Happy First Anniversary Erin and Ryan. Elegant July Wedding at The Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Washington, D.C.

It’s no secret that The Mandarin Oriental Hotel is one of my favorite venues in Washington. I love the hotel and working with their pro staff (read: Michael Deltette). Last July, I had the pleasure of designing for a beautiful couple, Erin Loomis and Ryan Moore, who made my job easy. And receiving this email from Erin after the wedding was icing on the cake: “Thank you so much for all the amazing flowers for my wedding this weekend. They were even better than what I was picturing in my head.” Happy First Anniversary Erin and Ryan! All photos by Michael Connor of Connor Studios.

Atelier Ashley Flowers +Erin and Ryan + Mandarin Oriental + Connor Studios + Ivory and Blush + Wedding Flowers + Arch + Greenery Arch

I get a lot of requests for floral arches which can be designed in a variety of shapes and sizes. It all depends on your venue and set-up. Erin and Ryan had a medium-sized arch of greenery accented with garden roses in blush and pink. The arch photographed beautifully and looked so romantic in the Mandarin’s garden.

Atelier Ashley Flowers +Erin and Ryan + Mandarin Oriental + Connor Studios + Ivory and Blush + Wedding Flowers + Roses + July Wedding + Arch + Floral Arch + Greenery Arch
Atelier Ashley Flowers +Erin and Ryan + Mandarin Oriental + Connor Studios + Ivory and Blush + Wedding Flowers + Arch + Roses + Arch Detail

The bouquets and boutonnieres featured all the best summer blooms in pinks and blush - from garden roses and hydrangea to ranunculus and dahlias.

Atelier Ashley Flowers +Erin and Ryan + Mandarin Oriental + Connor Studios + Ivory and Blush + Wedding Flowers + monument photos + dc wedding photos
Atelier Ashley Flowers +Erin and Ryan + Mandarin Oriental + Connor Studios + Ivory and Blush + Wedding Flowers + dc wedding + dc wedding florist

You can’t beat these classic photos on the steps of The Jefferson Memorial by Connor Studios. The blush and blues really pop against the white stone monument.

Atelier Ashley Flowers +Erin and Ryan + Mandarin Oriental + Connor Studios + Ivory and Blush + Wedding Flowers + bridesmaids + bouquets
Atelier Ashley Flowers +Erin and Ryan + Mandarin Oriental + Connor Studios + Ivory and Blush + Wedding Flowers + dc wedding photos + wedding bouquet
Atelier Ashley Flowers +Erin and Ryan + Mandarin Oriental + Connor Studios + Ivory and Blush + Wedding Flowers + wedding portrait ideas

For a more modern look, Connor Studios took advantage of the great waterfront views at The Wharf - just down the street from The Mandarin.

Erin and Ryan chose a tall centerpiece and a low candle design for their reception which created an elegant setting for the dinner. We also designed a signature escort arrangement and added fresh blooms to their beautiful wedding cake by Buttercream Bakeshop.

Atelier Ashley Flowers +Erin and Ryan + Mandarin Oriental + Connor Studios + Ivory and Blush + Wedding Flowers + wedding portrait in dc
Atelier Ashley Flowers +Erin and Ryan + Mandarin Oriental + Connor Studios + Ivory and Blush + Wedding Flowers + wedding kiss photo

Washington, D.C. Historic Wedding Venues and Happy First Anniversary to Danielle and Michael. May Wedding at Woodlawn Estate

Washington, D.C. is full of historic venues that make for beautiful weddings, including this one just down the George Washington Memorial Parkway in Alexandria, Virginia. The history of Woodlawn Estate started with a wedding which makes it an even more perfect venue for your nuptials. In 1799, the one and only George Washington gave Woodlawn to his step-grand-daughter, Eleanor "Nelly" Parke Custis and his nephew, Lawrence Lewis. Today, Woodlawn offers an outdoor setting with tented areas surrounded by beautiful gardens and landscaping. Not to mention, the mansion makes a gorgeous backdrop for any event. Also located on the property is the Frank Lloyd Wright designed Pope-Leighey House which is available to rent as well. Both are listed as National Trust for Historic Preservation sites.

