Sshhh… can you hear them?! Crickets!! The sound of crickets on our blog due to stagnant writing. We have good reason, none-the-less.. it’s only mid July and we have executed over 40 beautiful wedding orders since our last post. Please see our Facebook and Instagram pages for visuals of what’s keeping us very busy!
We love this time of year. The tulips and daffodils are sprouting, giving pops of color and a promise of longer, warmer days, green gardens, farmer’s markets and a new season of beautiful weddings. We have a full schedule and are so excited for the creations to come. We are also looking forward to working with many of you.
With every new season comes change and in a few short months we will wish Caitlin a fond farewell as she heads back to the hills of Vail on a new adventure. Caitlin is taking over ownership of our flower friend Vintage Magnolia. Although we will miss Caitlin’s savvy, we are thrilled for her! We are also elated as we have a fabulous new manager stepping into her lovely shoes.
Allow me to introduce Elizabeth Gotsdiner. A few words from Elizabeth…
Hello! My name is Elizabeth Gotsdiner and I am the new Studio Manager at Plum Sage Flowers. I’ve been in the floral industry for fourteen years and the locations I’ve worked span from Germany to Hawaii. Most recently I managed Boulder Blooms, an eco-friendly floral shop in Boulder, CO. I look forward to meeting with clients, venues, vendors, and coordinators regarding upcoming weddings and events. Thank you for taking a moment to allow me to introduce myself, I’m so excited for the opportunity to work with Plum Sage Flowers and contribute to an incredibly talented and esteemed design team!
If you are currently working on an event with Caitlin, please look for future correspondence from us. She will be transitioning her clients to myself, Rachel and Elizabeth. We look forward to providing excellent service during this transition and will honor any questions you may have.
I feel so fortunate to have worked with Caitlin and to be welcoming Elizabeth. These ladies are so talented and vibrant and to them I want to say…
Elizabeth: “Good things may happen and often do to people as brainy and footsy as you.”
Caitlin: “You’re off to Great Places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, so…get on your way!”
Cheers to new beginnings!
Jenny is about to have her second baby and this time she is expecting a little boy! Her two-year-old daughter Zoe is bound to be a wonderful big sister. We are so excited for she and Seth’s new arrival, but with this excitement comes a little bit of sadness as Jenny will now be staying home with her kiddos and not joining us in the studio weekly. Jenny has been a part of the Plum Sage team since the early years… she has alternated between being a part time and full time employee and has created numerous beautiful events, making many brides very happy on their big day.
It all began when a mutual friend recommended Jenny to help out and she willingly joined me for a wedding delivery at the Roaring Fork Club in Aspen in the summer of 2006. This is a gorgeous arch, no?!? I agree, but what I think of when I see this photo are the gale force winds occurring during set-up that caused Jenny and I to hold on to our balance (not to mention the flowers) and articles of clothing while we teetered on a ladder to adhere the blooms to this 12 plus foot structure. After a great struggle, it looked amazing, and just as we finished we were informed the wedding would be relocated indoors (no doubt due to the weather) and it needed to come down. Without complaint Jenny helped me to take it all down, load it on a golf cart, and race across the grounds to the new ceremony location (now driving against the crazy blowing winds). We arrived only to be told within twenty minutes that the ceremony would actually take place at the arch and it needed to be redecorated. I figured out on this day very quickly that Jenny not only was a hard worker and a great sport, but she had a good sense of humor in the face of stress. We spent a lot of time laughing while we climbed up high to adhere the flowers once again to create this beauty.
Fast forward a few years, this is one of my favorite photos of Jenny. This is from the Wednesday market in Cherry Creek, where we were picking up locally grown product to use for weekly orders and wedding work. Can you spot her cute little smile above the mound of color?!
In the years that followed, Jenny has been one of the best designers for Plum Sage. She has created dozens of bouquets and arrangements, but was the mastermind behind two particularly gorgeous weddings that were featured on Style Me Pretty…
On a personal note, Jenny lead a team of girls to create my beautiful wedding flowers in June of 2008 in Tabernash. I returned the favor for her wedding in August of 2009 in Keystone. She was a gorgeous bride!
