TIPS

WEDDING DO AND DON'TS BY ASH + OAK

WEDDING DO’S AND DON’TS

BY ASHLEY MUELLER

We are going on our 5th wedding season and we have learned so much over the last few years. When you send an inquiry we include our media kit and our FAQ. Within the FAQ we have a ton of do and don’ts for your day. While we were creating our FAQ we thought that it would be great to share this with everyone.

We picked our top 10 do’s and 10 don’ts to share with you.

D0

  1. FIRST LOOK- This 30 minute window is the prefect time to get a few moments alone with your other half. This day will fly by and trust us you will want a few minutes to soak it up together. Plus you get to ugly cry as much as you like because it’s just the two of you and a photographer. Hint bring your bridal bouquet to hold onto if you’re nervous.

  2. GO ALL IN OR NOTHING- If your going to spend money on your big day then go all in and make the impact on decor, drinks, music and lounge furniture. If you are trying to save money don’t do things half ass. Just do a backyard wedding with DIY flowers and decor. Don’t spend the money on a Napa vineyard and fall flat on decor. It makes you look cheap.

  3. TRUST YOUR VENDORS- Believe me they know what they are doing better than you. They should know about new trends over what’s still trending on Pinterest.

  4. BREAK TRADITION- If you are not traditional than don’t follow the rules. Who needs a first dance if you don’t like dancing. Make your wedding yours!

  5. GET A SECOND DRESS- It’s the one day you can wear whatever you want and wont be judged for it. So why not change into two or three dresses if you like. Have an end of the evening dress for the after party. Don’t ruin that beautiful thing you may want to resell later.

  6. SEARCH ON FB MARKETPLACE- There are so many ways to save money that wont make you look cheap. First is to buy used table number, votives or reserved signs. These items were only used once and for a hot minute. No need to waste money and you can resell them too. You’re also saving the environment.

  7. HIRE A COORDINATOR- This is super important and will make your and your vendors life easier.

  8. USE COLOR- If I have to see another white or white and blush wedding again I may kill myself. I am not saying go for bright and bold school mascot colors but used muted tones or earth tones. Add one color with white and blush.

  9. ONE LONG FARM TABLE- We love the idea of everyone sitting at one table and the bride and groom are in the middle. It looks super classy, plus you have to use farm tables which are our favorites.

  10. ADD BUD VASES TO CENTERPIECES- For farm tables especially add a mix of bud, small and medium arrangements down the rows to add a fun flow.

DON’T

  1. OVER USE PINTEREST- Once you have an idea stick with it and get off wedding Pinterest. It’s very hard for your vendors if you keep changing ideas and colors. Go with your first gut instinct or let your vendors pick for you, again we know what the new trends are.

  2. MICROMANAGE- Let go and let your coordinator do all the work for you. You paid them

  3. DIY- Unless you are an actual creative and artist don’t DIY anything. Your guest can tell you did over hiring a professional. If your other is handy, than making your arch is probably a no brainer but if your making a ton of trips to Home Depot just buy it and resell. The time you have before your wedding should be spent together having fun not stressing about wedding details.

  4. USE GARLAND ON ROUND TABLES- It just doesn’t work. You basically say one side of the table “can’t sit with us”

  5. FORGET IT’S HOT OUTSIDE- If a few flowers are melted don’t get upset with the florist when the tables are outside in 90 degree weather. We only have two hours to set up and need to use our time wisely if we have installations. Sometimes these babies have to sit in 90' degree sunlight for 3-4 hours before your guest sit down. No cut flower likes the heat and the sun.

  6. FORGET TO TIP or WRITE A REVIEW- It’s always a pleasure when we get tipped, though it’s very rare these days and we don’t expect it. However, we would love a thank you card/email, a tag or two on social media, referral or a review in exchange. If you don’t see us the day of you can always mail a thank you card. We work really hard to make your wedding look AMAZING so it’s nice to feel appreciated. I know you don’t see us as much as your photographer or coordinator but we do just as much work but behind the scenes.

