Cheers to 15 Years

2017 brings me to 15 years in my business. It is cliche to say that time has flown by - but it truly has!

I've learned and grown so much professionally and personally. My son was only 9 years old when I embarked on this new endeavor & this spring he will turn 25 ! My goal was to have more time with my family and that my work would be joyful, being a part of one of the most joy-filled days in the lives of people getting married.

Working with flowers seemed to be the right fit and although not everyday was joyful, the majority surely has been.  

I have laughed and cried with many of my clients, I’ve shared insight into marriage, career, motherhood, life, compromise, finances, love and loss. I am so grateful to each and every client who has entrusted me to be such an intimate part of one of the most memorable days in their lives.

I recently saw a groom who hugged me and thanked me for everything. I said, "what are you thanking me for?" He said" I don't think I ever thanked you enough for everything you did."

I replied, "Of course you did, but your wedding was almost 2 years ago. Why are you thinking of this now?" He said, "I realize now all of the things you did. I didn't realize it then."

Another experience I had while working with EV Band (my husbands band that I have managed for the past 2 years). About an hour or so into the reception, the bride hugs me and begins to cry and says, "Lee … you knew. You knew..."

"Knew what?" I said.

She explained, "I’m soooo happy. This is so much more than I thought It would be. You knew that this would be so wonderful. I only hoped it would be. I cant thank you enough!!"

In that moment I realized how much is put in the hands of the professionals clients hire for their wedding day. They have the hope that all will be as they have planned and dreamed about.

I did know that the band would be the perfect fit for her, but I didn't boast about it. I wonder now if I should have reassured her more while we had our meetings and conversations. I think it is just one of the experiences you must have - that your imagination is not the same as reality. 

Wedding days end but the memories remain.

Reading or dreaming about how warm the sun feels against your face or sand between your toes, or how it feels to be loved...

The experience and the memory is far greater.

To each and every client I thank you for the past 15 years and I look forward to being a part of new beginnings, new love and new memories.

Cheers !

Thanks & Giving

Thanks:
As we all gather together, share and give thanks for all our blessings, know that you are on my list of things, people and experiences that I am grateful for.

Each person, event, wedding, conversation and experience has presented an opportunity for learning, sharing, loving and growing.

Thank you for trusting me to be a part of your most memorable days in life.

I am sharing a few recent wedding features. Thanks to Chelsea & Michael and their talented photographer Chris Carter. Also, thanks toBianca & Mark and their talented photographer Anthony Vazquez - no relation :).

Click the photo below for the Manhattan Bride feature of Chelsea and Michael's wedding:

Click the photo below for the features on photographer Anthony Vazquez's blog for Bianca & Mark's wedding


Giving:
I love shopping locally for as many gifts as possible, I’ve already started some of my holiday shopping. Check out some of my favorite local places in the slideshow below (click the image to view their sites):

In Piermont:

In Nyack:

Wishing each of you a peaceful Thanksgiving.

Lee

Summer Highlights

What did I do this summer? I went to a mansion, a gorgeous farm, our favorite country clubs, a factory converted to a beautiful event space, a lovely back yard for an engagement party and I got to make lots of flower crowns for little girls ... just to name a few things !!

Here are a bunch of photos to show what the summer looked like for me!

 

I cant go without giving a shout out to Angela. She has been my right and left hand in and out of the studio this year.  She is extremely talented and I am so grateful to her for everything she does for me & with me! I don't have a photo of her (she is a little camera shy).

Thank you Angela ! 

Gratitude for Clean Water

Recently, there were two water main breaks in my town. The first one didn't affect me at all, the second one however required us to boil water for drinking, cooking and washing dishes for several days.

Most of us haven’t stopped to think about how much water we use - washing clothes, our hands, our dishes, cooking, bathing etc. - until you don't have running water.

The past few days I’ve been keenly aware of how much water I use and I am grateful for this awareness. I am grateful for living in a country, state, town and village that provides me with the privilege of clean running water almost every day of my life. I thank the probably 100+ year old water main that gave all it could for all the years it could until it collapsed.

This inconvenience only lasted a few days. Today, I think of all of the people in all of the places around the world that would be happy to boil water that poured out of a faucet in their home if that was all they needed to do in order to make it clean enough to drink.

I am blessed and if you are reading this on a first world form of technology, so are you. 

