a floral and event design studio


Costa Rica Day One – San Jose Flower Market

Our first day in Costa Rica was a huge adventure. While our trusty photographers, Carla Ten Eyck, Katie Slater and Sarah Code-Krall took off on an adventure with event planner extraordinnaire Candice Coppola of Jubilee Events, Magan Hunt of MMH Marketing and Jim Altieri of Vintage Cinema, Aryn and I headed to San Jose with our host Larry Savage of Stay In Costa Rica, Beth Chapman of The White Dress by the Shore and makeup artist DD Nickel. Beth and DD spent the day on one side of the city at a luxurious coffee bar conducting a casting call for models while Larry took us on a bumpy ride through the grittier side of town to the flower market.

As soon as we hit the street, Larry realized that he wasn’t allowed to drive in the city on Mondays (something about the last number on his license plate being wrong. Don’t ask me). So we zipped into a parking lot, bribed the guard to let us leave the car and then grabbed a taxi downtown. Our first stop was a pretty average looking spot – a lot like a New York City florist, buckets of flowers, nice and neat. We grabbed a few things while Aryn wielded the camera:

Lots of gorgeous and inexpensive tropicals, but we were looking for more white flowers (you’ll see why eventually) – and Larry knew the right place to go (after he made a few phone calls and asked a bunch of folks for directions) – Mercado Centrale – a huge open air market filled with meats and fish, live chickens, geese, ducks, dried herbs

and ALL the way at the back of a building, a few flower stalls with just the right things for us.

Tomorrow is our first day of shooting. I’ll try to grab some behind-the-scenes so I’ll be up late turning those flowers into bouquets…

Pura Vida!

Best Day Ever

August 25th is my wedding anniversary. That means I get to show wedding pictures:

Aryn and I got married at Indian Hill Cemetery in Middletown. Not because it’s creepy, because it’s beautiful and peaceful and there’s a fantastic view in all directions. And because this tree was there.

Aryn’s dress was made by her great great grandmother. Aryn’s great grandmother wore it on her wedding day in 1913. Perfect.

Here’s Aryn picking her bouquet. Dandelions are her favorite.

With my kids. Album cover, right?

Best kiss ever.

We never planned what to do after the ceremony. This seemed like the only logical thing.

Our reception was at our friend Hollie’s house. Hollie owns Klekolo World Coffee, where Aryn was working when I met her. She was The Girl With The Red Hair and I was one of Hollie’s stupid little friends. It took a few years and a New Year’s Eve 1999 bonfire in Hollie’s yard, but eventually we admitted that we were in love. Where else could we have our party?

Hollie let us REALLY take over her yard. Aryn planted corn in patterns in the yard, we weeded, cut things back, rebuilt a stone wall. In fact, we strapped fallen trees from the woods to the outside of the house and grew morning glories two stories high.

And Cat and I built sculpture in the trees – mostly with vine and branches from the surrounding woods:

We got the incredible gift of a TRUCKLOAD of flowers from our main wholesaler, so we set about incorporating them into the sculpture.

craspedia, strung onto flexi-grass, and coco bark:

more craspedia and coco bark, monstera leaves, bells of Ireland, cymbidium. Aryn.

a disclaimer – these next few shots are not taken by our esteemed photographer and good friend, Laurie Klein – but we had to show the stickball (left corner) – this is Cat’s sister, Charlotte helping out the day before.

and Cat’s arch. This might be the morning of the wedding. Probably is. We were there at 4 am.

Okay, back to our regularly scheduled photographer, Laurie Klein for a few details.

This was one of my favorite things. A path through the woods led to a little clearing where we brought a couple of wooden benches and hung this: a wasp’s nest inside a structure of fasciated pussywillow. After dinner, at the bonfire, we lit the lanterns we’d hung from the trees and had a little place to escape to:

So, thanks for indulging me. We were so lucky to have all the support we did from our friends, Laurie Klein, Rick and Tara from Emily’s Catering (amazing food. amazing.) and Donna from Creative Cakes. If you want to see more, go here. We’ve got lots.


Winvian Editorial Shoot 2

We came back to Winvian in the fall, but this time Cat and I spent the day, creating some things on site and setting up more elaborate ceremony locations. It was a looooooooong day – we arrived at 8 am and didn’t leave until 11 pm! The weather was alternately gorgeous and rainy, but we stuck with it and shot outside whenever the sun came out long enough to dry the grass. Jacklyn from JagStudios was a trouper, making sure everything we made got shot (even if it meant lighting it with candles and shooting it at 10 pm…outside…in the cold). You’ll see.
We started the day in Winvian’s ‘Camping’ cottage — a cozy spot nestled in the trees with floor to ceiling glass walls and trees built into the decor. It felt like being out in the elements (except for luxurious bed and top shelf mini bar). The enclosed back porch even has an outdoor fireplace for marshmallow roasting. THIS is luxury.

