Ribbon Box Events Blog

February 13, 2012

Monday Musings…You Just Never Know

Wedding professionals do a lot of networking. We spend a lot of time in meetings, at trade shows, and Facebooking to keep on track with current wedding news and trends. This benefits the client in a few ways. It keeps us fresh and in the know, and it exposes us to other vendors that might be a good fit for you, the reason why we do what we do. Sometimes it offers us the chance to really do something interesting and exciting, and in the last few weeks, that very thing happened to me.

Stemming from my attendance at a bridal events workshop, I met someone who thought I might fit well with their photo shoot team. As it turns out, they do much more than bridal shoots; they also do custom shoots such as a Native American maternity shoot, complete with a full belly henna tattooing.

The first project I was part of, was of all things, a vintage shoot. My role was to bring all of my vintage ‘stuff’, dresses, hats, dishes, jewelry….and whatever else I could throw in the back of my trusty old stationwagon, that seems to have unlimited space. Whoo hoo! A vintage photo shoot. It was one of the best days I have ever had since becoming part of our fabulous business.

As though that wasn’t cool enough, I got another call a few days later, asking if I would like to be a part of a photo shoot for a film producer to help introduce and promote her new film. So in a few weeks time, I randomly signed up for a class, and ended up meeting an indy film producer and now I am going to be a set designer, if only for a few days.

Who knew? There is always a reason to step out of the door and head out into the unknown, and you may have guessed it, because we have all been there. That day, I didn’t want to do it. I didn’t want to, but I made myself suit up and head out. Never dismiss the small opportunity! It can lead to bigger things, and from there, who knows? That film producer? She already asked me if I had ever considered working on film crews, what with all of my knowledge and skill of putting things together ( smiling ).

The world is truly your oyster. Go out and grab something!




January 30, 2012

Monday Musings… Did you know?

I often get asked which flowers will be seasonal for a certain wedding date. The perception is that crazy big savings can be had by choosing local, seasonal flowers. Magazines, DIY publications and numerous websites have  brides convinced that they can put together their own wedding for a steal, if they become savvy enough. There is some truth in all of this, but you have to know what is useful information and what isn’t.

The idea of  ‘in season’ and what that really means, is conditional. Flowers come in and out of season at different times and rates, in different locations and climates. A particular flower may be in season in your region for only a short while, and that same flower can stay in season for a long, long while somewhere else, making it more affordable to purchase from a wholesaler located where they are plentiful and for longer. Local growers tend to go organic, which can sometimes mean the flowers might not hold up to the rigors of wedding design and delivery.

Weather can also drive local prices up artificially, for instance an early freeze might ruin a crop enough to put the smaller grower in trouble. This means higher prices for you.

Although I am generally a fan of supporting local business, most weddings, with the range of flowers that most couples want, simply cannot be had locally year round. In addition, it is a bit of a romantic notion that we all want to believe; that somewhere nearby is a lovely field full of any flower you might like, if only you choose the right moment to get married. It doesn’t exactly work that way, unless you are happy with a big bunch of sunflowers and are willing to marry at just the right time to have them. This a great option, if you adore sunflowers,love the heat of the summer or the jewel tones of autumn and are happy with a more rustic wedding style.

My advice is to choose the flowers you want, let your heart do the choosing, and count on your florist, stylist or planner to help you work through your design and budget. We will help you to figure out how to weigh your heart’s desire with your sensibilities. That is what we get paid for, that is what we know how to do, and that is what we love. Marry when you want to and buy the dress…the rest will come.


January 23, 2012

Monday Musings…Color, color, color!

Filed under: Guest Blogger: Monday Musings — by fabiennelaveau @ 10:02 am
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Color is one of the most important wedding choices, and one that can easily overwhelm. Color news travels fast, and just when you think you have come up with a fabulously original color plan, you start seeing it everywhere! Pantone throws Tangerine out into the universe as the ‘it’ color of 2012, and suddenly fall weddings are all the thing, using this bold orange as the basis.

Purple becomes eggplant or aubergine, and all shades of green become the rage – something has to go with eggplant! By the time you have your colors in place, they are on every page you turn in your favorite mag. Use of color, and use of color with texture becomes the way to keep your style and design unique.

