Cherry Blossom Photos in Washington D.C. at the Jefferson Memorial

As a collector of experiences, I wanted to see what it felt like to wake up at 5:30 a.m. and arrive in D.C. an hour later to experience a cherry blossom photo session. It actually felt pretty good! I am not a morning person by any means, but it was thrilling to join the other photo seekers at the Jefferson Memorial. Luckily for me, I was joined by Brittany Branson, Nika Smirnoff, and our photographer Casey Marie Windsor. After seeing these photos, I think the early wake up call was worth it!

Cherry Blossom + Jefferson Memorial + Atelier Ashley Flowers + By Brittany Branson + Marie Windsor Photography + Calligraphette & Co + Cherry Blossom Bouquet
Cherry Blossom + Jefferson Memorial + Atelier Ashley Flowers + By Brittany Branson + Marie Windsor Photography + Calligraphette & Co + Cherry Blossom Bouquet
Cherry Blossom + Jefferson Memorial + Atelier Ashley Flowers + By Brittany Branson + Marie Windsor Photography + Calligraphette & Co + Cherry Blossom Bouquet
Cherry Blossom + Jefferson Memorial + Atelier Ashley Flowers + By Brittany Branson + Marie Windsor Photography + Calligraphette & Co + Cherry Blossom Bouquet
Cherry Blossom + Jefferson Memorial + Atelier Ashley Flowers + By Brittany Branson + Marie Windsor Photography + Calligraphette & Co + Cherry Blossom Bouquet
CherryBlossom-8300.jpg
CherryBlossom-8402.jCherry Blossom + Jefferson Memorial + Atelier Ashley Flowers + By Brittany Branson + Marie Windsor Photography + Calligraphette & Co + Cherry Blossom Bouquetpg
Cherry Blossom + Jefferson Memorial + Atelier Ashley Flowers + By Brittany Branson + Marie Windsor Photography + Calligraphette & Co + Cherry Blossom Bouquet
Cherry Blossom + Jefferson Memorial + Atelier Ashley Flowers + By Brittany Branson + Marie Windsor Photography + Calligraphette & Co + Cherry Blossom Bouquet
Cherry Blossom + Jefferson Memorial + Atelier Ashley Flowers + By Brittany Branson + Marie Windsor Photography + Calligraphette & Co + Cherry Blossom Bouquet
Cherry Blossom + Jefferson Memorial + Atelier Ashley Flowers + By Brittany Branson + Marie Windsor Photography + Calligraphette & Co + Cherry Blossom Bouquet
Cherry Blossom + Jefferson Memorial + Atelier Ashley Flowers + By Brittany Branson + Marie Windsor Photography + Calligraphette & Co + Cherry Blossom Bouquet

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

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

















Children’s National Hospital and Light Up The Season on December 16, 2018 at The Four Seasons Hotel, Washington

The holidays are fast approaching and I wanted to take a minute to shine a light on a cause near and dear to my heart. It’s called Light Up the Season and it benefits Children’s National Hospital. The event (formerly known as The Georgetown Jingle) raises money to support the Hospital and is held every year at The Four Seasons Hotel. Each year, 12-15 of Washington’s top interior designers and florists are invited to decorate a tree or holiday item, like a wreath, menorah or mantle piece, that is then auctioned off at a fun family-friendly afternoon event (buy tickets here). Last summer, I was excited and honored to receive an email from the event’s organizers asking me to participate for the second year in a row.

Atelier Ashley Flowers -Light-up-the-seasons-+ Four Seasons Washington DC+ DIY + Craft Project + Felt Flowers + Blue Flowers + Purple Flowers + Community Over Competition + Charity + Children's National Hospital

The process works like this: Every designer is partnered with a Children’s National Hospital patient and together the patient “artist” and designer work to come up with a fantasy holiday theme. This summer, I had the pleasure of meeting a sweet young lady named Annabelle.

As I talked to Annabelle about what she would like to see on her tree, she drew the small picture below. Her favorite color is blue, her sister’s favorite color is lavender, and, of course, mine is purple. Naturally, we were already in harmony!

Annabelle very much liked the idea of woodland animals and an enchanted snowy forest. We also agreed there should be some bells on the tree as a nod to her name. After combining Annabelle’s ideas and my vision, I decided the theme of our tree would be “Over The River and Through The Woods.”

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The next step was to begin the work of decorating a tree. In recent years, I have found myself missing the camaraderie and aesthetic kismet that comes from working with a large group of volunteer designers. Heavily influenced by my time in the White House Floral Shop under Former Chief Florist Laura Dowling, I wanted to recreate this experience and feeling. So I reached out to all my creative friends and asked them to help me #craftforacause. The response was incredible; I am so warmed by the generous people in my creative community!

I hosted the first #craftforacause party at my home in mid September. As the saying goes, “many hands make light work” and the attendees produced dozens of floral hoop wreaths made out of yarn and felt. Thanks to Anne Kelley, Carleigh Smith, Emily Alyssa, Jasmine Ellesse, Maria Kessel and Vicky Choy for kicking off #craftforacause!

Photo by Marie Windsor Photography

Photo by Marie Windsor Photography

The second #craftforacause party was held on a beautiful late September day at Periwinkle, a lovely clothing boutique in Old Town, Alexandria. Marie Windsor Photography joined us and took lots of detailed photos. Pamela Vetrini of Cheats and Meeses brought us a delicious cheese board extravaganza to fuel our designs. The designers for our second party included Elizabeth from Periwinkle, Kelley Cannon, Janice Carnevale, Lindsay Kidwell, Jasmine Ellesse and Nicole Nespor. It was fun to see how unique everyone’s designs were and how different they were from the first party.

There was one more #craftforacause party this weekend and I can’t wait to show you those designs too!

light-up-seasons-design-board

The finishing touch on my tree comes from Accent Decor who generously donated dozens of beautiful glass and felt ornaments. These handcrafted ornaments are just what I needed to complete the tree’s wintery woodlands theme. While it is not guaranteed that Annabelle can attend the event, I sure hope she can because I think she will love what we have created.

Atelier Ashley Flowers -Light-up-the-seasons-+ Four Seasons Washington DC+ DIY + Craft Project + Felt Flowers + Blue Flowers + Purple Flowers + Community Over Competition + Charity + Children's National Hospital + Craft Party + Accent Decor Inc

Thank you to everyone who came out to #craftforacause. And thanks in advance to those will help set-up and decorate the tree in preparation for the big event on December 16. I’ll make sure to share pictures of the finished product once it is complete!

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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When Should I Book My Florist?

I know the temptation to rush out and choose every vendor for your day is real.  Instead, consider relaxing just a beat and make a few key decisions first.

1. Do you need full wedding coordination or just month-of or day-of?

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What's All This About The Rising Tide, Community over Competition and Tuesday's Together?

If you are reading this, then you probably already know that I am a floral designer who launched her own business in January 2017.  (If you don't know me, scroll down to the "About Me" blog just before this one.)

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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.