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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

 

 

 

4-5-2019 Let’s Color Our World!

All of our world revolves around color.  We thought you might be interested in exploring what different colors mean – and how they can all fit together in harmony!

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Does your heart beat for red?  This color represents vibrancy, passion, love, and strength. While we all know the traditional red rose, there are so many flowers that grow in so many shades of red!

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Is orange your favorite color?  This color represents harmony, aspiration, optimism, creativity, happiness, and joy.  Orange flowers have very high visibility, which is perfect for catching attention and highlighting the most important elements of a floral arrangement.  Not to mention – it’ll brighten your day!

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Does yellow make you smile?  Yellow is the color of sunshine, and its color produces a warming effect.  Use yellow in your arrangements to send cheerful, pleasant sentiments.  It’s a classic choice for spring arrangements and a sure bet to cheer up a friend or loved one!

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Does the color green soothe your soul?  One of the most important elements of a floral arrangement is the base of greens such as salal, variegated pittosporum, or Italian ruscus – but there are also many green flowers!  Green represents harmony, growth, balance, relaxation, and is associated with healing.  Including green flowers in your bouquet adds an element of freshness and harmony that we love!

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Blue is the color of the sea and the sky.  It is often associated with depth, stability, loyalty, trust, intelligence, truth, and faith.  Its calming effect makes it a perfect choice for sympathy and get well arrangements.

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Do you adore the color purple?  Purple combines the tranquility of blue with the passion of red.  The color of royals, this color symbolizes luxury, ambition, independence, and extravagance.  So many flowers grow in beautiful shades of purple, which makes it a versatile color for arrangements.

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Are you tickled pink by the color pink?  This color represents youthfulness, romance, compassion, nurturing, love, and friendship.  Pink flowers beautifully contrast with blue or green blooms, and complement lighter shades of yellow and orange.

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White means more than just tradition.  A color of innocence, reflection, inspiration, purity, and transition, white is an ideal choice for the special occasions in your life.

When we combine colors in our creativity, we’re doing more than just making a pretty arrangement – we’re creating a deeper meaning.  What statement can we help you make today?

2018 — Winter Tips & Tricks for the Holiday Season

Here are my tips & tricks for a festive, winter look:

1.   Use lots of seasonal pines, simply arranged in a pretty vase — or several vases down the table.  Accent the vases with lots of candles (votives, floating candles or enclosed pillar candles of various sizes).  You could also add other vases, such as cylinder vases, filled with bright, shiny ornaments.  This is a very festive look!

2.  The simple use of a vase of branches — whether natural branches, or gold or silver or snow-covered — reminds us of “a cold winters’ night”.  Again, dim the lights and use lots of candles.  If the budget permits, you could add some flowers, such as hydrangeas,  to the branches, with pine accents or other greens.

3.  Not every centerpiece needs to have flowers!  A beautiful box or cube filled with seasonal pine greenery, cones, sticks, berries and maybe ornamental kale can be the perfect addition to the table…..and likely will be a conversation starter at your holiday dinner party.

4.  Use little vases or jars down the table — again with lots of candles.  This spreads the focus down the entire table, and often will make your table seem longer or wider than it really is.

5.  Use what you have — and improvise if necessary!  Grab that evergreen wreath off the back door.  Place it in the middle of your table.  Add a few taller vases with candles or floating candles inside the middle ring.  Voila!!  Instant centerpiece!

6.  If you are using fresh pine in your house or on your table, please be sure to add water to the vase, or container daily.  Pine is a “heavy drinker”.  It needs lots of water to stay pliable.

7.  If you are using fresh pine, be sure to protect the heirloom linens.  Pine sap can stain, and is often sticky.  (Goo-Gone is a good sap remover.)

Hope this helps you!

Here are some of our favorite winter looks from our photo galleries:

Happy Holidays to all, if we can help you, please call!

Arches & More

Brass Arch  –  Our Brass Arch is a flat arch, primarily used inside, because it needs a level surface to stand on.  We frequently will decorate it with flowers, as shown below, which are then removed when pictures are completed.  The flowers are then re-purposed into  a reception venue on a head table, cookie table or similar area.

Sometimes the arch is decorated with tulle and lights, which is perfect for a winter wedding!  The entire arch is often moved over to the reception area, and used behind the head table, or as a backdrop for photos during the reception.

 

Black Arch  —  Our Black Rod Iron arch is very sturdy, and can be used inside and outside.    A flower piece is made for the top  of the arch, which is removed after pictures, and transferred to the reception area.    We also have free-standing Shepherd’s hooks and lanterns, which can be used on an isle with flowers, mason jars with flowers, etc.

 

Hexagon Arch  The Hex Arch is our newest creation,   and one that is pretty outstanding!   This was the result of a picture presented to us by a Bride, who asked if we could do this.  We said Yes, and proceeded to make it happen.  The hardest part was making the pieces fit together in such a way that it could be transported in our trucks.

