Short on Time? Here’s How to Handle a Quick Engagement

The decision to get married is one of the most important choices most people make in life. Some couples spend years planning their future together while others see no reason to wait any longer and jump right in with no regrets.

There are no set rules when it comes to the length of the engagement, but it’s important to remember that the bigger and more complex the wedding is, the more time it takes to plan. There are a lot of things that need to be coordinated, so it makes sense to begin booking as early as possible.

According to The Knot, the average engagement period is around 14 months – or a little over a year. Some people take longer, but for couples hoping to tie the knot on a particular date or those who have another reason to expedite the process, the limited time available for planning can be a problem.

If your anticipated wedding date is only a few months away, never fear! It is possible to pull off a dream wedding if you’re short on time. Here are some things to keep in mind as the big day quickly approaches.

#1 – Don’t panic!

If you are planning a short engagement, you need to act fast, but not too fast. Rushed planning often leads to mistakes, so taking the proper steps can help you minimize problems. Nearly everyone encounters some sort of scheduling snags when planning a wedding, so you’ll not only need to act quickly, but you’ll also have less time to make decisions and analyze alternatives.

#2 – Set a realistic budget

One of the biggest mistakes people make when planning weddings is underbudgeting. Since many people only plan one wedding in their lives, it’s easy to underestimate just how much things actually cost, and expenditures add up quick. On top of that, many vendors may charge more if you try to book on short notice – if they’re even still available – because it will require extra work on their part. It’s important to keep that in mind and temper expectations accordingly. This may be the biggest day of your life, but it’s up to you to decide how much of a financial burden you’re willing to take on to make that happen. It’s not hard to rack up some serious debt if you don’t stick to your budget, and that’s not a fun way to begin your new life as a couple.

#3 – Cover the basics

If you don’t already have the date set, now is the time to do that. The more flexibility you have here, the better. If you’re planning a quick engagement, it’s important to keep in mind that the more people you want to invite, the more schedules you’ll potentially have to work around. Flexible dates will also open up more options when it comes to venues and vendors.

In addition to picking a date, it’s now time to ask your attendants, find a venue, and a caterer. If you don’t know who to hire, ask friends or look online to see if there is a wedding network in the area. Another great option is calling your local florist because they often have close relationships with many vendors who will be able to offer suggestions.

Once you have the venue secured you can begin booking vendors such as the florist, officiant and, musicians. The next step is to pick out a dress because they can often take up to three months to arrive. If your engagement is brief, you might have to pick something off the rack and have it altered.

#4 – Choose the right vendors

Make sure to do your homework, ask friends and co-workers for suggestions. Once you have a few possibilities, check out their websites and social media to determine if their vibe and price point would be a good fit for your wedding style and budget.

Call each vendor you would like to potentially work with and find out first and foremost if they are available for your wedding day. If they are, set up a consultation as soon as possible. If they are not available ask them for a reference.

Make sure to review examples of the vendor’s work during your consultation. This will help you have an overall sense of what the vendor’s capabilities are. Be sure to ask, “What will you need from me prior, during, and after my wedding?” Lastly, find out who will be the person providing the service on the day of your wedding.

Now is also a good time to order your invitations, notify any out of town guests of the event, and book the honeymoon.

#5 – Dive into the details

Now that you have a date set in stone and a venue secured – and have also booked caterers, musicians, and officiants – it’s time to pay attention to the small details because they make a big difference when it comes to making your big day exceptional.

Remember that renting equipment doesn’t just include tables and chairs for your reception. You can also rent silk plants, candelabras, and ceremony extras like arches, for example.

Make sure that you choose a reputable company to assist you with equipment rental. Just like the other vendors you are contracting with, it is important to find a company that is known for the quality of their equipment and the reliability of their staff. Ask those closest to you for recommendations in addition to referrals from your florist or local wedding network.

To save time and potential headaches with this step, a good idea is to create a “wish list” of what you would like to reserve. Refer to your other vendor contracts for what they do and don’t provide as a starting place.

