To say that I am over the moon excited about today’s Professional Spotlight feature would be a crazy understatement!  I have been following the work of floral genius Becky De Oliveira of Blush and Bloom Floral Studio for a good while and it is always, always, ALWAYS so creative, bold and just the right amount of wild.  I was so happy when Becky agreed to take some time out of her busy schedule to share a peek into her creative process and the floral trends she is excited about this year + a little bit about her favorite blooms.  So, without further ado, get ready to be inspired by some major flower power from this super talented wedding professional.  Enjoy!

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WHEN I LOOK AT YOUR DESIGNS, I THINK “AMAZING, BOLD, UNIQUE”.  WHAT ARE THREE WORDS THAT YOU WOULD YOU USE TO DESCRIBE YOUR SIGNATURE DESIGN STYLE?

B & B:  I would call our style garden inspired + bold + whimsical.  I try to encapsulate organic vibes but also make things texturally (or colourfully) stimulating and unique. I think there are so many variances on garden style and it translates to all of us differently. That is what makes it so great to be in a city where each designer/brand has a different look!

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lavishandlight CAN YOU GIVE US A LITTLE INSIGHT INTO YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS?  WHAT GOES INTO WORKING WITH YOUR CLIENTS TO CREATE THE PERFECT DESIGN FOR THEIR SPECIAL OCCASION?

B & B:  I like to ask all of our potential clients before meeting to fill out a short and easy questionnaire.  In addition to actual dates and budgets, etc., it asks them to describe their personal style, the style of their upcoming wedding, how they heard of us, and what about Blush and Bloom made them want to book with us.  I also ask for 3x pieces of reference to best describe their expectations.  We look over each client’s info and check back in with feedback, and if all things work and aesthetic and pricing is compatible, we meet in person.

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(continued…) I put together a 3x page proposal for each client within a week, illustrating different ideas and a place to start for every area we are hired for of their wedding decor. This includes suggestions, a list of potential varieties we would use (this is also completely at our discretion) and visuals of different vases, reference points, palettes, etc. This really helps our clients to get an idea of what direction we are heading in!

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(continued…) I like to be in full creative control of the areas that we execute (florals, candles, backdrop, installations, all personal flowers, etc.) to be sure the overall look is cohesive.  Most of the clients that meet with us give us creative licensing to take a concept or idea and run with it.  Very seldomly do we have brides ask us to completely replicate an idea that has already been done.  We have a note in our Agreement that each wedding we do is to be a variation from another concept (or a completely new idea entirely!) and that we try our best never to re create things twice. This makes it so much more of an amazing creative journey knowing we have clients who really want to push the envelope and trust in us to bring the creative direction.

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SPRING IS IN THE AIR…FINALLY!!  AS WE HEAD INTO THE WARMER MONTHS, WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE FLOWERS TO WORK WITH (AND ONES THAT ARE LIKELY TO WITHSTAND THOSE HOT DAYS!)?

B & B:  Earlier spring blooms like tulips, muscari and hyacinth, anemone, snowball viburnum, poppies, ranunculus, frittilaria to name a few… are favourites to work with this time of year.  Well, peonies are always a favourite for the month of June, and onward from that it is dahlias. each of those are tough to stand the hot days, but most flowers do not stand up easily to immediate heat and full sun. We do a lot of babysitting!

Our staple items are garden roses, spray roses and tons of textures with foliages and vines. Geranium is one of my all time favourites, with such a sweet fragrance.

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Blush and Bloom6 WHAT ARE SOME COOL FLORAL TRENDS THAT YOU ARE EXCITED ABOUT THIS YEAR?

B & B:  For us, hanging installation focal pieces are more common than the previous years. If the venue supports and allows us to hang something to create drama and excitement… we are going for it. Above dance floors, head tables and even for ceremony altar spaces.  Candles are always key, and brass and mixed metals are always favourite finishes to accompany the flowers. I also am really loving stoneware.  Palette wise, we have a mix of all whites and soft pastel weddings and events, and then we have vibrant, whimsical and very colourful. This year ( again) I am noticing the hint of rich colour added to a soft pastel palette is playing true, and I am okay with having that trend repeat itself again!

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WHAT ARE YOUR TOP THREE FLOWERS TO ENJOY AT HOME?  AND JUST FUN, WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE WEDDING MOVIE?

B & B:   Ranunculus, parrot tulips, garden roses… or maybe even a few stems of foliage. I really, really really  love plants (it’s an addiction!).  So for home I find myself leaning toward plants and long lasting greens to decorate with.

I am always a big fan of the oldie wedding movies: The Wedding Singer is one of my all-time favourites.

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A huge thank you to Becky for sharing a little behind-the-scenes look into her world of blooms!  And if you are interested in getting creative and exploring your floral abilities, be sure to sign up for one of Becky’s wonderful workshops at the B & B Studio (I had the pleasure of attending one and it was so much fun!).  And of course, follow along on Instagram for daily inspiration and real and spunky quotes, like this one.

