A Classic Blue Celestial Wedding at Urban Studios in Portland, Oregon

A classic blue celestialwedding at urban studios in portland

Earlier this year, as in before the coronavirus pandemic when life was normal and we were all hopeful for an epic wedding season in 2020, I was asked to be a part of an incredible styled shoot and be featured on NW Wedding Underground, or NWWU for short.  NWWU publishes video interviews and venue tours on their wedding blog showcasing different Portland area wedding professionals.  Click on Episode 5 to see the full episode of our styled shoot on NW Wedding Underground!  Click here to see Flowers by Alana’s specific feature on the NWWU blog as one of their recommended wedding florists.  All photos were taken by Crystal Genes Photography, and all videos were filmed by Dane Casperson of Casperson Productions.

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Urban Studio is a gorgeous wedding venue in the Pearl District of Portland, OR

A month before the shoot, I met with the photographer Crystal Genes, the wedding planner Ashley Lachney of Alston Mayger Events and Natalia, the event director of Urban Studio to discuss color and theme ideas for our upcoming featured shoot.  I was thrilled that we decided upon a celestial themed wedding shoot in classic blue, the Pantone color of the year.  The walls of Urban Studio are painted a dusty blue gray, and they have these neat movable white walls that set the ceremony altar space in various ways.  I was excited to get to work designing a celestial altar installation that would use one of the white movable walls.  At first I was envisioning a metallic crescent moon using gold painted PVC pipe, but opted for a babies breath installation in the shape of a crescent moon instead.  I formed the crescent moon using 1-in hex chicken wire, filled it with babies breath, and suspended it on the movable wall backdrop by strong fishing line.  Along the top of the altar installation above the babies breath moon, I suspended greenery vines called Southern Smilax, which brought in a hint of being in a moonlit garden setting within the urban venue.  A wooden sign in the words of “To the Stars,” laser-cut by sign designer Modern Birch Co was the perfect touch to complete the celestial altar installation.

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The flowers I used for the classic blue wedding palette included blue delphinium, blue thistle eryngium, pale blue hydrangea, white anemone with dark blue, almost black centers, white mink protea with deep purple centers, white escimo roses, soft silvery dusty miller, various varieties of eucalyptus, dark burgundy scabiosa, and Ligustrum berries (also known as Japanese privet.)  We wanted a palette that spanned the entire blue spectrum from very soft pale blue to very rich, dark berry tones.  I was most excited to score the white and deep purple mink protea at the wholesale flower market to complete the classic blue palette!

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There were so many magical elements to this celestial shoot.  Our bride models were married in real life, which I believe makes for the best wedding shoot when the models are authentically in love!  Kristen donned a gorgeous metallic head crown fit for a goddess, and wore a stunning wedding gown designed by Hayley Paige, (a bridal designer who’s recently been in the news for making masks for medical workers out of wedding dresses!  See the story here.) The Hayley Paige “Yoko” gown was acquired from the Portland Bridal shop Brides For a Cause, and was a strapless, Ivory colored, fit to flare, mermaid style gown with a silver beaded bodice in geometric art deco designs, perfect for our celestial themed wedding shoot.  April wore her own blue wedding suit, and hair and makeup on both brides were done by the talented Mandy Harlan of Glamology.

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The extremely talented high-end wedding cake designer Catherine Sewell of Sewell Sweets designed a luxuriant, celestially painted, four-tiered blue wedding cake complete with an edible gold crescent moon and sun design.  Catherine is known for her incredible artistic skills in creating realistic looking sugar flowers and painted cakes, and has been featured multiple times by Martha Stewart!  Beneath the stellar cake, we added a wreath made of loose greenery plus crystals and stones by Forest Stone and Sea.

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The wedding planner, Ashley of Alston Mayger Events styled an incredible reception tablescape complete with gold chargers, various metallic candle holders and geometric shapes, crystals from Forest Stone and Sea, gorgeous crystal drink ware, and stunning deep blue linens.  Most of the tablescape rentals came from The Party Place.  Atop each place setting were round, moon-like menus adorned with constellations, designed by Black Thistle Co. I can imagine the ethereal feelings that would be invoked by guests at an night wedding with these celestial elements.

Audiovisual production company, DThree Productions brought gorgeous lighting elements to the celestial styled shoot. They illuminated the walls with blue lights in several places, and cast fun, playful lights in star shapes down the aisle.  How cool are the star lights on her dress?!!

