Mom, You're Awesome!

To celebrate Mother's Day we're dedicating this post to the super human in our life—our mom.

It’s been an insanely busy couple of weeks and we have all been working at breakneck speeds to execute events and complete orders. It’s been good but also tiring (Hello! I think our beds miss us!). But despite it all, our momma, the bedrock behind SF EVERYTHING is the energizer bunny that keeps going! This woman is literally the first in and last out of the shop every day. She can bust out flowers for an event solo and doesn’t blink an eye at having to haul giant buckets of roses across the store. And! she still wakes up at the crack of dawn to make ginger tea (‘cause it cures everything, apparently) and smoothies for all at the shop.

Singapore Flower wouldn’t be what it is today without our Mom giving us sage advice and here are some golden nuggets that have stuck with each of us:

Julia: Mom has been invaluable at helping Rose and I shape our business ethos. She’s taught us to be fair, firm, and never to do anything or work with anyone that made our heart(s) feel heavy. She has always imparted that feeling good about the people you work with is more important that chasing the next contract.

Rose: “Don’t over commit or over promise. Instead, over deliver.” Working with clients can be challenging when it comes to a once-in-a-lifetime event so it’s always important to know what you can and can’t do.

Fun Facts About Our Awesome Blossom: She has zero coordination, do not take her to a Zumba class… it’s like watching a fish out of water. Her fav colour is maroon. She has OCD and will usually try to match her shoes to her bag to her scarf. She still makes us lunch (her oldest child is 33…). She does not mince words and hasn’t hesitated to call her child fat—she is after all 100% Asian! She carries dry cat food in her car for any stray kitties and makes random cat friends. Her fav kind of chocolate is dark chocolate with nuts. She reuses and recycles everything she can—she embraced the living-with-less mantra before it became cool. She can’t tell you what her favourite flower is… apparently she loves them all equally just like her children (Rose has doubts about this, she claims to be the most loved child.). She started SF at the age of 23 opening the shop with a crib in store for her then littlest kid, Rose. Nothing is impossible for her.

Mom, thank you for letting two—now very big girls—still play
around and have fun with what we do.
We love you.

Photography by Moe Ramadan

Flower Flavours

We dug through our phone galleries to pull up some real-life floral combos that we’ve used for weddings. #throwback!

This was an interesting exercise for us to see the sort of floral mixes that were resonating with our brides. As you can see, the combinations are endless, and, over the years our brides have been getting bolder in their choice of florals (someone say hay?) and colours (check out the pops of black and burgundy!), which we love, love, love!

At the end of the day, there is no rule as to what wedding florals or colours should be. It’s your day so you get to pick your flavour!

If you’ve been an SF bride, do you know which combo’s yours??

A Few Tips from The Pros - Part 3

Our lovely brides shared their tips for keeping it together in Part 1 and Part 2. But if there really was an overwhelming consensus on one topic it's the first one below! And apparently I (Julia) have a favourite phrase I like to deploy!


Everything Will Be Fine. No Really.

"Remember that no matter how hard you plan and try to pre-empt things, something can and will go wrong. And that's OK. You’re not the weather god, or the fun-police so let it go and just roll with it. I mean an epic storm rolled in on our wedding day, we may have all turned to icicles during dinner, my mom disappeared for a nap (it runs in the family) during the wedding pics, and I totally forgot about my sexy thermals as I waved my dress around dancing but it was still"

"This was something I told myself the entire time leading up to the wedding: set a stress deadline. I stressed and tried to make sure everything was as perfect as could be leading up to the big day, but made sure that the last week was clear and calm so I could be relaxed and enjoy the day! If anything were to have gone wrong in that week or on the day, I told myself to just let it go."

"The minute you step into the ballroom just let go and enjoy. What’s done is done and it’s to late to change things. Don’t ruin your day by fretting over small things that don’t matter and that people will forget in time."

"Don't stress out about some things not going according to plan on the day. Some things cannot be controlled, life is not perfect but it is still beautiful. So you can either let the frustration get to you and ruin your big day or you can focus on how beautiful it is being surrounded by your loved ones who are celebrating you. Such glitches or details won't matter or even be remembered in the end, you will only remember the love in the air."

"This one is actually Julia's, but I loved her advice, and her exact phrasing was "We always tell our clients, don't be the fun police!". I wanted to schedule everything so it would flow well on the day, but a bit of a delay here and there because people are having fun is actually a good thing!"


Post Wedding (Yep, It's Not Over)

"Give a family member or friend all your vendors' contact details for emergencies and to deal with any post-wedding issues when you are on your honeymoon."