Atelier Ashley Flowers + Woodlawn + Pope Leighhey House + Anna Reynal Photography + DC Weddings + DC Florist  + Mansion Wedding

Woodlawn Estate is beautiful in springtime and this bride and groom did it justice. Danielle and Michael were wonderful to work with and look stunning in their pictures. Photographer Anna Reynal shot so many beautiful images, it’s hard to choose just one - so forgive me while I share them all (not really).

Beautiful Bride Danielle in her  Essence of Australia  wedding gown from  Wren Bridal  in Annapolis. Make-up by  Georgetown Bride .

Beautiful Bride Danielle in her Essence of Australia wedding gown from Wren Bridal in Annapolis. Make-up by Georgetown Bride.

So much love and emotion in this shot.

So much love and emotion in this shot.

Groom Michael in Hugo Boss.

Groom Michael in Hugo Boss.

Danielle’s bouquet was a wild and organic spring mix of roses, blue delphinium, hyacinth, white stock, orchids and a variety of greenery. Her bouquet was finished with blue and white streaming ribbons.

Danielle’s bouquet was a wild and organic spring mix of roses, blue delphinium, hyacinth, white stock, orchids and a variety of greenery. Her bouquet was finished with blue and white streaming ribbons.

The bridesmaids carried smaller versions of the bride’s bouquet, also finished with streaming ribbons.

The bridesmaids carried smaller versions of the bride’s bouquet, also finished with streaming ribbons.

Two gold urns full of hydrangea, roses and greenery and placed on pedestals flanked the couple during their ceremony.

Two gold urns full of hydrangea, roses and greenery and placed on pedestals flanked the couple during their ceremony.

Atelier Ashley Flowers + Woodlawn + Pope Leighhey House + Anna Reynal Photography + DC Weddings + DC Florist  + bridesmaids-76.jpg
Atelier Ashley Flowers + Woodlawn + Pope Leighhey House + Anna Reynal Photography + DC Weddings + DC Florist  + bridal bouquet + bridesmaids + floral bridesmaids dresses + dusty blue + blue and white-67.jpg
DanielleandMichaelwedding_AnnaReynalPhotography-111.jpg

Happy First Anniversary Danielle and Michael. Wishing you many more happy years to come.

J.Crew Fashion Night with Erica Natal and Leigh Heiserman

Have you seen @ericalnatal on Instagram lately? She is hustling - and making some real headway - by generating creative and compelling content. Recently, she partnered with J.Crew in Georgetown for a spring shopping party and asked me to design some flowers for the event. Her buddy Leigh Heiserman from Lauryn Prattes Styling and Events stopped by to share in the fun which made for great photos.

Erica Natal + J Crew + Atelier Ashley Flowers + Solely In Focus + LPE_Leigh + Buttercream Bakeshop + cherry blossoms

All photos by Erica’s company, Solely In Focus. Daisy macaroons by Buttercream Bakeshop.

Erica Natal + J Crew + Atelier Ashley Flowers + Solely In Focus + LPE_Leigh + Buttercream Bakeshop + cherry blossoms
Erica Natal + J Crew + Atelier Ashley Flowers + Solely In Focus + LPE_Leigh + Buttercream Bakeshop + cherry blossoms
Erica Natal + J Crew + Atelier Ashley Flowers + Solely In Focus + LPE_Leigh + Buttercream Bakeshop + cherry blossoms

Erica and Leigh

Erica Natal + J Crew + Atelier Ashley Flowers + Solely In Focus + LPE_Leigh + Buttercream Bakeshop + cherry blossoms
Erica Natal + J Crew + Atelier Ashley Flowers + Solely In Focus + LPE_Leigh + Buttercream Bakeshop + cherry blossoms

My Wedding at Oxon Hill Manor

Truly, I have so much to say about my wedding at Oxon Hill Manor, but mostly I just wanted to share the pictures with you. So here are a few of my favorites from our wedding almost 7 years ago. Yes, I did the flowers myself (with generous support from my friends Antje Wood, Tricia Siudet and The Enchanted Florist, VA). All photos are by Lisa Boggs Photography, day of coordination by Kelly Cannon Events. The motorcycle is a Paul Smart Ducati and the cake is by Maggie Austin Cake.