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Yoko gown by Hayley Paige from Brides for a Cause

I’d love to know what you think of the Classic Blue Celestial Wedding ideas of this shoot!  Comment below this blog or share comments on my Instagram or Facebook posts!  Contact Flowers by Alana if you’re interested in a virtual wedding flower consultation to discuss your 2020 or 2021 wedding flowers!

~Stay safe and healthy, flower lovers! 

Love, Alana

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Gorgeous celestial invitations by Black Thistle Co.


Tips to Planning a Wedding During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Bride and bridesmaids, wedding flowers, bridal bouquet
Photo credit: Brittney Runnels Photography

You are engaged and starting to plan a wedding!  First off, congratulations!  You are allowed to be excited and grateful, don’t let the current situation make you feel ashamed or diminish your excitement about marrying the love of your life!  Personally, I wake up grateful and feeling great, even amidst this current storm happening worldwide. That can feel weird when you know others are struggling or or stressing out.  Wherever you are in the process, its okay.  If you are grateful and excited for your wedding, feel it and don’t be ashamed!   Here are some tips to help you navigate planning of your wedding during the coronavirus pandemic.

  1. Don’t Stress or Worry.  I know, easier said than done.  But I’m 100% serious.  Stress lowers your vibrational frequency and your immune system and makes you more susceptible to becoming ill.  You don’t have time to get sick, you have a wedding to plan! Take walks, exercise, meditate, find healthy ways to de-stress daily.
  2. Hire a wedding planner.  They will help keep you informed of the ever-changing rules and guidelines for gatherings in your state, and help you navigate any problems that come up during wedding planning.  Wedding planners are worth the investment, because they not only can save you money overall with their awesome tips and tricks of the trade, but they will save you countless hours of stress and worry.  (If you are in the Portland area, I recommend Krystle Clear Events, Periwinkle Events NW, and Peachy Keen Coordination.)
  3. Be realistic about your date.  The Center of Disease Control and Prevention has recommended postponing social gatherings until mid-May.  If your wedding is in the next month and a half, it is time to be realistic and informed, and take the necessary steps to keep you and your guests safe.
  4. Communicate with your venue and vendors.  If you are considering changing your 2020 wedding date, reach out to your venue and discuss your concerns and your options for changing your date.  Then reach out to all the vendors you have already booked.  Keep them informed that you are considering postponing, and find out what dates they still have available.
  5. Understand your contracts.  What are you wedding vendors policies on cancellations, deposits, and changing the date?  As a wedding florist, I require deposits upfront to book the date, and that deposit is transferable but not refundable.
  6. Consider a virtual wedding!  If your wedding date is in the next 6-8 weeks and you don’t want to cancel or postpone, get creative! Have an officiant marry you virtually and Livestream it to your guests.  Have a wedding DJ or musician play music virtually for your guests!  Have a local cake baker make you a couple’s cake!  And have your florist create a gorgeous bouquet, head crown, and boutonniere for the occasion!  Consider having your florist create them in silks, so that if you decide to have a replicated wedding with guests once its safe to do so, you can use your wedding flowers again!
  7. Stay informed. Watch for updates on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and changes in your state’s laws so you can make informed decisions.  Don’t make any decisions right away.  Consider your options, discuss with your fiance and important guests, and sleep on it.
  8. Keep your guests healthy.  Speak with your venue and caterers about what hygiene and sanitation changes they are implementing once gatherings are allowed to resume.  Consider hand sanitizer and hand washing stations at your wedding reception and cocktail areas.  Consider having the MC remind everyone to wash their hands before getting food and drink, or commission a sign maker like Painted Lilium to make a handwashing sign!
  9. Support local designers.  Manufacturing and shipping worldwide has slowed down due to the coronavirus pandemic, and wedding favors and other wedding details are no exception.  We also need to support our local economies and support local makers now more than ever.  A local dress designer may be able to design and produce your wedding gown sooner than one manufactured and shipped from overseas.  Same goes for wedding veils, wedding favors, and wedding rings.  Consider having your florist put together succulent favors, a local dessert maker to make cookies or chocolate truffles, or a glass artist like Leslie Hand Painted Glass to customize stemless wine glasses for your guests to take home!