I’d made this bouquet at home without knowing which cottages we’d be shooting in and it was just perfect for the feel of this space.

yes, she is INSIDE the cottage here. Imagine getting ready to walk down the aisle in a room like this

How ’bout that ‘tent’ bed? And look at that dress. And the ceiling. And the windows. And how beautiful my wife is. AHHHHH! It’s visual overload.


Okay, a quick trip to the bathroom and we can leave Camping and make our way to Industry. This is the tub.

This next cottage is a tribute to Connecticut’s steel industry – sleek contemporary lines, smooth leather — all in blacks, whites and greys. Our model for this cottage was Sharalynn Decker, Miss Connecticut.

We chose minimal accents for the room, simple orbs of rose petals and aluminum wire, softened with a few scattered petals:

Cat created this fan-shaped woven bouquet of lily grass with green trick dianthus, craspedia, lisianthus, mokara orchids and gloriosa lilies. love it.

Sharalynn didn’t have a lot of time to give us, so Bridal Trousseau changed her into this (amazing) vintage suit and Jacklyn took her for a walk outside to catch some of the foliage and beat the rain! No flowers here, but I couldn’t resist the suit (or the image).

While Jacklyn was busy shooting the morning away, Cat and I had been erecting and decorating an arch overlooking Winvian’s pond — we covered the arch with southern smilax and hung vases of kale, amaranthus and rosehips from it. The aisle is chocolate velvet lined with winter squash, mushrooms and asparagus.

aaaaaaaand….Cat again with this European cascade of lily grass with kale and mokara orchids. Simple, dramatic and graceful. She’s brilliant.

One more bouquet before we go back inside — Cat’s cranberry cascade:

This is a long post, right? Well, it was a long day, trust me. While Jacklyn shot the arch, Cat and I set up our chuppah on the opposite end of the pond, but before she could shoot it, the rain came and we ran inside. The models had all been redone and put in fabulous new dresses and Jacklyn snapped a few shots in Winvian’s main office building, just because it was pretty.

This dress needed a more traditional bouquet, so I threw together some cherry brandy roses, fiddleheads and dianthus:

Aryn’s holding a bouquet I made of green trick dianthus with red mokara orchids. Like moss without the mess!

Now it’s getting dark, we still haven’t shot the chuppah so Cat and I decided to hang some vases from it with candles, we also happen to have a ton of floating candles in the van from a previous wedding, so we got to work while the ladies got changed again and the headed off to shoot in the Connecticut Yankee cottage (one of my absolute favorites — based on the Twain novel, A CT yankee in King Arthur’s court). Look at this bed.

Here’s a veil I made out of lily grass, hypericum berries and mokara orchids. Could I have a better model for this? I think not.

And I made some shoes to wear with the veil

And another pair (actually this is the first pair I made — they didn’t work with the veil, but I couldn’t leave them home, could I?)

And now, at last, 10 pm or so, Cat’s been outside trying to use dead grass to keep the candles on the chuppah lit for well over an hour. It’s freezing cold, the models are exhausted, Jacklyn’s exhausted, but we all trudged down to the pond and got these (completely amazing) shots:

Then we drove the hour home and CRASHED. But the truth is, I really couldn’t get to sleep. My mind was racing with everything we’d done — all the images in my head, in Jacklyn’s camera — seeing things I’d only vaguely imagined become real. Only one thing to say. I love my job.

Thanks for coming on the ride — leave us a comment below so we know you’re watching!


Winvian Editorial Photo Shoots, Part 1

So here is Winvian, one of the coolest places in Connecticut. We shot here twice last year, summer and fall. The summer shoot was my first time working with Jacklyn from Jagstudios, coming off a weekend of two huge weddings and working only with what was left in the cooler (and a few additions from a trip Cat made to the grocery store), We made a few things, dropped them in Jackie’s hands, drove the hour back to Middletown and crashed. Here’s what Jacklyn did with our stuff:
Cat made this entirely edible bouquet of herbs, grains and dendrobium orchids:

Look at how it moves!

This next one was a test. Well no. Not a test. Perhaps a challenge. I ran into the barn at Winvian having had maybe two hours sleep, looking a little sweaty and crazy in the eyes. Models were being primped, gowns were being steamed, I needed coffee. So I walked up to this photographer I’d only met once at a cocktail party and handed her a giant lavender egg made of flowers. Jackie looked at me like I was crazy, but I figured whatever, with those dreadlocks i knew she could handle it. I was right. I told her I thought it was a bouquet, she decided it was sculpture.