  7. TOSS YOUR BRIDAL BOUQUET- If you don’t purchase a tossing bouquet, don’t toss yours $200 investment toss your bridesmaids. At this point of the night they have already abandon theirs bouquets.

  8. EMAIL EVERY VENDOR YOU FIND- Pick your top 3 in each category when your reaching out. It’s unfair and a time waster for these vendor to respond to your inquires when your not truly invested in their work. If all 3 of your top chooses are booked or out of your budget try 3 more.

  9. NICKEL AND DIME- Your vendors. We live in California and the cost of living and running a business is very expensive. Take a few minutes to google what we make and you will see we aren’t nickel and diming you so we can fly around the world. The cost of flowers, cake ingredients, film, prints, calligraphy boards, plates for catering companies are not cheap for us to buy plus bay area studio space are crazy. Just because it’s your wedding we are not exploiting you.

  10. LET YOUR FAMILY PRESSURE YOU TO HAVE A BIG WEDDING IF YOU DON’T WONT ONE-period

GIFT WRAPPING BY A FLORAL DESIGNER

I could careless about getting gifts but I love buying and wrapping presents. Even as a child, I love gift wrapping.  I would wrap all the gifts for the family besides my own. I was always a little disappointed when I would receive my gifts because they weren't wrapped to my standards.

Every year I pick a different theme. One year in high school, I wrapped everything white kraft paper and collaged over the top. Each person had a different theme. Another year I used vintage maps I found at the thrift store. A few years ago I drew funny cartoons and wrote stories. I am always thinking of something new and fun.

This year I am toying with a few ideas and I thought I would share what I am inspired by.


 

 

TIPS FOR CREATIVES IN BUSINESS

TIPS FOR CREATIVE BY ASH + OAK
  1. Find your brand and stay true to your brand. This wont happen right away but once you know, you will know. It’s like saying “yes to the dress”.

  2. Community over competition. Working together will help you learn more and be inspired. Don’t copy others but talk with other creatives in your field. It feels great to share your experiences, and hear others. Find someone to mentor, this will help you develop your skills and make you feel great about yourself. I wish someone would have taking me in when I was starting.

  3. Try new ideas and don’t hold back. Push yourself, it will only help you find your niche. If you don’t try it you wont know. But don’t try too many things you get are sinking.

  4. Hire professional to do the things you don’t know how to do. At the begin you may not have money, so do it yourself. Once you have a little money outsource as much as you can. This will leave so much extra mental space in your life to focus on what makes you happy, creating.

  5. Take breaks when you feel burned out. If you don’t you will run yourself into the ground. Pick a day, a few hours or a month to do something just for you. I take at least one vacation or a month off in January each year. At the end of the wedding season I live for my time off and turning my email on vacation mode.

  6. Network. Duh, but it’s true. I am not a social person unless I am with my friends but once I went to a few events and pushed myself it slowly became easier and easier. Now I can walk into an event and socialize, maybe meet one client or at least be inspired by the others in the room.

  7. Do not devalue your work. We need to make sure we are getting paid for all of our time. We often are quick to give a discount just to get a client but in reality we aren’t doing ourselves or our business justice. If another client comes your way and you know they can’t afford you (as I can’t afford myself) but you love them and really want to work with them, maybe give them a discount in exchange for total creative freedom or social media content. I suggest creating a budget for the year. Only offer so many discounts or a number of discounts. Once you hit your quota you are done for the year.

  8. Timing. Do not get down on yourself if your plan is not going accord your timeline. Sometimes things happen over night but not always and not for everyone. We get lost and want everything to happen right away because Instagram lives seem so easy. Your business may not be going the way you want it but maybe your personal life is or vice versa. We can’t have it all.

  9. Be good to your body. Most of us creatives we use our hands, our feet, and we stand or sit for long periods of time. We need to take breaks and stretch, replenish our bodies with food and water. Don’t wake up in 20 years, where you can’t lift a paint brush because of carpool tunnel. Stop and focus on what your body needs at all times.