Every person worldwide is being effected by this pandemic we are facing, which is unnerving but can also be comforting to know that we are all in this together.  Every industry is effected, and the wedding industry is no exception.  I wish you the best on your wedding planning! Stay healthy and safe and we will get through this!






An All Greenery Bridal Bouquet for a Minimalist Urban Wedding

If there is one wedding floral trend that I hope stays forever, or at least a long long time, its the all greenery bridal bouquet.  A bouquet made entirely in greenery aligns perfectly for the nature-loving, forest wedding vibe, but can also make a fun, alternative statement in a minimalist and urban wedding setting!   Today, I am reminiscing on a styled shoot I did last year around Earth Day at Opal 28, one of my favorite urban indoor wedding venues in Portland, Oregon.

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Opal 28 is an intimate gathering space in the heart of NE Portland.  The 2600 square foot wedding and event venue has two charming “great rooms,” a private outdoor patio, a built in OLCC bar, and in-house catering and accommodations.  I love the feel of Opal 28, as it is a perfect blend of vintage meets urban, with concrete walls, exposed brick, and gorgeous natural light beaming through windows covered in sheer drapery.  This Portland wedding venue can accomodate up to 50 guests for an intimate, seated ceremony and sit-down formal reception dinner, up to 85 guests for a standing, outdoor ceremony in the patio, and up to 100 guests for a standing ceremony and cocktail style reception.  Its perfect for your small, intimate weddings and gatherings.  Follow Opal 28 on Instagram here!

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This styled shoot was planned, styled, and coordinated by Danielle Nichole, a wedding and events planner based out of Portland.  I’ve had the pleasure and honor of working on real weddings as well as styled shoots with Danielle and can definitely recommend her as your wedding planner!   Bringing a high level of professionalism, attention to detail, and unlimited creative ideas, hiring Danielle will help make your wedding day stress-free and flawless!  Follow her on Instagram here!

The styled shoot was photographed by the talented wedding and engagement photographer, Joanie Johnson of Eloquent Moments Photography, who also does gorgeous family portraits and event photography outside of weddings.  Her photos are magic!  She captures light beautifully and tells an authentic story the way she captures expressions and emotions of her subjects.  Follow her Instagram here!

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I was excited to design an all greenery bouquet for this styled shoot.  I used a combination of contrasting details among the leaves and greenery stems: dark green and pale grey-green, smooth leaves and textured leaves, large leaves and tiny leaves. The greenery varieties I used in the bridal bouquet were ferns, baby blue eucalyptus, gunni eucalyptus, lily grass, Italian ruscus, various types of silvery Dusty Miller, and a medium size Monstera leaf to draw in and complete the minimalist style of the shoot.


Other florals I designed in the shoot at Opal 28 included floral accents on the cakes, succulents potted in white ceramic pots, sprigs of dogwood and Italian ruscus accenting the golden geometric accents from Koyal Wholesale, and various floral arrangements on the dessert table and reception tablescape.

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Talented Portland based Makeup and Hair artist, Katarina Tiley was also an important contributor of this styled shoot, as both our stunning model bride and as the Makeup and Hair Artist!  Katarina and I have also been a part of multiple real weddings and styled shoots together and I can definitely recommend her if you are looking for a professional makeup and hair artist for your pacific northwest wedding! She specializes in timeless beauty, one that isn’t impacted by new trends, fads or other novelties.  She uses neutral tones that enhance your natural beauty without drawing focus on the wrong areas.  Katarina will also help you find the best tone for your skin in your trial run before your big day, so you’ll have confidence and a beautiful glow as you look gorgeous on your wedding day!  Katarina can also accommodate large bridal parties by bringing a team of other makeup professionals!  Follow her Instagram here!


In this styled shoot, Katarina wore a stunning bridal gown from The White Dress, a bridal boutique in the heart of downtown Portland.  The White Dress has designer bridal gowns for every personality, size, and budget, including several collections from local dress designers.  The gown was from the Wilderly by Allure collection, and was a lacy, vintage meets Bohemian gown with long sleeves, a high neckline, unique and delicate lacy details and textures, and a stunning open back.  Follow the White Dress on Instagram!

