Thursday, July 31, 2008

Vendor Spotlight: Flora Design Studio

My event designs would be nothing without a good floral designer to pull my vision together. Today I am very pleased to introduce to you Heather Hughes, owner of Flora Design Studio. Heather has stopped by today to talk about her company and some tips on choosing flowers for your next wedding or special event.

Lemiga: Why did you start your company?

Flora Design Studio: When planning my own wedding I found that there were not many true floral designers available in North Atlanta. I wanted something unique, different, fresh and new for my wedding, but was having difficulty finding it. After my wedding as a interest, I started taking classes in basic floral design and structure, I did some traveling and research, and determined that what was my hobby was really my passion. After a lot of thought and encouragement from my husband and family I decided to break out of the corporate world and start working for myself. I specialized my business on contractual and event floral design and what became a small hobby has slowly grown into my company!
Lemiga: What is the difference between a florist and a floral designer?

Flora Design Studio: A florist will provide flowers for customers in their shops, and keep fresh flower inventory for quick deliveries and unexpected requests for flowers. They can provide arrangements for weddings, funerals, birthdays, holidays, and deliver these to select locations via a delivery person. There is little customer interaction. Floral Designers do flowers for an office space, home, or a special event. In general they are much more detail oriented ensuring that every detail of flower choice, color, vase selection, location, movement, height, etc. will achieve the look needed to fill the event space. They help ensure the mood and integrity of the event and space is demonstrated through the look of flowers. Their team creates the pieces and delivers them as scheduled in the planned timeline to the location under contract. They provide high levels of customer service, by interacting frequently with the planner or event coordinator.
Lemiga: What should potential clients look for when hiring a florist or floral designer?

Flora Design Studio: Clients should make sure they feel they can trust their florist or floral designer. Communication is key! Make sure your florist/floral designer asks you lots of questions to ensure they are on the same page as you and they clearly understand of what your goal is with flowers. A good florist or floral designer will be upfront about costs, and offer solutions or fresh ideas on how to adjust the flowers to meet your budget.
Lemiga: What do you enjoy most about your job?

Flora Design Studio: My clients are the key to my business; and I am so lucky to get to work in a business that provides such happy emotion! I love to see the whole picture come together in the end. From the beginning stages and planning to the final set up, I get to see my projects from start to finish with the excitement from my clients. I see mothers tear up with joy when they see their daughters carry their bridal bouquet. I hear excitement in a brides voice when she tells me about a special memory she has of a certain type of flower that is close to her heart. Flowers provide a warm feeling for people and I love getting to enjoy this part of my job with my clients.
Lemiga: What is one piece of advice you would give for brides to be?

Flora Design Studio: Make sure you get your floral designer booked after you book your wedding and reception location, the earlier the better. They can work out any issues early of flower availability and cost before anything is finalized. And, make sure you allow enough of your budget to flowers, typically 20% of budget is a realistic cost of flowers for a wedding.

Thanks Heather for stopping by today and sharing with us your beautiful work!

Flora Design Studio is a participating vendor at my Open House Soiree on August 24th. Heather is working on some gorgeous designs for the Soiree that you do not want to miss! Register today for the Soiree at

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Caló Gitano

I love unexpected entertainment at weddings and special events. When you have surprise elements at events, guests are kept engaged and anticipate what's going to happen next. I find this especially helpful when you're trying to transition from a sit down dinner to dancing. Also in my opinion the best first dances at weddings are when the couples shock all their guests with a perfectly choreographed number. Today I am featuring dance company Caló Gitano. Owner, Marianela Belloso, has stopped by today to tell us about how her company can bring some excitement and fun to your next wedding or special event.Lemiga: What is Flamenco Dance?

Caló Gitano: In general, Flamenco is style of dance commonly associated with the gypsies (or "Gitanos") of southern Spain. The dance is often characterized by passionate expression, intricate and graceful arm movements, and complicated footwork. Although many people think that "Flamenco" consists of only a single dance with one rhythm, within the general category of "Flamenco," there are actually more than a dozen groups of rhythms called "Palos," and each group includes several dances. Each of these groups has its own feeling, timing, and place of origin. However, the thing that all of these dances have in common is that they are danced with passion and heart.
Lemiga: Why did you open Caló Gitano Flamenco Dance Company & Academy?

Caló Gitano: I started dancing flamenco when I was only six years old, so I have spent many years learning and loving flamenco. When I came to Atlanta in 2000, I met flamenco guitarist Farzan Kendrick and decided to form Caló Gitano as a means of continuing to transmit Spanish culture and dance throughout the United States, and as a means of bringing people together from all cultures to share in a common passion for "Flamenco."

