Wedding Blog

Dreamy Candlelit Winter Wedding

I'll be the rainbow...
wrap you in my colors and keep you warm
- Otis Redding

It all began with a language school in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, a Norwegian girl and a block of brown cheese.

Our bride, Melody (a beautiful girl from rural Northeast Pennsylvania), was studying Amharic at a language school in the same town where our groom, Dereje (a handsome film student from the capital of Ethiopia), was living. They had a mutual friend, Heidi (an amazing girl from Norway), who was in Addis Ababa working for a non profit organization. Although Melody and Dereje had bumped into each other several times at the school compound, their true connection came when Heidi entrusted Melody with a block of brown cheese for Dereje before she left for Norway. 

Dereje (hereafter referred to as 'Glad' - his childhood nickname), eager for his cheese, made an appointment to meet Melody for the drop off. Unfortunately, Melody forgot the cheese. This happened several times: Glad scheduling lunch dates to get the cheese, Melody showing up empty handed. Over time, the two became friends and began talking about their work, their lives and their dreams. Their friendship grew into romance which blossomed into a proposal of marriage. Then the separation began. Melody moved back to Northeast Pennsylvania to begin preparing for the wedding and advocating for Glad's visa.

After months of being apart, paperwork, lawyers, bureaucrats, and wedding date changes, Glad was granted a visa and the final wedding date was set! You could not find a happier couple.

The plan was to have the wedding in Melody's family barn. It was a fantastic space and I could not wait to get my hands on it! Unfortunately, it needed a very good cleaning, lighting installed and tons of work to make it into the dream space we were hoping for. This is a picture of the barn semi clean and semi lit. The task was daunting, but Melody and Glad and Melody's father were tireless in their efforts to make it happen (Melody's mother supplied hot meals, good tea and lots of emotional support. Afterall, someone has to be behind the scenes to hold it all togehter). My team and I also spent many, many hours in this barn in the cold of November and December, but it was a labor of love.

This is how it started.

And this is what we did to it.


Because it was December and the potential for cold was real, we decided to have the wedding ceremony inside the barn at one end of the barn. It was filled with candles, vintage chairs and sofas, a beautiful chandelier and flowers. Simple and beautiful.

So much beauty and so very much love here in their barn wedding ceremony

Instead of a wedding arbor, I decided to make this gorgeous old barn door a focal point by adding flowers and greens. The parents' property was an old Christmas tree farm, so I had lots of choices for evergreen foraging. I love the whites and soft pinks.

Melody's winter bridal bouquet was white with just the palest of pinks.

Melody's floral crown was wax flower and lisianthus buds: simple and perfect for her dark hair.

Even though they had worked so hard to hang hundreds of grapevine branches, Melody and Glad were not allowed to see the final product until this moment. And this moment makes all the planning and work and angst worthwhile. I love revealing a space to my couples: all the magic and all the feels.

This is one of the most romantic weddings I have ever designed.

Twinkle lights, hanging Edison bulbs and floating candles made this space the dreamiest I have ever seen. This is why I am an event stylist.

Winter Wonderland Wedding

Small details make all the difference.

I just love this bride and groom.

The dance and bar space for the wedding reception were heavily draped with cedar and spruce branches. We also carried out our theme of light throughout the entire barn.

Father-daughter dance.

Without a doubt, the most international wedding party I have had the privilege to work with - and one of the sweetest. I believe there are five nationalities represented here.

(By the way, our heroine, Heidi, is the bridesmaid wearing the cardigan.)

Over the wedding dessert table, we suspended a vintage shutter decorated with greens, flowers and candles.

Crossing oceans and countries and cultures, we have our Happily Ever After for Melody and Glad. Perhaps love...and cheese...really do conquer all.

ps Glad never got the cheese, but he did get the girl.

If I was the sun way up there
I'd go with love most everywhere

I'll be the ocean so deep and wide
And catch the tears whenever you cry

- Otis Redding


The most excellent photographer for this wedding was

Real love at Historic Shady Lane

When he whispers,  'You love me, real or not real?' I tell him


- Suzzane Collins

real love, suzanne collins, historic shady lane weddings, historic shady lane wedding, first dance, summer wedding, summer weddings, summer wedding ideas, summer wedding decor, Philly wedding florist, Philadelphia wedding florist, Lehigh Valley florist, Mainline wedding florists, Mainline wedding florist, floral crown, flower crown, bridal bouquet, bridal bouquets, summer bridal bouquet, summer bouquets, summer wedding bouquet, summer wedding bouquets, romantic wedding decor, romantic summer wedding, bridesmaids bouquets, a cottage gardener, kim bakke, summer wedding reception ideas, 

Megan and Gabe are one of those couples you can't forget. They are not only very much in love, their friendship is very real. They met in college, went through dental school together and supported each other through all the pressures and stresses of finishing up classes and beginning their professional careers. I love these two and feel very honored to have been even a small part of their beginning as husband and wife.

