"Fortunato in amore, fortunato nella vita. Siamo molto benedetti." (Translates to "fortunate in love, fortunate in life … we are very blessed!")
When the summer heat hits its peak, wise Italians escape the city and head to the country to join their loved ones for the mid-summer festival of Ferragosto on August 15. This was the inspiration for Janine + Roberto's Ferragosto wedding among the vineyards at Good Earth Food and Wine Co. in Niagara’s wine country.
The wedding ceremony was held in a verdant meadow under century old willow and sugar maple trees. Our nieces and nephews helped out in the religious service with a rousing responsorial psalm and handmade alleluia signs. The groom’s papa led the guests in reciting an Italian version of the Our Father – Il Padre Nostro. The ceremony ended with a prosecco toast: viva gli sposi! and we were deluged with handfuls of rice thrown from every direction.
As the sun was setting behind the orchard, guests strolled toward the winery bistro alongside the vineyard. The communal dinner table was waiting under the pergola, softly lit by sparkling crystal chandeliers and votives in a combination of mercury glass and custom hand-sewn vintage fabric sleeves in tones of muted mauve, pale lavender and mulled grape.
The last word goes to Janine + Roberto's five-year old nephew who whispered into the groom's ear: “Zio, can I tell you something?” “Yes, Ryan, what is it?” “This is the best wedding I’ve ever been to. It’s only the first wedding I’ve ever been to, but it’s the best!”
This wedding was perfectly captured byuber-talented wedding photographer Nataschia Wielink!
Event Photography: Nataschia Wielink Photo + Cinema / Private Photography: K Black and Co. / Wedding Venue: Good Earth Food and Wine Co. in Niagara, Ontario / Floral + Event Design: Mimosa Flower Studio / Menus + Programs: Laura Hooper Calligraphy / Place Cards: DIY / Wedding Cake: Good Earth Food and Wine Co. / Music: Claudio Santaluce / Wedding Dress: Jenny Packham via White Toronto / Bride’s Veil: Antique Belgian Lace / Bride’s Shoes: Sigerson Morrison / Bride’s Earrings: Laurent Gandini / Hair + Makeup: Jessica Jean Myers / Groom’s Suit: Ermenegildo Zegna via Holt Renfrew / Groom’s + Pageboys’ Ties: Pomp & Ceremony / Flower Girls’ Dresses: David’s Bridal / Pageboys’ Suits: J.Crew Crewcuts
What inspires you?
I’m inspired by art, music, photography, and architecture … floral designer Jeff Letham, the architecture of Frank Gehry, the jazz guitar of Lenny Brough, abstract impressionist paintings and my daughter’s photography.
One of my favorite places to visit is Bartel Organic Garden – it’s a 3 acre property with a beautiful mixture of mature trees, veggies, perennials and flowers – I get many of the flowers for my designs from there.
Give us three words to best describe your business.
Experienced. Versatile. Passionate.
Talk about your design philosophy.
Our design esthetic is very versatile. From clean, bold, modern designs to soft, romantic, vintage-inspired designs ... the final outcome really depends on the client’s request.
It’s important to design floral décor with the venue in mind, taking notes from the space and incorporating the style into the floral arrangements.
Everything from the style of the wedding dress to the choice of linens, vases, and flowers should all work together to create a cohesive look.
What do you love most about the wedding industry?
Being part of the most exciting time in someone’s life is so inspiring and fulfilling! I love working with my clients every step of the way and helping them realize their wedding day vision. Also, because Cathy Martin Flowers is located in downtown Niagara-on-the-Lake, we’re lucky enough to work with some of the most talented wedding vendors in the area.
Talk about current trends ...
I love that long tables are more of a trend for wedding receptions, it allows for a big impact with flowers.
Flower trends in the last couple of years include succulents, dusty miller, garden roses and a lot more yellow. Baby’s breath is also back in a big way, but the look is more up to date with it being gathered in mass amounts to create more impact.
What advice would you like to give to people when they are investigating your services?
Have a budget in mind when you come in for a consultation and photos are always a great idea! I can sit down with you and help you figure out a strategy for design, but the more research you do beforehand, allows me to give you clear recommendations and suggestions. Visit my Facebook page, website and blog to see what kind of work I’ve done in the past and see if we are a good fit
What scenario brings out the best in your work?
When a client trusts my ability to design, my eye for detail and when they are happy to have me create a look for them, this tends to bring out the best in my work. Working with a beautiful venue and with minimal restrictions is always inspiring and allows my work to shine.
What is the consultation/creative process like?
Our complimentary consultations allow us to get a better sense of each client’s specific needs, and bounce ideas back and forth. We’re happy to hear a client’s ideas and guide them in the right direction to achieve the look they want within their budget. Every client is different, some people have a very specific vision for us to execute, but many clients love to give us more design freedom.
Just because we’re nosey ... what’s on your iPod?