We both were at each other’s bachelorette parties too… those memories are awesome yet those photos are not exactly content appropriate. These are pretty tame but we were feeling good! (Note, ski shots are messy).
Fast forward again, Jenny was one of the hosts of my baby shower when I was pregnant with Bennett and created these adorable caterpillar arrangements. I returned the favor when she was pregnant with Zoe with the cute owl mug pieces.
I have no doubt that Jenny will always be a part of the Plum Sage family and will return to create beautiful things when time allows. We will miss seeing her weekly but know that her kids will be so happy to have her home with them. This week we celebrate her and her pending arrival with so many good wishes for her! A huge THANK YOU to Jenny to all of the hours and hard work she has put in to make Plum Sage what it is today. She has a few fun surprises coming her way this week as we plan to celebrate her as she well deserves!
An Elegant Four Seasons Winter Wedding
A Look Behind the Scenes:
As wedding florists, we spend a lot of time on each of our weddings, and we love every minute of it! Today, we wanted to share a behind the scenes look into the passion and energy spent on each.
Typically, we’ll begin working with our newly engaged brides 8-12 months prior to their wedding. Our initial consultation is spent brainstorming style concepts, discussing color palettes and playing with flower types. After discussing all floral needs, we’ll custom create a detailed proposal that includes line item pricing and numerous visuals. Over the next few months, we’ll typically make a few revisions to our initial ideas. As details are nailed down, we will change our concepts accordingly. The reception table count is usually last to be finalized.
Once it is, we’ll place one large order on an Xcel spreadsheet with all of the bride’s favorite blooms into our wholesaler. This spreadsheet specifies exactly the flower variety, color and quantity we need for the entire wedding. The entire process includes roughly six to ten hours of labor, depending on how many meetings and changes we have made to the proposal during the planning process.
On the Wednesday or Thursday prior to the wedding, our wholesaler will have this order pulled and waiting for us in their cooler, at which point we’ll check each bloom and bunch carefully for quality, quantity and color accuracy.
Next, we’ll take these wedding flowers back to our studio where we will ‘process’ them. Each bloom will need to unpacked and unwrapped, stripped of any leaves/thorns, given a fresh cut and placed into water. Based on the size of the wedding, this could take hours! This does leave our studio smelling incredible. The more fragile blooms will be immediately placed in the cooler to maintain freshness while sturdier blooms, like roses, that need to stay out and open (for beautiful presentation) will be placed on countertops at room temperature.
We’ll have already pre-planned how many stems of each flower type will go in each floral item (noted on those spreadsheets) so there is never a worry of running out of product. Vases, vessels and supplies will already be pulled and prepped to speed up the design process, which is by far our favorite part! Below, we begin separating flowers for bouquets, boutonnieres and centerpiece creation.
The morning of wedding, everything will be checked one last time for overall beauty. Each item will be carefully removed from our coolers and boxed up for transport. Winter weddings, like this one can be challenging in Colorado, as we’ll need to cover each piece with plastic to protect them from the snow and cold! Once onsite, we’ll unpack everything, Windex any glassware to remove fingerprints, mist the flowers with water and begin setup. Bouquets will be handed out, boutonnieres will be pinned on and final touches are made to the ceremony and reception decor.
Handing a bride, her bridal bouquet and watching her reaction is the most satisfying part of our job! Not to mention when the couple sees their reception space for the first time.
And now, enjoy these beautiful photos of Priscilla and Manny’s wedding at The Four Seasons Hotel Denver taken by the talented Jared Wilson.
It’s award season and although our studio is generally too messy for a red carpet, we are in the mood to call attention to our favorites from the beautiful 2013 season!
Cheers to our winners for the top 13 of 2013.
Emily’s bridal bouquet is our staff favorite! This loose, natural design style is becoming increasingly popular. This soft palette includes the gorgeous Juliette pale peach garden roses as well as the lush Sophie pale pink rose. Jasmine vine is entwined throughout the blooms and the accents include ranunculus and blue eryngium thistle. This photo is courtesy of Two One Photography. This wedding was featured on Trendy Bride.