This styled shoot incorporated a gorgeous dessert bar complete with multiple talented wedding dessert vendors. We had miniature cakes by Box 42 Bakery, a naked cake by Cake Nouveau, and a beautiful, marbled and tiered wedding cake accented with delicate wafer paper leaves by the talented Sugar House Cake.  The mini cakes by Box 42 Bakery were moist, chocolate cake bites frosted and adorned with sweet tiny floral details and golden sugar crystals.  One of the best part of styled shoots is getting to take home the desserts, and these were all delicious!

Thanks for being a part of my wedding floral journey!  Follow Flowers by Alana on Instagram and follow all the great vendors who collaborated on this styled shoot!  Stay tuned for more blog posts of real weddings and vendor collaborations! And fill out my contact form if you’d like to schedule a Zoom call to discuss your wedding flowers or a collaboration idea!  I love connecting with wedding venue owners, photographers, coordinators, and other wedding professionals!  Typically, I love to meet with couples and collaborators over coffee or wine, but with the current coronavirus pandemic, Zoom calls are my new coffee dates!



A Winery and Vineyard Styled Shoot at the Heisen House Vineyards in Battle Ground, Washington

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Around this time last year, I was honored to be a part of an incredible styled shoot at Heisen House Vineyards, a winery, vineyard, and wedding venue in Battle Ground, Washington, less than an hour drive from Portland, Oregon.  I love styled shoots because you really get the bigger picture of what it takes to put on a wedding and how it really is the collective work of a team.  I also love observing the love and passion each unique wedding professional brings to their business, and a chance to get to know one another personally.  This shoot was especially fun and memorable, because we got to sample delicious Heisen House wine made right at the venue and eat delicious pie from Pacific Pie Co!

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Coordinated and styled by wedding planner, Shannon Huffman of Periwinkle Events NW, this styled shoot will forever be in my memories as one of the most fun and unique styled shoots I’ve ever been a part of.  Shannon brings a high level of enthusiasm, warmth, genuine care, and acute attention to detail to her work as a wedding planner that any couple would be so lucky to have her coordinate their wedding day!  What Shannon brought to this styled shoot was nothing short of extraordinary!  She coordinated this styled shoot with many unique details, put together an incredible team of wedding vendors, and styled several looks throughout the shoot that cohesively created an amazing visual experience at Heisen House VineyardsThe styled shoot was beautifully photographed by the incredibly talented Alyssa McConaughey, a wedding, portrait, and fine art photographer based in Newberg, Oregon.  She beautifully captured the richness of color and all the other incredible details of this winery and vineyard styled shoot.

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The colors in the wedding palette were rich in color and tone, and was the perfect palette for a winery and vineyard setting: marigold yellow and a softer, butter yellow, deep burgundy, and sage green.  Incorporating many different textures throughout the greenery and flowers, the floral style was a blend of romantic, elegant rustic, and boho or bohemian.  Specific flowers that achieved the color palette were burgundy ranunculus, pink ice protea, “Brighton” yellow eco-roses, “High and Yellow Magic” yellow roses, “Buttercup” garden roses, yellow calla lilies, eucalyptus in baby blue, silver dollar, seeded, and gunni, dusty miller and blue cypress.

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The bride (model and actress Kelly Sina) wore a simple and classic gown by Anna’s Bridal. The groom (actor Adam Elliot Davis) wore a suit from Nordstrom Rack.  Hair and Makeup was done by Lash & Lox Special Event Hair and Makeup.  Stationery and signage was done by Everglow Handmade.  Portable luxury restrooms were set up on site by Royal Restrooms.   A delicious dessert bar featuring pies in both full size and mini tartlets was provided by Pacific Pie Co.  For the dessert bar, I installed a floral installation on a backdrop created by ladders.  Designing on-site floral installations are one of my favorite parts to styled shoots and many weddings. 

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The rental items used in the styled shoot came from the coordinator Periwinkle Events NW and The Party Place.  We used a gorgeous custom built wooden table for the tablescape and charcuterie that came from Country Garden Tables, where you can rent your own gorgeous wooden farm-style tables for your wedding!

Little Photo Bus was a fun addition to the styled shoot!  This red, pristine Volkswagon bus lends itself to unique photo opportunities outside the bus, but also has a photobooth inside the bus!  Guests of your wedding can have fun dressing up with props and receiving photo souvenirs to take home and remember your special event!