Wishing you a beautiful week!! Spring is finally here, so enjoy that warm sunshine!! xo

Photo credits:  1 (Left / Top Right), 2 (Left for Mango Studios / Right), 3 (Left / Right), 4, 5, 6, 7, 8-11, 12-13, 14

With over 15 years in the industry, hundreds of weddings planned all over the world, and more lives than a cat, I’m here to share my story in the hopes that it inspires you in some way to show up in your life, get out of your own way, and love. Love, Crystal.

Meet Crystal Adair-Benning, international wedding planner/designer and owner of Distinct Occasions in Toronto, ON.  A self-described hopeless romantic, adventure seeker and lover of color and travel, Crystal is a match made in heaven for couples looking to plan awesome, “once-in-a-freaking-lifetime” kind of weddings…anywhere in the world!

On February 9th, 2016 (mark your calendars!), Crystal will be releasing her first book, “Wedding Planner Problems”.  A fun and heartfelt behind-the-scenes look into her personal and professional journey in the wild world of wedding planning.

I am SO excited to share with you today a little Q & A session with this super wedding industry creative!

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YOU HAVE BEEN IN THE WEDDING INDUSTRY FOR OVER 15 YEARS AND HAVE PLANNED SOME BEAUTIFUL AND VERY UNIQUE CELEBRATIONS!  HOW DID YOU GET STARTED IN THE WEDDING INDUSTRY?

CAB:  I never wanted to be a wedding planner. I actually just saw a need and filled it. It wasn’t romantic or over thought and I never expected to be doing it 15 years later. Trust me on that!

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Distinct Occassions1 YOUR BOOK “WEDDING PLANNER PROBLEMS” IS BEING RELEASED ON AMAZON ON FEBRUARY 9TH (SO EXCITING!!).  WHAT SPARKED YOUR DESIRE TO WRITE A BOOK AT THIS POINT IN YOUR CAREER?
CAB:  I have been a writer for most of my life and loved it. I have written books for others as a shadow writer, magazine articles, blogs, websites and magazines but never written for myself. It was the encouragement of friends and colleagues that pushed me to tell my story. None of us ever think we are “special” but I guess a lot of people related to my story. I work in rainbows and sunshine but my life was far from perfect.  It changed my life, changed my business and more importantly, changed me. If that inspires someone else to get through their “not perfect” I’m thrilled! Distinct-Occasions_Wedding_Mary-Pat_Dave_Cambium-Farms_010

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CAN YOU SHARE A COUPLE OF HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE BOOK WITH US?  WHAT WERE SOME MEMORABLE MOMENTS FOR YOU WHEN WRITING “WEDDING PLANNER PROBLEMS“?
CAB:  The book is meant to be read like you and I are having a drink after a very looooong wedding. It is part my life story and part hilarious behind-the-scenes tales of weddings/events I have produced. Two big moments stick out for me. The first is all about the moment that changed my life… and it happened in New Zealand. The second is the final tale in my book and my very own monsoon wedding. I won’t give more away than that but if you like laughing, crying and shaking your head in wonder – read on!  I wrote the book while in Maui, Hawaii on a destination wedding. A couple of extra weeks for some focused writing time (mixed with surfing time) and my right hand gal, Gina (who works for Distinct Occasions) and the book was born. I actually didn’t struggle writing it as much as I thought I would. I just let it flow and wrote… I laughed. I cried (a lot). But, in the end, it is my heart on a page.

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WHAT WERE SOME OF THE CHALLENGES YOU ENCOUNTERED WHEN WRITING THE BOOK AND WHAT DID YOU ENJOY THE MOST ABOUT THE PROCESS?
CAB:  I think my biggest challenge was actually choosing WHICH stories to tell! After 15 years, as I am sure you can imagine, there are HUNDREDS. The stories that I ended up choosing I felt really shaped the Planner I have become.  It was incredibly cathartic to open my heart and just write. Put it all out there. Now that it is about to become incredibly public it scares me (a little) but I don’t regret it for a single second. Life is messy. Love is real and Marriage can change the world.

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ASIDE FROM YOUR NEW BOOK BEING PUBLISHED, RUNNING YOUR OWN WEDDING PLANNING AND DESIGN COMPANY AND BEING A MENTOR TO INDUSTRY PEERS THROUGH “WEDDING MAVEN” (TALK ABOUT AMAZING MULTITASKING ABILITIES!), WHAT ARE SOME OTHER DREAMS AND GOALS FOR 2016?

CAB:  I really would love the opportunity to speak more and share my story. We throw the term ‘balance’ around a lot and never more than when you are knee-deep in tulle and bridesmaids. The truth is, it doesn’t exist. What exists instead is happiness. What exists is love. What exists between the weddings is real life – messy, chaotic, scary, awesome, amazing LIFE. I want to share that with everyone!