You should also be ready to pay a deposit and remember that this is traditionally one-third of the total package price. Also, be prepared to spend a chunk time – because now is the time to really focus on your bridal vision and get creative. Be ready to ask a lot of questions.

At this point you should also begin sending invitations, setting up wedding registries, picking out wedding bands and renting groom and attendants attire. Remember that out-of-town attendants will need to get fitted prior to the ceremony date and have their measurements sent to the shop you will be renting from.

#6 – Choose a photographer

One of the pivotal decisions that must be made by a bride and groom when planning their special day is the photographer. This is a very personal choice, especially when you consider this person will be hanging around you and your guests for a whole day. It’s important to be sure you like their photography style and are comfortable with their packages and pricing. Review full wedding albums and not just their highlight reels and ask a lot of questions if there are things you don’t understand.

Ultimately photographers are vendors you hire, so like the other companies you have contracted with, we suggest getting personal recommendations and check out local vendor sites.

Don’t forget to ask about:

  • Shooting fee
  • What is in each package
  • Additional costs like special effects or an engagement shoot
  • Your rights: In most contracts, photographers own the rights to all photos they take. If you want to order photos from another source you’ll probably have to buy the rights to the images.
  • Post wedding details: How long does it take to get proofs of your images? How many images should you expect? When are the photos retouched? Is that prior to getting your proofs or after selecting your images?

At this point in the planning process, you should also be reserving transportation, picking music, buying your attendant gifts and reserving a suite for your wedding night.

#7 – Piecing it all together

Now you’re in the final stretch, and it’s time to take care of things such as writing vows and determining what readings you will have in your ceremony and who will read them. This is also the time that you should be finalizing your menu, going for your final dress fitting, and attempting a dry-run of makeup and hair.

While you’re at it, get blood tests (if required by state) and a marriage license. It’s also a good time to make a seating chart and book house/pet sitter for the honeymoon.

#8 – The big day!

Even if you have done all the work yourself up until this point, it might be wise to hire a “day-of” wedding coordinator or enlist a trusted family member to handle any last-minute issues that arise because you’ll be too busy with other things to put out fires.

Just remember – there will be fires! In fact, you can almost count on some last-minute issues popping up on your big day – it happens to everyone.

The most important thing you can do is not let those things stress you out or take your focus off one of the most important days of your life. This day is all about you and your loved ones, but now is not the day for you to try to make everyone happy.

Thanks to your careful planning, everything will be fine and people will have fun! The day will be a blur and will be over before you know it, so make sure to take some time to enjoy it while you’re in the moment. Remember, your honeymoon is right around the corner!

Get Ready for a Fun-Filled Summer with George Thomas Florist

Memorial Day is here at last, and that means the unofficial start of summer! As the school year winds down and the temperature rises, summertime is the perfect time for flowers and your friends at George Thomas Florist are here to help make your summer one of the brightest and most beautiful yet!

For children in school, summer begins the moment the final bell rings on the last day of class. In fact, rock star Alice Cooper, who penned the infamous – and controversial – 1972 hit “School’s Out” likened the feeling of the last three minutes of the last day of school to the rush of waking up to a house filled with presents on Christmas morning.

No matter how old we are, we can all look back and reminisce about the exciting prospect of an entire summer filled with fun activities and few responsibilities – oh, to be young again!

Even if summertime looks a little different than it did when we were children, it doesn’t have to be any less exciting. In fact, we still manage to pack quite a few events into the warm days and long evenings of June, July, and August.

No matter how you decide to spend your summer, don’t forget the flowers! The summer season is full of opportunities for sending flowers – you surely know someone with a birthday or anniversary in June, July or August, right? If not, consider one of these special occasions:

Memorial Day

For many, summer starts off on a somber tone as we take this special day to remember the brave men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice to preserve our freedom. Many choose to mark the occasion by visiting a cemetery or grave site of a loved one to pay their respects, and flowers are always an appropriate way to memorialize. There are no rules when it comes to which flowers to use as a memorial – some choose traditional flowers in red or white as a nod to the American flag but choosing specific flowers or colors that had special meaning to the deceased adds a nice personal touch. If you’re unsure what is appropriate – or have no idea which flowers to choose, we’re just a phone call away and our designers are experts in helping you find a fitting tribute.