Never fear, that is what your wedding professionals do. We take your ideas and choices, and add our years of knowledge about how to best use them for you. There are some great tools available for those who are less intuitive or have trouble conceptualizing. Design Seeds at design-seeds.com has done some of the work for you. They keep coming up with these fabulous groups of five colors, with fun and inspirational names, and their presentation is as simple as can be.I can’t say enough about Pinterest at Pinterest.com for collecting imagery and sifting through the amazing amount of creative wedding ideas. Since I am a florist, color, texture and detail are super important to my creative process.

Please come on over to Wedding Muse at MuseYourWedding.com for some ways to use color in your perfect day. As a designer, I use nature, especially gardens, photographs, fabric stores and things I see in everyday life, for my inspiration. Wonderful visuals are all around – keep those eyes open and choices will come to you. Think about what you are drawn to again and again, in your clothing, in your home and in your imagination.








January 10, 2012

Auld Lang Syne

Filed under: Guest Blogger: Monday Musings — by fabiennelaveau @ 10:00 am
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When I was in the sixth grade, a whole generation filled time capsules and buried them in the schoolyard. We fully believed we would dig them up decades later and return to our sixth grade thoughts and memories in doing so. The world would be  different and our simple tools and gadgets would reflect this when we revisited our capsules. The impracticality of this plan did not deter us from taking it all quite seriously, though there was never any real plan in place for the uncovering.

Much later as a grown-up, I adopted a yearly New Year’s Eve tradition, the ‘Burning Bowl’. In this tradition, you gather with friends and write on slips of paper, events or conditions of the past year that you would like to leave behind. There is the usual stuff –  health problems, perhaps a conflict with  friend or a habit you are not fond of; or maybe something even more profound such as a death or other loss. The slips go into a bowl and are burned.

You also make a list of positive things to symbolically replace these events with, and hang onto that list until the following year. Perhaps you have decided you will volunteer your time at a hospital, or promise to learn a new interest or skill. At that time, you revisit and reflect on your lists – an exercise in reviewing, reliquishing, and positive thinking. In some ways,  it is more meaningful than  a generic list of resolutions without real intention.

Recently, I came across a modern version; FutureMe.org. On this site, you can write future e-mails to yourself and have them delivered  at some pre-determined point in time. It got me to thinking how strong the desire is to freeze moments and memories in time, through pictures, through writing, through sharing moments to become part of the collective memory. FutureMe.org…no replacement for the Burning Bowl and it’s ritual, but perhaps a reflection of a quickly changing world’s desire for holding on to memory and the chance  for better things to come.

Happy New Year to all, no matter what your hopes and expectations are.


December 12, 2011

Monday Musings…Wine Bottle Makeovers!

Being a good Virginia citizen, I love the Virginia grape. Our state is putting out some lovely wines! Something about wine bottles also appeals to me, and I don’t like throwing them out. As  with most creative types, we sometimes stumble on an idea, and can’t get enough of it. So it is with me and my current obsession for making empty wine bottles fancy and purposeful.

Round up some bottles and  some GOOD spray paint. I am loving metallics and flat black right now. Because these choices have nice coverage, you don’t need to worry about taking the labels off. The other supplies I like are Mod Podge, Martha Stewart glitter ( because it is very fine and the colors are to die ), some GOOP craft glue, faux brush on snow, some pretty votives and/or vintage small plates, and some vintage jewelry bits.

Other things might be doilies and  ribbon bits – you get the idea. Start by spray painting until you have good cover, and then decorate, decorate, decorate! Finish your project by gluing a votive, small plate or china teacup on top, and you then have a funky centerpiece, or something cool to hold your soap, ring, brillo pad, or a flower or two.

For a more practical use, you can also add a pourer or stopper and use them for oil and/or vinegar, dish liquid, or funnel some wine back in and delight your guests. These are too much fun, and there is no limit to the designs. I’m not sure I will be able to stop making them! Guess what those long, skinny gifts are under my tree?

Happy Glittering!


December 5, 2011

Monday Musings: The Thankful Tree

Weddings – wonderful. Divorce – sometimes a reality. My family has enough divorces to make many of the young people in our family have four sides, rather than the traditional two. I don’t defend it in any way, but we are a heady and passionate bunch, and our good things don’t always work out. The weekend before Thanksgiving, we have a family reunion and we include in-laws, outlaws, exes from Texas, and anyone who loves anyone we love. It’s main merit lies in the fact that it has made generations of kids in our family perfectly comfortable with every configuration of family that there is. We share sweet potato pie with the new wives, with the old wives, with the boyfriends who may not be there next year,  with the new grandbabies, and so it goes.