20121007_ashley_will_wedding_0741.jpg
Atelier Ashley Wedding at Oxon Hill by Lisa Boggs
Atelier Ashley Wedding at Oxon Hill by Lisa Boggs
Atelier Ashley Wedding at Oxon Hill Manor by Lisa Boggs
Atelier Ashley Wedding at Oxon Hill Manor by Lisa Boggs
20121007_ashley_will_wedding_0385.jpg
Atelier Ashley Wedding at Oxon Hill Manor by Lisa Boggs
20121007_ashley_will_wedding_0796.jpg
IMG_2410.jpg
Atelier Ashley Wedding at Oxon Hill Manor by Lisa Boggs
Atelier Ashley Wedding at Oxon Hill Manor by Lisa Boggs
Atelier Ashley Wedding at Oxon Hill Manor by Lisa Boggs
Atelier Ashley Wedding at Oxon Hill Manor by Lisa Boggs
Atelier Ashley Wedding at Oxon Hill Manor by Lisa Boggs
Atelier Ashley Wedding at Oxon Hill Manor by Lisa Boggs
Atelier Ashley Wedding at Oxon Hill Manor by Lisa Boggs
Maggie Austin Cake, her first glorious lily
Atelier Ashley Flowers at Oxon Hill Manor by Lisa Boggs.
Atelier Ashley Flowers at Oxon Hill Manor by Lisa Boggs.
Atelier Ashley Flowers at Oxon Hill Manor by Lisa Boggs.
Atelier Ashley Flowers at Oxon Hill Manor by Lisa Boggs.
Atelier Ashley Flowers at Oxon Hill Manor by Lisa Boggs.

Cherry Blossom Photos Washington DC a DIY Guide - Parking and Photography

While notorious for meticulous planning when it involves my clients, when it comes to fun projects just for me, “Spontaneous” is probably the nicest word that could be used to describe me.

When I heard peak Cherry time had been moved up a couple of days, I wanted in on the action, and I wanted in now. My first thought was to ping a couple of my professional photographer friends to see if they had any “Cherry Blossom Sessions” left, but most were completely booked or couldn’t work within my last minuet time frame. Most professional photographers only guarantee a handful of time slots because of the unpredictability of the Cherry Trees blossoming.

ashley-spring-blossom-bouquet-jefferson

Following so many #igdc photographers I realized that I could probably get some great photos with just my iPhone and good lighting. So next I tapped a few people I identify as “creative hustlers” who would probably be down for an early morning if it meant some good content. I also put a flyer up on my Instagram Stories asking if anyone wanted to join me in the joy of waking up at 5:30.

Brittany-iphone-cherry-blossoms

Within a few hours, By Brittany Branson, Calligraphette & Co, and even a real photographer, Marie Windsor Photography were all on board! Now technically there are rules to taking photos at the monuments, and if you are working with a professional photographer they need to apply for a permit. Since we were going as friends, and working mostly with our iphones we thought we were probably ok. Just no props and no tripods, I have haerd that fines can be issued in the thousands of dollars range.

cherry-blossom-friends

Never having been part of a Cherry Blossom session myself, I really didn’t know what to expect. Would there be parking, how early do we really need to get there?

I have heard that the best time to be there is before sunrise, so since sunrise was at 6:59 am we decided to meet at 6:30am. This was a good idea, and meeting at 6:15am might have been an even better idea, but really that is just way too early!

Coming from Alexandria, VA I took the parkway over Memorial Bridge, bore to the right and then turned left to follow the road along the water towards the Jefferson Memorial. My idea was to park in the lot closest in front to the memorial but it was closed. I continued to follow the road closet to the Jefferson and eventually saw a sign for Public Parking. I wasn’t sure exactly what I was doing, but decided to trust the signage and turned left. Just a little down that road there was a parking lot with lots of spaces at 6:28am. It is pay parking and I used my Park Moblie App, zone 5811 and was on my way. The walk from the lot to the steps of the Jefferson is about 10 minuets.

