly willow and flax were draped over the typewriter, and pink dahlias, pink roses, dusty miller, ruscus, and calcynia bloomed up the side of the typewriter. The album that Holly and Kyle provided on this table contained the newlyweds’ vows for each other.

centerpieces 654-2

Of course, it wouldn’t be a wedding without a wedding cake! We decorated the intricately iced cake (#164) with white gardenias and light pink spray roses.

cake 164

It was a pleasure to assist  Holly and Kyle to make their creative vision a reality.   The creativity of designing arrangements around these antiques was truly  challenging!   We wish the newlyweds all the best in their married life  adventures. Thank you for allowing us to play a part in your special day!!

8-31-3019 Over A Year in the Making…

We began working with Lindsay and her Mom, Amy,  in the late summer of 2018 in preparation for the late summer 2019 wedding.   Many conversations, and emails later, some tweaking to the plan…..and a little magic & fairy dust…..and we had a wedding!

There were actually two wedding ceremonies that took place.  First, Lindsay & Alex were married in the north hills of Pittsburgh, in a traditional Russian Orthodox ceremony.  Then,   after a few photographs, the journey to Greentree, and the second wedding of the day!

Lindsay and Alex were then  united during a Presbyterian  wedding ceremony at Unity Presbyterian Church,  right down the street from us here in Greentree!  We furnished two altarpieces, garland for the candelabras, and vases of white hydrangea, pink roses, and pink larkspur for the ceremony.  (Presbyterian churches are generally a little “understated”, so the additional flowers and candles helped to set a festive mood).

Unity Presbyterian

Lindsay’s bridal bouquet (#1033) was a traditional round bouquet with Sahara and Vendella roses, Gardenias, Stephanotis with pearls, and  a little blue thistle.  (the secret ingredient here).

bouquets 1033

Her Maid of Honor carried a bouquet (#1034) of white hydrangea, white Vendella roses and mauve Faith roses.  Her bridesmaids carried bouquets (#1035) of white hydrangea and mauve Faith roses, while  her junior bridesmaids carried a smaller version, with the same flowers (#1036).

 

The reception took place in downtown Pittsburgh at The Westin Pittsburgh.  Guests were greeted  at the top of the escalator by an elevated  arrangement on  the place card table (#121), lush with white hydrangea, white roses, pink larkspur, silver dollar and seeded eucalyptus.

placecard 121

Inside the ballroom, the centerpieces were entirely romantic.  We designed long and low centerpieces (#640) of white hydrangea, white roses, and white spray roses in gold containers, and surrounded them with votive candles and  cylinders of floating candles.

centerpieces 640 lit

Bethel Bakery supplied a yummy looking cake, which we  also decorated with fresh flowers (#162).    The ombre gold cake was stunning  with our white roses and light pink spray roses.

cake 162

It was a pleasure working with you, Lindsay and Alex, as well as your family, Lindsay,  to achieve your Best Day Ever!   We wish you both  many years of happiness as you embark on this new adventure together.  God Bless and have a great journey!

Historic Old St. Luke’s Church 8-17-19

Nestled away in Scott Township is a hidden gem of a church called Old St. Luke’s Church.    If you were not looking for it, you would not know that this is a beautiful, restored church, that is still periodically used today.

Travel in time with me to a long ago era…….Close your eyes & just imagine………

Old St Luke’s was a Frontier Church, dating from prior to the Revolutionary War days.  According to literature available, Old St. Luke’s was one of the oldest frontier churches of any denomination west of the Allegheny Mountains.  Colonial militiamen who accompanied General John Forbes on his mission to capture Ft. Duquesne in 1758 returned later to settle & become landowners along the Chartiers Creek Valley.  Many of the streets in this section of Scott Twp. are named after the men who were part of General Forbes’ military mission, and are also buried in the graveyard surrounding the church today.

Major William Lea was a member of the Forbes expedition & received a King’s Grant of 335 acres of land in 1770 from King George of England.  He set aside 10 rods square for the Church & Burial Ground.  Title to the land was duly recorded in West Augusta County, Virginia.  (Pennsylvania did not exist yet.  We were still considered to be part of Virginia).

Major Lea married the love of his life, Dorothy Nelson, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.   They returned to the Chartiers Valley area to build their house, and the log church that superseded Old St. Luke’s Church.  Their daughter, Jane, was born & baptized in Old St. Luke’s Church in December, 1774.  She was the first settler’s child born in Chartiers Valley, west of the Allegheny Mountains.  (Jane died in 1859, at age 85, and is buried in the cemetery that surrounds the church).