"This is one that you don't really hear a lot, but post-wedding blues are real! You've put in so much of yourself, your time and your creative process into this one-day. Enjoy it to the very last minute, but if you miss it a little too much after, know that it's OK, and completely normal. The end of your wedding means the beginning of your new life together, and that's something that should be enjoyed and celebrated too!"



Some Italian Travel Tips from the Vlajic's!

Between the wedding and our own personal travel, Rose and I have been to Italy 6 times with our significant other’s in tow.  We still have a lot more ground to cover but if you’re ever in any of the spots below, these are the restaurants, B&B’s and resources we can’t recommend enough!

Rose – Seina and Florence (Tuscany), Parma and Bologna (Emiligia Rogmana), and Travel Tips

Dimitris and I did the Three Kings Tour in Parma. The tour of the Parmesan factory was a highlight - is it ok to be starstruck by cheese ?!

Il Santo Bevitore is a fine dining restaurant in Florence with a trattoria ambiance, and where we had one of the best meals of our trip. Reservations are a must.

We loved the atmosphere and classic Tuscan fare at Trattoria da Mario—this hole-in-the-wall, also in Florence, is only open for lunch and does not have an English menu.

Bologna has a gelato university and gelato stores abound (yum-O!). We really enjoyed La Sorbetteria di Castiglione.

We held our welcome reception at Il Podere Casale in Seina. We would absolutely recommend this working farm for simple, yet hearty, organic meal. The views are to die for and it doesn’t hurt that they have an array of cooking classes to partake in!

There are ton of places to hang your hat in Seina but the cottages at La Foce Ciarentana were absolutely exquisite. The views are To. Die. For. If a hotel is more your speed we loved Poggio Piglia.

For olive oil enthusiasts, do ask each estate and area you visit about their olive oil. I found that many small places made and bottled their own (excellent) olive oil.

And remember: No cappuccino post noon. Eat pasta always—each town serves up something different (yumm-oo). And, where possible get a car and head into rural towns—it's the best way to enjoy Italy!


Julia – Piemonte and Resources!

The first time I visited the Piedmonte region, my husband and I stayed at luxurious and oh-so-comfortable refurbished castle. What a dream!

But on our next visit to Piedmonte region with Rose and Dimitris we opted for something quirkier. Located in the heart of Neive, Al Palazzo Rosso, is next door to amazing restaurants and corner store where the entire town gathers for aperitivo hour!

Although not in Neive, the cramped Restaurant Centro Storico located in Serralunga is beyond amazing and absolutely worth the trek, regardless of where in Italy you are. But maybe that’s because I have a soft spot for Northern Italy! (Rose says it's her fav meal of 2016!)

Before I travel I always a get a good book/cookbook to sink my teeth into and really understand the food landscape. For Italy it was this one.

But for an everyday cookbook and wonderfully direct writing, nothing beat’s Marcella Hazan’s Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking.

I am also partial to smaller B&Bs and more unique accommodations and this guide was right up my alley.

My travel research also includes scouring local blogs to find trusty recommendations. Jul’s guide to Val d’Orcia was especially helpful as I planned non-wedding related activities! I would totally trust her other city guides as well!


A Few Tips From the Pros - Part 2

When we reached out to our brides asking them to share some tips for enjoying your big day they really came through! Since we got quite a bit of feedback we've spilt the post up into three sections. If you missed it, Part 1 is here.

As in the previous post, the comments have been minimally edited and left anonymous. 

Navigating a Guest List and RSVPs

“Putting a guest list together could potentially turn into a nightmare. There are so many factors to consider—Are kids allowed? Who gets a plus one and who doesn't? How many invites do you give your parents? It can easily become a very sensitive and stressful issue, and from experience, I learnt that pleasing everyone is impossible. We insisted on having an intimate wedding, and only invited close family and friends. When people asked if they could bring friends along, we said no. When people we weren't close with asked if they could come, we said no. We were put in so many awkward situations! But remember, at the end of the day, your wedding is about celebrating you as a couple, and not anyone else. So surround yourself with the people who you want to share this day with. Trust me, it will be worth it once you feel surrounded by so much genuine love and happiness on your wedding day.”

“RSVP's! They're VERY difficult to get, but make a big difference, especially when booking a venue that charges by head, or printing beautiful (but expensive) wedding invitations!”