It looks great, right? But come on. Don’t you think the right bride could carry it as a bouquet? Who’s with me?

Here’s something Cat pulled together out of a grapevine ball, a few cymbidium blooms and a very happy plant. To me, it looks like it’s dancing.

Cat again: stones wrapped in copper, brussels sprouts, lychee nuts:

Crazy right?

And the last piece from our summer shoot was a little woven thing. I told Jackie I wasn’t sure what it was but that I suspected it was a hairpiece. Is this not the coolest image?

Or wait. Is this cooler? Hard to say.

Winvian autumn shoot coming next featuring shoes, a veil and the most incredible shots of our chuppah at night…

New York Themed B’nai Mitzvah

Well, our 2010 season kicked off and we have sadly neglected our blogging duties, so get ready for a flurry of activity starting with a B’nai Mitzvah we designed in April. Our client, architect Peggy Rubens-Duhl, had the idea to take her theme to a new level by asking us to recreate some of New York City’s most famous landmarks. On the day of the setup, we brought our friend Jacklyn from JagStudios to capture the madness for us.
To start, here is our take on the Brooklyn Bridge (note the yellow ‘taxis’):

Next up, the Chrysler Building – we decided to focus on the very top of the building where the architecture really gets interesting:

For the Statue of Liberty, Cat kept her focus on the torch:

One of my favorite landmarks – The Guggenheim!

Times Square Billboards:

The New York Times:

Of course, The Empire State Building:

Central Park:

I Heart NY!

and last but not least, street signs:

Leave us a comment – let us know what you think. And stay tuned. It’s gonna be blog city around here this week.

The Wadsworth Mansion

In February, we had the honor of displaying some of our work at the Wadsworth Mansion at Long Hill in Middletown – a venue that’s not only gorgeous but also right in our backyard. The show was awesome – incredible food, drinks, fashion and decor all around.
We decided we needed a bouquet model for this show and Shelley from The Wedding Dress in Portland (whose dresses at the show were all really delicious) lent us this short, tiered dress — i love the toulle peeking out from the hem. And it fit Aryn perfectly! Debbie from The Hair Affair in Middletown did her hair and makeup. She’s carrying a modern cascade of blonde cymbidium, curly willow and Yoko Ono mums accented with lily grass and umbrella fern. I was still working on this one when guests began arriving.

It was just too tempting – I had to make these earrings to match this cascade.

The show got crazy fast – LOTS of people coming through. Here I am being charming.

Our second bouquet is a European drop of green crystals and blonde cymbidium orchids – simple, lightweight and fun to carry. Have you seen one of these before? Cat is so clever!

and, because we all want to see it a little closer:

Next: the sword. Well, that’s what people were calling it anyway – it’s just a simple, gathered bouquet of eremurus, blue thistle and lily grass with a pearl-wrapped handle.

How much do we love this bouquet of simple daffodils?? It’s wrapped in yellow baby yarn – so soft to hold!

And, before we move on to our tablescape, this German-inspired bouquet of ranunculus, thistle, lisianthus, spray roses and knotted ribbon:

Here’s a shot of the whole booth. Love this ballroom!

We chose a combination of gold shantung and nile damask cloths for our tablescape and we accented it with gold chair covers, nile ties and vintage crystal plates, and bowls. The linen was doing such a great job being gorgeous, we kept our table flowers and our mantel decor simple and understated (but with style, of course). We used soft buttery lisianthus and phaelonopis for the tabletop. miniature monstera foliage and yellow cymbidium add interest to the table. The votives don’t hurt either. some details:

Thank you once again to Jackie from JAGstudios! She dropped by with her beautiful sister to help us out with a few photos for the blog.

Cat’s Art Show

Cat has been up to some pretty tricky stuff this winter and your last chance for a look at it is this Saturday at the Buttonwood Tree, 630 Main Street in Middletown. She’s put together a closing party from 3 – 5 with food from the always-delicious O’Rourke’s Diner, wine and live music from 4-5 by Hannah’s Field.
Here’s a SMALL preview of what she’s got in store – and may I just say that the work is stunning, affordable and brilliant.
Big thanks again to Jacklyn from Jagstudios.net for the photos!

Crazy, right? And all made with natural and found materials.

Yes, those are moss and birch WATCHES on those mannequin arms!

One of my faves – intricate and delicate:

and last, another favorite:

Be sure to stop by between 3 and 5 this Saturday and check this stuff out in person. You’ll be glad you did.