Mother’s Day: Floral Delight

By Marica

Last week Rose and I had a good ole chat about our individual families’ go-to ways of celebrating Mother’s Day. Other than a gift or brunch, flowers seem to be the favourite choice. Why not – it is easy and relatively inexpensive. One should just be cautious of being tiresome. Yes, it is easy – just don’t limit yourself to the same humdrum generic options.

I challenge you to take a fresh approach to your floral arrangement this year. Please don’t run into the nearest grocery store and pick the bunch closest to the door – give it some extra thought… give it some sentiment. Now, I know what you are all thinking but extra “thought” does not necessarily equate to extra money. Bigger is also not always better.  There is no need to be overly extravagant… except of course if you are the type of person who brags about the amount of money they spent – then by all means fork it out.

Nevertheless, whether you spent fifty bucks or five hundred, make it unique and make it personal.

Here is a few other ideas:

Consider the person: Do you know your mom’s favourite flowers? What about her favourite colour? Maybe a flower that will remind her of a special event in her life, something meaningful to her.

Consider the vase or container: Go for something like a pretty teapot, vintage tin, metal bucket or something unexpected. If you are buying a pre-made bunch then at least buy some lovely paper, string and ribbon (or washi tape) to make to make it unique.

Consider the arrangement: Mix it up, don’t stick to one type of flower, select a couple of complementary flowers and add some foliage and greenery (sometimes I think the foliage is prettier than the actual flowers)!

Consider ditching the bouquet: Want something completely different? Buy a variety of flowers and arrange them in individual containers (like glass bottles, jars, or tins). A friend of mine snuck into her mum’s home one Mother’s Day and arranged the most beautiful floral vignette on the fireplace mantle. Imagine mum waking up to find a gorgeous floral “shrine” in her living room!

Consider going permanent: get a potted plant in quirky pot – something that will bless your mum year in and out.

Try finding a florist or wholesaler that have a variety to offer. We have a lovely florist in our area – it’s more of a flower “warehouse” really. They have the most beautiful pre-made bouquets or you can go into their cold rooms and pick the individual flowers you would like to purchase or have a bouquet made of. If you are in the Northern Suburbs areas check them out: Bunches for Africa.

So what are you doing for Mother’s Day? Also planning to buy some flowers?

{click on images to enlarge and view sources}

5 Tips For A “Bright And Beautiful” Christmas

We asked Neva Ward of Bright And Beautiful – a local event decorator and flower & table décor guru – to share her passion with us. She also gives us a handful of awesome and helpful tips to make our Christmas tables pop with individuality and style this festive season!

Neva (on the right) and Gill of Bright And Beautiful

Q: How did you get into Event Décor and co-ordination?

I have always had a passion for flowers and all things beautiful.  I did a flower arranging course with Joan Pare when I matriculated although I never pursued floristry as a career path.   I continued to enjoy arranging flowers in my home and was always on the lookout for new ideas.

Later in life I was involved on the Child Welfare Society fund raising committee.  We organized an annual charity ball in Cape Town which was always very kindly hosted by the Mount Nelson Hotel.  Beautiful, stylish table settings were very much part of the ambience of the whole evening.  I was never personally involved with the flowers but it was good experience and I gained confidence.  At this time I was also involved in other fund raising events and started to learn what working under pressure was all about.  Being the one responsible for an event being a success or failure can be daunting but I discovered that I was really good at working under pressure and thrived on it.

Between 2000 – 2007 I worked at a private restaurant in Cape Town and became responsible for the table decor along with the other administrative tasks. During this time I was able to observe various dining dynamics eg. What made a successful party and was it good food alone or a variety of elements that contributed to the success?  In 2007 I decided to branch out on my own and concentrate all my efforts on what I love best –  flowers, table decor and the many elements that make the dining experience a success.   Bright and Beautiful became a reality.  I was lucky enough to have a very good friend who offered to be of assistance and as we have grown she has become my confidante and partner.  Gill is my right hand.  I am so blessed because we work well together and have the same value system.

Q: What is the focus / core services you offer?

A: Consultations for brides who are personally managing their own weddings, we provide assistance and guidance to realise their vision.  This includes a consultation, styling and recommendation of reliable service providers).  We also offer full co-ordination which can include stationery design, photographers, videographers, entertainment, music, bar service and specialised caterers.  However, our main strength lies within flowers and table decor and design.  We are available for weddings and all celebratory occasions, large and small, formal or informal.

Q: What inspires you and where do you draw your inspiration from?

A: I try to keep abreast of local and international decor trends by travelling, magazines, photographs and the internet.

Q: What strength would you say has stood you in good stead in such a demanding and competitive business?

A: Being able to work well under pressure!  We also pride ourselves in our honesty and integrity within the industry and always treat clients with the utmost respect regardless of budget and/or size of the function. We are meticulous in making sure that even the smallest detail is perfect.

Q: Do you have to craft many if the elements of your décor?

A: Conceptualising flower arrangements and decor to compliment both the desired style and the venue and tapping in to various craft elements to add finishing touches. We often design accessories specifically for a wedding and have a nice range of uniquely crafted décor items.

Q: What is the frustrating part of your business or an specific event?

