A Garden Party Travels: 2015 Chapel Designers Conference in NYC
In 2013, we became a part of the esteemed and talented Holly Heider Chapple's organization, the Chapel Designers, a mentoring program that includes an international network of wedding florists who share ideas and techniques so that we can reach the full potential of our design.
Since joining this group, our outtake on this industry has been forever changed. And we aren't looking back.
Since our introduction, Holly has served as a source of guidance for A Garden Party. Her established career blooms from Virginia, where she amazes us with the top quality scale of events that she works in - including The Knot's 2014 Dream Wedding. We have learned valuable lessons from Holly, and she has guided us in making sure that we can provide the best quality work to our clients in designing memorable events.
Today's blog focuses on this year's annual gathering of Chapel Designer's in New York City. We're sure you've seen snips of our experience on Instagram and Facebook, and now we are happy to show a more collective and professional display of this amazing conference! Huge thanks to Lauren Carnes Photography for giving us these images as a token from our trip.
This is the type of greeting that makes our "work trip" = "vacation."
Literally fields' worth of roses, all ripe for picking! Floral heaven right here, thanks to DV Flora!
These simple tools are the beginning of something amazing about to be created! Thank you David Beahm for hosting us!
Meet Sarah Winward, owner of Honey of a Thousand Flowers, based in Salt Lake City. Sarah gave us instructions on constructing a compote centerpiece, and we were as giddy as school girls learning her tips and tricks. Her design strategy has been to create arrangements that are an extension of their surrounding environments - she has built a successful career based on her interpretation of nature, and it has taken her around the world.
Each stem she uses has a specific purpose and placement, and her use of wire to help secure the arrangement is a work of art in itself.
The class of designers, listening intently and hanging on to every word.
And voila! To watch a master perform this process was such an experience. Just look at how full and beautiful this work is!
We got to try our own hand using Sarah's instructions.
Here is Mary's take on the compote, with a very airy and wild vibe.
And here's Dawn's, full and brimming! Both designs are so spread out and beautiful - they are true statement pieces.
We use compotes on a regular basis here at A Garden Party, so this lesson was especially applicable to our work. We learned how to use more flowers in a compote while keeping it lightweight, and how to spread out the arrangement for a wider centerpiece. This helps to take full advantage of a client's budget and allows us to have more freedom in our design.
Our next instructor was Robbie Honey, who provided us with his steps in building a cascading bouquet. Born in Zimbabwe, Robbie's love for flowers started at a very young age. His passion led him to London, and his talents have soared ever since. His style is as varied as his background, and he is always evolving. We love his open approach to design and definitely feel we can apply it to our own practices.
Here Robbie is showing us how to use wiring on stems to help shape the form of the bouquet. Obviously, bouquets are the most handled of flower arrangements. By wiring the stems, it makes each piece more durable and sturdy, which means they will last longer for all the photographs and poses clients will use them for.
The aesthetics of this bouquet makes our hearts stop. The soft colors mixed with the wildness of the greens is the perfect combination of bridal and natural. Robbie definitely lived up to his reputation, and we are so grateful for the opportunity to learn from him.
Robbie modeling the perfect bridal pose.
And now, the woman, the myth, the legend herself...our "Flower Mama," The Holly Heider Chapple. We first met Holly when we traveled to her shop in Virginia for a design workshop. We were enthralled by her as both a person and a businesswoman, and jump on any opportunity to work together. Both Dawn and Mary were just at her side again last weekend for a very sepcial Beauty and the Beast-themed wedding.
Holly has an extensive list of accolades, and her accomplishments in floral design are incredibly respected and admired. Pictured above, she is giving an example on what her steps in creating a bridal bouquet would be, and we were ecstatic to once again see her in action.
Here is the floral arch we all constructed with Holly and Evan's guidance, it later served as the backdrop for photographs. As if the chance to come and learn wasn't enough, Holly looked after all of us by making sure we could walk away with professional images of our work.
Here is another shot of Robbie Honey's bouquet, looking all fabulous.
Here is Holly's finished bouquet in all of its glory.
This was Dawn's take on the bouquet instructions, taken by Astrid Photography. She loved playing with the shades of yellow, found in ranunculus, roses and tulips.
Also by Astrid Photography, this was Mary's cascading bouquet. We love the combination of the bold yellow with the darker hues of magenta.
In comparing the photos above, it's amazing to see the contrast in style! Both sisters had access to the same flowers and heard the same techniques explained, but were able to show their different personalities. This duo always shows the benefits of their partnership - having the best of both worlds.
Of course as event designers, we had to learn a proper tablescape, featuring Silk and Willow table runners! Here is the assembly line, tying bows around the silverware as a final detail.
We couldn't more proud or honored to be a part of this special group of flower friends! We walked away inspired, and with a sense of determination for this upcoming wedding season. We can not wait to apply our skills this year, and eagerly await the next conference. Thank you, CDNYC2015!