Best Supporting Actress:
Christine’s bridal party donned beautiful shades of elegant platinum, and their lush green and white bouquets were just the compliment. The blooms involved included pittosporum and bupleurum greenery, white astilbe, lisianthus and Queen Anne’s. Photos by Brett Heidebrecht. This wedding was featured on Style Me Pretty!
We love this gorgeous and modern blushing bride and astilbe accent boutonniere on Brian. The crisp photo is courtesy of Campfire Studios.
Best Supporting Actor:
The inspiration behind Todd’s boutonniere, with anise pod and lavender sprig accents, were the herbs and botanicals that are involved in the liquor distillery process. Todd (the groom) is one of the Leopold Brothers, and his boutonniere reflective of the elements they use to create their delicious tinctures. First photo courtesy of Instagram and second courtesy of Apples and Oranges Photography. This wedding was featured on Style Me Pretty!
Altar décor, hanging:
Color and delicacy meets vintage rustic with this beautiful hanging windowpane backdrop at The Sanctuary golf course. Gorgeous! Photo by Lori Kennedy.
Altar décor, upright:
The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs needs little embellishments, but Jenni and Brett’s ceremony décor was tastefully elegant. We loved the sheer draping and bold, monochromatic vase clusters. Photo by Jared Wilson.
Altar décor, pedestal:
Our beautiful silver urns have never been happier to be filled with lush greenery and blooms for Todd and Sarah’s Parkside Mansion wedding. These gorgeous pieces flanked the altar and then were enjoyed throughout the reception as a backdrop to the head table. Photo by Apples and Oranges Photography. This wedding was featured on Style Me Pretty!
Chuppah and arch:
Both our aspen arch and aspen chuppah were adorned with heavy greenery and curly willow sprigs this season, and here are our two favorite combinations. We love the lush, vine-inspired look of the Southern smilax on the arch, as well as the wrapped jasmine vine, willow, ruscus and fern combination on the full chuppah. Photos by us, from Instagram.
At Donovan Pavilion in Vail, we created these fuchsia and white beauties for Emily with hydrangea, garden roses, astilbe and draping phaleonopsis orchids on the gorgeous silver “Paris” stand by Accent Décor. Photo by Van Buran Photography. (PS: Rumor has it this wedding is soon to be featured on today.com).
We loved this elegant compote arrangement on top of a mercury pedestal for Emily’s September Devil’s Thumb Ranch wedding (which accompanied the best bouquet winner). It is again, a lovely combination of soft color with garden roses and ranunculus, a touch of texture with eryngium thistle and soft spilling jasmine greenery. Photo by Two One Photography. This wedding was featured on Trendy Bride.
The winner is by far this rustic wood runner, adorned with a delicate strip of lace and topped with birch bark and jar arrangements (filled with hydrangea, peonies, eryngium, sword fern sprigs and anemones) complimented by numerous candles. This was just lovely! Photo by Instagram.
Best Costume Design:
For this award, we will send you over to Jared Wilson’s blog, for a complete look at a beautiful May wedding at The Broadmoor (the ceremony decor is referenced above). This wedding was pure elegance, from her enormous majestic red calla bridal bouquet to her opulent hydrangea, orchid and peony centerpieces. We strongly encourage you to take a look at the entire gallery!
I suppose I should introduce myself to you readers. I’m Rachel and I joined the Plum Sage team this fall. My background in flowers is farm-y, I worked the last four years at a local flower and vegetable farm (Pastures of Plenty… you may be familiar as Erin purchases product here often). I feel so lucky to get to work with all the talented ladies at Plum Sage!
Can you believe it’s almost time to think about the holidays? I can’t. Jeez, wasn’t it just peony season? Which happens to be my favorite season, BTW. I guess if I can’t have a big bouquet of peonies on my coffee table, I can begin to think about the holiday season and what it means to me… (delicious food, mostly!) Erin asked me to think about ideas that we could suggest to our blog readers, friends and family that would help give back to our local community. Below are a few suggestions. We’d obviously love to hear from you if there is a great program that we over-looked.