I hope you take a moment, be aware of your blessings and be grateful.

I am trying to conserve water, conserve energy and make less waste… I hope you are too.

Wishing you a safe & fun filled summer!

Lee

 

Garden Meditation

I can’t believe how quickly the time is passing!

We are mid way through 2016 already, my garden is brimming with growth and activity. I absolutely love this time of year! I want to walk around the garden pulling weeds, planting new things, sharing plants that need to be thinned out--the work never ends… 

This year I have re-connected with my garden and I am so grateful. Over the past several years, I didn’t love it. It felt like a chore, but this year is different. I can't seem to spend enough time gardening--it is my refuge. It's where I slow down, sit and sip in the beauty and enjoy the many years of labor that I spent creating it. 

Here are some photos I took of my garden recently.

 

Many people ask if I grow the flowers that I use in my arrangements for weddings & events. The truth is that I planted most of my garden before I began my floral design business. If I had planned out the garden I would have planted different things that are more hardy for use as cut flowers.

There are some things I love to use though, like mint and some interesting foliage.

Usually, things are not blooming when I need them for a wedding. Honestly, I always seem to enjoy the flowers in the garden more than I do when I cut them for myself. I do love sharing flowers from my garden with friends!

I hope summer lingers the way winter did this year and we all get to sit, slow down, relax, and enjoy the sights and sounds of nature.

Spring Suggestions

May arrived with rain that April forgot to provide.

I prefer sunny days to rainy ones, however I do understand the benefits of the rain for each of us and the plants that are essential to our existence. I remain eternally grateful for the rain - just not on the days I have weddings :).

As this spring unfolds and you start to spend more time outside, I’d like to make a few suggestions:

  • If you have a garden, consider not using herbicides like round up around your property. Please :).
  • Give birds a place to drink and take a little bath. I have several around my garden and I love watching the birds wait their turn to drink and splash around!
  • Plant something that you can eat or drink. A few years ago I planted mint on a slope in my garden. I love using it in floral arrangements, mojitos, mint water, in lemonade. At the end of the season I pick what is left, dry it and jar it up for tea. You can make the most delicious mint tea with fresh leaves too - it makes the most beautiful color green!
    ** note ** mint is invasive, so don't plant it unless you are okay with it being a ground cover! I personally like things that fill up the empty spaces on their own - mint sends out runners - shallow root systems that spread. Within a few years it was very well established in my garden (that is gardener speak for - it had taken over).

Happy Mothers Day to all the new moms, the old moms, the not so old moms, the moms who fill in when other moms can’t, and to those like me who only wish they could buy a gift for their moms who have left them way too soon. To the motherless daughters & sons - wish one of the other women in your life a happy mothers day and thank them for the love they give you.

Some of my Springtime favorite flowers that are coming up are:
Wegelia, Painted Ferns, Pink Dogwood, Bleeding Hearts, Lilly of the Valley

See below for my little rainy day garden tour!

It's All in the Details.....Thank Heaven for Photographers!

This month I’m sharing one of my weddings that was featured on Snippet & Ink. Click here to check out the feature

For those of you out of the industry, the way most features happen is that the photographer submits her/his photos to a wedding blog, advertiser, etc. I am always surprised and grateful when I get an email to say that my work was featured.

The photographer beautifully captures all of the meticulous details that the client has chosen as well as other details only their experienced eye can see.

I do my best to snap a few photos while I’m setting up my part; however I’m often long gone by the time everyone is dressed and photo ready - I rarely see the cake or the candles lit.

This wedding was unique. Bettina, the bride, loved the glamor of art deco style and wanted a Gatsby theme. She wanted a structure that framed the ceremony space and I used a large metal structure, accented with calla lilies and palmetto palms accented with gold.

I loved how it all turned out and the photographer Karen Kristian captured it beautifully.

Spring-ing Forward

Thoughts of spring are close to mind this week. As we move our clocks ahead, the days get longer and I think about my garden and everything I’d like to do with it.

I have been having fantasies about a greenhouse and thoughts of starting seeds…

I went to a garden center yesterday hoping to get some pretty pansies, but all I came home with was a few bags of mulch. It is too soon, I know, but I get restless in March. For now, I’ll have to satisfy my gardening urges with my indoor plants, cleaning up the garden and my raised beds...and then wait….