Again, flowers are added so  that they can be detached and re-purposed into the reception area.  This arch is sturdy and can be trimmed with fabric as well as flowers. Materials can be hung from the top on ribbons for a completely different type of look

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Candle Screens –   We own folding wrought iron candle screens, that can be rented for wedding ceremonies.  Each candle screen contains approximately 50 battery operated votive candles enclosed in glass cups.  When these are all turned on, the flickering glow of the candlelight is awesome!!  We most frequently use all four screens, for the most impressive impact.

 

 

All of this equipment is owned by Parkway Florist, and is available to you, our customer, if we are providing flowers for your event.  Equipment is available on a first come – first served basis.   We also have a supply of columns, glass vases and risers that are not pictured here.  Please contact us if you have questions.

 

The Eliza Bistro – A New Gem

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Technology Drive – Specifically 329 Technology Dr., is the new home of Hotel Indigo and The Eliza Bistro. Technology Dr. parallels Second Ave. and was the home of Jones and Laughlin Steel for many years.  This site has been reclaimed by many new and exciting companies, often as part of UPMC, Pitt, and CMU.  As we watched these companies move in, we wondered how many buildings would be built before a hotel or restaurant was built.

Surprise!! It has  happened!

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Hotel Indigo is an IHA affiliated property.  In an acknowledgement to the heritage from which it rose, the style of the hotel is very neat and industrial.  Over 100 sleeping rooms are available.  It also has a courtesy shuttle available for guest use daily.

The Eliza Bistro Restaurant is a wonderful entity just off the lobby.  The restaurant was named after the J & L Eliza Blast Furnace.  There are mill-related items on display here and in the lobby.

In addition to the restaurant, there is banquet space available, with outside patios on the first floor and the  5th floor rooftop.  All of the banquet and patio space, as well as the restaurant,  can accommodate rehearsal dinners, private parties, and other functions up to   approximately 100-120 guests.

What a neat surprise……. to visit a part of my past and witness the transformation that has taken place.  I urge you to try the Eliza Bistro and Hotel Indigo.  You will not be disappointed!

Santa’s Helpers Have Been Working Hard

The trees are trimmed, the poinsettias are watered, the bows are tied neatly, we are ready for Christmas in a flowers shop!

You better believe Santa has a lot on his plate for 2017, and of course he has lots of help to get it all done! We had the pleasure of visiting some of out favorite local Pittsburgh businesses to bring the spirit of Christmas alive this year.

In classic Pittsburgh tradition, we prepared for light up night by decking the halls at Monterey Bay Fish Grotto located in Pittsburgh’s scenic Mt. Washington neighborhood. We started at the hostess station and worked our way throughout the restaurant.

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As guests ride the elevator up to the restaurant level, they experience the amazing scenic view of Pittsburgh’s downtown. Once they step off the elevator, they are greeted by Monterey Bay’s tastefully decorated Christmas tree. Trimmed with ornaments in hues of gold, champagne, ivory, copper, and brass, the tree coordinates with the rest of the restaurant’s decorations perfectly.

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Several fresh and artificial pine wreaths decorate the walls of Monterey Bay for an understated but festive look. Once the ambiance is set, the seats are filled, and the view of the city is in sight, you know you’re in for a treat. Be sure to visit this holiday season!

After Thanksgiving, we visited the Pittsburgh Airport Marriott, and we brought the holiday cheer with us! The most notable of our decorations greets you as you enter the hotel lobby. Our big tree takes many  crew members to assemble and decorate, but when its all done it,  makes quite an impression!  (Sometimes, we have audience participants to help us with decorating and caroling!)

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This hotel is known for being a hub for business meetings, parties, gatherings, special events, and weddings. And for that reason, they need plenty of Christmas cheer for everyone. For guests enjoying lunch, dinner, or cocktails in their Runner Stone Mill House Restaurant, our silver tree brings a feeling of home to your “home away from home.” Marriott Restaurant Tree.jpg

If lounging is more your style, we’ve also added decorations to the shadow boxes that decorate the wall above the comfy lounge-style seating area.

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For banquets, Christmas parties, winter weddings, and special events, we decorate several  Christmas trees that may be moved and  used to decorate any number of  ballrooms and areas  throughout the hotel.

For added festive touches, you might see a little of this and a little of that in all the right places. For those who spend the holidays away from home, it can be hard to get in the spirit, but that’s not the case if you’re staying at the Pittsburgh Airport Marriott.

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We also brought the holiday to the offices of ProMinent Fluid Controls and Calgon Carbon Corporation.  We do our best to work  in the company’s colors each year.  As you can see, We Simply Love Christmas!

Happy Holidays to all……and hope you enjoy our team’s talents!

To see more of what we are up to this holiday season, and the rest of the year, check out our Facebook and Instagram pages!

It’s Homecoming Time!

Wow! Time flies!
Homecoming dances are beginning this weekend. We are so excited!

Pictured above are some of our best selections for corsages & boutonnieres. Almost all are available in different colors.

Please call us with your order!
(Do not attempt to place your order online, we need to walk you through the process.)

Homecoming orders are accepted on a first come, first served basis.