30 Ideas to Give Back this Holiday Season:
Consider joining, donating or volunteering at the Denver Botanic Gardens. A membership gets you 365 days of admission to the gardens! It it’s not in your budget to donate, think about volunteering. What better way to connect with nature than by getting a little dirty? The Denver Botanic Gardens has more than 1,900 volunteers annually- helping and learning with the experts.
Denver Urban Gardens has a great mission: Denver Urban Gardens comes alongside residents, and together, we grow community – one urban garden at a time. Help grow our community! We think anyone that helps provide access to fresher and healthier food needs a shout-out! D.U.G. works with DeLaney Community farm to put together workshops for summer. I realize it’s November, but check their calendar in the spring for opportunities to become a master gardener.
Denver Parks and Recreation …volunteer with the organization that does it all; everything from keeping up city pools and after school programs, maintaining our parks. Denver is a beautiful city due to the numerous green patches around town. Let’s help maintain them!
Grow Local Colorado … volunteer with a group dedicated to promoting local food, local community, and local economy. This group connects food banks/pantries with school gardens, community gardens (or even your own home garden) to distribute healthy and locally grown food.
Again, I know, its November… BUT, this is the best time to think about joining a CSA for next summer. Local Harvest will help you find the right fit. Community Supported Agriculture is a great way to partner with a local farm. You buy into a ‘share’ of a farms’ harvest for a pre-determined season length. This share includes fresh, often organic, local produce and flowers. What could be better?! (PS signing up early helps your farmer buy seeds! Yay!)
Ample Harvest connects 40+ million Americans with excess food in their garden and local food pantries. This organization will take donations both from your own garden (thinking ahead) or from your grocery shopping excursions.
Pay it forward… buy coffee for the under caffeinated person in line behind you at your LOCAL (small chain) coffee shop such as Common Grounds.
Donate blood to Bonfils. This means you get to eat an extra cookie!
Donate your old cell phone (yes, that old clunker you keep ‘just in case’) to help low income users in Latin America or battered women’s shelters. You can drop them at your carriers store front or the Denver Zoo is running a collection and recycling program. Or donate to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence on December 5th.
My friend just donated her old sewing machine to Mission Wear but any donation to Mission Wear is welcome. Your tax-deductible donations directly support the employment of women in rehabilitation, and help us to purchase materials for our shopping bags and other recycled products.
Help with flood relief In Colorado by restoring some of our precious recreation and outdoor spaces. Healing the land….building community.
The Humane Society of the South Platte Valley: Even if you can’t adopt a pet, you can volunteer at the shelter or just donate to sponsor one. Or donate online to the Animals Advocate Alliance to relocate an animal to a no-kills shelter and assist in the adoption process.
Toys for Tots: While the holidays are the big time for this organization, they do accept donations year round.
Random Acts of Flowers is a great organization recycle flower arrangements to hospitals, hospices and nursing homes. Although there is not a CO chapter, Plum Sage would be MORE than happy to do this for you after your event so consider this with all your beautiful holiday arrangements! Another example of this (unfortunately, also not local) Petals with a Purpose serves as a resource to people who wish to donate their flowers after weddings, special events, galas and corporate parties. Flowers are re-purposed and delivered. Again, Plum Sage can do this for you with our event strike services!
Support Project Angel Heart, an organization that provides meals to individuals fighting a life-threatening illness, free of charge.
Adopt a US Soldier and send letters and packages to our troops who can’t get home for the holidays. Or, donate a teddy bear to the child of a deployed marine. For only $25, a teddy bear will be delivered with a recorded message from the parent when the paw is pressed. Awesome!
Pay the parking meter for the next person (you know you love it when you pull up and there is time on the meter).
Support the continuance of music education to our youth through the Fender Music Program. This program uses donations to provide instruments to school programs that are struggling due to budget cuts.
Give a gift to a small village abroad of a goat, chicken or cow through Heifer International or think about Micro financing someone. Small donations really go a long way here and these are gifts that really give back. Try Project Have Hope, who “works with a group of 100 women in the Acholi Quarter of Uganda and helps them transform their lives and the lives of their families” through the sale of homemade beaded jewelry.
