Floral case study with Jen S. Photography

Did you know that vendors practice for weddings? One of the perks of this industry is coming into contact with talented photographers, and Jen S. has an incredible way of telling a story with a single image. 

I design flowers in 3-d, to be viewed by my clients and their guests in real time, but I also always keep the photograph in mind, and pay attention to what will or will not translate when that product becomes 2-dimensional. 

I had a few extra flowers in the studio, so lovely Jen and I spent a morning moving stems around to see how different backdrops and different placement effect a photograph. This means that when we're on site working, and need to style an invitation suite, or take the perfect tablescape shot, we have a better intuitive sense of what to do. 

Hellebores are so beautiful aren't they? 

Hellebores are so beautiful aren't they? 

Did you know nothing rhymes with "orange?" It's also a difficult color to with- it's all "I'm the star of the show, me, me, me," and drowns out other colors. 

This was an exercise in minimal design, using a flower frog and no additional foliage, to let each flower stand on their own without the support of greenery that's usually necessary for a centerpiece. 

This was an exercise in minimal design, using a flower frog and no additional foliage, to let each flower stand on their own without the support of greenery that's usually necessary for a centerpiece. 

Pansies are so cheerful, aren't they? 

Pansies are so cheerful, aren't they? 

Wishing you all time to pursue the nerdy thing that captivates your attention and makes you lose track of time .


Mary Ellen

Patapsco Valley Female Institute

Spoiler alert: This wedding contained minimal florals.

But when I looked through the photos from Sarah Price Photography, my thought process went something like this:

that venue.

that dress. 

the way they look at each other.


 Ladies and gents, Nicole & James: 

Nicole's bouquet feautred garden roses, ranunculus, eucalyptus, pokeberry, clematis vine, and a few teeny tiny succulents. I love the simplicity of the materials and the rich texture. 

As featured on: United with Love

Venue: Patapsco Valley Female Institute

Photo: Sarah Price Photography

Gown: Martina Liana

Coordinator: M and M Creative Events

Hair: Something Blu Beauty


Fun fact: The venue above used to be a girl's school, and is allegedly haunted. Another one of my couples who got married there last year dedicated their signature cocktail to the youngest spirit. 

Wishing you all an uncomfortably long gaze into the eyes of your partner. 


Mary Ellen


Evergreen Museum and Library, Baltimore

"My love is a hundred pitchers of honey."

As I flip through these images by Michael Stavrinos Photography, I'm low on words and high on emotion.

 I'll let one of my favorite poems take it from here: The Forgotton Dialect of the Heart, by Jack Gilbert.

"How astonishing it is that language can almost mean,

and frightening that it does not quite. Love, we say,

God, we say, Rome and Michiko, we write, and the words get it all wrong. 

We say bread and it means according to which nation.

French has no word for home, and we have no word for strict pleasure.


 I dream of lost vocabularies that might express some of what
we no longer can. Maybe the Etruscan texts would finally explain why the couples on their tombs
are smiling.


 And maybe not. When the thousands
of mysterious Sumerian tablets were translated,

they seemed to be business records. But what if they
are poems or psalms?

My joy is the same as twelve
Ethiopian goats standing silent in the morning light.

My love is a hundred pitchers of honey.

 Shiploads of thuya are what my body wants to say to your body. 

Giraffes are this desire in the dark.

Perhaps the spiral Minoan script
is not language but a map

What we feel most has
no name but amber, archers, cinnamon, horses, and birds."

-Jack Gilbert

What a privilege it is to partner with couples on a day where feelings are so deep and so wide that even the best-worded wedding vows fall short. 

Thanks to Michael Stavrinos Photography for making it hard to narrow down a few images to share.

May each of you dip into your personal honey pot this week.


Mary Ellen

On New Flower Varieties

How do you view flowers? What's your relationship to them?

A delightful graduate student interviewed me recently and asked what my favorite flower was. I replied that there is no favorite- that's like asking me to choose one "best friend" for my whole life. I mean, my best friend at age 5 was a girl I met at the skate rink named Beverly, which I pronounced "Bubberly." My point is, while some friends stick around longer than others, we normally move through seasonal friends as well.

The pictures in this blog post are taken by a new friend: Julie Andersen. She reached out to me via Instagram  to photograph my flower arranging process, and I'm so glad I said yes. Turns out, we chatted about everything from our love of Scandinavian decor to how to be simultaneously generous and protective of our creativity. 

On the surface: Stranger Danger!

In person: total kindred spirits.

Plus, she's a wildly talented photographer and teaches FREE yoga classes in Baltimore! Click here to find her.

My current interests, which have dictated who I'm spending my time with, include renovation projects, motherhood, being a #girlboss, seltzer water and lipstick, and clean yet indulgent eating. 

The florals in this post were for Cake 'n Whiskey, a nationwide women in business networking event, also known as the perfect opportunity to get creative and use some non-bridal blooms: palm leaves, terra cotta anthuriums, and copper cymbidium orchids.

My take-away: don't limit yourself to only the flowers you know, because that will limit what you know about yourself. 


Here's to hoping you stumble upon a new bloom this week.


Mary Ellen