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Thank you Crystal for being awesome, inspiring and for sharing your story!

Be sure to follow Crystal’s wedding planning adventures here, here and here and get yourself a little copy of her new book on February 9th, 2016 on amazon.com.  Date is already marked in my calendar!

Wishing you a lovely week.  xo

Photo credits: Image 1 / Images 2-6 / Images 7-10 / Image 11 (top right / center / bottom right / bottom left / top left) / Image 12 (top right / bottom right / center / bottom left / top left)

Hello friends, I hope you have had a chance to recharge your batteries this past weekend and that you are feeling happy and refreshed as we start a new week!

For today’s Professional Spotlight, I am so delighted to share with you the work of a seriously talented and beyond creative sweet soul.  Meet Mana Abosaid, Creative Director and Lead Planner of Birds & Honey, a boutique event planning and design studio based in Edmonton, AB (but traveling worldwide).  With a focus on bespoke, one of a kind events and celebrations, Mana’s job is to help amazing people plan the wedding of their dreams…and that she does beautifully.  I first came across Mana’s work on Instagram (of course!) and absolutely fell in love with her aesthetic, brand and the genuine warmth that radiates through each of her posts. It is such a pleasure to share with you a little Q&A with this amazing lady.  I hope you will enjoy!

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WHAT SPARKED YOUR LOVE OF WEDDING PLANNING AND STYLING?

B & H: My love of planning sparked from my own engagement back in 2009. Back then, there wasn’t a whole lot to choose from and I felt that there wasn’t anything that I could relate to.  I prefer cleaner, more minimal and timeless design so I decided to plan it my way. Once my wedding was over I realized that this is what I was supposed to do. I knew there were other brides out there looking for a more understated style, and just like that Birds & Honey was born.

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ALL OF YOUR WEDDINGS EXUDE A SENSE OF LIGHT AND BEAUTIFUL HARMONY.  CAN YOU GIVE US A LITTLE INSIGHT INTO YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS AND WHAT GOES INTO WORKING WITH YOUR CLIENTS TO CREATE SUCH MAGIC?

B & H: I am a firm believer in the less is more mantra. I will always base each and every design on my couples and their own personal styles. Their story is the basis for their wedding design. I always hold a meeting with the couple to discuss their ideas and what’s important to them; each couple is completely different and no ceremony or reception in my eyes has been the same. It’s their day and it’s my role to make it all come to life.

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I LOVE THE NAME OF YOUR BUSINESS, BIRDS & HONEY, AND THE FACT THAT IT IS INFUSED WITH YOUR PERSIAN HERITAGE.  I LOVE THE TRADITION YOU MENTION ON YOUR WEBSITE OF COUPLES DIPPING THEIR PINKIES IN HONEY AND FEEDING IT TO EACH OTHER WHEN THEY ARE PRONOUNCED HUSBAND AND WIFE.  CAN YOU SHARE ANY OTHER SWEET PERSIAN WEDDING TRADITIONS?

B & H:  What sets Persian weddings apart is their tradition-infused ceremony. The ceremony is rich with old customs and stunning details conducted in an intimate setting around an elaborate spread of symbolic items to ward off the evil eye. The spread, which is called sofreh aghd, often has food and floral arrangements, among other things, as well as a mirror called a aayeneh-ye bakht, which is the mirror of fate. For Persians, marriage is an important day not only for the couple, but also for the two families uniting as one. Another aspect I love is that nowadays brides incorporate bits and pieces from their own life onto the spread and they can choose to pass it down to their daughters. There is something truly beautiful about that to me.

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I THINK WE ALL HAVE A FAVORITE WEDDING “MOMENT”.  WHAT IS YOURS?

B & H: Oh man, there are so many favorites. But, if I had to choose one moment it would be the father/daughter dance. It gets me every time. My father passed away a few years ago and at every wedding I plan or attend this part of the night connects me to my baba.

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AND JUST FOR FUN, WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE WEDDING MOVIE?

B & H: Don’t judge me, but I actually dislike most wedding movies, they always seem to show everyone in the worst possible light. If I had to choose something wedding related it would probably be a Bollywood movie, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai!!

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A HUGE thank you to this inspiring lady for taking the time out of her busy schedule to share a little bit of herself with us.  Be sure to follow Birds & Honey on Instagram for regular peeks into her pretty and magical work.  Mana will also be styling and designing at The Three Dudes workshop in beautiful Havana, Cuba from February 22-26, 2016, you can get more information for this incredible experience here.

Wishing you a beautiful week! xo

Photo Credits: Image 1, 6-7, 12  Justine Milton Photography / Images 2-5, 13 Maria Lamb / Images 8-11 Wilhelmina Weddings