Forever Love

Danina and Preston Seal it with a Kiss! Photo by Jessica Lubert Photography
Danina and Preston -Sealed with a Kiss! Photo by Jessica Lubert.

When I fall in love, it will be forever. Sung by Nat King Cole.

There was a chill in the air as I arrived at the barn that morning. It was a gorgeous, mid September day and the field of sunflowers was awash in color. I always get goosebumps when I arrive on the scene of a wedding and this one was no exception.

My daughter and I got to work, unstacking fancy chairs and putting the pads on them. By the time we were done, the linens had arrived and so had the rest of the staff. A big truck loaded with all the decor pulled up to the barn doors. It was time to set the tables.

There were so many beautiful details about Danina and Preston’s wedding I could go on and on. I’m going to save a few for a post later on my events blog. Instead, I want to tell you about the grace on this day.

Family members gave their heirloom china to display on the tables. Can you imagine rows of place settings and no two the same placed next to each other? Wow. And the father of the bride, Sam, did the flowers on the tables. He took his time and used many of the milk glass vases that Danina had gathered over the few months before the big day.

Table Settings and Sunflowers. Photo by Jessica Lubert.
Table Settings and Sunflowers. Photo by Jessica Lubert.

I had asked Danina beforehand what she was going to carry for flowers. She wasn’t concerned about it and told me that she’d probably just hold whatever was available (this is a low key bride!). Now for some reason before I left home that morning, I grabbed floral wire and a few other tools. I also picked some herbs from my garden- lavender, mint, basil, and a few flowers. I put them in a small mason jar. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with them but I took them anyway.

About an hour before the wedding ceremony, Michelene fashioned Danina a beautiful bouquet of sunflowers and tied it with ribbon. For the groom, best man, and officiant I created a quick boutonniere of herbs and flowers. Later I saw that someone had placed a small sunflower in the mens’ lapels along with my herbs- perfect. 🙂 And what a blessing to be able to contribute something of my own to this beautiful day.

October 8, 2015- I just published more pictures of this wedding on my events IDEAs! page! Click HERE to see them!

Here’s a few more photos of this wonderful day! Best wishes to Danina and Preston! Many thanks to my assistants- Michelene Cain and Jessica Lubert .

No Assigned Seating! Photography by Jessica Lubert.
No Assigned Seating! Photography by Jessica Lubert.
Waiting for the Guests...and Dinner! Photography by Jessica Lubert.
Waiting for the Guests…and Dinner! Photography by Jessica Lubert.
Hahaha! Photography by Jessica Lubert.
Hahaha! Photography by Jessica Lubert.
This Picture Makes Me Cry. Photography by Jessica Lubert.
Commitment in their own words. This Picture Makes Me Cry. Photography by Jessica Lubert.

 

 

 

The Sweetheart Table. Photography by Jessica Lubert.
The Sweetheart Table. Photography by Jessica Lubert.
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Today’s the Day!

Danina and Preston, Electric Lime Photography
Danina and Preston, Electric Lime Photography

Today’s the day, we’ll say “I Do” and we’ll never be lonely any more. Chapel of Love

My sister Mary was a huge Bette Midler fan when we were all growing up. I can still hear us singing the lyrics to “Chapel of Love” when Bette made this song famous once again in 1972.

It is this song that has been ringing in my ears for the last several days. One of my favorite people in the world is getting married today. It is Danina, above, who is marrying her sweetheart Preston. I’m not going to say too much about them, well, because I want to keep the good vibes going. And because I may get emotional, start to cry, and not be able to finish this post. 🙂

So I’m going to talk about my favorite moments at a wedding. Those moments that I truly adore, I wait for, and I believe are gifts from God. I can’t believe when I get to be part of another wonderful wedding day. I am truly blessed.

Here we go:

  1. The moment I see the bride in her wedding dress. Usually her mom and bridesmaids are there with her when she puts it on. The bride may step into her dress or decide to put it on over top of her head. If this happens, sometimes there is a ton of net to navigate and the giggling starts. When the mother sees her daughter in THE DRESS, this is when we all shed a few tears.
  2. When we (the bridesmaids + bride) begin the walk to the where we will meet the groom. This walk is hugely poignant. It is a symbol of “I am ready. I want to be with this person forever.” We walk slowly and usually someone is holding the bride’s train. She is holding her bouquet. It is really showtime.
  3. After the ceremony, when the bride and groom walk up the aisle as a wedded couple. I am usually the first person to congratulate them! This is not the moment to tell them what to do next. I squeeze, hug, and kiss them and say “Congratulations!”. This is important. They are important. This is probably my absolutely favorite thing.
  4. Their first dance. I love this part. I will always stop what I am doing and watch. And take pictures. Usually you can see everyone holding their breath. It’s magical.
  5. When I kiss everyone goodbye at the end of the night. Usually by this point everyone is tired but happy. The night has gone grandly, its been beautiful, and they will remember it forever. We have become almost family. I practically feel like family. And I will remember them all for a long, long time.