The older folks make it possible with this spirit of cooperation, and the young folks get to take for granted something pretty special. They come up with the new traditions, and this year they came up with Sumo Wrestling and The Thankful Tree. While we were busy setting up the tents and placing the china, they were busy laying out the mat, and dipping leaves in beeswax. Before dinner began, they handed out the dipped leaves with tags and explained that we would be writing what we were thankful for on the tags and then hanging them on The Thankful Tree, made of simple branches in a container. Most of us wrote things relating to the gathering; thanks for the food, thanks for family. Others were more specific, such as the thanks given for a kidney donation from a sister to a brother.

At any rate, it gave us a moment of reflection, a moment to pause. For the most part, the older generation in my family is a non-questioning group of Christians, but we have our share of renegades, mixed lineages and higher power believers. The Thankful Tree took the place of grace at this gathering, and it gave us the opportunity to express the simple thanks that we all have, if given the moment to think it over and have a handy tag to write it on. ‘I’ll Fly Away’ broke out in gospel tune among the musically gifted in our crowd as we filled out our tags. Though Thanksgiving is past, I think the tradition is adaptable to any faith, to any occasion, and to any age. The things we take for granted are the most precious, after all.

This winter holiday, why not have a Thankful Tree, custom made by the young people in whatever you call family? It can only remind us that we are all in this together and the only things in life REALLY worth anything are the people we love and have a history with.


November 28, 2011

Why We Do What We Do

Filed under: Guest Blogger: Monday Musings — by fabiennelaveau @ 10:05 am

A local promoter invited me  to participate in a vendor event on Black Friday at  an area winery. These things can be hit or miss, and no one really seems to know how to predict outcome. We speculate and refer to past experience, but there is no real way to know. Sometimes, it turns out that you bring too little of something,  your table is in the ‘bad’ spot or people just aren’t buying.  In this case, all of the right elements seemed in place. The event had been promoted, the hook was there ( wine tasting with food ), the weather was beyond perfect, the venue and parking were great, and a beautiful room was prepared for us to show our wares. We were all feeling good!

In spite of these advantages, the event was a dud. Ten women fired up and ready to go, ready to give it their best shot…and you could hear crickets chirping. An hour into the 6 hour event, we started the positivity chitchat. ‘People are sleeping in’. ‘ People don’t go to wine events until later in the day’. ‘ Let’s put our positive energy together and will people to come’. Three hours in and the seasoned ones among us knew it was a bust. No one came, and the few who did simply were not in the holiday spirit. Perhaps it was too warm, perhaps they had been at Big Box stores all night and only wanted to enjoy a glass of wine. So, we did what women do. We talked, we laughed at ourselves, we traded contact information and promised to remain in touch. I met a few women I especially liked, caught up with a woman I know and had not had the chance to visit in ages, and got added to the Preferred Vendor list at the winery.

One woman had brought her hubby along, and he photographed my things and sent them on the spot to a potential client. I lost money, I felt a little discouraged as I do when these things happened, as I packed up the boxes I had unpacked just hours ago. This fabulous group, however, had bonded and reminded me of the real reason we shlep, trudge, carry, pack, unpack and throw ourselves out there…it is to belong, to help others, to mentor, to share, and sometimes just to see what the day will bring. Sometimes we just have to wait and see what the bigger purpose is, and I feel good that it will offer something greater than any instant reward could do.


Fabienne Laveau, designer and owner
Wedding Muse

November 21, 2011

How things have changed…

Filed under: Guest Blogger: Monday Musings — by fabiennelaveau @ 10:05 am
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When my mom got married in the 50’s, weddings  followed some simple rules and formulas. Most weddings looked and felt pretty much the same, and the only real pressing question was whether to follow conventional religious tradition, meaning at the time to have it in the morning and skip the alcohol. Often the church ladies would prepare food and the simple little reception featured punch, tea sandwiches and cookies. Sometimes the wedding and the gathering afterword took place in the bride’s home, with the mother of the bride taking great personal pride in the occasion. This was not considered unusual or disappointing as likely it would today, and as decades passed, folks would simply head out afterward to keep the thing going. The most popular option was to get married in a church or temple  and party it up afterward at another location. Variations of this style lasted  into the 90’s, with a few changes, but the idea remaining the same, that a wedding was about the marriage with some polite social observance of the event to follow. Somewhere along the line, couples started having evening weddings, which led to more instances of parties lasting into the night, and a feeling of including guests in a more personal way. This was a big change and the tone was set for the reception rather than the ceremony to become the main event. Another change took place when couples started opting for having the ceremony and reception at the same location.