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I’ll leave you with this wedding video, beautifully created by wedding videographers, Justin and Emily of RoamArrow Wedding Films, who did an excellent job capturing the joyfulness and fun energy of this styled shoot! Thank you to everyone who was involved and a big thank you to Shannon Huffman of Periwinkle Events who invited me to be a part of the vendor team and provide florals for this winery and vineyard styled wedding shoot!


An Indian Wedding in Oregon, a rich celebration of love and cross cultural traditions

indian wedding

Its no question that weddings signify love and commitment, but weddings can also be the perfect opportunity for a couple to weave together their native, cultural or religious traditions to create a blended, customized experience, and this wedding did just that.  This wedding beautifully incorporated traditional customs and cultural rituals from both the bride’s Indian culture with the groom’s western roots.

indian wedding ceremony

This summer wedding took place at the Redland Family Farm in Oregon City, a family run Christmas tree farm and a wedding and event venue just outside of Portland, Oregon.  The wedding venue can accommodate up to 450 guests and offers several serene settings to stage an outdoor wedding ceremony, plus beautiful indoor options for getting ready, cocktail hour, bar, and reception areas.  One of my favorite details of this great wedding venue is a majestic and enormous oak tree (my name Alana means oak tree and I just love them!)  Under the big oak tree was the perfect choice for this couple’s first look in my opinion!

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In Indian weddings, the vibrancy and decadence is not reserved only for the bride.  James donned a silk sherwani, a traditional Indian shirt for a groom, in bright, vibrant blue.   In Indian weddings, grooms traditionally wear bright colors over the black or white formal attire of western wedding grooms. For an Indian wedding, brides traditionally wear red, a color that symbolizes the rising sun, fertility, and prosperity.  Aru wore an exquisitely embroidered, two piece, red Indian bridal gown that consisted of a crop top, a long skirt, and a sari.   Another Indian bridal custom is to intricately draw on the the bride’s hands and feet with henna in a Mehndi ceremony the day before the wedding, gifting the bride with blessings of health, luck, and joy on her wedding and marriage journey.  Besides henna, Aru also wore several bangles on her wrists, a bridal decorative bindi on her forehead, and other traditional and elaborate bridal jewelry on her ears and neck. She looked absolutely stunning and exquisite, like a royal Indian princess!

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This wedding did bring in some of the American traditional wedding aspects, such as having bridesmaids, groomsmen, and a flower girl, which are not traditionally a part of an Indian wedding.  The bride’s bouquet was a colorful and classic, cluster bouquet made with pale blue hydrangea, pale blue delphinium, soft peach-toned “juliet” garden roses by David Austin, red roses, blush pink ranunculus and a small amount of seeded eucalyptus.  The bridesmaids carried a similar cluster style bouquet in very pale, neutral palette of hydrangea, garden roses, ranunculus, and astilbe.  In developing the floral palettes, the couple asked me to bring in all the colors of the bridal party gowns and suits, which included red, pink, peach, and pale blue.  The couple and I chose flowers together that had many petals and various textures to complement the intricate and extravagant embroidery on the bridal party dresses and suits.

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The wedding ceremony itself took place under a Mandap, a large structure traditionally used in Indian weddings.  This Mandap was adorned with white fabric across the top, and I installed floral clusters to the top and sides of the structure, choosing flowers that match the bridal party florals. Being the florist, I did not attend the wedding and cannot explain the traditional rituals that took place during the actual ceremony, but seeing the photos, I can definitely see that Indian ceremonial customs were woven into the ceremony.

indian wedding ceremony

The reception was held in the wooden, barn-like structure at the venue. Guest tables were a mix of round tables covered in pale blue linen and a long, wooden banquet style head table.  The reception table centerpieces were made with different pastel shades of garden roses, spray roses, pale blue delphinium, and Italian ruscus in beautiful, glass, compote urns, which gave the reception event the feel of luxury and elegance without being too over the top.

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The wedding vendor team of this gorgeous, cross cultural wedding at Redland Family Farm included photos by Photography by Ajay, planning and coordinating by Krystle Clear Events, hair and makeup by Coreene Collins, catering by Pearl Catering, rentals by Bridgewood Events, and florals by yours truly, Flowers by Alana

bride bouquet

I’m so honored and grateful to get to be a part of such a special and unique wedding!  I wish Aru and James a lifetime of love and blessings on their marriage! Thank you for hiring me to be your wedding florist!  Its a pleasure to be a part of your love story by providing gorgeous flowers at your wedding!