Lenny Breau, Susie Arioli, Madeleine Peyroux, Adele, Feist, Amy Winehouse, Ingrid Michaelson, Mumford & Sons, Miles Davis, Dave Brubeck, Ella Fitzgerald, Etta James, Eric Clapton, Colm Wilkinson
Niagara is becoming a destination wedding mecca for couples in love! What do you think draws them to our corner of the world?
Niagara has such a fantastic combination of natural beauty, theater, and vineyards it’s just the perfect combination to host the most important day of your life! With an abundance of places to see, and things to do here, it’s great for out-of-town guests and for such a small population we have world-class wedding vendors catering to your every need!
Share your latest fun project – a chance to stretch your creative muscles!
We recently worked on the “Coast to Coast Chef Series” dinner hosted at Stratus Winery, which was a lot of fun. Award-winning Indian chef Vikram Vij from Vancouver’s Vij’s served dinner at a 70-foot long table in the winery’s “Press Alley” amongst the stainless steel and oak casks. This setting allowed us to create some fabulous bold florals to match a table runner using traditional sari material.
Finally, what’s your most memorable wedding story?
We’ve been lucky enough to have some really stand-out experiences over the years! From a week-long luxury event for Audi cars where we designed modern arrangements for a massive tent at the airport, to designing a tablescape to host His Royal Highness Prince Edward, there are a lot of fond, fun memories!
We’re excited to share the latest short film project by Mimosa Flower Studio ... they’re calling it The *Made with Love* Project!
From Mimosa Flower Studio ... “While we were dreaming this all up, we became focused on some specific words and phrases such as ... ‘local’, ‘heirloom’, ‘hand-made’, ‘authentic’, ‘community’, ‘nature’, ‘living in the moment’ ... we followed our heart and really let these words become our mantra to guide us through this project.”
“On most creative projects like this one, many, many hours are spent crafting a space to perfection so as to be pristinely captured for publication and then, quicker than it went up, it’s all torn down and packed away and everyone runs back to their busy lives! There’s something that just feels wrong about that ... so, this time around, we felt it was really important that those involved get to enjoy the fruits of our labour and share the joy of the moment! So, at the end of day with all of our hard work behind us, we invited a few friends to join us as we sat down for dinner + drinks!”
Shot on location around Niagara’s prolific and stunning wine region, the crew at Mimosa Flower Studio spent three days producing a suite of five different 'scenes' to inspire and excite you about all the dreamy possibilities for your wedding ... we're over the moon to be able to share them with you!
Photography & Models: Nataschia Wielink Photo + Cinema / Bride’s Wardrobe: Anthropologie, About a Bride
Groom’s Attire: RW & Co. / Hair & Makeup: ALLURE Hair and Makeup
Linens & Chiavari Chairs: Simply Beautiful Decor / Location: Stone Mill Inn
Cinematography: Enns Visuals / Print Design: Mark Elliotson
Macarons: Bobbette & Belle Artisanal Pastries
A vineyard wedding in Niagara is without question always a stunning affair and this Niagara winery wedding is exactly one of those beautiful celebrations that we can dream about all day long!
Featuring three of our Swish List recommended vendors, this was an especially exceptional wedding day. With photography by Nataschia Wielink Photo + Cinema, fabulous wedding flowers by Mimosa Flower Studio and hosted at the absolutely amazing Vineland Estates Winery … it’s filled to the brim with tantalizing touches.
Gorgeous green and blush palette, amazing winery setting, a seriously sweet couple … what’s not to love?!?!
The Swish List recently visited with the lovely and über talented Jennifer Elliotson, owner of Mimosa Flower Studio, Niagara’s award-winning boutique floral design studio specializing exclusively in flowers for weddings and events.
Where do you go for inspiration?
Fashion, social trends … my own imagination!
Give us three words that best describe your work/design style.
Evolving. Organic. Fresh.
Tell us more about your design ethos.
I feel a deep sense of respect for nature’s beauty and intelligent creation. That’s why we always handle our flowers with respect and integrity – allowing their inherent natural beauty to shine through in our designs! We will never use any artificial, unnatural or dyed product in our work. It’s our guiding principle to keep things as authentic as possible in terms of look, product selection and design style.
What is your specialty?
Aside from the design end of things, we are very good at getting to the heart of the client’s vision… to decipher the best way to express their personality through the flowers. We are artists who take pride in creating specifically for our clients ... to produce just exactly what it is that makes them gasp and say, “That’s it! That’s us!”.
What makes your work stand out from the crowd?
I’m extremely proud of that fact that our work is instantly recognizable and that we’re continually putting out designs that connect so deeply with our clients and their guests! We’ve been told that our finished pieces look almost as if we’d just plucked them out of some magical garden ... fully assembled and ready to go! I love that!!!
I believe it’s our combination of unique ingredients, a commitment to using only natural products, the visual artistry of our designers and attention to detail that really sets us apart.
