Spotlight

Spotlight: Art Prints from Minted

We love Minted for their beautiful wedding stationery. (Psst… our clients get 20% off, ask us for the discount code!) But did you know that Minted also has an amazing line of Art Prints? I decided to show off some of my favorites – and yes, I have very diverse taste!
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I LOVE that you can buy a frame right along with the print, and try out different frames virtually. I have the hardest time choosing frames for artwork!

So while you are browsing Minted’s wedding stationery collection, take a look at these great options for your new home! If you aren’t familiar with Minted, here’s a little bit about them:

Minted’s community of independent artists and designers are located in 48 states and 43 countries. They are illustrators and textile designers, painters and packaging designers, marketers and stay-at-home moms. Some have design degrees, and others are participating in Minted competitions to learn design for the first time. They share a deep love for creative expression, personal development, risk-taking, and most importantly, paying it forward by helping each other.

Be sure to check out Minted’s line of stationery as well as art and home decor! Do you have any favorites? Post the link below in the comments.

ABC Florida Shine Conference 2014

I had such an amazing weekend last week! Not only did I get to attend the Association of Bridal Consultants’ Florida State Conference – shine – but I also got to speak at the event. Here are a few images from Day 1 of the conference, taken by fabulous photographer Claire Pacelli. If you’ve wondered what happens when a group of wedding planners get together for continuing education, here’s a little peek:

View More: http://clairepacelliphoto.pass.us/shine       View More: http://clairepacelliphoto.pass.us/shine

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My fellow speakers, along with the conference co-chairs:
Sharon Baragona, A Chair Affair; Kelly McWilliams, Weddings By Socialites; oh hey, that’s me!; Mark Kingsdorf, ABC Florida State Manager; Coach Jenn Lee; Brian Joyce and Richard Streitler, Flourish Floral Productions; Elisa Delgardio, A Flair For Affairs

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Oh, and did I mention, another fellow speaker: celebrity wedding planner Donnie Brown?

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There are so many more fabulous photos, but this one I think is my favorite:

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“The Speaker Selfie.”
This beauty was captured by Kelly McWilliams (and posted to Instagram)
after we posed for a more formal group photo. Love it!

If you work in this industry, and you aren’t attending conferences like this, you are missing out! And if you are a bride or groom, as your wedding professionals what they do for continuing education. It makes a huge difference!

Fun To Do This Weekend: One Spark

One Spark 2014

Looking for something fun (and FREE!) to do with your sweetie this weekend? Head to downtown Jacksonville for One Spark!

One Spark is the World’s Crowdfunding Festival, and it takes place right here in Jacksonville. Over 600 creators are on hand to showcase their ideas in the fields of art, innovation, science, technology and music. Held over 20 square blocks, you can also enjoy the food village and beer village, plus tons of live bands. And where else can you see a giant Goldfish (known as “Colonel Crackers”) floating in the Hemming Plaza fountain?!

The 5-day festival started on Wednesday with an estimate 40,000 people attending the first day. Free parking is available at the convention center parking lot, and then you can take the free Skyway (did you know Jacksonville has a Skyway? A lot of people don’t!). Or, you can park at EverBank Field and take the free shuttle bus.

You’re probably asking, what exactly is crowdfunding? Well, the concept is that great ideas can be found everywhere. But not everyone has the resources to find large-scale investments. So crowdfunding take little donations or investments ($5/$10/$50 etc.) and pools them together to make big things happen.

When you visit One Spark, you can vote for your favorite projects (known as “creators”), and the creators that get the most votes win a share of over $300,000 in prize money. Or, if you see a project you are passionate about, you can even contribute right on the spot.

One Spark is FREE to attend, so why not check it out? Plus, it’s a good chance to see how awesome Jacksonville is, in case you might forget. Visit http://www.beonespark.com for everything you need know!

Custom Calligraphy & Watercolor Wedding Maps

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We are so thrilled with our bride, Sarah Jo, for introducing us to her friend Catherine Woodward! Catherine creates stunning wedding maps using ink and watercolor, and each one is custom-created featuring the information you provide. This can include the ceremony and reception location, area landmarks, and even the spot where you got engaged!

We love the idea of using these maps in your welcome bags. But it will also be a stunning piece of art for your home! Check out Catherine’s Etsy shop, Maps Of The Moment, for more examples of her work. But hurry if you want one – Catherine starts her med school residency in mid-May, and will have to put her love of creating art on hold for a bit.