Lemiga: What does Caló Gitano mean in English?

Caló Gitano: El Caló is the jargon spoken by the gypsy community in Spain. It was created when the gypsies in Spain started to lose their ancestral language (RomanÌ), and is often used for discrete communication. The word "Gitano" means "gypsy," and comes from the word "Egiptano," because, in the Fifteenth century it was believed that the gypsies came from "Egipto Menor" (what is now an area near Turkey). Gitanos contributed a great deal to the creation of flamenco, and one who can dance flamenco with the soul, passion, and spirit commonly displayed by the gypsies in southern Spain is said to have "duende."

Caló Gitano embodies everything that we strive to be as a flamenco dance company. We want to stand the test of time, evolve, and grow like the "Caló," and we want to transmit the passion and duende of the flamenco "Gitano" in everything that we do. This is why we proudly call ourselves Caló Gitano.
Lemiga: What levels of flamenco dance classes do you offer at Caló Gitano?

Caló Gitano: We offer classes for all levels, from beginner to advanced. For more information, go to the classes and services section of our website at

Lemiga: What services do you provide for weddings and parties?

Caló Gitano: We offer flamenco shows (in English or Spanish) for parties, weddings, and other special events. Our shows are very interactive and energetic, and are designed to transport our audiences straight into the cultural heart of Spain. We even make sure that the audience members get a chance to learn a few steps and have fun with us dancing to some great Rumba Flamenca beats. You will surely be dancing if you are celebrating your birthday, anniversary, wedding, or any other special day with us.
Thanks so much Marianela for stopping by today and giving us a fascinating education in flamenco dance. It really shows how passionate you are about what you do and I have no doubt that you bring this same passion to your performances and lessons. I can imagine how much fun it would be to have you at an event.

For those of you who may be interested in learning more about flamenco dance, be sure to come to my Open House Soiree on August 24th at the Solarium. Register for the Soiree at Caló Gitano is a participating vendor and is doing a giveaway for a $50 gift certificate that you can use towards a semi-private course - perfect for those couples who may be looking for an exciting first dance for their wedding!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Spring Hall

On Saturday I attended a grand opening for Spring Hall, a new special events venue in Atlanta. I'm not the best photographer, but I wanted to share with you some photos I took of this elegant new venue.

As you enter the front door there is a beautiful reception area and this long hallway with marble floors.I loved all the little unexpected details in the decor. For instance, this piece of furniture may be something that you would normally just walk by But when I looked inside there were beautiful green roses sitting in ice. And the same for this welcome table.The venue is full of gorgeous chandeliers like this oneHere is a close up of the cake in the bar areaI didn't get a great picture of the ballroom but here's one to at least give you an idea. The ballroom has crystal chandeliers and a dark wood dance floor. Here is the buffet decor. And a few close ups My favorite part of the buffet were the ice sculptures. I didn't photograph this very well, but on top of the ice were candles which was very dramatic.For entertainment they had traditional Korean performances and later in the evening to get the dancing started the very impressive Neons performed.My favorite part of the venue is the bridal suite.No expense was spared to create a luxurious feelAnd the ceiling is absolutely breathtaking with sumptuous fabric and a chandelier coming out of it - who wouldn't love to get dressed for their wedding here!Congratulations to Spring Hall for a successful grand opening. I know there will be many beautiful events to come.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

My Project 42 Session

Normally I try to keep everything strictly business on this blog so I hope you don't mind me sharing about my personal life today. Months ago I won a free photo session with photographer Shannon Wright for a new concept called Project 42. The number 42 means Love is: 4=love 2=is. It's a photo session about what love means to you and capturing it while in your wedding attire.

Now I've been married for 8 years and have 2 kids so I didn't know if Shannon would even want to use us for this project. But Shannon jumped at the opportunity to work with us and I couldn't believe I actually had a legitimate excuse to put on my wedding dress again!

With what little free time we have, my husband and I love to go to the movies. So we started with a movie themed photo shoot at Atlantic Station.

But the movie theatre wouldn't let us inside so we moved on to the Fox Theatre. I guess God was looking out for us because they actually let us shoot inside the Fox!
For the second part of our session we chose to do a shoot about what we love most - our two beautiful daughters! Me being me I couldn't just do a regular photo shoot in the park - nope, we took our couch and put it in the middle of Piedmont Park!

This is my youngest daughter Kamryn
And my oldest daughter Kristen with her daddy
It was like any day playing in the park - except in my wedding dress!

And a few more shots with me and my wonderful husbandThanks so much Shannon for including us in your Project 42! I know these aren't the typical "wedding pictures" but we had so much fun and now we have beautiful keepsake pictures of our family capturing what we love most.