  10. Find something that always gets you in the grove. I listen to Bon Iver every time I am having a block, hungover or another rough day. As soon as I play Bon Iver the juices start flowing. It’s my starter song. Once I am in the mood I switch to electric dance for a wild colorful wedding or 70’s rock for a boho themed wedding, find your thing. If you don’t like music maybe it’s a cup of tea or 10 minutes of meditation. Find a go to, to keep you inspired.

Thanks for letting me share my tips for creatives. I hope this helps a few of you wild and out of the box thinkers.

LISTENING

When I started Ash + Oak I had no idea what I was doing. I briefly looked over the flower department at a co-op in my early 20's. So when I started Ash + Oak 5 years ago, I used my customer service skills to grow my business. For today's tip, I am writing about asking questions and listening. 

I take pride in any work I do and as a result, I take every job I have very seriously. When I was in the restaurant industry, I was always one of the best servers. I'm not tooting my own horn, but I was damn good.  One day I had a guest explain to me why they loved me. It was eye-opening. They felt I truly listened to their wants and needs. I read their body language, predicted most of their wants and listened to each individual at the table. If you have ever eaten out, you usually ask the server what the most popular item is. Most servers will list off a few of their favorites or the house special, well I asked questions about the guest. I would find out if the guest had food allergies, what they loved and hated to eat at home. Once I asked enough questions and listened to their answers, I would narrow down what they would love. 

I took this same concept and brought it to the floral world. I ask clients what they loved about other weddings they attended, what the couple or close relatives were allergic to and what means the most to them. I love to bring in elements that tell a story about the couple through flowers or accent decor.

Last year, our favorite wedding was for a groom that was in a band and the bride who owns a vintage clothing store. They live on a lemon farm in a beautiful mid-century modern home in Fresno. We used a combination of mid-century vases, stardust gold decor pieces, and records as table accents. We had a calligrapher design the welcome sign on a guitar. Every guest that walked into the venue mentioned they felt as if they walked into the couples house but better. Asking the right questions and listening (truly listening) to the answers will deliver the best results. 

Danger + Devon's wedding was featured in the New York Times. Visit to view their love story.

THANKSGIVING TIPS

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. To me, Thanksgiving is a day for celebrating with friends. My best friend and I have hosted Friendsgiving for the past 5 years. This will be my first year away from my bestie and I will be cooking all alone. Since my boyfriend and I just moved to Grass Valley we don't have a huge friend group. I am a little sad because I wont have a reason to decorate a big farm table and cook for 10 people. However, the best part of being floral designer is I can create as many fake tables as I want.  

Today's journal is about DIY Thanksgiving tablescapes. It's super easy to make your table look like you hired a professional or spent a million dollars. 

Cheap Trick #1

One of my favorite ways to get great accent pieces is to hit the local goodwill or thrift store. Not only are you helping a cause but your saving the environment. The idea of fast fashion is spreading to home/holiday decor and it breaks my heart. We are so quick to buy new cheap items and dispose of them as fast as we bought them.

But before I go into the Goodwill I have a color palette in mind. It may change if I find something REALLY good but if I can't find what I am looking for in the right color it may be somewhere else. I often try Etsy or good old google.  Sometimes it takes two or three trips to the thrift store. 

I love buying plates at the Goodwill. I swear they never have full sets so I buy two in each tone that matches my color palette. I'm always on the look out for matte ceramic plates. 

Ash + OAk Thanksgiving DIY Tablescapes

Cheap Trick #2

The good old grocery store. Yes, I do love hitting Trader Joe's and adding food/fruit/veggie elements to my tablescapes. Especially for the holidays because apples, pears, pomegranates, and citrus are in full affect. Don't forget pumpkins and gorges! 

Below you can see we used beautiful gorges as name cards. It's super easy and it's a great party favor. 