About 1790, the log stockade church was replaced by a frame building.  And in 1852, the present stone church was erected.  During the Whiskey Rebellion,  when England imposed unreasonable excise taxes on locally produced products, the church became a gathering point for many — while many were driven away from the church.   (The Whiskey Rebellion was one of the many skirmishes  leading up to the Revolutionary War).

This church, still small by today’s standards, seats roughly 90 to 100 people.

The pipe organ, still played today, was purchased in England by Trinity Episcopal Church of Pittsburgh, and was brought over the mountains by mule.  This organ was given to Old St Luke’s Church in 1852, when Trinity acquired a new organ.  This organ is the oldest pipe organ west of the Allegheny mountains, and is still played today for all weddings and ceremonies held in the church.

By many accounts, the cemetery surrounding the church contains the graves of over 200 or more individuals.  Some of the graves are marked.  Some are not.   Some headstones have disappeared over the years due to weather, time and in some cases vandalism.  Archaeological work by Dr. Ron Carlyle in 1991 and later work by a CMU computer group have identified where a number of graves are potentially located.

Old St Luke’s Church & Burial grounds & Garden is now a non-profit corporation, and is maintained by volunteers, and thru donations.   It does not hold regular church services, or have a regular congregation.   It is available for wedding ceremonies for a fee of $500. + separate fees for the organist and clergy.  (For wedding information — please call 724-745-8278).

Tours of the church & burial grounds are conducted each Sunday from Memorial Day thru Labor Day — Sundays — 1:30 to 4:00 pm.   Group tours are also available (Call ahead 412-531-9333).

More information about Old St. Luke’s Church can be found at: www.oldsaintlukes.org. This gem is close by the city, yet hidden from most views.  We invite you to take a ride on a Sunday, and enjoy  a journey back in time!

 

7-27-2019 – A Grand Debut for Our New Square Arch

On Saturday, 7/27/2019, Chelsea and J.R. said ‘I do!’ It was a beautiful sunny evening, perfect for a wedding ceremony in the Pittsburgh Airport Marriott’s Courtyard Garden.

Chelsea carried a bouquet (#1016) of pink and white lisianthus, vendela and playa blanca roses, light pink astilbe, white hydrangea, Queen Anne’s lace, black cherry Sweet Williams, silver dollar eucalyptus and dusty miller.

bouquets 1016

Her bridesmaids carried bouquets (#1017) of blush garden spirit roses, veronica, Queen Anne’s lace, and gunny eucalyptus.

bouquets 1017

The couple exchanged vows in front of our square wooden arch, draped with white fabric, and adorned with many many flowers.  White lilies, white lisianthus, pink snapdragons, white stock flower, silver dollar eucalyptus, and many more flowers added a little extra beauty to the already stunning surroundings.

rectangle arch

We sprinkled rose petals down the aisle and lined the aisle with white lanterns topped with artificial pink hydrangea.

7_27 marriott aisle

It was a pleasure working with Chelsea and J.R., thank you both for allowing us to play a part in your special day!  We absolutely love this photo of the newlyweds with Chelsea’s parents in front of the arch – it came out lovely.  We wish the happy couple much love and happiness!

7_27 Marriott Bride Arch

6-22-2019 – Hot Pink Flowers, Hot Summer Day

Brittany and Corey said “I do” on June 22nd, 2019!  They said their vows in the picturesque Courtyard Garden of the Pittsburgh Airport Marriott. Their photographer was Chase Images, and they took this gorgeous photo of the newlyweds in the courtyard!

brittany dalessio couple

Brittany carried a bouquet (#993) of bright stargazer lilies and hot pink roses.  Her bridesmaids carried similar bouquets (#994) of stargazer lilies, hot pink roses, and white waxflower.

The ceremony took place between two bright altarpieces on top of our pillars, featuring white hydrangea, white stock flowers, pink Gerber daisies, stargazer lilies, pink snapdragon, and pink larkspur.  You can see them pictured below, with the bride!

bride and mom

The reception took place inside the Pittsburgh Airport Marriott in their Grand Ballroom.  On the placecard table, we provided a vase (#117) of white hydrangea, Stargazer lilies, pink larkspur, light pink roses, and gunny eucalyptus.

placecard table 117

Inside the ballroom, the tables were decorated with alternating low and high centerpieces.  Both the low (#628a) and high (#628b) centerpieces featured white hydrangea and pale pink roses.

We decorated their wedding cake (#159) from Bethel Bakery with light pink roses and spray roses.  The cake topper was just too cute!

cake 159

We had a wonderful time working with Brittany and Corey to help them prepare for their big day!  Thank you to the happy couple for allowing us to play a part in your special day!!!