A garland is an array of fresh greens intertwined together and hanged on arches or twisted and wrapped on trees as a decorative cord. Nowadays, garlands have graced tabletops and counters to form a lush and festive centerpiece. Flowers have been added to give it a pop. Shown here is my sample of a garland using heaps full of fresh salal, huckleberry, magnolia, pepper and bear grass topped with sweet tea roses that served as my inspiration for the Landsman wedding



When STEP’s (SUCCESS THROUGH EDUCATION PROGRAM) ace Event Planner Susan Armendariz told me that the theme of this year’s Gala Night will be Mexican and will be at the LA Police Academy’s Rock Garden, my thought was to use the bark lanterns I recently used for another outdoor event. However, after a second site visit it was decided that the event will best be at the Officers’ Lounge indoors with all the amenities.

The bark lanterns would not work well indoors. Mexican tiles immediately came to my mind. I will use them as flower vases. I always loved its vibrant colors and rich historic connection. Mexico is well known for its organic and artsy tiles called Talavera. Talavera’s are made from clay out of the ground and fired to a temperature at which the clay undergoes chemical changes and becomes permanently hard. The tile is then glazed and decorated by hand with very attractive, colorful and very expressive images, and fired once again to give it a final and lively finish. Since the 1500’s, it is a rooted cultural heritage in Mexico. They have embellished many public and private spaces throughout Mexico, from kitchens, fountains, facades, to the interiors of luxurious hacienda homes, public offices and churches.

However, I could not make the vases using the actual tile due to time limitations. So off I went to my favorite graphic designer Quan – and wrapped 20 circular and rectangular glasses with a collage of Talavera’s in print. Sitting on these beautiful vases were fresh huge Ecuadorian red roses, my favorite raspberry cup dahlias, and 10 boxes of greeneries with red berries to pull them all together.

Once again, the centerpieces stood out …beautifully. Viva Mexico!
TGBTG…To God be the glory.

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My passion in action - bringing beauty and joy in people's special and momentous refreshing is it to see people and their reactions when walking into a world they envisioned and you created for them . For Cassie and Ralph's wedding, I drew inspiration from the humble and sweet personality of the bride and the grand location - 11,000 hectares of lemon trees and California avocados in the middle of Santa Paula, CA. The result of these very organic combination are these pictures. Thank you Mr. and Mrs. Ralph D., Cassie's mom Debbie and their ace event planner Susan Armendariz who always allows me to think of possibilities ..thank you Jesus for the gift of making beautiful happen. This one is for the memory of a lifetime.

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When Janet Susan Rodriguez Nepales and Ruben V. Nepales called to ask me if I could do their first daughter’s wedding I almost fainted. THE Janet and Ruben Nepales of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association/Golden Globes? YES.YES.YES!

I have known these lovely couple for a while now and I also know that they are very much connected with probably the most seasoned and famous floral designers/stylist in the country. So having asked to do the first wedding in the family was a great honor and I am truly grateful. Thank you Janet and Ruben!

I met the future bride for the first time at a pre-wedding party in LA the day before the wedding. I had a view minutes with Bianca or “Nikki” as her father fondly calls her and her beau Gari to discuss design plans for their wedding. Nikki and Gari were very gracious and appeared to be 2 very grounded individuals who were open to all my suggestions on making it special (having seen the venue Dish Restaurant the day before). “Please do whatever you think is best Tita”, they said. Keyword!

And BEST it will be...

8-18-18, Nikki walked down the church aisle with her father in a beautiful Boho-chic wedding dress (so so love it!) that matched the likewise artful, eclectic floral bouquet she carried. Sitting on blush colored roses, ivory coffee beans and dainty peach flowers, the arrangement was then layered with striking magenta dahlias, rustic green, red and blackberries (for fertility), fresh purple astromerias , and tied together with a lavender cotton ribbon to form a rich mix of colors, shapes and texture, an impressive formula for a stunning bouquet!

My big surprise was the mother- of- the bride Janet’s lovely gown’s color matched the ribbon on the bride’s bouquet – sweet lavender (We did not talk about it earlier …this is what I call a “God thing”.). For her and her new kumadre, 3 ivory baby roses, eucalyptus leaves with red, black and green berries - all taken from the bride’s bouquet.

Out of 2 large crates, my son JR and Nikki’s hardworking event coordinator Helen Hong ( obliged themselves to lay-out crisp white linens and napkins to cover the guest tables, set-out china, water glasses, champagne flutes, utencils (thank you Darwin of Dish Restaurant!) and the couple’s cute giveaway – a recipe from Nikki’s aunt with a tiny ladle to go with it. These in only 30 minutes!

When all was set and done, the centerpieces were set on the tables…all 16 of them in an inverted fluted glass with a rustic black metal handle. The inspiration for the centerpiece was taken from the bridal bouquet – using the same flowers and color combination to make one radiant arrangement that pulled all the elements of the room to one clever Boho style. And to complete the look, a personalized chalkboard sticker of the couple’s name and wedding date and a touch of gloriosa.

1:45 pm, the doors were opened. “Beautiful!”, guests, father and mother of bride and groom said.

And best, I did.

Thank you Janet and Ruben, Nikki and Gari. Thank you Jesus for once again helping me make beautiful happen. To God be the glory.

*Photos courtesy of FILBERT DIEGO KUNG

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I love spring in as much as I adore making bridal bouquets with spring blossoms. For my bride Gloria, I gathered a bunch of flowers native to the season - blush pink baby roses, peachy peach butter cup dahlias, ivory colored coffee beans, astilbe, sprigs of lavender, and a few hot pink ranunculus to give the arrangement a touch of pop. 

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During the medieval times, it was believed that when you sleep with a piece of cake under your pillows you will dream of your future husband that night. This custom date back 300 years ago and is usually associated with wedding favors and charms (The charm was pushed into a cake and attached with a ribbon for guests to pull.). Each charm has a specific meaning: a heart and a wishing well is for true love, a rocking chair is for long life, a purse is for good fortune, a high chair is for children and flowers is for new life.

Nowadays, cakes still remain an important aspect of any wedding. A gorgeous cake generally sits at the place of honor, like a grand centerpiece. Flowers are a most preferred “charm”.  As a Floral and Event Designer, decorating the cake is the culmination of all the work that I do every time I set-up for a wedding. It pulls together all the elements – centerpieces, arches, bouquets, corsages … into one cohesive design…my final work of art.

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Wedding cake toppers come in different styles – some may represent the couple’s favorite hobby or passion, some are initials of their names in silver or gold, and some are figurines of the bride and groom together. Nowadays, brides skip the topper altogether and opt for simple flowers to decorate their cake.

My beautiful bride and groom Nisha and Brandon gave me tiny wooden pieces of a bride, groom and a dog as their cake topper. The cake was very rustic with the combination of gold and brown color, perfect for the theme of the wedding. I thought with the wooden figurines, a skirt of flowers would make the cake look JUST PERFECT!

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Decorating the wedding cake is usually the last thing I do whenever I am staging a wedding. I do it when all my energy is exhausted and I am ready to put my feet up and take a nap. However, the moment I put the cake topper and the first flower, I get a surge of happiness power that only me and my God understands. Then I think of the love and the new life that the couple is looking forward to and a burst of color explodes. For John and John, I hope all these fruita-muy-delisioso and freshes-of-flowers in their cake will shower them with blessings so bountiful.