Friday, May 4, 2018

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Electric Tropics shoot with local maker By Catalfo

I have to say, one of the best parts of owning the shop is getting to collaborate and create beautiful days with other creatives in the city. We were recently asked to put together some floral pieces to be part of a photo shoot for Toronto maker By Catalfo's SS 2018 collection.

By Catalfo makes the most adorable bridesmaids dresses and getting ready bridal wear. Think sweet floral robes and delicate details, soft frothy shades of sorbet and you are on the right track.

As with any shoot, there was a quick exchange of mood boards and colour ideas before the day.
The brief for this happy collection was tropical, vibrant, yellows with pinks, happy with some whimsy. Right up my alley.  Toronto hotspot Make Lemonade co. was the perfect backdrop, and photographer extraordinaire Janet Kwan took amazing shots as always, capturing the warm tropical vibe perfectly.

Electric tropics ss 2018 shoot By Catalfo
Photos: @janetkwan -
Bridal Wear: @bycatalfo -
Florals: @periwinkleflowers -
Hair: @puzzlecreations -
Makeup: @ford_beauty -
Models: Kait @torontomadestyle -
             Kristin @theventiblonde -
Stationary: Shannon @shannonbellisle -
Venue: @makelemonadeco -

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Local Inspiration: the genius of the Bowery Project

I came across the Bowery project last summer. The shop is in midtown but I live directly south of it by the waterfront. My commute was taking me past a street corner in what can only be described as a  part of the city that has seen better days. Along Sherbourne street there are large stately buildings from a bygone era sitting neglected next to empty lots. And one of these lots was filled with milk crates overflowing with vegetables and herbs.

Bowery Project co-founders Deena and Rachel are without a doubt complete geniuses.  Not only did they see a need, they also saw an opportunity and most importantly jumped in and made something happen. I am, quite frankly, in awe of these two.

Their brainchild, the Bowery Project, is a non-profit that designs, builds and then manages mobile urban farms. They set up these farms in vacant lots that are stuck in the long wait of city development and build using hundreds of crates that can be disassembled and moved with only a few hours notice. The food that is grown in these mobile farms is used by local chefs as well as charities within the community. Simply brilliant.

Find out more about the many projects the Bowery Project has run across the city, as well as how you can get involved via their website 

all photos kind permission of the Bowery Project.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Wedding Talent:beautiful dresses supporting a good cause from Brides Project

Wedding Talent is a series that introduces some of our favourite wedding industry people. These are people we've collaborated with and worked along side as we put together our happy wedding blooms.

I'm delighted to introduce you to a wonderful organization here in Toronto called Brides Project. This amazing business is the perfect way to recycle your wedding dress or find the dress of your dreams in a sustainable way. I asked the company's founder, Helen Sweet, a few questions to find out more about what they do:

Jess:. I love the concept of the Brides Project. What was the inspiration for starting this up?

Helen: My inspiration.  Well, as you point out, a big part of that was wanting to find a way to make a difference through such a fabulous occasion, and doing something to reduce the excesses and turn them into a contribution instead.  I've never been one to keep stuff that I'm not using any more, so I really wanted someone else to enjoy my dress/veil/shoes/crin and all the other goodies I had bought.  And, I'm a minister's kid.  My Dad always brought me up understanding that it's better to give than to receive, and I saw a wedding as an excellent opportunity to put that credo into action. 
Weddings are also about community, and welcoming a couple into that community.  As such, it just seems right to give back and be able to contribute to that community that embraces us - whether you consider it a group of friends & family, or the larger geographic community in which we live, work and (hopefully) thrive.

Jess: Tell us about the process- what should a bride to be expect when purchasing through you?

Helen: I think a key difference for brides shopping here is that we really try to educate them about wedding dresses.  It's not like buying a pair of jeans at the Gap where they either fit and make your butt look great, or fail at doing so.  Wedding dresses almost invariably need to be altered which is new to a lot of people... especially when a lot of clothing has 'stretch'.  We take time with every bride understanding how we can help work within her budget, and also helping her understand the fitting process and how the seamstresses we work with play a crucial role in the process.  They are the true "garment goddesses", and can alter them up or down several sizes, add that illusion neckline they're after - or sleeves - or any number of tweaks!  Our cleaners are also phenomenal, and can render a dress that was very well loved into sparkling new condition - it's really quite breathtaking to see the transformation!

Jess: How can brides help after their wedding?

Helen:well, we're always delighted to find their dress a new home, but we also accept just about anything from the big day - veils, shoes, belts, jewelry and even decor items.  We primarily focus on the former items, but we also have a relationship with the school boards and they often use decor stuff in arts classes.  Brides can also do us a great service by spreading the word!

Jess: What’s the best part of what you do? What do you enjoy the most out of the Brides Project?

Helen: The best part of what I do at this point ... I don't actually spend much time in the shop anymore, but just LOVE officiating.  It's incredibly fulfilling - and such a privilege to work with couples to understand how we can design a ceremony that perfectly fits their personalities, the type of celebration they are having, and focuses on their unique vision of their future as a married pair.  No two ceremonies are the same - just as no two couples are the same.  I greatly enjoy guiding couples through the process, de-mystifying it, and helping them through the part of the day that can also be a little terrifying for some :)  It's definitely icing on the cake when the bride (or brides) walk down the aisle in a dress they found here.  Also, being in Toronto means that we have such a variety of individuals to work with - and a plethora of different religious and cultural backgrounds that can be incorporated.  I've met such wonderful people through all aspects of The Brides' Project - whether officiating, helping them to find a dress, working with them as volunteers, colleagues (e.g. folks like yourself!), or as one of the extremely deserving beneficiaries that we support.  I feel extremely fortunate in that regard.  The Brides' Project is indeed a community of like-minded folks, and together we're making a huge difference.  Hopefully by mid-summer, one part of that difference will be reaching $1,000,000 raised for cancer charities.  Woot!

