GSS Wedding Trends :: A Recipe for a Beautiful Spring Wedding

I am starting this year with a blog post about designing your Spring wedding with careful planning and designing in mind.  After reading many articles online and in magazines about what is hot for Spring 2012, I have come to the conclusion that we are looking at very high expectations from our brides!  AND THEY WANT TO PERSONALIZE THEIR WEDDINGS! Floral design, photography, cake design, invitations…the list goes on!!  An educated bride is going to want to incorporate her vision from the “Save the Date” to her eventual wedding day departure.  Adding your personal touch is paramount!

Below are Pantone’s Spring 2012 colors to guide you, any version or hue of these colors will been prominent this year.  I highly recommend using gray as your base color and build around it, starting with the suits for the gentlemen!

FOR THE BRIDE: Bouquet of all white Peony’s for the bride…classic and timeless, bling out he bouquet with any jewelry of your choice that compliments your wedding dress.

Image source :: Photo by Darin Fong

Image Source :: Photo Credit: Sidra Forman photographed by Kate Headley Photography

Centerpiece Advice: Forsythia, Dogwood, Apple, Cherry…you name it!  Take full advantage of what is only available once a year.  If your venue has tall ceilings, compliment them with tall branches with delicate buds.  Incorporate them into your invitation, décor and cake!

Image source Left, Top Right, Bottom Right

Other flowers to finish out your décor:  seasonal, PINK, yes, PINK Dogwood (must be special ordered and it goes fast!) Melba double tulips, white Majolika spray roses and Peachy Isle spry roses with accents of delicate Queen Anne’s Lace and every bride’s favorite…Peony!  Now you have the ingredients.  Let’s put them all together! THIS should be your baseline color.  Flowers that come in this grayish-silver would be Dusty Miller, Lamb’s Ear, Eucalyptus, Sage, Succulents (many varieties), and Silver Tree!

With bride’s taking on an active part in personalizing their weddings with ideas from DIY Brides, to ETSY, and many other online idea sites, the trick is helping them choose just enough to have a meaningful impact.

I personally like to recommend making your sign in table a place for people to have a moment to reflect on your relationship.  Pictures of you and your fiancée through the years or of your time spent during your relationship, places you have been always makes me smile and gives me a moment to think of how awesome it is to be a part of your lives.

Take in the feel of your room where your reception will take place.  Choose containers that fit the room.  If you are in a grand traditional ballroom, use silver, gold or platinum.  These are basic elements that should be found in the room in chandeliers, other light fixtures, carpet, etc…

Accent the reception with soft candle light and don’t forget to pin spot your centerpieces for maximum impact on your décor.  Use the “house” linens to save costs.

If you are in a lofty art space or gallery, choose containers that are more minimal or geometric to bring in the MOD!

Be smart this year and take a few moments to consider the BIG picture.  2012 is going to be an amazing year with fully educated brides!!

Welcome in 2012 with all of the excitement of starting this new chapter in your life!

Peace and Love!





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GSS Tips From an Expert :: Olfaction :: Sweet Flower Scents

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Olfaction: The Sense of Smell

What’s your favorite flower smell?  This question received immediate response from my facebook friends, with several comments of “why” they liked that particular flower.

“Gardenias remind me of my grandmother”,…”Roses were always my favorite, my mother grew them!”,….”Jasmine makes me think of weddings”…,

I really enjoyed reading the reasons why my friends like each particular flower.   The association of the flower itself, the smell and memories that each flower invoked was more than I asked for, but this is what flowers do to and for us.

According to Jeanette Haviland-Jones, Department of Psychology, Rutgers – The State University of New Jersey, her study may not have addressed the olfaction aspect that I am pursuing, but it overwhelmingly showed that humans have developed an emotional attachment to flowers.  She also goes on to state that “depriving humans of “non-species” emotional support may be as detrimental to human survival and fitness as depriving humans of any other resource” .

Further research in looking at flower smells and why they affect us so much helped me to understand why it is so critically important to NOT lose this wonderful experience.

I have spoken before on why our flowers do not smell the way they did when we were kids because of commercial commerce needs.  The need to genetically altar cultivated flowers through Floriculture to make them disease resistant, higher petal counts, larger buds, longer stems, brighter colors and longer shelf life has all been done to appease our modern existence that craves emotional  satisfaction.