So there you have it. My favorite moments. Do me a favor today and send Danina and Preston your best wishes for a happy life together. They are a beautiful couple.

Electric Lime Studios
Electric Lime Studios
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Being There for Grace

Photo by Zack Wilson
Photo by Zack Wilson

Faith is a living daring confidence in God’s grace, so sure and certain that a man could stake his life on it a thousand times. Martin Luther

There were some particularly poignant moments this past summer when my weddings were in full swing that I felt it. I felt touched by grace and in awe of being witness to such beauty and love. I have been thinking about those moments lately and I wanted to share a couple of them with you.

In June, I had fluffed Shaina’s bridal train at the back of the church, the doors to the sanctuary still closed. The music began and my assistant and I opened both doors simultaneously. Shaina and her father walked arm in arm down the aisle, down to Shaina’s beloved Rob. This is when people I have worked with (yet really barely know) become like little beats of my heart. That is when I know God has given me this magnificent job.

Thank you to Zack Wilson for this photo
Thank you to Zack Wilson for this photo

Then at the reception, I saw it again when Rob danced with his mother Cindy. She was the one who originally contacted me to assist with the wedding. I was honored she hired me and I told her so. I loved the venue, a traditional old country club, and I knew how much it touched Cindy that Rob and Shaina were getting married.

Cindy cried on and off all day and I know this is how I am going to be when either of my children get married someday. We put our heart and soul into raising our children and then- BOOM- all of sudden they are grown up and jumping out of the nest. Next thing you know they are in college, marrying, and where did the time go?

Somehow the families didn’t get a big picture taken at the church and Cindy’s husband asked me at the reception if I could make it happen. I went back and forth between the photographer, DJ, and family tables and coordinated the timing. Next thing you know, everyone is outside and the big picture gets taken.

This Photo is just Gorgeous! Thank you to Zack Wilson!
This Photo is just Gorgeous! Thank you to Zack Wilson!

Now it doesn’t get any better than this does it? I absolutely thought this was a magnificent display of God’s grace and love. A family together, celebrating a beautiful event and wow, how much they love each other.

I tell you, I really have the best job.

More wedding stuff later. I need another box of kleenex.

Blessings,

Joanne

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1015

In Love with Gardenias

One Gardenia
These pure and beautiful white or pink-tinged flowers symbolize a budding ecstasy, usually the result of secret and newly blooming love. Sent solo or in a bouquet, they’re meant to tell the recipient “I think I’m in love with you.”  Source

In the very first corsage my father gave to my mother there was a gardenia. I wonder if he knew the secret meaning of this fragrant flower? It was their first date and they were going to a Greek dance in town. Mom told me she placed the corsage on her left shoulder so when she danced with my Dad, her parents (my grandparents) couldn’t see it. 🙂

Why? Because if you had strict immigrant parents, dating back then in the 50’s was a huge deal. More than one or two dances with a strange man and boy, you got asked the questions. And a corsage? Even bigger questions!

Fast forward all these years and my sisters and I are big fans of gardenias. For my mother’s eighty fifth birthday this month my sister Mary brought her a gardenia plant. It wasn’t long before it was sprouting buds and blooming. We have all been amazed because frankly, we haven’t had the best luck getting gardenia plants to bloom.

Two GardeniasIf you have ever smelled a gardenia, you know you are either a fan or not. Their strong fragrance turns some off, but I love it and the heady perfume is one I never tire of. When I was a small girl, my maternal grandparents had a large gardenia plant in their sun room. I didn’t know it but my mom tells me that my grandfather watered it faithfully with miracle gro. I do remember Papou (my grandfather) with a q-tip on occasion and I bet he was wiping off those pesky white mites that can be such a nuisance with flowering house plants.

I am completely in love with gardenias to the extent that I wanted a gardenia corsage on my wrist during my vow renewal with Jim for our twenty fifth anniversary a few years ago.

It is amazing how some flowers will evoke a strong response in us that we may not even be conscious of. It is such the case with gardenias. Their beauty and fragrance never fail to take me away to a place back in time. Mostly they remind me of my grandmother, who loved to pick a flower off her beautiful plant and place it behind her ear.