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You can find Helen and Brides Project online here and follow along with their amazing endeavour on instagram here

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

In the shop: Spring always comes early for florists!

We are unbelievably lucky here in Toronto, we have access to amazing blooms even in winter from both local greenhouse growers and imported from other markets, especially the Dutch growers.
So, even though outside it is February, snowy and grey here in the city, in the shop we get to live in springtime already!

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Wedding Talent: Hana of Made By Hana Events

Wedding Talent is a series that introduces some of our favourite wedding industry people. These are people we've collaborated with and worked along side as we put together our happy wedding blooms.

This post introduces our friend Hana of Made by Hana Events. I first met Hana a couple of summers ago, onsite for a small garden wedding in a private home. It was really hot and the wedding was outside under a large tent. Thunder rumbled all day as I set up long garlands on the tables. Family and guests were in and out all day as I worked, and I got to see Hana in action as she deftly calmed overly anxious moms, organized vendors, artfully saw to all the little details on the tables and kept the mood light and relaxed throughout. She is really good at what she does, keeping low key and behind the scenes and I was so impressed with how she kept her cool and soothed ruffled feathers while still bringing the event together on time.Since then we've collaborated on a couple of editorial shoots and I've yet again seen her work her magic. I asked Hana a few questions about what couples should think about when deciding on a planner.

Jess: What is one thing that couples need to plan for but most don’t?

Hana:  Couples often times overlook the day of the wedding and the importance of having a “go-to” person in charge on the wedding day. Venue coordinators are great, but they are only really concerned with the tasks associated with the venue and MC’s are able to make announcements but they can’t be expected to chase people down for you. Having someone in charge on the wedding day to make sure everything is running smoothly, is incredibly important! Wedding Coordinators are able to take over everything for couples and make sure that the couple, family and friends can all enjoy themselves without worrying about all the details of the day.

 Jess: if a couple is trying to decide if they need a planner or not, what advice would you give?

Hana: Wedding Planners are like the Fairy Godmother you wish you had! They will take what you have and do everything they can to make it all happen in a stress-free environment. Most couples live incredibly busy lives and having someone by their side who knows the industry and is able to focus on the couples needs, makes the entire planning process and wedding day run smoothl

Jess: what should couples expect from a planner?

Hana: Couples can expect planners to direct them to the right people, help them save money, time and (of course) their sanity! 

Photo by Farah Ghazal LoveLightCLick

Jess:what do you love the most about what you do?

Hana:   I love my ability to be strong for my couples! There are almost always mini disasters that they never even hear about! I’ve set up cakes mid-reception because the driver got lost, sorted out plumbing and electric switches flipping, sewn up bridesmaids’ dresses, and so many other unexpected last minute problems!

Every wedding is so different and so is each couple. I always walk away knowing I’ve made dreams come true and friends in the process! 

Photo by Farah Ghazal Lovelightclick
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You can find Hana on line via her website here, and on her lovely instagram feed here, where she regularly posts really insightful and helpful quick videos about all things wedding planning.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

So long 2017, you've been a blast!

What an amazing year we've had at the shop! So many great things have happened, some small some big but all a result of plenty of hustle on our part. Here's a round up of some of the highlights.

photos via Rythmandme
Way back in March owner Jess got to be part of a  team of creatives that put together a canadiana inspired wedding shoot, spending the day styling the flowers at the Bob Rumball Manor here in Toronto. We recapped the shoot here, and the photos were featured on several high profile wedding blogs including Mountainside Bride Aisle society  Wedding Opera and the wedding affair blog

photo via Janet Kwan
 Also in March, Jess spent a day working with author Doris Wai creating a floral wall that got featured in the book Extraordinary Handlettering, which came out in November.

photos via Pepperandlight
Summer saw Jess out on another inspiring editorial shoot, this time with designer Vanessa in tow, as they traveled north to King City. Spending the day working flower magic on vintage cars and bicycles was a dream come true for the team. This shoot got lots of media attention too, being featured on Strictly Weddings and Event Source

Our team grew this year, with the lovely Kasia coming to work with us. Not only does Kasia make gorgeous floral work but she is also an illustrator, so we of course put her talents to good use and she handpainted a large scale mural on one of our shop walls.

We  were thrilled to make flowers for some amazing couples in 2017. So many of the events make it onto our  most favourite list, and it's been such an honour to have brides place their trust in our creativity. We've been incredibly lucky to work with couples that have allowed us to sneak in moments of creative spark, letting us stretch ourselves a little by trying something a little different for them. Here are just a few shots of some of our best loved work this year:

photo via Christine Lim

photo via Samantha Ong

 The end of November had owner Jess out on an editorial shoot again, spending a very cold but exciting day outside on a property north of the city putting together flowers for a woodland chic inspirational shoot that has recently been featured on Bloved blog and The Wedding Co.

photos via lovelightclick
And of course, 2017 was filled with lots of in shop fun too. This was our third year on Mount Pleasant rd and we've gotten to know so many wonderful folks, both clients and neighbours alike.

To all of you who come by for a chat, call in to order blooms, pick up a weekly bouquet, buy flowers for your girlfriend or your mom, pick out a cactus for yourself, let us be a part of your special family events- Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts.  Running a retail shop isn't the easiest job in the world, but it certainly is the happiest!

Bring on 2018- we're ready!