Volunteer or donate to Judi’s House (a Plum Sage local favorite). Judi’s House provides children and young adults support and group therapy during the bereavement process. Donations will fund their programming and house supplies, or you can sign up to bring a meal to feed the participating families one evening.
Volunteer or donate to the Denver Chapter of Girl’s Inc. (another Plum Sage local favorite). Girl’s Inc. is an organization that inspires young girls to be “Strong, smart and bold.” The lucky participants engage in after school activities and community outreach programs at our local chapter.
Donate on Colorado Gives Day, which will be December 10th this year. Pass on your cup of coffee and instead, donate the $3 to a local do-good!
Clean out your closet and donate any gently used coats to Coats for Colorado.
Help spread the word to prevent bullying! Stand For The Silent is traveling the country to spread the word to prevent tragedy and stop senseless “mean”.
Donate to the reforestation of Colorado. ReForest Colorado, which helps restore trees in communities affected by natural disasters and plants trees in areas that, in general, need tree cover; and Colorado Tree Trust (CTT), an endowment to secure funds for future tree planting and tree care projects.
Everyone shed a tear when we saw Facebook photos of Miles the “bat boy”, who’s wish was granted in San Francisco to be a super hero for a day. Support more of these amazing wishes via Make-A-Wish America.
Team up with Colorado’s Children’s Hospital on December 3rd for Giving Tuesday. Give to help kids “survive and thrive!”
Don’t like any of my suggestions? Try Volunteer Match. Volunteer match helps you find causes that you care about and matches you with organizations and people in need right in your area. When I searched, there were 4188 listings!
I am headed to Thailand for two weeks… but when I get back I plan to put a few of these ideas in practice while I sing Christmas carols in the studio. Cheers to a joyous and generous holiday season! ~Rachel
We love incorporating locally grown blooms in our designs during the summer growing months. We visit the farmer’s market weekly to purchase and document varieties from Pastures of Plenty Farm in Longmont.
Why document? We are often asked by brides what local product is available for their event and having photographs from our weekly visits enables us to plan what we may be able to incorporate that compliments their wedding date, palette and style.
Why choose local? We prefer to support local farmers and to reduce the carbon footprint of how far flowers travel to arrive at our studio for use.
Here are a few visuals of the available June and July blooms including sunflowers, scabiosa, lilies, crocosmia, coreopsis, solidago, cosmos, phlox, lupine, veronica, feverfiew, yarrow, caterbury bells, gypsophila, red hot pokers, delphinium, amaranthus and peonies. In addition to the farm blooms, we can rely on a local wholesaler, Stevens and Son, who grows asiatic lilies, asters, freesia, iris, snapdragons, alstro, sunflowers and dahlias.
We have recently had the pleasure of using the farm blooms for several wedding orders and at the end of this gallery is an example of a bright Colorado-inspired bridal bouquet created for a early July Vail wedding.
In January, Erin and I had the privilege to attend Florabundance’s first annual floral design conference at Dos Pueblos Ranch in beautiful Santa Barbara. Its purpose was to bring together the industry’s top wedding and event designers, while providing workshops on inspirational design, the industry’s latest trends, social media expertise and more. Plus, sunshine and the ocean in the middle of the winter seemed like a no brainer!
The first morning, our group (99% women, of course!) was picked up by an antique trolley and carted to Florabundance’s warehouse. If you haven’t experienced the thrill of flying down Cali’s busy freeway in an open window trolley, we definitely recommend you do! Florabundance is a direct shipper of wholesaler cut florals located in the seaside town of Carpinteria where the mountains of the Los Padres National Forest meet the Pacific Ocean. We were able to get to know our peers while we toured their warehouse, which was stocked full of fresh and fragrant buds and blooms.
Next, we headed to our classroom, the spectacular Dos Pueblos Ranch. This barn-style wedding venue (among other things) consists of over 2,000 acres including a private sandy beach, abundant agriculture, livestock (the baby goats were obviously our favorite) and 13 homes and residences. Despite it’s size, we were blown away by its quaint beauty and character.