A read an interesting fictional novel recently called The Language of Flowers. If the secret meaning of flowers intrigues you, check it out.

Is there a flower that evokes a strong memory for you? Share it with me!

 

 

 

 

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A Night to Remember

 

Michelene looked Stunning!

Have you ever been in a time and place so unreal that you just needed to pinch yourself? Well, I have! It happened to me last Friday, when THE RECEPTION finally unfolded in Sewickley!

Nicole Michelene CuttingsAs I walked into Cuttings Flower and Garden that late afternoon, it was as if I entered Eden. All of my senses engaged as I stood in the entryway. The heavenly smell of cherry blossoms, spring flowers and wedding cake, the sight of beautiful embellishments, crystal chandeliers and amazing floral centerpieces were combined with a table set to knock your socks off. I lightly touched the delicate coral colored tulips (where have I ever seen those before?) and held my breath for a moment.

Table at Cuttings

My friend Jim, the owner of Cuttings, pulled out all the stops as he demonstrated the reason I have chosen him as my premier florist. He just knows what to do and does it. His creations are magnificent, his hands moved as if by grace.

And my models, AH, what can I say? They were stunning! Pampered and special, they looked beautiful, both my daughter Michelene (in my mother’s vintage dress) and Nicole in a lovely wedding gown by Glitter and Grit. I am eternally grateful to them (and every one of my business associates!) for devoting their evening to this special event.

Michelene looking upI had several high moments that night. The first one came relatively early, when a threesome of women walked in, spied my daughter in her gown and make up, carrying her bouquet of white roses, and literally dropped their jaws. I smiled and said something like “Gorgeous, isn’t she?” and they let loose with a barrage of delightful compliments.

Second, I saw a man and his wife later on in the evening whom I had not laid eyes on in years. The gentleman was one of my most loyal customers when I had my gourmet coffee shop in Sewickley twenty years ago. I recognized him immediately and introduced myself after all these years. He seemed genuinely moved and said “Oh Joanne! I am so glad to see you! Thank you for stopping me and saying hello!”

Thank you Michael!
Thank you Michael!

There were many other numerous glittery, happy moments. Our groom, Michael was such a personality and a good sport! He made conversation with EVERYONE and escorted the brides in a very noble manner. I get a smile on my face just thinking about Michael! He actually walked Michelene into town (they must have been such a sight!) and when it began to rain, ran her back to the store underneath the protection of my sister’s umbrella (Thank you Cally)!

Most of my business cards flew out the door that evening along with those of the other business vendors. If you want a full list of all the participants, just click for my events website HERE.

Was it a night to remember? Wow, you bet it was!

Many thanks to Joe Indovina, Jessica Lubert Photography and Erin of Glitter and Grit for these stunning photos!

 

Nicole in her beautiful gown!

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A Match Made in Heaven

Mom and Dad!
Mom and Dad!

Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage. Lao Tzu

Tonight is a special night. I have been planning an event in a beautiful town for weeks. My friends are going to be there- Jim, Joe, Jesse, Nicole (and YOU, I hope!)- and my daughter Michelene, husband Jim, my sister Cally and of course, my mom. We will miss Mary tremendously but I know she will be there in spirit!

Jim of Cuttings Flower and Garden Mart and I have imagined and thought of what you would want to see if you were planning a special event. We have wine, flowers, food, sweets, photographers, beautiful dresses, place cards and menu cards. There are very talented people involved. Local businesses that are passionate about what they do.

Though the focus is on weddings, there will be many good ideas for any type of event. We are pulling out all the stops tonight. My daughter Michelene is modeling my mom’s vintage wedding gown. My mom and dad would have been married sixty years this coming June. It is amazing how time flies. My dad passed eighteen years ago but I can see him at this moment, telling me to “Go For It!” He was always supportive of anything I ever wanted to do or try. I am lucky. My husband Jim has that same quality.

Like most of you, I believe my parents were a match made in heaven. There were good times and not so good; ups and downs. But that is characteristic of a long union. That is how it works. It stands the test of time if both parties are willing. I appreciate all the gifts and talents my parents gave me- salesmanship, hospitality, and great organization!

I feel truly blessed to be participating in “The Reception” tonight with Jim of Cuttings and so many other wonderful businesses!  If you live in the Pittsburgh or surrounding areas, click HERE for more information on this special night and JOIN US!

I hope you can be with us tonight but if you can’t, I hope you’ll think of someone special in your life, your parents or a special mentor, who has made all the difference for you.

Join me on my graceful journey.
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