IMG_1392.JPG

Brittany had been the first to arrive and remarked that waiting alone at 6:25 in the morning had been kind of creepy, but that in the time she had gone in to use the ladies room (so yes there are some restrooms) and come back out, 2 couples were already in the midst of their engagement sessions.

Having been admiring Connor Studios portraits, for a year, I wanted to try and get the same angle so we walked clockwise around the water from the memorial. By 6:55 another photographer and family, were in the spot I had spied on our walk in. Trust me, jockeying for position gets real, which is why you may want to come even earlier than 6:30. I guess it’s just human nature, but sometimes I forget to be all zen and polite.

IMG_1393.JPG

By 7:05 the sun was making its way up, and the sky was showing signs of brilliant yellow and red. We took turns posing in pairs of two and as a group. We captured the cherries with the Washington Monument, and the Jefferson and then took a few through the blooms themselves.

We photographed until about 7:30am which by then the place was drawing with couples, families, photographers, instagram models, joggers and bikers!

JEFFERSON-BOUQUET

Brittany and Nika had appointments to head off too and Casey Marie and I wandered a little further down the path. Eventually we were tired and felt we had enough photos, by 8:00 I was back in my car and heading home.

marie-windsor-photography

The Cherry Trees were not quite a peak, and something about being up and in the presence of such powerful elegance is intoxicating, so I may just have to do this again!

Ashley-sPRING-bLOSSOM-bOUQUET

















Cherry Blossom Photos Washington DC a DIY Guide - Parking and Photography

While notorious for meticulous planning when it involves my clients, when it comes to fun projects just for me, “Spontaneous” is probably the nicest word that could be used to describe me.

When I heard peak Cherry time had been moved up a couple of days, I wanted in on the action, and I wanted in now. My first thought was to ping a couple of my professional photographer friends to see if they had any “Cherry Blossom Sessions” left, but most were completely booked or couldn’t work within my last minuet time frame. Most professional photographers only guarantee a handful of time slots because of the unpredictability of the Cherry Trees blossoming.

ashley-spring-blossom-bouquet-jefferson

Following so many #igdc photographers I realized that I could probably get some great photos with just my iPhone and good lighting. So next I tapped a few people I identify as “creative hustlers” who would probably be down for an early morning if it meant some good content. I also put a flyer up on my Instagram Stories asking if anyone wanted to join me in the joy of waking up at 5:30.

Brittany-iphone-cherry-blossoms

Within a few hours, By Brittany Branson, Calligraphette & Co, and even a real photographer, Marie Windsor Photography were all on board! Now technically there are rules to taking photos at the monuments, and if you are working with a professional photographer they need to apply for a permit. Since we were going as friends, and working mostly with our iphones we thought we were probably ok. Just no props and no tripods, I have haerd that fines can be issued in the thousands of dollars range.

cherry-blossom-friends

Never having been part of a Cherry Blossom session myself, I really didn’t know what to expect. Would there be parking, how early do we really need to get there?

I have heard that the best time to be there is before sunrise, so since sunrise was at 6:59 am we decided to meet at 6:30am. This was a good idea, and meeting at 6:15am might have been an even better idea, but really that is just way too early!

Coming from Alexandria, VA I took the parkway over Memorial Bridge, bore to the right and then turned left to follow the road along the water towards the Jefferson Memorial. My idea was to park in the lot closest in front to the memorial but it was closed. I continued to follow the road closet to the Jefferson and eventually saw a sign for Public Parking. I wasn’t sure exactly what I was doing, but decided to trust the signage and turned left. Just a little down that road there was a parking lot with lots of spaces at 6:28am. It is pay parking and I used my Park Moblie App, zone 5811 and was on my way. The walk from the lot to the steps of the Jefferson is about 10 minuets.

IMG_1392.JPG

Brittany had been the first to arrive and remarked that waiting alone at 6:25 in the morning had been kind of creepy, but that in the time she had gone in to use the ladies room (so yes there are some restrooms) and come back out, 2 couples were already in the midst of their engagement sessions.