Enough of why, let’s investigate some of the flowers that can be easily purchased and evoke positive emotions!

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images courtesy of Amy Karp Photography

Here are a few descriptions of flowers from an internet article by Valerie Valdez, eHOW, contributor:

Rose: The king of any garden and bouquet, a rose’s robust smell (from the garden!) can fill a room with only one bloom.  It’s scent, considered the most romantic and sensual, is strongest on sunny days when the bloom is full open.  The sigh and smell of roses is the symbol of love. Available everywhere, all year.

Geranium: The geranium has a fresh floral scent with sweet citrus smells creates an uplifting feeling.  Some different types of geranium also imitate the scent of other flowers too.  Mint, nutmeg, lemon and even ginger scents are found in geraniums.  Combining different types of geraniums will produce a fragrant bouquet perfect to combat the blues. Available everywhere, all year.

Sweet Pea: Sweet Pea’s lovely and strong scent is similar to brown sugar and blooms in early June.  Its effect is a summery warm feeling that promotes a sense of well-being.  Known as a fast growing plant, it reaches up to 8’ long and attracts butterflies.  The smell of fresh cut sweet pea flowers last long.

Lavender: The number one scent used in aromatherapy is lavender because of its calming effect that eases stress.  A member of the mint family, 39 different lavender species and scented exist making its vibrant fresh sweet aroma a favorite in perfumes, potpourri.

Read more: Types of Flowers That Affect People’s Mood & Smell

Tyler Texas also is known for the fragrant Tyler Roses that come from there.  These are wonderful and fragrant roses (over 500 varieties!!) that we see yearly at the Tyler Rose Festival in October .

We are also fortunate in that Tyler is also one of the homes where the internationally known David Austin Roses are grown.  These amazing English Garden roses are coveted because of their fragrance, beauty and history.  David Austin is credited with growing new varieties in the style of old rose growing, combining fragrance and unique charm…which modern Floriculture has unfortunately lost in mass production to keep up with demand for the world.

A good point in choosing flowers as a gift would be to incorporate the herbs listed above to enhance modern day bouquets.  We also use many varieties of mint and geraniums to enhance the smell of the bouquet so that they will be beautiful and FRAGRANT!

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GSS Tips from a Wedding Expert :: Buying Nationally Grown Flowers

We all know that flowers can be flown in from all over the world, no problem.  I thought, since we are all trying to be socially conscious, what would be the best flower to get that is grown local, within the Continental US?  That would of course be, hydrangeas.  The varieties that come easily, all year round would be green, ivory, pale blue and pale pink. Designing your wedding around these magnificent, “best bang for your buck” flowers is a no-brainer. Not having to worry about flooding in South America is a huge relief to me, as well as our brides.  Roses and many other flowers are also grown in California, as well as tulips in Seattle, peonies in Oregon, Orchids and most tropical plants come to us from Hawaii.

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above image courtesy of Jennifer Yarbro

Supporting our national growers is a huge plus for our economy.  Here is a little tidbit I found online: : a family business has been growing flowers in California for 36 years.  “If we do not grow it, we buy from local growers”.  Why should you buy American Grown Flowers you may ask? Well here are just a few great reasons. Domestic flower growers have been declimated competing with South American product that is often government subsidized. Ironically as US citizens become more conscious of environmental issues, the majority of flowers entering the United States are coming from countries with no holds barred environmental laws. Recent reports show Ecuadorian roses entering the US with pesticide residues of chemicals banned in the US. Also reports of pesticide poisoning of the employees is unsettling with up to 60% of the employees showing signs of pesticide poisoning. Chemicals banned long ago in the US as deadly are still being used in foreign fields, and reintroduced to your nose via imported flowers .

Another little known fact…our wholesaler also grows several varieties of Zinnias, Celosia and sunflowers, all here, locally, in Dallas!  Take a trip to your local wholesaler with your floral provider so that you can get a better understanding of “how it works”.