Ash + OAk Thanksgiving DIY Tablescapes

Cheap Trick #3

Yes, I hate to say it but the Dollar Store is great source sometimes. As I mentioned before I hate spending money on cheap items but every now and then it's a better deal than Target. I go there for tapered candles, votives and wine glasses. Yeah, wine glasses. A lot of the time they have stemless wine glasses. I buy them there because my friends get a little wild and something breaks every year. These glasses are heavy duty and usually last a few falls and they look nice. 

Another great find at the Dollar store was this plan white plate. All you need is a sharpie and great handwriting and you've got yourself a rad table menu!

Ash + OAk Thanksgiving DIY Tablescapes

 

Cheap Trick #4

Kraft Paper! I have used kraft paper for a tablecloth, a menu sign and a welcome sign.  It's super cheap and you can find at almost any craft store. I buy mine on Amazon. It's the cheapest for the amount I usually need and it comes right to my door. 

The first year I used kraft paper as a tablecloth. I wrote everyones name directly on the paper where I wanted them to sit. I left makers on everyones plate and we all wrote what we were thankful for together. 

The second year I used kraft paper I cut a large piece off and hand wrote the menu on the paper and hung it up by the table. The third year I basically did the same idea but create a welcome. As you walked in the door everyone wrote what they were thankful on the welcome sign. 

Ash + Oak Thanksgiving DIY Tablescapes

Cheap Trick #5

Forge!!!!! The cheapest thing you can do! Take your cute pup out for a dog walk and bring your clippers. Snip a few pieces from here and there for the perfect centerpiece. Fill up a few bud vases you have around the house or goodwill scores you found and call it good. Just be careful for poison oak, nosy neighbors and dogs. 

Styling and Flower by Us

Calligraphy by Arrowartstudios

Photography by Cheerbabe

Check out our workshops! We are offering thanksgiving and Christmas workshops to learn all the trick and trades to create the perfect holiday decor. 

CORSAGE TIPS

Thanks to Passion Sue Flowers we have revamped the world of corsages. They are more comfortable and stylish than your high school corsage. Trust me the moms and grandmothers are so impressed. They rave on and on about them. 

Tip number one: Use Oasis Floral Glue. I have tried every type but the Oasis brand is the best!!!

Tip number two: Adorn the flowers the night before but attach them right before your done for the evening. Use flat flowers such as ranunculus, cosmos, hellebore, and silver brunia.  

Tip number three: Double check them first thing in the morning and glue the loose pieces.

Tip number four: Keep them from falling over during delivery. We keep them together and use tissue paper to support them. 

Tip number five: Attach a cute name tag!

Photography by: Jess Rankin, Holly Shankland

COLOR THEORY TIPS

Picking colors for you wedding can be hard. You love mauve and purple but your other half doesn't want a girlie wedding. Your favorite color is blue and he/she loves red but you don't want your wedding to read fourth of July. Our suggestion is stay far away from team sports and holiday colors by using muted tones or a scale of one or two colors. 

Just because you want to use blue as a focal color you don't need to use blue flowers. Use the color blue in the bridesmaids dresses, napkins or plates. Keep your flowers neutral so they add texture and flow with the room. 

Don't use white flowers because you can't decide. Pick all of you details first linens, plates, tables, tuxes, and invites than decide. Don't limit yourself to white because you think it's easy. Sometimes it's to stark against the beautiful off white table linen.

See our example color schemes that look expensive and amazing but could end up all wrong if you pick plain primary colors.

YELLOW AND GREEN (hint-green doesn't look great on anyone)

BLUE AND RED (hint-don't use white for anything, not even the bridal dress)

FLORAL TIP

Our biggest secret is forging. We love to forge through the woods, neighborhood and abandon parking lots. You find the best stuff and unusual things you can't find at the market.  Smokebush is one of our favorite foliage to use and it's bloomin all over the East Bay. You may notice we use a lot of dried foliage as well, 90% of the dried foliage is from forging while we are taking long road trips. My boyfriend hates when I stop and forge in the middle of the highway.  Not only is he worried about my safety, which is sweet but our car is constantly filled with dead leaves and dirt. That's the price my loved one has to pay. #floristlife 

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Established 2014 in Oakland, California