This blog has nothing to do with flowers, but as a florist, we work day in and day out with brides, party and shower hostesses, and event planners who all rely on the ever-important (but often neglected) RSVP. Just consider this a public service announcement: RSVPs are important!

Everyone who has hosted an event can relate. The non-RSVPers wonder, “what’s the big deal?” You know who you are. Let’s focus on why it is a big deal to RSVP when it is requested. This applies to weddings, showers, parties, and any event where RSVP appears on the invitation. It isn’t simply a matter of etiquette, or an antiquated concept; it has very practical implications.

In our business, we hear stories of frustration over getting a reliable head count. Brides and their parents are working with a budget. If they serve a meal, they have to give a count to the caterer. They have to tell the venue how many tables and chairs are needed. The list can go on to include china, glassware, linens, centerpieces and a multitude of rented items.  Likewise, party hostesses are purchasing food, beverages, and party favors, and planning things like seating and activities with no idea how many will attend. In some cases, a host makes lodging and transportation arrangements for potential guests from out of town. As you can imagine, it is difficult to successfully plan without a commitment from the guests.

Fear of Commitment?

I’ve asked myself why people seem to disregard an RSVP request. Is it a generational thing? Is it reluctance to commit? Too much trouble? I can’t really blame this one on the Millennials. No one seems immune. It isn’t a time-consuming task. In most cases, hosts make it pretty easy to RSVP. In the case of less formal invitations, like E-vites and Facebook events, it is as simple as the click of a mouse. Printed invitations almost always include a response card, as well as a stamped and addressed envelope for mailing. Short of making personal phone calls and text inquiries (and I know some who have had to resort to this), what does a host have to do?

That leaves the commitment excuse. “I’m just not sure what I will be doing three weeks from Saturday, so I just won’t commit. If it turns out I’m free, I’ll make an appearance. If not, they won’t be expecting me.” Make no mistake, an RSVP is a commitment. Anyone who has planned a wedding knows the angst of creating a guest list. Tough decisions are made. Distant cousins twice-removed are crossed off, while Uncle Jim and his plus-one make the cut. If you were so fortunate as to make the cut,  Répondez s’il vous plaît (RSVP). Make the commitment, take the plunge, show up. Put it on your calendar and protect that date.

Regrets

If you have a conflict, decline promptly, or send your regrets. You aren’t required to give an explanation, but you might offer a brief note expressing gratitude for the invitation and indicating the reason you are unable to attend. E-vite and Facebook invitations allow you to straddle the fence with a “Maybe” response option. Whenever possible, however, make a decision and let the host know. You just might open up a spot for one of those distant cousins who is dying to attend.

Respect the Guest List

I am dating myself with this bit, but “back in the day” when I got married, the ceremony was in the church sanctuary followed by a reception in the church’s fellowship hall. Yes, we requested RSVPs on the invitations, but it was just to have a ballpark estimate of how many to expect. How many did my cake need to serve? How many cups of punch would we need? It didn’t really matter if someone brought an extra guest or two along.

Today’s weddings are a little (a lot) more complex, from venues to menus. For reasons previously mentioned, it is imperative to have an accurate count of guests. Apart from the price tag attached to each guest, the bride and groom have chosen the friends and family they want with them on their special day. Respect that. The names on the invitation envelope are the parties invited. Period. If your name is the only one that appears, you are going solo.

A Few “Don’ts” and a “Do”

For some this may seem like common sense; for others, it may as well be Greek. So, it bears pointing out. Don’t assume they are fine with you bringing your children along. If your invited spouse or date can’t make it, don’t feel free to substitute another guest. Don’t put them on the spot and ask if you can bring your sister who happens to be in town that day, or worse yet, just bring your sister without asking. There will be no place card at the table with her name on it. Awkward!  Perhaps your invitation will be addressed to you “and guest.” In that case, by all means, bring a date or a friend. The host has graciously allowed you a plus-one.

Who Should RSVP?

Everyone. Even if you are part of the wedding party, you need to RSVP. If you verbally told the host over lunch two weeks ago that you planned to attend, you still need to RSVP. Never assume the host knows you plan to attend.

You don’t have to read up on your Emily Post Rules of Etiquette, or seek the advice of Dear Abby or Miss Manners. You don’t need fancy words, or creative writing skills. It’s as simple as “yes” or “no,” “accept” or “decline.” Check a box or click on the screen. At the end of the day, it’s really a matter of showing respect and courtesy to the host/hostess, who was kind enough to invite you to join in their celebration.