Spring is on the way before you know it, so take advantage of other floral that is seasonally available.  For instance:

January :: Most all flowers available (anemones, roses, tulips, lilies, hydrangeas, stock, gerberas, etc)
February :: Most flowers available (2nd most expensive time of year to buy flowers)
March :: Blooming branches!!!  Forsythia, Cherry Blossoms, Apple, Pear, ONLY AVAILABLE IN SPRING!
April :: Dogwood Branches short time only!!
May :: All flowers available (most expensive time of year for flowers)
June :: Most flower varieties start to decrease (here is when you will see mostly roses, lilies, hydrangeas (white, green , pale pink and pale blue only)
July :: Most flower varieties still decreased
August :: Most flower varieties still decreased (Great “hot season” flower – DAHLIAS!)
September :: Still too hot for pick up in varieties, Hydrangeas begin coming in in darker greens with burgundy tips, think FALL)
October :: As it cools off we start picking up different seasonal flowers, like some tulips and other fall flowers, Celosia,
November :: Anything available except seasonal blooming branches
December :: Anything available except seasonal blooming branches

Not all colors of flowers are always available, just as flowers have a season, the color of some flowers do as well. So, taking advantage of what is readily available in the US will help you designing your wedding.  Do not forget to do your due diligence in researching what is available, but hold your floral provider accountable for knowing what is available, and when!  Let’s all make our carbon footprint a little smaller in the coming years.



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GSS Tips From a Wedding Expert :: If it’s not Baroque, don’t fix it!!

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Looking into the future of design for weddings this fall and spring, 2012, all I can see is a tendency to more nostalgic elements and going green for weddings!  Trees, plants, local elements such as Magnolia, ivy, and other organic supplements are a great place to start.  Aged containers, like broken capitals, columns or iron-work is so easy and timely.  Brining in a gorgeous, aged container and putting new life into it with floral is the ultimate thank you to conservation.  No need for new vases, use Mason jars, perfume bottles, books, jewelry boxes, the list is endless.  Now is the time, with all of the access that we all have to the internet, all you need is a little time.  Creating an inspirational board is paramount in projecting your vision to your professionals who are going to re-create this vision for you on your most important day of your life, so far. Here are a few suggestions I encourage brides to do before choosing their floral:

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  • Photograph the interior of your reception venue…from the carpet to the ceiling.
  • Log all of the colors, go to your local paint store and choose paint swatches that compliment your venue. Choose pictures online that resemble your tastes.  Create your inspiration board on
  • Check out the natural lighting, consider what time your wedding will take place, do you need additional lighting?
  • Use more table accents to enhance your table décor, whether it is table numbers or pictures of your relationship.  Guests can enjoy your journey that has brought you to this commitment.
  • Consider the season.  What flowers are readily available?
  • Choose a theme.  Utilize the theme from the beginning of your invitation, to the end of your wedding day.  Build guests expectations of a great time with fun activities at the wedding.
  • Be creative above all, and show how creative you can be with old and new!

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GSS Wedding Find :: Jewelry Made Beautifully From Esther Kao

We are always on the hunt for all things wedding and especially spectacular treasures from amazing artisans. Esther from Estie Made went to the studio of DiFiori in search of a few items to display her beautiful jewelry on for the Third Annual Handmade Bash, on April 30th this year at  What she did not expect is having to rummage through all of amazing stuff to find the exact look she was looking for…it was a like a kid in a candy shop! Esther makes beautiful hand-made jewelry and wedding accessories fit for anyone! Be sure to check out her Esty Store for more information.

Who is Esther…

I’m originally from Massachusetts, and moved to Dallas about a year and a half ago. I’m an art director  (I work in advertising) who is not the best at drawing. But I’ve found another outlet: making jewelry. It’s a hobby that I got into after making necklaces for my bridesmaids to wear. And I really enjoy it. I was recently part of my first crafts fair, and plan on opening up an etsy shop soon, to sell my stuff.

Other (random) things about me: I love hole in the wall restaurants. I don’t like to wear white. The only pet I’ve ever had was a pet chicken. I hate to touch raw meat, so I rarely cook it. I’m running my first marathon in October and I’m scared.

Thanks again, Esther! Her amazing hand-made accessories are perfect timing for any bride. Thanks so much to Nita Teng for introducing Esther to us….I foresee a very long friendship!

Visit her blog for current updates and to see more of her brilliant products. If you have an amazing wedding product you would like to have us share with our readers, please send us a note to


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GSS Tips From a Wedding Expert :: Lights, Camera, Action!

Part of putting on the best show of your life is using all of these elements.   A very big part of planning your wedding will be finding the best photographer to capture and document your wedding day.  Perfect lighting is what the photographer will be looking for among many other aspects to capture this lifetime event.  Help your photographer out by taking serious consideration when it comes to illuminating your wedding.

image courtesy of Liquid Djs

Where will your reception take place?  Ceiling height is the first places my eyes go when I walk into a ballroom, then chandeliers, then windows, then tables, then floor.  I think that this is the way most of our brains work when we are absorbing space with our eyes.