It’s Not Just About Décor

"Hire a planner. You need help with all the details and someone to stay on top of everything. As a planner-bride, I began to realise how much more went into being a bride. No one tells you about all the wedding paperwork you have to do, oh and are you trying to furnish a house while planning a wedding? We managed the large chunk of our wedding design, but we still needed help on the ground to execute and pull things together. Seriously, hire a planner."


Eat, Nap, Hydrate! 

"Pre-empt all your quirks and craziness and make sure you create an environment that helps you stay chilled, relaxed, and excited! In my case, that meant scheduling a nap (best decision ever!!), making sure that there was a light buffet for the bridal party while they were getting ready so no one would go hangry (!) and of course, finding a cappuccino. It was also really important for me to have my girls close by, but at the same time have my own space (don't underestimate the power of space!) so we got adjoining rooms to get ready in."

"Make sure you eat and hydrate well on the wedding day. I made the mistake of ignoring food and paid the price for it. I became ill at part of my wedding (I actually threw up when I tried to eat later because our outdoor venue was quite chilly). So while you are getting ready (and throughout the day, actually) make sure you have a good hearty meal that will hold you up through the adrenaline."

A Few Tips from the Pros – Part 1

Oh, we don’t mean us. We mean our brides—the ladies who have walked through fire and lived to tell the tale! We jest.

After Rose officially became a bride, it dawned on us that putting together a wedding was a really, really stressful endeavor. Between negotiating official paperwork, ballooning budgets, and compromising on décor and first dance songs… it’s kind of shocking that brides still manage to keep their wits about them.

So, to help you cope with any impending nuptials, and just so you know you aren’t losing your mind, we’ve asked our brides to share some of their tips for keeping your marbles together. We’ve left comments as we received them and kept them anonymous so our lovely ladies could give you the skinny without being put on the spot. 

Getting, and Managing, Everyone Involved

“There are always so many people involved in planning a wedding; this is both good and bad. The good part is everyone wants to help make it a happy and stress-free day for you, so let them: delegate when you can, ask for help and don't sweat the small stuff. The tricky part is managing all the opinions thrown in your direction—this can get very overwhelming fast, but don't let it be. It's okay to consider some opinions and dismiss others, at the end of the day, do what you believe is best for you.”  

"What really made our wedding special to us, and to our guests too, was how much it felt like us! We wanted a warm, personal day filled with the things we love, and elements of our family and culture. Your personal touches are what make the wedding, so don't let anyone dictate how it should go, or do something just because that's the way it's usually done."

“You can't do everything alone. Learn to delegate, because even with a planner (and I had 2!) there was STILL a boat load to do. Task folks with the little things that you know are their forte. For example, one of my bridesmaids helped me out with my music selection, another was my therapist, and another was in charge of all things related to dress and shoes. Did I mention I had 8 bridesmaids? It truly takes a village!” 

“Trust the people you chose to work with and communicate with them during the creative process. Listen to everyone but know what you really want and can't do without. Collaborations are everything! Have a clear vision, do your research and have your own visual mood board, you might go in a different direction but it's great to have a good starting point for everyone to know what resonates most with you.” 


The Art of Compromise

“Try to make sure everyone goes into it happy! Be it family members, friends, planners, or vendors. It's a day that celebrates love and that goes for everyone!” 

“Different elements of the wedding will be more important to you and your groom so try to understand why something's important to each of you, meet in the middle and come to an agreement. Don't fight it out over something that will not be important in the long run. You just need to let some things go! You don't really NEED those napkins anyway…”


In Case You Didn't Know...

...Every bride has a certain "thing" they obsess over. In my case, it was my wedding stationary suite. This meant that ANYTHING in that category got obsessed over. Like the welcome boxes we made for each guest…

What should the box tag look like? What insert notes should be include in the box? OH! I need a pasta guide! But wait…what pasta do I REALLY want on my pasta guide? What item will I stamp with our seal? The tag? The box? The ribbon? All of the above? What box do I use? Hang on, what box can I afford?!

I kid you not, these were all questions I agonized over! I told you things could get obsessive!

Ok let’s dial back a bit. I had my wedding in scenic Tuscany (over here for parts one and two!), and something that was super important to Dimitris and I was greeting our guests with something to set the tone for their trip. I personally love welcome packets—they are a great way to spoil your guests with a few treats and convey information that they may have been missed on the invite or website. But also, who doesn’t have a soft spot for brown paper packages (hand raise emoji!).

For our welcome box, we opted for some freshly picked apples from a nearby farm (yum!!), chocolates (because it’s chocolate), salty treats, water, a ‘Just In Case’ baggie, and packet with a welcome note and additional information to tie it all together.