Lilium owner, Lisa Pritchett, and lead designer, Taylor Pritchett, participated in the Fleurology Symposium in Houston this month. The symposium is a by-invitation-only event for floral designers who are part of the luxury design industry. Headlining this year’s event were two industry masters: world-renowned event designers Preston Bailey and David Beahm.

L to R: Preston Bailey, Taylor Pritchett, Lisa Pritchett and David Beahm

The three-day experience was designed to immerse the participants in the luxury event experience while increasing their knowledge base and skills. The symposium included hands-on design education, luxury event detailing and healthy business management.

Hands-on Workshops

Fleurology is not an event where attendees sit and take notes while experts show them how it’s done. Lisa and Taylor, along with 28 other designers, were actively involved in learning and putting their skills into practice. Among the workshops offered was The Sketchbook Series, led by Annie Matthew. As our wedding and event coordinator, Taylor can take this skill and incorporate it in her consultations with brides and event planners. If we don’t have a certain flower readily available to show the client, Taylor can do a quick sketch of the flower to allow the client to visualize the concept.

Fleurology sketchbook

The Tent/Large Installation workshop, presented by David Beahm Experiences,  included techniques for suspending florals from the ceiling. Another workshop, presented by Rachael Ann Lunghi of Siren Floral Co., focused on creating compote arrangements. Laura Hooper Leader and Alyssa Law of Laura Hooper Calligraphy introduced designers to the art of calligraphy. The results of the designers’ efforts came together to create a beautiful event display.

Fleurology event under a tent
Event under the tent: suspended florals, compote arrangements, and chairs personalized with calligraphy. David Beahm Experiences

  

There are many creative ways to use calligraphy to elevate the designs for wedding and event decor. It can be used for signage, place cards, programs, seating, and even the cake. The ability to use calligraphy on many surfaces allows designers endless options to personalize the event for their clients.

Taylor designed this garden-style compote arrangement, which was later used in the tent display.

Keynotes

Action-packed days were spent learning and practicing new skills. Even mealtimes were not idle. A working picnic lunch included an informational seminar on social media, personal branding and photography tips. An elegant dinner setting was the backdrop for a keynote presentation by The Knot’s Lauren Kay. She discussed the luxury market and shared her insights on the state of the industry. The final morning of the symposium, all eyes were on Preston Bailey, as he discussed the limitless possibilities of the world of flowers.

Fleurology keynote dinner
Lilium was honored to work with Michelle Frost, AIFD designer, on florals for the keynote dinner.
Fleurology Preston Bailey
World-renown wedding and event planner, Preston Bailey, shares his expertise with symposium attendees.

Lilium has always been committed to providing our clients with the freshest premium product available, but we want to pair that with offering the freshest ideas as well. We believe that time invested in the Fleurology symposium will benefit all of our customers, especially our brides and event clients.

Special thanks to Fleurology organizers, event planners Karson Butler (Emily Butler and Amber Karson), photographer Koby Brown, The Knot, and Hotel Zaza for a memorable and valuable experience.

And the winners are… Rose Quartz and Serenity. Pantone Color Institute, widely regarded as the authority on color forecasting, has selected two shades as Colors of the Year for 2016. This year marks the first time ever that two colors have been named.

PANTONE-Color-of-the-Year-2016-v5-2732x2048 This year’s selections are intended to invoke peace, stability, comfort and relaxation. They are soothing colors to combat the stress of today’s world. “Joined together, Rose Quartz and Serenity demonstrate an inherent balance between a warmer embracing rose tone and the cooler tranquil blue, reflecting a connection and wellness as well as a soothing sense of peace,” said Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director for Pantone Color Institute.

Continue reading 2016 Colors of The Year Inspire Calm, Peace and Balance

He popped the question, and you responded with an enthusiastic, “Yes!” The whirlwind of wedding planning is underway. We know it can be overwhelming, and we are here to help.

Once your date is set and a venue secured, contact Lilium to set up your complimentary bridal consultation. It is important that the date and venue are set, as the season and location will impact the selection of flowers available and the overall design of your wedding florals. Allow 30-45 minutes for your consultation with our experienced wedding coordinator. She will take a few moments to get to know you, to get a sense of your personality and style, before delving into the details.

Have lots of ideas? Bring them! Bring photos, notes and inspiration. Have no ideas? That’s okay too! We can make suggestions that will spark your creativity. If you know the following, you are well on your way: Continue reading The Bride’s Guide to Planning Wedding Florals