End of the school year

Many schools traditionally take the last few days of the year as an opportunity to thank teachers, aides, assistants, coaches, administrators and parents for the important roles they played throughout the school year. Although this is certainly not an obligation – nor is it expected – gift cards and flowers are always appreciated by those who have worked tirelessly throughout the year to help educate America’s youth. Even if you don’t have kids in school, but know someone who works there, a big, bold, beautiful bouquet of flowers is an excellent way of congratulating them on a job well done.

Weddings

Summer season is wedding season, and weddings are all about flowers! While you won’t have to bring any flowers to the ceremony itself (we’ve got that covered), you’ll have plenty of opportunities for giving the gift of flowers for receptions and showers. Don’t forget the parents and grandparents of the bride and groom – they love flowers too! Of course, we also have a fine selection of gifts in store that are perfect for this particular occasion.

Father’s Day

Movie Night by George Thomas Florist

Father’s Day falls on Sunday, June 17 this year, and believe it or not, George Thomas Florist is your one-stop shop for all your Father’s Day gifts. Be sure to check out our selection of gift items to find something truly unique for dad. It’s okay if he isn’t exactly a “flower kind of guy,” because we have other options. If you’re in a bind and just don’t know what to get, let us know and we can help you find something special for him.

Independence Day

The Fourth of July is a mid-summer treat for all Americans! Like Memorial Day, this holiday takes on a patriotic tone, but instead of a day of reembrace, Independence Day is a day of celebration! With so many municipalities hosting parades, cookouts, and fireworks shows, there are sure to be some fun activities in your area. Perhaps you were invited to a picnic or cookout on the 4th, and what better way to show your appreciation to the host than a beautiful patriotic bouquet to help liven up the party? As the holiday nears, we will feature a special selection of red, white and blue flowers that will be the hit of any Independence Day celebration.

Labor Day

Labor Day may seem far away, but you know how fast summers seem to go! This 3-day weekend signifies the end of summer for many, but it’s still one last chance to get outside and go for a swim, ride a bike, watch a sunset, or just simply spend some time outside enjoying the marvels of nature. For many, this holiday is a salute to the working men and women of this country and a well-deserved day of rest. It’s also one last chance to enjoy some time with friends and family before the kids head back to school. No matter how you choose to celebrate Labor Day – do it with flowers!

From our family here at George Thomas Florist to yours, we hope you have a safe and happy summer! Please give us a call, or stop by and visit anytime you’re in the area – we’re here to help keep your celebrations bold and beautiful, all summer long.

Goodbye April Showers – Hello May Flowers!

While the lingering effects from a long, cold winter are finally starting to make way for a long overdue springtime, it still comes as a surprise to most of us that May is here already – but we couldn’t be happier, because April showers always bring May flowers!

May is the perfect time to celebrate with flowers – all month long! In fact, the very first day of the month is May Day – a celebration of spring that is traditionally celebrated by giving “May baskets” made up of flowers or sweets – or a combination of the two – that is usually left anonymously on the doorsteps of neighbors.

To many, this may seem like a strange way to celebrate a holiday, especially considering that the givers of May baskets would usually ring the doorbell and run away – leaving the recipient to open the door and find nothing but a basket of flowers!

In some communities, leaving a May basket at someone’s door was an excellent opportunity to express romantic interest because tradition called for the recipient to give chase and attempt to steal a kiss from the person who hung the basket. In other parts of the country, however, it was considered a disgrace if the flower giver was caught by the recipient.

May Day isn’t nearly as popular in this country as it was a century ago, and today the concept seems quaint and dated to many people in this era of text messages and Snapchat, but this throwback to simpler times is still an official holiday in 66 countries around the world.

While no longer as common in the United States, May Day celebrations still take place in some regions of the country. In Hawaii, May Day is known as Lei Day, which is a day to celebrate the culture of the island and Native Hawaiians.

Mother’s Day

Of course, the most obvious occasion for giving flowers during the month of May is Mother’s Day. This year we celebrate mom on Sunday, May 13.

