nancy liu chin

Business Insights for Floral Designers | The Finish Line

The Finish Line  Part One || I learned so much from this past year’s Oh So Inspired and one truth that was repeated by various speakers(thank you Liene Stevens, Harmony Walton and Sean Low) has to do with "What do you truly stand for?".  Because it isn’t enough to say “I do beautiful work”, because it should be a given that everyone DOES beautiful work! So what truly separates businesses and why is that of value? 

You look at Instagram and there isn’t an end to the countless and myriad beautiful and stunning inspiration. But what is inspiration and what is true work? 

Photography  . Christina McNeill.   The added touch of flowers on the tables was the planner's idea. And it's a good one.  I love the way the china, the flatware and that knotted napkin worked together with those Peonies and dahlias.   Executing this event with one team member down was harder than I could have imagined because of the extreme heat but getting there early is a key for getting things done on time.  You need extra time when the weather is hot because everyone slows down a little, when the space is vast(trying walking in all black clothing with two garlands down 200 yards to the golf course when it's over 105), when the elements are against you. 

Photography .Christina McNeill.  The added touch of flowers on the tables was the planner's idea. And it's a good one.  I love the way the china, the flatware and that knotted napkin worked together with those Peonies and dahlias.   Executing this event with one team member down was harder than I could have imagined because of the extreme heat but getting there early is a key for getting things done on time.  You need extra time when the weather is hot because everyone slows down a little, when the space is vast(trying walking in all black clothing with two garlands down 200 yards to the golf course when it's over 105), when the elements are against you. 

You see ideas and exciting executed designs in the styled shoots as well as in the presentation of one’s portfolio. What we don’t often ask of ourselves is how is our execution? Can this design work in an actual event? And are we keeping the promises that we make to our clients, vendor partners and ourselves. 

In all seriousness, anyone given any amount of time can recreate any design.  But how many people can execute a master level design flawlessly and on time for an actual project. And let’s be frank folks....on time is not 5 minutes before the bride walks down the aisle. 5 minutes is before what the planner has on her timeline(Before guests arrive). 

Photography by Christina McNeill.   When I see this photo it's hard to fathom that it was over 105 degrees at Meadowood that day.  To combat the heat, we had to continuously mist the flowers.  Only at the last minute were we able to set the table.  I know it wasn't what Hailey the planner wanted or planned.  But sometimes we have to forego our own plans so that the guest experience and the flowers look their best for the couple and their many guests.   I knew that it was too hot to set the arrangements in direct heat when it was so incredibly blistering hot that even a garland of lemon leaf was starting to get crisp and browning.  Sometimes with experience,  it's a judgment that you make because you want the flowers to look their best when guests walk into the reception space instead of doing it for the editorial shot.     

Photography by Christina McNeill.  When I see this photo it's hard to fathom that it was over 105 degrees at Meadowood that day.  To combat the heat, we had to continuously mist the flowers.  Only at the last minute were we able to set the table.  I know it wasn't what Hailey the planner wanted or planned.  But sometimes we have to forego our own plans so that the guest experience and the flowers look their best for the couple and their many guests.   I knew that it was too hot to set the arrangements in direct heat when it was so incredibly blistering hot that even a garland of lemon leaf was starting to get crisp and browning.  Sometimes with experience,  it's a judgment that you make because you want the flowers to look their best when guests walk into the reception space instead of doing it for the editorial shot. 

 

Through my many years of being a business owner I have failed so many times. Not because the wedding was not beautiful or that the client wasn’t happy but I failed at my promises to the planner or I failed because I didn’t foresee or plan ahead for things. And though a few planners gave me second chances and helped me through my lapses, others didn’t because I didn’t do what I promised or what a floral designer should do at an event or at the end of the event. And they did the right thing. 

All in all, I learned from these mistakes and I improved upon them. And I will still continue to improve on this(no one is immune to change and corrections) . Because we as true floral and event design pros have to deliver on what we stand for. 

 

Summery Peach and Ivory Sonoma Wedding

Sharing one of my favorite Style Me Pretty Real Weddings featured on the SMP blog on March 2018.


