Where there is love, there is life.

~Mahatma Gandhi


On Sunday, my dear friend took her vows.

As expected, she was beautiful. He was beautiful. It was beautiful. It was filled with the kind of moments, too numerous to count, when I literally could not find my breath. Love and devotion have a way of creating that kind of magic.

The tears actually started many hours before. I felt weepy as I did my hair and makeup, listening to ABBA and Olivia Newton John; just a small sampling of what we loved as teenagers, and what we still love to this day. My mind went back to movie nights and beach vacations. Six years ago she witnessed my walk down the aisle, and on this evening I would witness hers.

The tears came in earnest when the ceremony began, with the sight of her brother lovingly leading her mom down the aisle. I caught a glimpse of glistening eyes and a quivering lip. The telltale signs of love.

wedding flowers

As the night progressed, I had my broken moments. The inadequacies of illness sometimes win, no matter how much I know better and no matter how hard I fight. I watched her from across the room, full of energy, talking to friends from work and others who came into her life after me. I heard the conversations swirl around the table and from elsewhere~about jobs and vacations, remodeling and children, college tuitions and 401ks~and there I was, exceptionally boring, struggling to find things to talk about. My husband looked at me, sensing my pain, and gently kissed me.

“She loves you just as you are,” he said, “that hasn’t changed.”

“I know,” I nodded and whispered back, joyful tears threatening again.

As the first dance as a married couple came and went, and the customary parent-child dances were complete, I grew tired and it was time to say goodbye. She hugged me hard as if she would never let me go. Emily Dickinson once said “forever is composed of nows.” These are the kind of moments that are the very precious fabric of life; there can never be enough of them. I want to sit still in quiet and peace and burn them into my memory so I can hold them forever.

After this very beautiful night, my heart and mind are overflowing.

Congratulations, Calli and Derrick.

I am blessed beyond measure by your love and friendship. 

What I’m Loving Right Now: Wedding Bouquets

It has been almost five years since my big day, and I’m still a little obsessed with all things weddings.  I loved every second of the planning and build up, and I would do it again and again if I could.

Sometimes I wonder if I missed my calling as a wedding planner.  If it can’t be me getting married, why not plan and create beautiful memories for others?  Hmmm.

For some reason my memories are alive and well at the moment.  Maybe because at this same time five years ago, I was in the thick of my planning for my December nuptials.  It got off to an unconventional start.  My florist was the first vendor selected.  Cake second.  Then photographer, venue and dress (seriously, in that order).   I’m not aware of any hard and fast rules, but I guess I thought the super big stuff, like venue and dress, would be handled first.   Like most things in life, it just didn’t go as planned.  But it all would turn out beautifully.

As clueless as I felt in the beginning, I knew what I wanted when it came to my wedding flowers, starting with what would be the centerpiece of it all: my bouquet.

Flowers are important, as far as weddings go.  At least to me.   You will never forget beautiful ones.  You will also remember the worst ones you ever laid eyes on.  They are immortalized forever in photographs.  They communicate the feel, theme and even the emotion of your big day.  And they have a way of beautifully bringing every element together.  In other words, flowers have a tremendous responsibility.  That’s why I had such high expectations.  I wanted all of it to make sense, when my guests saw me.  And most important, when Husband saw me walking toward him before we would take our vows.

I was blessed to cross paths with Kim England, floral designer and owner of Fleurs du Soleil.  Kim is, in my book, the most talented floral expert on the Monterey Peninsula, and everywhere else her work takes her.  While I am very open and detailed about what I want, I’m not always the easiest person to understand.  She just got me.  Her team was delightful, and her super cool dog T-Bone made every visit to her shop fun and unforgettable.  As a result, I had wedding flowers so unbelievably beautiful I was moved to tears when I saw them for the first time.  And every memory and photograph makes me happy.

I was less concerned with the meaning of each flower I selected.  For me it was all about color and texture, and having my favorite blooms present on my big day.  I knew I wanted roses, tulips, peonies, and calla lilies in my bouquet (Kim would manage to incorporate hydrangeas, amaryllis and all of the above into my ceremony and reception flowers).  At first I entertained the possibility of a pale monochromatic bouquet.   But I wanted something that would stand out beautifully against the ivory silk and lace of my dress.  I also wanted my flowers to really pop in photographs, both color and black and white.   In the end, I carried a gorgeous blend of ivory roses and calla lilies, with pink roses and tulips, and dark calla lilies and monkey tail (fern shoots).  Perfection!

I wanted a large and dramatic bouquet, but not something that would overwhelm and take anything away from me and how I looked.  Kim came up with a design that can best be described as an exaggerated teardrop style, with a small cascade of foliage going down.  I am a tall girl with broad shoulders, and my dress was a traditional A line style, so this larger teardrop shape worked for me.   If this style of bouquet interests you, keep in mind that this selection must be densely packed with flowers.  My bouquet was heavy and luckily I always had a place to put it when I needed a rest.  Also, it won’t necessarily be the best choice for all shapes or sillhouettes.  But hey, there are no rules.  Do what makes you happy, ladies!

My bouquet stunned in black and white.

And in color.

A simple over arm long stemmed bouquet is perfect for sleek, modern silhouettes, tall brides, and dresses with detailed bodices.

I love the drama and presence of this cascade, the blue and purple tones are stunning.

Monochromatic is equally beautiful.

And let’s not forget Catherine Middleton. Small and understated Lily Of The Valley was perfect against the volume of her dress.

For those of you out there who are planning and anticipating your big day, stay true to yourself in what you choose.  It will be what you want and what makes you happy, and therefore beautiful.

And congratulations to you.

Enjoy every single moment.

For more information on Kim England and her amazing designs (and for your floral needs in Carmel-By-The-Sea, Big Sur, San Francisco, the Bay Area or on the Monterey Peninsula), visit:

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