Image by Rodney Bailey

Fast forward to 2011, and couples are finding ways on top of ways to make their wedding and celebration stand out. Good-bye satin dresses, three attendants on each side,  rice and bird seed, red or pink roses, and white pew bows and wedding cakes with white frosting. Hello burlap, pink with green or green with purple, chandeliers, uneven numbers of attendants, short bridesmaids dresses, and photo booths. What’s next? You can bet it will swing away from all that was new just a few wedding moments ago. What an exciting time to be in our profession and what a fun time to be dreaming of a wedding. This will be remembered as the time when couples were given permission to have their wedding, their way, with lots of thought given to how to involve guests in memorable ways. Some will no doubt become cliches, and disappear into memory.

Meanwhile, I will continue to ponder the question as to why I once fell head over heels in love with a white satin dress with poofy sleeves and a three foot wide bow in the back. I wonder if it is too late to trash the dress?


November 14, 2011

To DIY or not to DIY?

Filed under: Guest Blogger: Monday Musings — by fabiennelaveau @ 10:00 am
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DIY is an option that many brides consider and one that wedding service providers deal with on a regular basis. If you are fortunate enough to have a planner, they can help you through the interesting terrain of which projects might be DIY appropriate for you. Ask any professional and they can tell you stories about the would-be great ideas that never happen.

As a florist who likes to hang around the reception to offer help, I have been sent out last minute to buy votives that I was asked not to bring, favors I was asked not to provide, petals that were not going to be needed…you get the idea. If you happen to be an organized, timely, reliable, self motivated and creative person, DIY might indeed be for you. If you have friends you trust not to be ‘busy’ when it comes time to put the favors together, or hand address the envelopes, then maybe it is for you.

If on the other hand you typically slide out the door in the morning with a half eaten bagel in your hand, not sure if you have your carkeys, think ‘on time’ means within an hour, and your friends are well-meaning, fun, but not so reliable…you might want to let the pros handle your details. Most weddings turn out to be fabulous, but why stress the details and your professional wedding team, who will in the end become responsible for making it all work out? I am all for DIY touches for any meaningful event – it can add wonderful and memorable aspects. However, you must have the confidence, the time and the skill to make it all come together so choose wisely and always give your vendors ample time to jump in and save the day. That is what we do AND we have the experience and tricks of the trade to make it all look easy. To put it all into perspective, seldom will you see a seasoned planner with all of her/his connections and knowhow, try to pull off her/his own entire wedding.

Think about what goes into putting on a small dinner party – a wedding is a small dinner party with a thousand added details and a hundred more people. My latest favorite easy peasy DIY time saving trick….your favorite well known coffee chain has the yummiest birthday cake pops. Repackage in cello bags with ribbon…$1.50 each and you have a great and affordable favor.



November 7, 2011

Monday, Monday

Filed under: Guest Blogger: Monday Musings — by fabiennelaveau @ 10:00 am

Due to circumstances beyond my control, the last two weeks of my life got lost in a sea of Kleenex, cough medicine and bad television. When I awoke, a major terrorist was gone and Halloween had happened without me. Feeling like Rumpelstiltsken, I had to find my bearings and nature, as always provided my focus. As it turns out, I had to muster myself for an involved project in West Virginia and the two hour drive each day reconnected me to my world and things I love most – Virginia and her majestic autumn and the unrivaled Shenandoah River.

Heading out each day, I was smack in the middle of glorious fall. Sleeping through the turning of the leaves, I woke to the full on splendor of oranges, golds, reds and burnt shades that define the upper south in late October. Oh, what glory, what inspiration, what beauty.

If you have any opportunity to take such a drive in the next few weeks, don’t miss out. Load yourself up, grab family or friends, pack your camera, collect some leaves and acorns and remember the simple aspects of this perfect season.

Press your leaves in a book, glitter them, have a tiny tea party with your acorn cups, and settle in with hot cider or a grownup pumpkin-tini. Equal parts of pumpkin liqueur ( clear, not creamy ), hazelnut liqueur, whipped cream vodka OR dark rum, heavy cream…shake over ice and strain into a beautiful martini or wine glass with brown sugar on the rim. Enjoy!