Having spent some time in Puerto Rico this winter has made me wonder about living in a place with constant garden growth - something always in bloom. I think this experience has fueled my restlessness for spring. Here are a few photos I took at a farmers' market and flea market (of course I can't resist a good flea market!) along with a video of a giant Ceiba tree. To my surprise when I got up close to it, I noticed the giant thorns it has on its bark, along with the air plants that call its branches home. This tree was dormant in February, it had dropped its leaves, making the air-plants easily visible.


Here is a photo of myself standing at the base of the tree so you can get a sense of its size!

I have enjoyed having air-plants at home. Click here for an article about caring for them from Gardenista.

Happy spring everyone!

My Valentine's Wish for You

On this Valentine's Day I want to share something I saw recently that touched my heart.  It is a video of a recent wedding where the guests, friends and family of the bride and groom performed a Haka for them. At first I thought I was watching one of those choreographed dance routines that have become popular; however I immediately realized it was something very different. As the bride and groom stood watching, and as I watched them, a deeply moving sense of love washed over me. The emotion was palpable through the screen and I was overcome with a feeling that often escapes us during our day to day lives. I have witnessed the love of strangers and it makes my heart full. When you see others in love or expressing love I hope you too feel their love and it brings a smile to your face, warms your heart and reminds you that it is a gift - to give love and to receive love is what we all need to have a little more of.

So here is my gift to you - my hope is as you watch this video, you too will feel the love.

Wikipedia defines Haka as: 

The Haka (plural is the same as singular: haka) is a traditional ancestral war cry, dance, or challenge from the Māori people of New Zealand. It is a posture dance performed by a group, with vigorous movements and stamping of the feet with rhythmically shouted accompaniment.

War haka were originally performed by warriors before a battle, proclaiming their strength and prowess in order to intimidate the opposition, but haka are also performed for various reasons: for welcoming distinguished guests, or to acknowledge great achievements, occasions or funerals, and kapa haka performance groups are very common in schools.

Happy Valentines Day!

Lee

Event Planning

In case you may have missed it…. I added Event Planning to my logo/title.

After 14 years in the event industry, I’ve gained some knowledge and experience that has helped me guide and assist clients during the planning, preparation & leading up to the day of the event.

Over the years I have been hired to do a bit of planning and coordination of details outside of the floral portion that I am known for. Each event has pushed me out of my comfort zone a bit, and in the end I’ve felt more confident about what I've done to create a successful event.

One of the most important considerations for a SUCCESSFUL event is timing - making sure all the parts come together at the right time. This is what experienced staff do week in and week out. They make it look easy - but it isn’t!

I don't plan on jumping off the floral design ship just yet, however since I am often asked about these services, I thought it would be a good time to add it to the list of services I can provide.

If you are considering hiring a planner, or would like a consultation about planning an upcoming event, I’d be happy to schedule an appointment with you.

Below are a few photos of an event I was hired to coordinate - a "Celebration of Life" for a remarkable man, husband, father, friend, scientist and overall wonderful human being. It was held at the Liberty Science Center. Almost 300 guests were in attendance and a staff of over 70 behind the scenes including catering staff, lighting & audio, as well as myself and my staff.

Best Wishes!

New Year, New Ideas

I love the beginning of a new year, a new calendar, a new note book, new ideas and fresh starts!

This year I am launching a new website, linked here. Let me know what you think about it!

I’ve also tweaked the logo a bit - keeping the ladybug of course - but giving a fresh, clean, modern font and layout.

2016 also marks my 14th year in business, I have to say it has been quite a journey. Lots of learning, hard work, fun, stress, joy and laughter. I’m looking forward to this new year, new clients, new weddings, new events, and new memories!

Shameless Plug: 
Upcoming EV Band 2016 Showcases

  • January 16, 2016
  • March 19, 2016
  • May 21, 2016

Time: 4:30 PM to 6:00 PM

Location: The Haven at Lagond Music at 9 Haven Street Elmsford, New York 10523

For more information please email Lee at info@evband.com or call 845-365-4532.

Your Way, Your Day

After 13 years, hundreds of weddings and counting… I’ve seen the evolution of social media and its effect on the industry I work in (I’m sure the wedding industry is not alone).