 

A wedding with peach pink peonies dotting the bouquets designed by Nancy Liu Chin, individual cheeseboards crafted by Jessica Lasky, AND rosé housemade by Gundlach Bundschu Winery...Am I dreaming!? No, this practically perfect celebration captured by Sylvie Gil Photography is real life – I just pinched myself to double check.

From Sylvie Gil Photography... Candice and Matt's wedding day was a dreamy, sunlit affair on the idyllic grounds of the Gundlach Bundschu Winery. The couple said their vows under a flowy, blush awning, beneath the warm summer sun, among the grapevine trellises. Bridesmaids matched in blush gowns, and peach pink peonies studded each delicate bouquet. Each guest received their own summery cheeseboard for appetizers, designed by Jessica Lasky. Gundlach Bundschu stocked house-made rosé at the bar.

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Honored to be part of this Style Me Pretty feature.  And of course, it takes a village to create such magic.  Here are some of the key vendors behind this incredible Sonoma wedding photographed by good friend Sylvie Gil. 

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The other incredible vendors who were all part of Candice and Matt's summer wedding. 

The other incredible vendors who were all part of Candice and Matt's summer wedding. 

A Modern Black Tie Wedding in Meadowood

First featured in March of 2017 on Style Me Pretty, Katlin and Nawder's wedding continues to be one of my all time favorite Meadowood weddings. What is there not to like about an open tented reception, grand white and green floral canopy, garden style aisle of flowers in white planters, modern linens from La Tavola with modern all white florals.  Too many details to like and of course a wall of floral escort cards made by the mother of the bride. Now, that's just perfection. 


Black and white wins every single time in our book. It's so classic and elegant even when paired with modern details. Now throw a crazy talented bunch of wedding vendors into that mix including design by A Savvy Event, florals by Nancy Liu Chin, a whole lot of pretty imagery by Lindsay Madden Photography and a film by Reel Eyes Media, and it takes this already stunning affair and truly makes it shine. Plus there's a fairy godmother of wine tucked in the gallery and what's not to love about that?

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From A Savvy Event...Katlin and Nawder Alavi were just a girl from Florida and a boy from Texas, until they met each other at SMU during their college years. They fell in love, and eventually moved out to a beautiful apartment in the marina district of San Francisco. Their home is clean, and white, with many modern elements. When Katlin and Nawder first started planning their big day, they knew that they wanted to bring a similar style to their wedding.

With the help of Kelly from A Savvy Event, the Alavis planned a romantic, elegant, black tie affair at Meadowood Napa Valley. The entire weekend of events was picture perfect, from their welcome party and rehearsal dinner at Brasswood Estate, to their brunch and croquet game on the lawns at Meadowood.

Because the groom and his family are Persian, it was important to the couple that they incorporate Persian elements into the ceremony. Katlin and Nawder had two officiants, and a Persian-American ceremony. In following with the Persian traditions, they had a sofreye aghd, filled with beautiful elements such as a mirror, candlesticks, beautifully crafted flatbreads, decorated eggs, sugar, gold coins, and more. Traditionally this portion of the wedding is very colorful, but in keeping with Katlin and Nawder’s design aesthetic, it was filled with white and metallic accents.

Cocktail hour was held on the fairway of the golfcourse, with playful elements such as a woman wearing a champagne skirt, which the guests enjoyed immensely. They offered signature drinks from a bar surrounded by elegant lounge areas, all enclosed with greenery.

Dinner was held in an open air tent on the upper lawn. The tent was intended to define and elevate the outdoor space, so that the guests felt as if they were simultaneously inside a black tie venue while enjoying the beauty of Meadowood’s outdoor spaces. The head table ran down the middle of the tent, with chandeliers hanging above. The silver mirrored tables used to seat the bridal parties and bride and groom reflected the lights shining from above, creating a sparkly ambiance throughout the meal. The rest of the surrounding tables were covered in metallic tablecloths of two variations, all of which complemented each other and the head tables. The florals were white with hints of greenery and sage colors, in modern vessels to create a clean contrast with the more romantic china and table scapes.