Mother’s Grace by George Thomas Florist

Mother’s Day is one of the biggest days of the year when it comes to flowers, greeting cards, phone calls and restaurant reservations – and with good reason. It’s often hard to find appropriate ways to express gratitude to someone so important and dear to us as our mothers, but nearly everyone loves flowers!

For florists, Mother’s Day is one of our busiest times of the year, and also one of our favorites. Unlike many of the other holidays were certain colors or types of flowers tend to dominate, (like red roses on Valentine’s Day) Mother’s Day typically offers more freedom to design something special and truly unique – that mom is sure to love!

Here at George Thomas Florist, we’ve been planning for this special day since the end of Valentine’s Day, and we’re ready to help you find something perfect for your mom. We are featuring new designs especially for this season as well as some old favorites, and of course, we can always custom-design something especially for you so that you can truly give your mom a one-of-a-kind gift this Mother’s Day.

But That’s Not All…

Between Mother’s Day, May Day, and flowers popping up everywhere we turn, May is truly the month of flowers, but there are many more ways to celebrate with flowers this month.

Memorial Day is just around the corner – this year it falls on Monday, May 28. Traditionally observed as a day to honor those who have died in military service, this holiday also marks the unofficial start of summer. If you are attending a picnic or observance on Memorial Day, flowers are always an appropriate way to show gratitude and appreciation.

May is also the time for graduations for many students across the country, as well an excellent chance for a gift to say “thanks” to all those teachers and educators who worked so hard throughout the year.

Whatever your reason, say it with flowers this May with the help of your friends at George Thomas Florist. No matter the occasion, we’re here to help you find the perfect gift. Give us a call or come in and see us for all your floral needs – and we hope your May is beautiful and bright!

Remember Administrative Professionals Week – April 23-27

Gorgeous Gratitude by George Thomas Florist

One of the most curious things about holidays is their tendency to evolve and change throughout the years. One of the most recent examples is Administrative Professionals’ Week which will take place this year from April 23-27.

The origin of this annual public holiday can be traced back to World War II, when a shortage of skilled administrative personnel in the United States led to the founding of the National Secretaries Association in 1942 to recognize the contributions of administrative personnel and to help attract workers to the administrative field.

In 1981, the National Secretaries Association changed their name to Professional Secretaries International, and then in 1989 to the International Association of Administrative Professionals. As the organization’s name evolved, so did the name of the holiday, which was changed from National Secretaries Week to Professional Secretaries Week in 1981, and then renamed Administrative Professional’s week in 2000 to encompass the wide-ranging job titles and responsibilities of administrative support staff in the modern era.

Today, the holiday services to honor all support staff that keep offices and workplaces running. While many of the intended honorees work “behind the scenes” to contribute to the success of their particular business or organization, the parameters of what qualifies as an “administrative professional” are largely undefined.

Although the roles and titles of administrative assistants can vary quite a bit depending on the industry, they’re typically the employees who wear many hats in order to keep the business up and running. This could be everything from maintenance staff to general laborers to office managers and executive assistants. Their roles are often not as externally visible to customers and shareholders, but it takes diligent work, meticulous organization and careful planning to keep the office environment running smoothly, so these administrative assistants are often the under-looked heroes who play an essential role in the overall success of their organization.

Does it last all week? Is it just one day?? What’s going on???

One of the more unique aspects of Administrative Professionals’ Week is that it actually lasts an entire week instead of just one day. There is, in fact, a single day that is dedicated to the holiday – in the United States and Canada, it is celebrated on the Wednesday of the last full week of April every year.

So how did this one-day holiday morph into a week-long celebration? One of the more popular ways of acknowledging the contributions of Administrative Professionals is to take them out for lunch one day during the week. Therefore, the decision to extend the observance to a full week was made in order to space out the bookings at restaurants and eateries.

Buying lunch for administrative professionals is a terrific way of saying “thank you” to those employees who make your job easier and make you look better, but we know of another outstanding gift idea that is much more beautiful than a free lunch – and will certainly last longer!