Usually when it comes to the more tedious assembly tasks, I’ve got my sis on hand, but she was still en route to Italy. So with Mom, Raul, and Dimitris we settled in and—in true Asian fashion—set up an assembly line: Dimitris made the boxes, Raul packed the boxes, Mom tied them up and I stamped all the name cards with our seal (and snapped 101 pics of course!).

Needless to say it was my FAVE office to date—just look at the amazing scene I had whilst stamping away the little seals.

Even though it took a full afternoon to pack everything and deliver them to our friends and family, it was the best feeling greeting our guests with a little something to ease them into thier Italian adventure.  

Stationary: The Idea Emporium

Calligraphy: Post Calligraphy

Treats: All over!

Our Top 16

2016. The year we found our stride. This year has definitely been one for the books—all because we had some amazing couples trusting us to do some of our best work. And, to top it off, we had our very own Italian wedding with our nearest and dearest (hard to beat that for a high!).

Looking back truly gives us conviction to move forward and grow. Hey, if we can finally make ferns the star of a wedding and pull off a three-day gig in the heart of Tuscany—the sky is the limit!! 


In Your Shoes

Ok ladies… seriously… I got engaged this year and all I can say is Holy Moly Wedding Planning!!

We’ve been planning weddings for a couple of years in-store and it sure has been an eye opener walking in a Bride’s shoes during the process this time around. When my clients drop off the face of the earth, I now know where they go! Planning a celebration is tough work, and I’ve found that the only way it’s actually possible is with a super awesome support system. We all need someone to vent to, and oh boy am I thankful for my family, and my gals—some people have 1 or 2, but I can say I have 8 awesome ladies behind me (Thank God!).

In the midst of all the crazy wedding prep, my nearest and dearest took the time to throw me the sweetest Bridal Shower, and it was just what I needed. You’re probably wondering… “Well how hard can wedding planning be? Don’t you do this for a living?” Well let’s just say I did this to myself when I decided to get married within the year—we got engaged in March 2016 and set the wedding date for October 2016…. for a wedding in Italy. I do not recommend this at home.

But like I said, thank God for my girls to keep me sane! They put together my sweet Italian brunch with the help of the sis Julia, my mama Dalliah, and my unofficial twin, the lil’ bro Raul. I’m one grateful gal! The countdown officially begins: Italia, here we come!


The Beautiful Table Set Up. Food and FLowers, My Fave!


These Beautiful Ladies and Mini Me, Thank You!


Life Wouldn't Be Complete Without Cake Tasting and a Donut Tower

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year…In Bahrain

Perfect weather! Finally. It’s not too cold and not scorching, just yet. And yes, anything under 18 °C is considered cold in these parts—don’t judge.

Warmer weather for us means a slew of outdoor gigs that need to be set up, but when I’m not elbows deep in flowers or perched on a ladder I love having a bunch of friends over in our roof-top garden for a barbecue. I like to keep my food and décor simple: a couple of salads, a refreshing beverage, some candles, maybe a printed tablecloth… nothing to fussy (Mainly because I’m a bit lazier on my day off… like I said, don’t judge!).

Time Out Bahrain got in touch  with us a few months back for more tips on outdoor entertaining and for more in-depth planning tips you can check out the article here

For me one of the most important lessons I’ve learnt over the years is to make sure you have something ready for your guests to nibble on and drink when they first arrive. It’s a no brainer, I know, but something that is easily overlooked when you’re dashing around hiding laundry and putting away piles of paper.

One of the first things I do ahead is prep a drink station and usually it’s as simple as lemon-infused water. But when I do get the time, I like to fancy things up with a fresh-pressed juice. You can juice the below at home although there’s really nothing wrong with cheating and getting fresh juice from your neighbourhood juice man!


Pomegranate Agua Fresca

4 Pomegranates – Juiced and strained through fine mesh strainer to remove any pips

3 Oranges, juiced

2 Limes, juices

¼ cup Simple Syrup*

1 cup Ice

A Large Pitcher

Add juices, simple syrup, and 2 cups water to your pitcher and mix. Top off juice mixture with 1 cup of ice and taste, your juice should taste refreshing and only slightly sweet, adjust with more lime juice or simple syrup as needed.

Remember, the ice will continue to water down the juice so don’t add too much to start! Do keep a an ice bucket and tongs handy for guest to top off their drink with more ice.

*To make simple syrup heat 1 cup sugar with 1 cup water in a small saucepan over low heat until sugar is fully dissolved. Cool completely before using or storing. Makes about 1 cup of syrup.