Weddings have become a place where clients want to put their personal touch on their big day! Often it is not just about beautiful flowers, it's about the details. Just to name a few: the right container, vase, the napkins and linens, the candles/candleholders, custom invitations, table number holder, menu cards, floral details at the menu card/napkin, escort table seating charts,  signature drinks, specialty favors, rehearsal dinners, rehearsal dinner decor, floral head wreaths, floral details for the special pampered pooch in your life, sign-in books, welcome baskets, transportation for guests to/from venue to ensure their safety, thank you gifts, bridal party gifts, amenity baskets in the restrooms, choreographed dance routines, event lighting, hair and makeup.

Pinterest and Instagram capture the best of the best weddings and the best of the photo shoots, often giving the illusion of reality to every bride planning her wedding day. As they start the process they are excited and thrilled to find this never ending source of ideas. However, I've found that it can often be a blessing and a curse!  At some point in the planning phase they begin to question their choices:

 

"Is this look overdone?
"Have I thought of every detail?"
"What am I forgetting?"
"Do I really want pumpkins?"
"Can you hang flowers from the ceiling?" (Thought in my mind: "Ugh yes, do you have OPRAH's money?!" LOL ).
"How many candles do I need?"
"I love the glittery glam bride look but I really wanted to have my wedding in a barn so how can I incorporate burlap with glitter?"

And the emails and calls continue...

My best advice is that your wedding day is the MOST ELEGANT day of your life — go as big and as beautiful as you can without having to eat mac and cheese for a year to recover from the expense! Be true to your personal style and step it up a notch or two!

I always do my best to make suggestions that get the most for your money and help make your wedding day dreams come true.

#staycalmandplanon

Follow me on instagram @leevazquez and Facebook at Lee Vazquez Floral Design

 

Happy Fall!

Lee


Bluefield Farm - A Littlce Slice of Heaven

Bluefield Farm is truly a little slice of heaven! The owner/operator/farmer is Joy Macy. She grows flowers and sells them at the Nyack Farmers Market, along with providing flowers to local florists like myself.

I met Joy several years ago at the Farmers Market and she invited me to the farm to see her flower fields! My first reaction was "WOW !! OMG !! You have a slice of heaven here" There was an old stone farmhouse, a big red barn, chickens and even goats! A few times a year Joy permits events to take place at the farm, taking advantage of the barn and the property. I stopped by recently to take photos of preparation for a wedding that weekend - bet you didn't have a ferris wheel at your wedding (see the photos below)! It looked like it was going to be lots of FUN!

Thank you Joy for your love of flowers, farming and everything beautiful. Stop by the Nyack Farmers market this summer to see Joy and her lovely flowers.

Spring Weddings in Full Bloom

As the weather warms up and everything is in Full Bloom, I just had to share some photos of this very special wedding from 2014. I had the pleasure - along with my husband Edwin (EV Band) - to work with Parissa and Charles on their wedding day. Their ceremony took place at the Top of Rockefeller Center on the most perfect spring day! Their reception took place at the Bookstore Cafe.

The couple chose this venue because a portion of the proceeds and cost of the reception went to the charitable entity Housing Works. Click here to read more about what housing works does. This couple's beauty is more than skin deep!

Thank you Parissa and Charles for the honor and pleasure to be a part of your day!


The photo above was taken by Jacquelyn Rose Photography. Click here to enjoy more of these beautiful photos of the wedding in the album.

Happy Spring,
Lee & Edwin

Recent Weddings Featured on The Knot & Well Wed NY

For those of you who have been anxiously awaiting my regularly scheduled blog posts (wink wink) I apologize for taking what has turned out to be a very long and unintentional hiatus!

 Life got in the way and I wont elaborate more than just to say the blog was the item on my perpetual to do list that did not get done. I hope to get back on track and be able to provide posts on a more regular basis this year.

To start off, I'll share an update from two recent weddings I was a part of.

Both weddings took place at The Garrison (one of my favorite venues) and have been featured in style blogs!

Click the link in the couples' names to read more about each couple!

 Jaime & John

Thanks for sticking with me and thanks for reading — feel free to share these too!

Happy Spring !

lee

 

Brides & Then Babies!

I cant tell you how great it feels to hear from one of my past brides (Jen) wanting me to make flower arrangements for her son Matthew’s first birthday party!

It was a Mickey Mouse theme and we decided pin wheels would be a cute touch - adding movement when the wind blew them around. How adorable is he?!