Of course, we’re talking about flowers! Flowers make a perfect gift for Administrative Professionals Week and here at George Thomas Florist, we have you covered with a special collection that we have assembled especially for this exciting occasion.

Click here to check out our selection and pick out that special gift for the employees who go above and beyond to keep the workplace running smoothly. If you don’t see exactly what you’d like, please give us a call and we can help you find the perfect gift.

Don’t miss this opportunity to say thanks to the people who work so hard to make your business a success!

Springtime Means Tulip Time!

Luscious Tulips by George Thomas Florist

Sometimes it feels like winter will never end, but every year around this time we’re inevitably rewarded with the wonders of spring. Of course, one of the most telling signs of spring – and one of our favorites – is the arrival of tulips!

Despite their brief blooming period, which ranges from a few days to just over a week, tulips are the world’s third most popular flower – trailing only roses and chrysanthemums. With their nearly perfect symmetry made up of elegant lines and rich vibrant colors, it’s no wonder why these beautiful flowers are so popular.

Native to central Asia, and later introduced to Turkey, tulips quickly became an important part of the Turkish culture and remain Turkey’s national flower.

Their popularity really took off around 1560, however, when the flowers were introduced to the Netherlands and were so prized there that they caused the entire economy to collapse. During the height of during that era, a single tulip bulb was worth more than ten times the annual income of a skilled craftsman – making them more valuable than most houses.

Today, the Dutch still lead the world in tulip production by growing and producing around three billion tulips each year, although the prices have dropped significantly since then.

As a member of the lily family, tulips are classified as herbaceous perennials, although their bulbs differ from other species in that they are living plants that house self-contained nutrients. When the bulb grows into the flower, the original bulb will disappear, and a clone bulb will form in its place.

Tulips have three petals and three sepals, which are almost the same size and shape as the petals making them appear to have six to a bulb. They can also be found in nearly every color of the rainbow with red being the most popular. Streaking tulips boast two colors instead of one solid color. This unique combination was originally the result of a viral infection, although in modern times this unusual coloring is a deliberate result of breeding.

No matter which color you choose, tulips are an intriguing flower with a rich history – and a terrific choice when sending flowers in the spring. Their extremely vibrant colors make a statement and they also look great in centerpieces for your home or office environment.

Say hello to spring with some tulips from George Thomas Florist. We have many different options for every different occasion including one of our most popular designs, the Luscious Tulips. Call us today or order online to enjoy this wonderful springtime treat.

Did You Know?

  • There are more than 150 different species of tulips with over 3,000 different varieties known to exist.
  • Tulip petals are edible and can be used as a substitute for onions in many recipes, although many people find their taste extremely unpleasant.
  • Tulips continue to grow up to one extra inch after they’re cut.
  • Will bend and twist to grow towards light – even in a vase.
  • By 1636, tulips were traded on exchanges in Dutch cities. The skyrocketing prices caused many people to become suddenly rich or lose fortunes overnight.
  • In the Netherlands, tulips represent the briefness of life, but in Turkish culture, they’re a symbol of paradise on earth and have achieved a nearly-divine status.
  • Tulips have a short lifespan that typically only lasts for 3-7 days.
  • A sap released by daffodils cause tulips to wilt if the two flowers are arranged together.
  • Paul McCartney and Fats Domino are among a list of people who have had tulips named after them.

Shop George Thomas Florist for Easter and Passover

Easter Treats Basket by George Thomas Florist

Did you know that Easter is the fourth biggest floral holiday of the year? It may not get the recognition of Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, or Christmas/Hanukkah, but flowers and plants have long played an important role in Easter and Passover observances and are synonymous with the holidays in both home decorations and as gifts.

When choosing a floral gift for Easter, it’s important to keep in mind not only who it’s for, but also what it will be used for. Flowers are always appropriate for mothers, grandmothers, and other close relatives or loved ones. Of course, Easter baskets full of chocolates, Peeps, and other springtime treats are always a favorite for kids of all ages!

They also make excellent gifts for church or social groups as well as for co-workers or the staff of your child’s school or day care center and are certainly a perfect gift to take along if you have been invited to an Easter dinner or other Easter celebration.