Here’s a little bit more about Catherine’s story:

I started painting and drawing when I was little, but kind of over did it in high school – I took lots of classes and got totally burnt out. I think I took a single class in college, and then for about 7 years I only painted once… I just didn’t have time and didn’t really want to.

Then I became a fourth year medical student, and went from having no free time to actually having a pretty good deal of it. So, for the first time in years, I did a series of acrylic and news-print cityscapes for a friend…then other friends started requesting things and pretty soon I had done about 15 works.

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One painting – the house below – got put on Instagram by my friend. His friend saw it and she reached out to me to see if i would be willing to draw a map of all the venues in her wedding.

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I had never done anything like it, but it seemed like it would be a really fun project… so I bought watercolors (which I hadn’t worked with in years and years), and just started sketching. The first one was REALLY just like a hope-this-works sort of thing! And she loved it!

I will be a bridesmaid in a bunch of weddings this year, so I did more of them as gifts for the brides. Each piece got such positive feedback and were such a special gift! Then finally, I showed my boyfriend’s mom who really has to be credited for the Etsy idea.

I was really hesitant at first, but I had enough time and I really LOVE making them, so one random morning I finally made a shop. I sent the link out to my close friends and they sent it out to their friends, and it has just taken off!! It has just been the most awesome thing! I’ll get requests from all over the country and I get to learn about all these cities. People get so excited about them and that for me is the coolest part.

I’m obviously looking forward to starting residency but it’ll be sad to take a break from this. However, they say that after the first two years, you get a lot more free time, so I’m hoping I can always have this as a hobby!

The 10+ Year Club: A Fantasy In Flowers

Welcome to the next installment in our blog series, spotlighting local wedding companies that have been in business for 10 or more years! Today we feature florist Susan Kass of A Fantasy In Flowers:

Susan Kass A Fantasy In FlowersWhat year did you start your business?

I purchased a Fantasy in Flowers in 2003. It was an existing business with a storefront located in Mandarin. My previous experience had been in hotel sales and catering. I also managed a showroom for a clothing rep in the Miami merchandise mart for 6 years when my daughter was young. This gave me insight into the wholesale and buying end of business. It seemed like it would be a great match for buying a florist. I was naive…

What was your motivation? 

We had moved to Jacksonville in 2001 and my daughter was getting ready to start high school. I thought going back to work would be a good idea. I just had no idea how much work I would be getting myself into!!

How has your business changed over the years?

There have been so many changes to my business in 10 years it is difficult to count. I started out with one retail location and 2 years later bought a second location on Park Street ( Catanese Florist). When the economy was strong I employed 7 people full-time and we concentrated on corporate events and daily deliveries. The recession came and the corporate market went dormant so we moved our emphasis to the wedding world and never looked back. 2 1/2 years ago we moved to our wonderful new design studio on County Road 210. We now have 2 designers and a part time driver/set up guy and we are busy and happy but only occasionally stressed. Last year we provided flowers and décor for almost 90 weddings. We have 72 reviews on wedding wire and a 4.9 out of 5 rating, so I guess we are doing things right!!

A Fantasy In Flowers, Jacksonville FL

Looking back, what do you wish you had done differently? 

Looking back I would never have expanded as much as I did, however everything has been a learning process. I have made every mistake in the book. I just try to not make the same mistake twice. The one real change I would make is to have never gotten involved with any of the wire services ( FTD, TELEFLORA etc.). On-line ordering is a big scam and it costs reputable florists hundreds of thousands of dollars per year, as well as delivering an inferior product to the consumer.

What are you most proud of? 

I am proud of many things, but mostly of my loyal and talented staff. They are the heart of my business and have stayed with me through thick and thin. I couldn’t do it without them…literally!!

Why do you think your business has made it while so many other small businesses fail in the first five years? 

Our business has made it due to changing with the economy and the trends. We also have a core group of very loyal local clients who have stuck with us. The positive reviews and word of mouth from our brides has also been invaluable. We always try to go the extra mile and it seems that we are appreciated for that.

A Fantasy In Flowers St Augustine FLWhat advice do you have for a business just starting out in your industry?

Starting a business today in the wedding industry is incredibly tough. Do not sell yourself short and please charge the appropriate amount for your services. Do not undercut the existing companies in the industry. This will make other vendors unwilling to promote you. You must have a strong vendor network and you must be patient. It takes a long time to build a good reputation and good relationships. Attend networking events and get to know others in your industry. That will pay off big!!

Do you have a most memorable wedding or funny story you’d like to share?

Most memorable wedding story…Just when I think I’ve seen it all something new and amazing happens for the first time. That’s what keeps this business interesting!!!