Having been admiring Connor Studios portraits, for a year, I wanted to try and get the same angle so we walked clockwise around the water from the memorial. By 6:55 another photographer and family, were in the spot I had spied on our walk in. Trust me, jockeying for position gets real, which is why you may want to come even earlier than 6:30. I guess it’s just human nature, but sometimes I forget to be all zen and polite.

IMG_1393.JPG

By 7:05 the sun was making its way up, and the sky was showing signs of brilliant yellow and red. We took turns posing in pairs of two and as a group. We captured the cherries with the Washington Monument, and the Jefferson and then took a few through the blooms themselves.

We photographed until about 7:30am which by then the place was drawing with couples, families, photographers, instagram models, joggers and bikers!

JEFFERSON-BOUQUET

Brittany and Nika had appointments to head off too and Casey Marie and I wandered a little further down the path. Eventually we were tired and felt we had enough photos, by 8:00 I was back in my car and heading home.

marie-windsor-photography

The Cherry Trees were not quite a peak, and something about being up and in the presence of such powerful elegance is intoxicating, so I may just have to do this again!

Ashley-sPRING-bLOSSOM-bOUQUET

















Flower Consultations and Frequently asked Wedding Flower Questions

Do you remember in class when the teacher said "there is no such thing as a stupid question" and "if you are wondering that then chances are so are your classmates?"  Well, the same applies when it comes to wedding flowers.  I have so many brides emailing and calling wondering what the next steps are, apologizing for their lack of knowledge and feeling completely overwhelmed.

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The Flowers of the First Lady's Luncheon 2018, Presented by the Congressional Club and Certified American Grown

Impressed would be an understatement! For the last several days, I have had the honor of being a volunteer freelance designer for the First Lady's Luncheon - an event that hosts the First Lady, Congressional spouses and family members and a few other privileged guests.

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About Me

Family. Flowers. Sweets... And if I'm being totally honest, reality TV.

Hi, I'm Atelier Ashley, at least that's what my friends have been calling me lately. But that's ok, I like it. I also like desserts, emails and a hundred other things I could tell you about.  Instead, I am going to try to focus on why I decided to open my own shop.

This is me on my wedding day outside of  The   Alexandrian Hotel

This is me on my wedding day outside of The Alexandrian Hotel

My son Finnley will be a one year old on June 21.  I insist that he is a Gemini (like his mama) even though it could be argued that he is technically a Cancer.

To say that life has changed would be cliche, to say that having a baby rocked my world in ways that I couldn't have imagined would be an understatement.  Recently, I learned that the brain literally changes after childbirth. Hmm, good to know.

Finnley and me at the Yayoi Kusuma exhibit at the   Hirshorn Museum

Finnley and me at the Yayoi Kusuma exhibit at the Hirshorn Museum

For the last 10 years, I have been perfectly happy being a lead designer in other people's shops.  Life was easy. Go to work, make beautiful things, go home, paint and craft.  No real responsibility, no real reward.

I had planned to take a year off to just be Finnley's mommy.  But about three weeks in, I knew that without flowers and a creative outlet, I was not my best self.  So I started scrambling.

I tried this, then that.  Planned for this, then planned for that, but nothing was really coming together.  Floundering, it soon became clear to me that the time had come to take a chance and go all in on starting a studio of my own.

Glorious slow grown flowers

Glorious slow grown flowers

That was in January and it has been full steam ahead.  If I'm being 100% honest, I will tell you that it has not been entirely easy to find clients.  I spend a good part of my days reaching out to wedding planners, venues, photographers and other wedding professionals to let them know I have gone out on my own and would love an opportunity to collaborate with them.

I got this great packing tape from   Sticker Mule

I got this great packing tape from Sticker Mule

Surprisingly, or not surprisingly, it has been the love from other established florists (shout out to Lisa Sommer of Petals and Promises in particular) that has sent brides my way and helped me to start filling dates on my 2017 calendar.  I couldn't be more grateful.

The autonomy of being my own boss is motivating, but the ability to offer designs, creative ideas and budget friendly solutions is even more empowering.  

It feels good to say "yes" and know that I can deliver what I have promised.