We spent the next few days buried in everything flowers. Holly Heider Chapple and Ian Prosser (check them out if you haven’t heard of them) led various discussions on the wedding industry, business models, pricing, etc. and Alicia Schwede and Chuck Graham, co-bloggers on Flirty Fleurs, led discussions on social media and blogging. Most presentations led to open forums where we all could openly chat, give advise and ask questions. We were given many opportunities to design and learn new tricks with an endless supply of flowers. We were all in heaven!
To wrap up the workshop, we had the pleasure of working together as a group in designing aisle décor, a chuppah, an arch and a fabulous tablescape. It’s pretty amazing what 38 florists can create when working together!
Enjoy our photos… click to enlarge for a better view.
We are off to a wonderful start to 2013 at Plum Sage! Let’s look back before looking forward….
Last year we produced flowers and decor for just over 75 events. Although that is still a LOT of blooms, that is dozens less than previous years. Last year was the first year we set a minimum order requirement for delivery services. We did this so that we could concentrate on a fewer number of events, and ensure quality product and excellent service for all.
Jenny was blessed with a beautiful baby girl, Zoe, last February and returned to work in May for her sixth wedding season with Plum Sage. Last fall, Caitlin Caldwell joined us after relocating from Vail, where she managed a retail and event florist. Caitlin brings with her a marketing degree and the work ethic and amazing customer service skills that exemplify Plum Sage standards. She blended into the team seamlessly, is busy networking in our ideal market and is booking 2013 brides by the day.
Caitlin’s efforts have recently placed us on the 2013 referral list at the esteemed Four Seasons Hotel and the newly renovated McNichols Building, as well as created a new and exciting partnership with Footers Catering. We continue to be a member of StudioWed and Style Me Pretty’s Little Black Book, and are still the preferred florist of the beautiful Devil’s Thumb Ranch.
Caitlin and I started the year with a trip to Santa Barbara in January to participate in a design conference. This was a wonderful week of “play” in a beautiful setting. The conference was sponsored by Florabundance so we were exposed to beautiful wholesale product at a privately owned ranch (also a wedding venue). We worked alongside 30 other florists around the country and created dreamy, over-the-top table and ceremony pieces for a photo shoot. Look for a blog post featuring images soon.
Also in January we did a community outreach afternoon and volunteered with 2nd and 3rd graders at Girl’s, Inc. We had a great time helping the girls create pipe cleaner blooms and paint terra-cotta pots that we then put fresh flowers into. You can see our group photo below, which was photo-shopped to look like we had the pleasure of being outside in January. It’s obviously fake but makes us smile to see their happy faces with such a silly backdrop!
Back in the studio, we are now brainstorming weekly to come up with unique, gorgeous floral and decor ideas that we can pitch to our future clientele. We are looking for ways to think outside the box and and fuel our creativity. We just participated in the first annual WestWord Whiteout Fashion Show where we created table and runway decor, as well as floral accessories that complimented the fashion and adorned the beautiful models. Look for an additional blog post featuring those images.
There is a sense of excitement, enthusiasm and ease in the studio as we approach the new wedding season. We look forward to working with all of the vendors that we respect and love and we look forward to the opportunity of meeting and working with new talent. As always, we see our fellow florists as allies. We refer to them if we are booked for a certain date. We will also welcome a new and very talented team member to our family in late March. More to come on her in the future!
Plum Sage has stayed true to it’s healthy roots over the years. We have grown a little taller and now produce a bit bigger blossoms (pardon the corny pun) but we still stand for the same excellent service, creative ideas and personable approach that we always have. We look forward to sharing our next year with you and thank you for all of the support you have provided over the last eight.
Hello and happy new year!
We FINALLY have a moment to pause and collect ourselves after a whirlwind of busy in 2012. In the weeks to come, we will be gathering beautiful images from last season’s weddings. We will increase the frequency of our blog posts and Facebook activity as well as highlight our goals and objectives for the new year.
In the meantime, we wanted to share this time lapse created for us by Chris with Pure Cinematography that showcases an outdoor ceremony set up in collaboration with Pink Monkey Solutions and Save The Date Events last August at Catamount Ranch in Steamboat Springs. Click below for a glimpse…