What is the consultation/creative process with your clients?
I absolutely love bringing ideas to life! Typically, we start with a fabric swatch or maybe some pictures. Frequently clients will reference images from our blog or website. Once we’ve defined a ‘vision’ for the day, our clients generally give us creative freedom … that is when we do our best work!
What advice would you give to clients investigating your services?
If you’ve seen our work and really connect with what we do and what we’re about, then trust us to walk you through the process … don’t stress it! This should be fun! As a rule, we creative types do our best work when our clients trust us enough to let us do what we do best!
What scenario brings out the best in your work?
My favourite events are the ones that have a clear vision for design with a focus on the season. I love to source local flowers and products – that’s one of the great benefits of being located in such a rich agricultural territory like Niagara!
Have you been ‘Going Green’? How?
I like to think that we’ve always been ‘green’! We regularly compost plant material, recycle all paper and plastic, as well as re-use and/or return packaging materials to our suppliers. We source local product whenever possible to help cut down on transportation, shipping and packaging. We even source seasonal flowers and foliage from our own organic cutting gardens!
What are you most passionate about in life?
Beauty. I see beauty in nature. The centre of an orchid, the twist of a branch, the way a garden rose opens. So much natural, organic beauty surrounds us daily, but there’s so much ‘noise’ in the world we just don’t take enough notice of the details anymore!
Talk about trends for the season
I love to see people putting more emphasis and effort into the more thoughtful aspects of their wedding … rethinking tradition and coming up with their own ideas and interpretations. It’s also been nice to see the individual focus of recent years turning into a more generous outlook on the quality and atmosphere of the party as a gift to their guests for joining in the celebration!
What do you think is drawing increasing numbers of weddings to Niagara?
I think that people are drawn to Niagara because it feels like you’re in a different world and yet you haven’t traveled all that far from the city. It’s refreshing and soothing. I think that people really need a place like Niagara … a respite from the daily grind where you can savour the food and wine from the local farm and enjoy the natural beauty that surrounds you. It’s a bit of an escape, really. Easy to get to, but hard to leave!
Filed Under» Wedding Flowers,
Rent where possible
Most florists offer a choice to rent or buy your centrepiece containers. Depending on the design of the piece and it’s intended use, rental is often an acceptable option. Not only will you save some cash (which you can put toward more fabulous floral pieces!), but you are not going to be stuck trashing 20 containers in the venue dumpster after your wedding! Plus, the florist won’t have to purchase new containers for each wedding, thereby reducing their carbon footprint on things like shipping and manufacturing.
It doesn’t hurt to ask your florist if their leftover plant material goes to compost. Or what about your reception venue? Do they compost any leftover flowers your guests haven’t taken? You might even arrange to have the venue re-use any unclaimed flowers and display them throughout the venue!
If your florist doesn’t do so already, urge them to consider recycling their packaging and composting their excess materials.
Choose in season blooms
Truthfully, you can get just about any bloom at any time of the year ... but first consider the cost to the environment! Choosing ‘in season’ or ‘locally grown’ flowers and foliages helps to reduce the global impact on climate change by reducing shipping distances. Locally grown plant materials are usually much less expensive and, naturally, fresher and more vibrant than those that travel great distances!
You might love Amaryllis for your August wedding, but they are not growing anywhere near Niagara that time of year! Importing flowers from across North America still causes much less damage than imports from Europe, South America or New Zealand.
Plan to re-use as many pieces as possible from your ceremony to your reception. Things like altar arrangements, unity candle arrangements, pew decor, etc. can usually be engineered by your florist to be ‘multi-purpose’. Any full-service vendor will have no problems transporting these pieces between the church and venue!!
Offset the carbon footprint of your wedding
Educate yourself on carbon offset credits and estimate your wedding’s carbon footprint, then purchase enough offset credits to to cover the carbon footprint of your wedding! A great way to give back to the earth.
P.S.>> Check out the Flowers for Food Composting Program in Vancouver ... an innovative idea!
Nothing brightens up a November Niagara wedding quite like these pink bridal bouquets created by the uber talented Jennifer at Mimosa Flower Studio. We love the dramatic colour palette of this wedding!
Kathy and Dave were married in the afternoon and invited their guests to a dinner reception at a local golf course and winery. In between the “I do” and dinner, pictures were taken in downtown St. Catharines and at Decew Falls.
Things we love about their wedding - the classic black bridesmaids dresses bought off the rack at RW&Co. (great find!), the feather in Kathy’s hair and the twirling little flower girl, Kate. So cute!
Dave and Kathy ... perfect for each other! Your wedding was so Swish ... thanks for letting us share in your day!
Photography by Nataschia Wielink (a Swish List featured Niagara wedding photographer). Flowers by Mimosa Flower Studio (a Swish List featured Niagara wedding florist) and Hair by Allure Hair and Makeup (also a Swish List featured Niagara wedding vendor!)