Nawder’s most important request was to have a fantastic band that could sing into the night. So, they flew one up from Los Angeles and danced the night away with their guests.


What a lovely team of vendors including Planner A Savvy Event who never repeats a design twice.  And the kind hearted Lindsay Madden behind the camera captured so many delightful details that I will never forget Katlin and Nawder's wedding.  It will always remain a classic Napa wedding with that modern twist. 

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Sonoma Wedding at Viansa Winery from Nancy Liu Chin

Over the years, some weddings just stick to you.  This one was special because of the relationship I had with the bride, Clarice.  She had impeccable taste, discerning eye for details, and a clarity of what the day should be for her and Hubert.  I had the best time working with them and I think the results speak for themselves.  It's an endearing and lovely Sonoma wedding for the ages.  So privileged that Style Me Pretty picked it up.  Originally Featured august 2013. 


 

From Nancy Liu Chin Designs...Have you ever been to a wedding that you just didn't want to leave?  This is how I would describe Clarice and Hubert's  wedding at Viansa Winery in Napa.  Even though it was in a tent at Viansa, it felt ike I was attending a wedding at Clarice and Hubert's back yard lawn.   Though I was only their floral designer, everything about that felt warm and inviting from the moment you were greeted with refreshing drinks to the s'mores by the fire.  

One of my favorite things was the sign at the ceremony  --- "Today we become a family, please take a seat, not a side."  It really spoke volumes that Clarice and Hubert wanted their families, relatives, friends to be one.  There was this spirit of joyfulness and unity.   You couldn't help but be taken in by it's  warmth.  

In all the details, the elegance and reserved beauty that exemplified Clarice the bride's personal style came through while the fun and whimsy were reflected of Hubert, the groom's laid back manner shown in his carefree, wide grin.  These two have been through a lot together and their journey as individuals and as a couple were reflected in many ways details.  In their guidepost, you see all the key places where their courtship took them.  In their milestone was marked.   In the table numbers, guests were treated to their dating history.  And on and on.

Every detail was thoughtfully prepared by Clarice who was more than just a client, she was a partner whether she was the event designer, planner or craft/ DIY enthusiast.  From her pastel hues to her embroidered gossamer like bolero, from the curved calligraphy on her invitations to  the bocce ball game setup, from the refined bite size hors d'oeuvres to the Yum Yum food truck --- it was just one of those weddings that felt right, felt real to me.   Why would I want the night to end? 

 

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As for the flowers ---- the flower  were really important to Clarice and we met at my studio many times to refine what Clarice wanted which was bountiful, gentle, natural in movement, not too tailored or stuffy serene. I would also add that it was important that the blooms be "Graceful".  Flowers that we used included creamy hydrangea, garden roses, blushing bride, parrot tulips which were the bride's favorites, cyclamen, and so many more.

One of my favorite things was the beautiful welcome table that had spools of thread and wonderful seamstress notions.  These were very important details because Clarice loves to sew and create.  In fact, she was inspired by her own sister's wedding to begin crafting.  Her floral hairpieces and ring bearer pillows are skillfully made which is why the welcome table was especially important to the design. So many of the details were crafted by Clarice but even from a professional like myself, they looked top notch.  So well designed, so well throughout.
 

What a great group of vendors who all contributed to this incredible event. 

Photography: Stephanie Williams | Floral Design: Nancy Liu Chin Designs | Venue + Day of Coordination: Viansa Winery | Catering: Sage | Planning: Bride | Escort Mirror: Blue Print Studios | After Party Food Truck: Nom Nom | Invitation + Paper Goods: Handrawn, Designed + Assembled by Bride | Calligraphy: Neither Snow | Signs + Welcome Cards: Bride | Rentals: Classic Party RentalBlue Print Studios | DJ: Mixter Li | Cake: Henry Awayan from Tucker's Creamery | Make Up: Aimee Lam | Bridesmaid Dresses: Vera Wang | Flower Girl Dresses: Designed + Sewn by Bride | Shoes: ValentinoJimmy Choo | Groom's Tux: Custom

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