Their fall wedding was held at the beautiful in Manchester, Pennsylvania. And it was glorious from beginning to end.


We made a natural altar for the wedding ceremony on the grounds of Historic Shady Lane. Simple, organic and elegant.

Megan wanted a whimsical and romantic flower crown andbridal bouquet. She wore them both beautifully.

The moment you deliver and the bride is thrilled!!


I have never seen a wedding that looked more like a moment from Midsummer Night's Dream. The bridesmaid's dresses were amazing and the wedding bouquets were soft and romantic and fit the day perfectly. And these girls...!!

A little fun for the men (and women too) - the coolest little cigar bar in town.

Megan carried that flower crown off amazingly. She was a beautiful bride.

The wedding reception tables were set with mismatched vintage china with a natural floral runner on top of long wooden planks. I love the contrast of the heavy wood, textural florals and delicate china. Wedding styling is the best job.

We draped the sweetheart table with a glamorous glittery tablecloth and repurposed the bridal bouquet for their centerpiece

There are so many beautiful images of this day and this great couple, its hard to know when to stop. 

So I will end with this last image...

Real or not real?

Very much Real.




Amazing photography provided by

The Dust of Everyday Life (a most romantic summer wedding)

"Art washes away
from the soul
the dust 
of everyday life"

- Pablo Picasso

Once upon a time a sassy and gifted young woman from rural Pennsylvania was offered a job at a fancy art studio in New York. So she parceled up her things and trekked to Brooklyn to begin her shiny new adventure as an artist in the Big City.

A short while before our heroine made her big move, a serious and very talented young man from Utah also packed up his belongs and pencils and brushes and journeyed to Brooklyn to begin his career as an artist at the very same fancy art studio in Manhattan.

The rest was kismet.

Fast forward almost three years to a beautiful, sunny day in June. From a rooftop in Easton, PA to a meadow to the old Art Deco Bank Street Annex, these two amazing artists committed to join forces and to love, support and wash away the dust from each other's souls for the rest of their days. It was one of the most magical weddings I have ever attended.

Kelly and Spencer specialize in typographics and have a penchant for Art Deco and Art Nouveau, so I made Kelly's bridal bouquet reminiscent of the large, cascading bouquets of the 1930s. Her dress was very Jean Harlow - perfect.

Matching flower crowns for the flower girl and bride.

The wedding reception was at the Bank Street Annex in charming Easton, Pennsylvania. The bank had some really unique Deco details that the couple loved. They wanted the main room to have the feeling of an Italian street wedding, so we strung Italian Ruscus garlands and cafe lights from the balcony. This space was a challenge, but this is why I love event styling.

The candlesticks were pink depression glass with napkins to match. To honor the couple's cat, Cricket, tiny golden cats were sprinkled all over the tables. Cricket also made an appearance on the amazing gold emobssed wedding invitations they designed. The wedding favors were pins designed by Kelly and Spencer with the state flowers from Pennsylvania and Utah. I wear mine proudly.

I designed the centerpieces for this wedding to stretch and fill the space. I love how delicate they are.

The golden compote summer wedding centerpieces were lush and dreamy. I used all the romantic flowers including charm peonies, garden roses, Japanese lisianthus and lilies. 

They danced the night away as if they were the only two people in the room. I couldn't take my eyes off them.

I am so excited for Kelly and Spencer's future both as husband and wife and as artists. Keep your eyes on them, they are going to be showing up everywhere. and

Photography provided by






Greater Love

Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.
— Mother Theresa

This is a love story. All weddings are. However, this story not only encompasses the love of a man and a woman, it reaches out to include the love for the lost and hopeless. It is an incredible story and I was privileged to play a small role in it.

Jana and Rob are amazing people individually. As a couple, they are a powerful force, but not in the sense we normally talk about power couples. They don't have a lot of money. They don't drive luxury cars. They don't throw elaborate parties. And they don't have political clout. What they do have is great, great love. It spills all over everyone in their wake. I have been a recipient of this love personally and professionally and am humbled by it. 

Both Jana and Rob had been married previously and felt they were destined to spend the rest of their lives alone. But God and love have a way of breaking through the most broken of hearts.

I, for one, am glad.


Because of their gratitude for finding one another, Jana and Rob decided to use their wedding as an opportunity to reach out to the lost and broken. They also share a passion for social justice. So they requested all wedding gifts be given in the form of aid to an amazing organization that helps women whom society would consider lost causes find healing and equip them to begin new lives. ( They also committed to spending their honeymoon working on whatever projects Thistle Farms needed done.