A: Venues that are unrealistic regarding the allocated time for setting up the function. Very often service providers can only access the venue area at 15h00 for a function due to commence at 17h30.  This puts a lot of pressure on all the service providers and compromises attention to detail.  The most frustrating part of our business is when a sub-contracted service provider lets us down by not delivering item/s as promised or that are sub-standard.

Q: What is the current trend in table décor and event styling?

A: Vintage, vintage, vintage!  We are doing so many wedding with a vintage flavour at the moment.  Most people now prefer rectangular tables to round tables as you are able to create more relaxed and eclectic decor elements.  We are still seeing a lot of grey/charcoal for bridesmaid’s dresses and table decor whilst navy blue is also becoming popular.  Flowers like gypsophila, hydrangeas and even dahlias are making a come-back and frequently seen in informal flower arrangements.  Bouquets and arrangements of gypsophila are simply beautiful and very cost effective.  I always tell brides to let their decor be an expression of their own personalities and not to be dictated to by trends.  Your wedding decor should reflect and suit your personality.

Neva’s Top 5 Table Décor Tips For This Christmas

1.  Embrace our warm South African climate by using cool colours with a splash of bright.  I will be doing a white and silver table with touches of Aqua.

2.  Always have something personalised for guests on your table like a small gift (edible gifts are usually the easiest and the most enjoyed)

3.  Add something quirky to your table – always a great ice-breaker!

4.  If you are having an evening dinner add loads of candles and use lighting effects for impact.

5.  Remember that a great dining experience is about combining different elements to create an enjoyable experience – good background music, food prepared with love, a good mix of friends and family, well chosen wines (don’t forget to make a nice refreshing fruit punch for children and guests who don’t drink) and candlelight. 

1.  The simply beautiful Christmas biscuits were made by Jeandre v.d. Bergh from Love at First Sight
2.  Tablecloth –  Mr. Price
3.  Christmas Crackers –  CNA (they have the best range of crackers, in my opinion)
4.  Aqua coloured Christmas baubles and Glitter Stars  – Woolworths
5.  White high gloss wooden board for centre –  Bright & Beautiful  (these were designed by us)
6.  Silver Bling Christmas Trees –  Bright & Beautiful
7.  Wine Glasses –  Aldona

Check out Bright and Beautiful’s website: here and be sure to visit their Facebook page for all the latest news and snapshots: here!

All images via Bright And Beautiful

A Valentine’s Picnic… without the corny clichés

By Marica

If you are stumped for ideas to make your Valentine’s Day with your loved one special, try putting a new stylish spin on the old romantic picnic idea.

We as South Africans are so fortunate to live in such a beautiful country. The weather in Cape Town is excellent this time of year, it just begs for an outdoor celebration.

This Beautiful Anniversary Provençal Picnic was Featured on Design*Sponge a while back in collaboration with Bash, Please and Tinywater Photography. Click the Image for the Design*Sponge Article

I search the web for these beautiful images to inspire you. Now this is what a romantic picnic is supposed to look like!

Recently featured on Southern Weddings this inspirational shoot by photographer Larissa Cleveland and wedding planner Shannon Leahy is simply whimsical. Click the Image to view the original article.

Preparation for a romantic picnic should be quite easy and affordable. Use what you have, or otherwise invest in a few key items that can be re-used in future. Steer clear of cliché red & white colour schemes and cheesy old plastic roses. Here are a few helpful suggestions…

Find a beautiful location – Spier – or Warwick Wine Estates or Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden, for example, has stunning estates. Choose a shaded spot underneath a tree (for a little more privacy). If you want a more intimate setting your own garden will do.

Select one or two blankets, throws or even a quilt. You might as well be comfortable so opt for a whole pile of pillows. Go for various fun patterns and complementing colours.

To create an intimate ambience, make use of some mood lighting – Fairy lights draped in a tree, candles in colourful glass holders, lanterns or even tea lights inside clear jam jars and glass bottles hung with ribbon from tree branches (be creative). Oh, and don’t forget the fresh flowers – bunches & bunches of it!

Instead of plastic cups and paper plates, use the real deal. Select some quirky dinnerware and chic wine glasses for instant elegance.

Beautiful Picnic Dinner Party Under The Trees

Valentine’s Day isn’t necessarily just for couples anymore – my single friends and I thoroughly enjoy getting together on the 14th of Feb to celebrate our “single situation” with a fun bash. Expand the picnic idea into a group event by having a fabulous garden dinner party.

E voilà! A beautiful Valentine’s Day picnic without the “cheese”. Happy Valentine’s Day everybody!

Cara Saven Photography: Aqua Floral Series

By Marica

Rose and I just had to share these images from Cara Saven Photography with you. It’s a new series called Aqua Florals and we think it’s absolutely brilliant! So refreshingly beautiful.

I think the Protea Image is my favourite… but it is so hard to choose.

What I love about these images is that they are so fresh and deliciously summery.

The tranquil neutral hues of the water, a vibrant shock of colour from the flowers and then the subtle motion from the bubbles.

We have worked with Cara before on some of our previous projects and we just love her originality – she photographed custom images for our spaces that complimented the design as a whole. It’s just that final detailed touch to unify an interior.

Check out her website to view the rest of the images in this series. (Do it now! It’s a must. Do it!) Do take a glimpse at the rest of her portfolio – there are some remarkable images.

Oh, and she does amazing custom photographic wallpaper too!