To add to the excitement, she just told me she is expecting her second baby next year! This one puts a really big smile on my face!

Thank you, Jen for letting me be a part of another joy filled day and Congratulations to you, Chris and Matthew! Sending lots of love to all of you.



Treasured Moments - EV Band

Since I have been booking EV Band, I’ve been in attendance at a few of the weddings. Seeing the whole day come together – all the planning, the details, and the excitement is palpable!!

I am not a night owl – I’ve always preferred early mornings to late nights. However while I’m at the wedding watching everyone celebrate, listening to the toasts and cheers to the newly married couple, I am filled with the energy and excitement shared by everyone in the room. Earlier this summer while at one of the EV Band weddings, I used my phone to video tape some of the action. The clients opted not to have a videographer and I wanted to be sure to capture the Second Line – a procession of musicians followed by the bride, groom & all of their guests. It took place at a beautiful location in Hudson NY.

The guests had dinner in a tent and then the procession took them to a wonderful new barn on site. Edwin (my husband / drummer) was so excited to lead the second line since he had never done this before and asked that I record it for him. I continued recording throughout the evening because everyone was enjoying themselves and dancing non-stop!!

A highlight of the night was when the bride made a special request to play Sweet Caroline – one of her favorites – and I caught her on tape singing and dancing! I was so thrilled to capture those moments for her!

I had my son (my in-house tech guy) edit the individual videos into one. I sent the video to her and she was incredibly grateful!

Witnessing joy and love never gets old. In fact I think it helps keep you young!
Don’t turn down an opportunity for a party. Even if you are surrounded by people you don’t know, you really can feel the love in the room and you can’t help but feel you are a part of it!

Alex’s response to the video:
Thank you so much for sending this my way! I think you have a calling as a wedding videographer! You’ve sent over some truly treasured memories, and I could not be more grateful!

A Lesson in Floral Design and Life

At 9:30 P.M. on a Monday I get a call from a nervous bride. Her wedding is in five days and her florist bailed out last minute.

I felt an immediate desire to help.

I explained to the bride that I'm already contracted for that day, however considering the circumstances I would call my wholesaler to see if they have the flowers she wants available.

P.S. Her florist did not order her flowers or have her specialty containers on hand - five days before the wedding. Essentially, her florist did nothing. I was starting from zero.

Here is how the rest of the day panned out:

At 6:00 A.M. the following morning I made several calls and was able to find ALL the flowers needed to make her:

  • 15 centerpieces
  • 1 bridal bouquet
  • 7 bridesmaids bouquets
  • 10 cocktail table arrangements and more
  • I also called additional staff to be sure they were on call to assist me

At 7:00 A.M. I call to say I can do it all. I've located the flowers needed and I will personally go find the specialty containers and vases she wants for her centerpieces later in the day.

The bride asks about pricing, so I provide her with my pricing  - $3,000 for everything, including delivery.

At 9:00 A.M. the bride says my price is higher than the previous quote she received and asks if I can do it for less. Can I do it for less?? [Cue Lee's eyes bugging out of her head] Are you kidding me?

I explain that I need a definite yes or no because I must let my wholesaler know if I am buying the flowers that I placed on hold and I only have a few hours to get the necessary items she needed because my week was already filled with prior commitments.

At 10:30 A.M. she says "no thank you." She can't spend any more than what she originally budgeted.

To recap :

The previous person quoted $2,000. This florist also previously made the bride a sample that in no way resembled what she wanted (this was told to me by the bride). However, she had faith they would come through on her big day. This was not the case - the hired florist bailed on her last minute and the price they quoted was then meaningless since they provided nothing!!

The bride was having a wedding for 160 + guests at a private residence of a friend. Rented items included:

  • Tent
  • Portable toilets
  • Tables
  • Chairs
  • Linens
  • Specialty vintage china
  • Flatware
  • Glassware
  • Caterer, etc.
  • Plus the cost of hair, make up, manicure, and countless other items

In the end, I spent about 3 hours trying to help someone I never met along with the time that my wholesaler spent confirming the availability of flowers on hand.

Lessons learned:
Try not to make the same mistake twice. This goes to the bride and everyone.

For myself, try not to make your problem, my problem and waste my time, energy and the time of my resources  all who were all on call waiting to help.