When I read of their plan, I was very moved and decided to help in any way I could. I met with Jana and Rob and laid out a plan to take some of the stresses of the day off their shoulders and work to make their wedding day vision into a beautiful reality. 

The wedding was to be held at the farm of a friend in front of a pond.



They wanted a very natural, organic feel. They wanted to keep the budget small so that as much money as possible could be funneled to Thistle Farms. If you have followed me at all, you know I LOVE to forage for natural product whenever possible. This was a design right up my alley.

Rob fashioned a beautiful arbor, made shepherd's hooks to hang flowers from and we used hay bales for seating.

The flowers I used were chamomile, lots of thistle (of course), buttercups, roses and other wildflowers. The most elaborate design was for Rob's daughter's who served as flower girls. I loved making their flower crowns.

Jana wanted a simple crown, so I made one of chamomile, thistle and cornflowers. She looked beautiful and wore it everywhere - even on their honeymoon - until it died. Precious.

Getting to know Jana and Rob through this process was a joy. They are wonderful, loving and committed people. Their story inspires me and gives me hope.

Such great love.


The Great Juxtaposition


[juhk-stuh-puh-zish-uh n]

noun  an act or instance of placing close together 

or side by side, especially for contrast


Barn weddings are super on trend right now - Pinterest and the internet are full of images of these rustic chic events. While I love barns, I like to challenge the trend by taking a primitive space and making it into an elegant affair. Throw in the unexpected.

Ally and Dave were the perfect couple for this.

I liked Ally right away and knew she would be a wonderful bride to work with. She is clever, has great taste and is full of laughs.  Dave, her then fiance, is kind and intelligent. They found each other online (Interesting sidebar: about 90% of the couples I talk to have met online), met at an open air market in the DC area and the rest is history. They are a really great team.

Although her wedding was in the fall, Ally wanted the color pallet to be white, silver and green - this is a woman who blazes her own trails! 

To achieve the soft and just picked look Ally wanted, I used Cafe Au Lait dahlias, dusty miller, astilbe and Queen Anne's lace for her bouquet.

I love everything about this image. It depicts the feel of the ceremony so well: soft, romantic, warm and natural. This portrait and all the other pictures are the work of She has such a lovely touch.

The reception was at Jack's Barn in Oxford, New Jersey ( and was delightful to style. This is where the real fun began (for me anyway). Taking these rough farm tables (love) and dressing them with elegant napkins, formal chiavari chairs, and tons of reflective glassware created the contrast between primitive and elegant.

The juxtaposition.

The muted tones, textures and reflection make this table so beautiful.

For interest and a pop of color, I placed one deep plum oak leaf on each napkin - bucolic yet polished.

As a surprise, I dressed the center chandelier with soft baby's breath. 

The monochromatic pallet of this sweetheart table decor is amazingly interesting because of all the gorgeous textures. I loved putting this together.

The monochromatic pallet of this sweetheart table decor is amazingly interesting because of all the gorgeous textures. I loved putting this together.

I had so much fun expressing Ally and Dave's personalities  through these designs. I think their wedding was a true expression of who they are. The wedding was a blast, such fun people. This was a party to remember.

One last look...

I love this shot taken right before we opened the door for the reveal. 

It was a great day with such fun people. I loved being a small part of it.

i carry your heart Part II

                                  Chalk art:                                     Photos:

WELCOME BACK! The last time we met, our beautiful bride and groom (Rachel and Jared) had just said their vows and been pronounced husband and wife on a hilltop in the middle of an enchanting meadow (see i carry your heart Part I). It was a happy, happy time. 

The next section of the day was an additional challenge: translating Rachel's aesthetic of 'natural, whimsical and untamed' into the cocktail hour and reception setting. Thankfully, the gardens and containers on the property itself were in peak bloom, so I used those components wherever I could to bring the garden into the design. 

Chalk art by Abigail Bakke

There is an herb garden on the patio that we turned into a focal point by planting this sign right in the middle of the parsley and thyme.

For the cocktail hour, we placed the bar next to a vintage trough of flowers and used it as a centerpiece of sorts. NOTE: I want to point out the importance of detail here. This chalkboard (artwork by the amazingly talented is an integral part of the entire concept. It is functional, elegant and in keeping with the whimsy of the day. Why not make every aspect beautiful? (the Farmhouse Lemonade was delicious, by the way!)

The Reception. Where to begin? It was so magical, I could write parts III, IV and V, but I will exercise a little self control and condense it into Part II.