Easter Lilies by George Thomas Florist

Lilies are popular symbols of Easter as they represent love, hope, and resurrection. White lilies are especially symbolic during Easter as they signify purity and divinity. Daisies, azaleas, daffodils, chrysanthemums, hyacinths, and tulips are also popular Easter flowers.

Celebrate Easter on Sunday, April 1, with a traditional Easter lily plant, or with a beautiful bouquet of fresh seasonal flowers from George Thomas Florist.

Did you know?

  • Egg dyes for Easter were once made from flower petals. Other natural items like tree bark, onion peels, and juices were also used to color eggs.
  • The first story of a rabbit (later named the “Easter Bunny”) hiding eggs in a garden was published in 1680.
  • Easter takes place on a Sunday, after the 40-day period called Lent. Lent is referred to as a time of fasting, but most participants focus more on giving up one significant indulgence.
  • Holy Week is celebrated during the week leading up to Easter. It begins on Palm Sunday, continues to Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and then finally, Easter Sunday.
  • The 140th annual “White House Easter Egg Roll” is scheduled for Monday, April 2. This event has been celebrated by the Presidents of the United States and their families since 1878.

Passover

Passover, or Pesach, is one of the most commonly observed Jewish holidays. It begins annually on the 15th day of the Jewish month of Nissan. This year it begins at sundown on Friday, March 30, and lasts through Saturday, April 7.

Passover is a celebration of the Israelites’ being freed from slavery in Egypt. It is also observed as a celebration of spring, of birth, and of rebirth, and of taking responsibility for yourself, the community, and the world. The first night of Passover includes a special ritual dinner called Seder.

Flowers make excellent gifts for Passover. Traditional spring-blooming flowers are used to celebrate the holiday. Sunflowers, Gerbera daisies, roses, lilies, irises, and tulips are all excellent choices for this holiday season. George Thomas Florist offers a nice assortment of centerpieces and fresh floral designs that make excellent gifts for this celebration.

Get Ready for St. Patrick’s Day with Bells of Ireland

St. Patrick’s Day Flower Basket by George Thomas Florist

When you think of St. Patrick’s Day, you think green. Obviously, shamrocks come to mind, as well as green carnations the occasional green roses, but when many people think of flowers for St. Patrick’s Day, they often overlook Bells of Ireland.

Bells of Ireland, sometimes known as shell flowers, are vertical green spires that are known to symbolize good luck. Despite their name, Bells of Ireland are not native to Ireland, and the green bells are not actually flowers, but the calyxes that surround the tiny flowers inside.

Native to Turkey and Syria, these green flowers are a member of the mint family, and are sought after for their complex, but intricate beauty as well as their longevity. They are a very popular choice for St. Patrick’s Day bouquets and are also popular wedding flowers.

A member of the mint family, Bells of Ireland grow in stalks that can reach three feet tall and make an interesting conversation piece in any bouquet. They emit a pleasant fragrance and their curious design and gentle color make them very versatile in many different types of bouquets as they seem to complement a wide variety of different flowers.

Irish Countryside by George Thomas Florist

It is best to keep Bells of Ireland cool and away from sources of heat, but they do extremely well in areas that have lots of natural light but only minimal direct sun exposure. A tabletop or windowsill is a perfect spot for a bouquet containing Bells of Ireland.

With St. Patrick’s Day just around the corner, Bells of Ireland are a perfect way to spread your Irish cheer, but why waste all that luck on one day? If you know anyone starting a new job, moving to a new home, or beginning a new endeavor, send a little bit of luck their way by choosing the remarkably wonderful Bells of Ireland.

At George Thomas Florist, we have several different designs that feature Bells of Ireland. Our most popular is the St. Patrick’s Day Basket which also contains a beautiful mix of green carnations, poms, and a festive ribbon in a wicker basket. Or, if you prefer the Bells of Ireland by themselves, our Irish Countryside design is the perfect choice. Your options don’t end there, however – we can also create a custom bouquet for you featuring Bells of Ireland. All you have to do is call and let us know what you’d like and our experienced designers can take it from there!