Candles are great and create ambient lighting for a warm, romantic feel.  These can only be considered as accents though.  Candlelight alone makes for beautiful silhouettes, but does not provide enough light to see an arrangement of dark reds, magenta, or other beautiful jewel-toned floral.  Choosing a dark palette of floral without adding special lighting is heart breaking to me.

So, my mission is to give good advice and encourage all couples to evaluate their venue and color choices carefully.  This will ensure that your pictures will be exactly what you remember.  Pictures so vivid, you will still taste the food, smell the flowers and hear the laughter.

Pin spot lighting is a focused beam of light that is projected onto the floral or decor so they can be seen after the lights go down for party time! This is an additional cost per table, but it can turn any wedding into a platinum affair.

image courtesy of Liquid DJs by Maloman Photographers

To back me up on this point, I asked a few Dallas Texas wedding photographers a simple question, and this is what they have to say:

“That all depends on how dark the room is.  If there is absolutely no ambient light then pin lighting is crucial.  In some venues where there is a good amount of ambient light it can actually hurt the photographs because we have two separate light sources that we are trying to expose for and both are completely out of our control.  In most cases the pin lighting is much brighter than the ambient light which means that if we tried to expose for the ambient light we would not pick up the detail in the flowers where the light is brightest.   There are ways around pin lighting I try to shot it from behind so I’ll go to the opposite side of the pin lighting and use it as a backlight still able to pick up the ambient lighting in the room.” Jennifer

“Any additional lighting (up lighting/spot/pin) gives the images depth and makes them more interesting, especially in a bland ball room.” Lynn

“Spot lighting on centerpieces in dark rooms is so incredibly important to us as photographers. Lighting gives such a beautiful dimension to flowers and decor that we think it’s almost NECESSARY unless the venue is well lit. (most are not) You’ve spent all of this money on amazing decor and you want it to shine in person as well as in the photos… which is all you will have after the wedding is done and over. ” Tanya

“Pin spots are extremely important for centerpieces in a reception; they draw your attention away from distracting walls and ceilings and spotlight the details on your tables.  This is a wonderful way to light a room.  Add in some accent up lights along the walls and columns and you have a beautiful scene for your guests to enjoy.  Your photographer will love you because it makes for a very beautiful photo! “ Jonathan



both images courtesy of Liquid DJs

Other ways to get around the additional lighting is to choose a lighter palette, enhanced with candle light.  One of my favorite suggestions is to go all white on your floral decorations and add accent up lighting or wall washes to bring your colors to the reception!  Keep in mind, always design your wedding to compliment the colors in your venue and you won’t go wrong!

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GSS Tips About Floral and Design :: Green Speak :: Eco-Friendly Designs

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Ask anyone in town, who’s got the trees, Mitsumata, Manzanita, Birch and Curly Willow? Who has the most fence wood?

Talking people into going green has been our passion for several years.  Looking back a few years ago at Kathryn and Jack’s vision for their wedding makes me proud to say that green is in and here to stay. The entire wedding was presented in recycled fence wood we picked up for 4 months.  We then transformed the old wood into different configurations of boxes, including the cake stands and pews!  We’ve seen it, done it and it works.  Of course, having your wedding at Marie Gabrielle is a huge plus, with all of the Jan Barboglio décor, fountain and gardens.

All of the browns, copper, creams and gorgeous picture windows make it a perfect setting already. Kathryn’s choice was all white floral, tulips, hydrangeas, baby’s breath and of course, peonies!  We used many textures and only the natural greenery to the centerpieces in the boxes.  All of the wood, metal and glass worked perfectly well in harmony.

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We have used the boxes multiple times since then, and let others use them as well. Picking up on the venues décor, and enhancing it should be your main thought in designing your own wedding.  Whether you are getting married in a garden setting or in a beautiful ballroom, pay close attention to all of the colors in the room and find the best match in your color palette to blend with it. In planning your green wedding, there are now endless resources online just waiting to be found!  We can also take example from the amazing Royal Wedding; in that green was also the new couple’s theme for their wedding, setting a wonderful example for the world.

All above images courtesy of Jennifer Yarbro


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