Let's begin by setting the stage: The Barn. 

The Barn is located on Rachel's parents' property and was built in the 1830s. For over 150 years, it was a working barn but gradually fell into disrepair. Several years ago, the Sandneses began painstakingly repairing, restoring and renovating it. The result? Amazingness!  Decorating was daunting because of the scale of the space, but it was a job I attacked with glee! 

The head table was the most important design piece of the evening. This gorgeous (and massive) stone fireplace became the the backdrop for the table that was center-stage. I draped it in smilax and eucalyptus vines, and garnished it with wildflowers. The steel marquis letters were the perfect addition to balance out all the softness of the live elements.

As you can see, I made a runner out of several different types of eucalyptus and dotted it with flowers and tangerines. 


The meal was served buffet style in a tent attached to the barn. Again, I knew it called for a menu that would be artistic and memorable. So I scrounged around and found this adorable old door which we made into a chalkboard. Details.

Amazing chalk art:

Seven months later, I am still in love with this door!

Then there was the food...

Drooling yet?  ANYway...

The tables were so much fun to do! Again, the theme was gardens and nature and effervescence so I wanted to give them a very unaffected and ethereal feel.

All bundled up and ready to go! These escort card/ french linen napkins were rolled with twine, sprigged with lavender cut from the property and placed on each plate.

These floral frogs came from my personal stash and were the perfect stand for the table numbers. 

The tables were strewn with every kind of bottle and vase you can image. I used wild flowers cut from the property mixed with flowers I purchased at the NY Flower Market. It was a delightful mix of the elegant and the untamed. 

Simple yet delightfully elegant

Simple yet delightfully elegant

Barns are marvelous spaces for parties and receptions, but with all the wood beams and wood walls and wood floors, they can be a bit...woody...and heavy. I attempted to brighten all this denseness with the lightness of the flowers. Additionally we strung vintage Edison carnival lights, and more smilax vines. The vines were delicate and green and lush.I think the overall effect was clean and delightful.

So much joy and so much love...and it isn't over yet. When the meal was finished, the guests were asked to assemble on the front lawn for a stretch and surprise. 

We lined the pathway with candles to show the way.

"here is the deepest secret nobody knows...

and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart..."

"i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)"

i carry your heart Part I

Welcome to my first foray into blogging. Well…the first time for a very, very long time anyway.

Ostensibly, this blog will be about flowers and weddings and all the intimate details associated with planning them. However, in actuality, this blog will be about people. It will be the stories of the couples and people I meet: their love, their beginnings, their hopes, their celebrations and the ones who love them. I feel privileged to have known these wonderful people and cherish their trust in me to make their wedding a day that celebrates them and their unique tale.

It is cold and dreary in the Northeast US, so I decided to begin with a warm, summer wedding. Today's story begins with the love of a young man and woman, a bride's love for her home, and a family's love for beauty and people. I have been the recipient of this love many times over the years and thought it only fitting I begin here. With them.

So. Rachel and Jared ~

Rachel wanted her wedding to be at her parent's home. She also wanted it to be natural, whimsical and a bit untamed. Right up my alley. So we borrowed a bit of space in the middle of a hay/soybean field on a hillside behind the house and turned it into a wildflower strewn chapel.

This aerial view from is just stunning!

As you can see in the picture, there is an entrance arch and a larger arbor at the front of the space. I knew we had to do something unexpected and in keeping with the theme of natural, whimsical and untamed: so we planted trees and wove them together to create the arches we needed.

I wrapped the front arbor with giant grapevine and dotted flowers here and there. As you can see, we also lined the aisle with wildflowers, grasses and herbs.

This is one of the most beautiful pictures I have seen. It was taken by the brilliant Matt Blum.

I love the imagery of Rachel's father, Olav, escorting her into hew horizons.

As a special surprise, I made cones printed with Rachel and Jared's favorite poem, i carry your heart by  ee cummings and filled them with lavender for the toss.

Unless otherwise noted, all the photographs are the work of the amazing

Love these people.

There were 22 attendants at the wedding. That is a lot of bouquets and boutineers! The pallet was whites, yellow and peaches for the bridesmaids and a more colorful, wildflower bouquet for Rachel. We grew many of the flowers right on the bride's property. The groom and his groomsmen wore simple rosemary and lavender boutineers.

It was a glorious wedding and a beautiful day. I don't think I have ever seen a more excited bride in my life. Both Rachel and Jared were glowing. It was a bit of a dream.

My next blog installment will be about all the post ceremony happenings; because the celebration was just as special as the ceremony. Stay tuned!

i carry your heart with me (I carry it in
my heart) i am never without it (anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)
— e.e. cummings