Design Inspiration

I usually don't like to blog about something that has already been blogged, but when I saw these images on Brocade Design, I just had to share! These are photos from Vanilla, a restaurant located in London.
I find inspiration for my events everywhere - restaurants, hotels, magazines, home decor stores. I'm always looking for unusual items that will spark a design idea. I love the sleekness of this restaurant with the unexpected touches of the floral patterns and crystal accents.

This would be an unbelievable location to host an event. When I take clients to look at venues I'm always thinking about how the space will add to the event's theme or color scheme. Especially for those on a budget, choosing a venue that you don't have to add alot of lighting and decorations is key! This particular restaurant is so full of ambiance you wouldn't have to spend anything on decor!

So where do you find inspiration?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Dreamy Gelato and Chocolates

As a self-proclaimed sugar addict, today I am so excited to feature Dreamy Gelato and Chocolates. The owner, Sukai Crook, has stopped by today to give us a behind the scenes look at her wonderful little dessert boutique.

Lemiga: What is Dreamy Gelato & Chocolates?

Dreamy Gelato & Chocolates: We are a dessert boutique offering three business lines:

(1) Perfection in a cone (Gelato, Sorbet, and Sherbet)

(2) Perfection in a cup (Hot Chocolate, Italian Espresso Drinks, and Granitas)

(3) Perfection in a box (Handmade Onsite European Chocolates and Pastries)

Lemiga: Why did you decide to open your shop?

Dreamy Gelato & Chocolates: I always want to start my own business; however, starting my own business was not part of my immediate plans. I was working as an US expat in London for a successful company. I had the best boss and my family was enjoying living abroad. One day while working in Folkestone, England, I was invited to go to lunch. After lunch, we stopped at a local gelato shop. I had no idea what gelato was, but it looked like traditional ice cream so I ordered two flavors. The moment I tasted the gelato, I knew traditional ice cream was a thing of the past. The gelato was full of flavor. To add to my enjoyment, I learned the addictive treat was low fat. I thought to myself, this dessert is an oxymoron….intense flavor, but low fat. This moment was the birth of Dreamy Gelato.

The addition of chocolates to the business model came when I visited Tenterten, England. There was a lovely chocolate shop located on the High Street. The chocolates there were handmade with exceptional ingredients. When I tasted the truffles, I wondered what I had been eating for so many years in boxes labeled “chocolate truffles”. To my excitement, the owner agreed to teach me to make his chocolates. This was the birth of Dreamy Gelato & Chocolates.
Lemiga: Where do you get your recipes from and where did you learn to make gelato and gourmet chocolates?

Dreamy Gelato & Chocolates: I trained in Italy and the U.S. to make my gelato and I trained in England to make artisan chocolates. I completed additional chocolate training at Ecole Chocolat (
Lemiga: What options do you offer for special events and weddings?

Dreamy Gelato & Chocolates: We can personalize our chocolates and boxes for any customer needs.

Lemiga: What is your favorite flavor of gelato and your truffles?

Dreamy Gelato & Chocolates: I honestly don't have a favorite. I make the gelato/sorbet myself and I like them all. As for chocolate, I am a dark chocolate lovers so I love the dark chocolate raspberry, dark chocolate espresso, dark chocolate coconut, dark oreo.......... anything dark chocolate.
Lemiga: Where can we find your shop?

Dreamy Gelato & Chocolates: We are located at The Avenue Forsyth, 410 Peachtree Parkway, Suite 106, Cumming, GA 30041, 678-513-6964.

I can personally testify that the gelato and chocolates taste even better than they look! Sukai takes the time to personally make all of her gelato and chocolates herself and it really shows in the quality of her product. I've never had anything like the desserts that she makes. Her gelato is so good that it is incomprehensible to me that it could be less fat and calories than regular ice cream!

Dreamy Gelato & Chocolates is a participating vendor at my Open House Soiree on August 24th at The Solarium. Sukai will be there with her divine chocolates for you to sample and to also talk about how she can custom make chocolates to fit your wedding or special event. Be sure to register for the Soiree at

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Elizabeth Anne Designs Library

Rebekah and Ami at Elizabeth Anne Designs sent me an email regarding the launch of The EAD Library, a new resource for brides. The launch is scheduled for today July 22nd.The Library is filled with hundreds of useful links, from photographers to shops to stationers. The goal is a simple, comprehensive list of vendors. The Library will help every bride, no matter her location, find the vendors and inspiration she needs for a beautiful event. We're excited to be among the vendors listed in the Planning & Design section. So be sure to stop by and check it out!