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Friday, December 2, 2011

Honest Gut


Marion and Dave's wedding, shot by Elizabeth In Love Photography

Honest Gut is a phrase coined lovingly by my bf's mom, Heather. She would corner us during a weak moment and say, "okay girls, honest gut, how do you really feel?" And, you'd have to face your inner truth because it's the deepest part of your being, there is no where left for the truth to hide. So here's my 'honest gut.' This blog has only ever been about my life(guts and all) with the business, so why change now? Here goes.

Honest gut, I can't believe we reached the end of another wedding season... and we're still alive. It was an emotional roller coaster to say the least. I laughed, I cried, I suffered minor melt downs. Coriander dad gave many pep talks, picture me (Rocky) Dad (Mickey). Kerriander was also a major rock, picture me (Danielson) her (Mr. Miyagi). There was a few days where I questioned if this business was even what I wanted. I opened a tiny little boutique with the idea to make the occasional bouquet, sell a hand crafted trinket here and there and pursue my real passion for antique collecting. I had no idea the flowers would become the thing to put Coriander Girl on the map. Honest Gut, I wasn't going to do wedding flowers. I thought it might be too stressful. It is the most stressful work I've ever done, trying to design flowers for a couples wedding day, the expectations are grand. It's also been the most rewarding work I've ever done. I know it's not brain surgery and I'm not saving lives or anything but when a bride sees her flowers for the first time and tears spill down her freshly powdered face and she mouths "oh my gosh Alison", drawing out 'Alisssooonnnn' you can't help but feel real satisfaction. It's the same scene again and again, a montage of summer wedding moments, me hugging brides and mothers, exiting hotel rooms, family homes and reception halls. I take a moment for myself in the elevator mirror, 'way to go kid, you got through this one' I nod, and it's on to the next nail biter. It was the school of hard knocks and anything I didn't know, I learned it fast. I came out the other side of this wedding cycle with a genuine respect for the floral business and florists everywhere who are busy making arrangements for other peoples triumphs and rarely having the opportunity to celebrate their own. I can't believe we found a little time for ourselves to get married. With that, I missed many birthdays, many new babies have come that I've yet to meet and endless brunch dates are long over due. I miss my friends. I miss getting a latte and walking down the street with absolutely nothing on my agenda for the day but to browse window displays. I miss being bored(Jaime:>) I miss falling asleep without a thought in my head. I miss an empty inbox, I miss sewing. I miss Nia, I miss having the time to dress up and look pretty. I miss sun on my face and I miss riding bikes with Tyler down to the lake and feeding the ducks. For all that I've missed there have been great rewards and being so busy has taught me how important balance is and that it's okay to take on a little less. I'm learning to close my computer. And, I did have fun this summer despite being so busy, I made a ton of new friends and I'm certain that I'll be staying in touch with many of my lovely wedding couples. You know who you are! We had something special. It has been a pleasure working with people who have allowed me the freedom to create for them in my wacky, non traditional organic way. I feel the flowers, it has to flow and if it's not... flowing, I've got to walk away~dance or something and then come back to it. At the end of the day, I've reconciled that my business, like a baby, is growing up, taking off the training wheels and now the braces and has started dating. She's winning awards and scoring magazine features! Like a proud mom, I tell my friends about her, I blog about her and maybe I brag too much about her but I just can't believe she's mine. I can't believe this wee little seed has grown into such a beautiful thing. A thing that I would never abandon for anything in the world no matter how much sleep I'm losing. She has bewitched me and filled my life with beauty. 'They' say the true test of whether or not you're happy in your life is to imagine winning the lottery, would you still be doing what you're doing? I can honestly say, I love what I do and would want to keep doing it. That doesn't mean I can't hire 15 people to help me!! An army! The Coriander Cadets! Coriander's Comrads, The Coriander Crew!! And maybe I'd be booking spring wedding consults from our Italian villa; >
So, there it is, my honest gut(Thanks Heather). I pinch my self every day for my good fortune. I know how lucky I am to be so busy and I also know that in a blink it can all be taken away. I'm realizing it's important for me to celebrate the good stuff out loud because it makes the reality of how hard I'm working so much more bearable. I'm thankful beyond words and very much looking forward to the next wedding season. And with a rock like Tyler, he helps me reach greater heights, take bigger risks, and the restful moments are absolute bliss. Picture me (Batman) Tyler (Batman) ;>


Karen and Peter's wedding shot by Garrison MacArthur Photographers.




Juli and Jon's wedding kicked off wedding season shot by Danijela Pruginic


one of the last and most favourite weddings this year, Marni and Jason shot by Joseph + Jaime

Alison xo

8 comments:

Siv Kouth said...

Hi Alison,
I love this post...you were so honest and and genuine about your feelings of you business. As all business owner knows, it's both the hardest and most rewarding work you can possibly do and there always comes a time when you question it all due to the about of restless nights, lack of vacation time and the many NOs that had to be said to meet deadlines. And when you find yourself not able to do anymore because you done so much yet you still find yourself yearning to continue, that's how you know you love what you do! The clients, the magazines features and the endless support is just validation that you are fantastic at it.
I'm a fan, and if I wasn't all the way in LA I would totally support you business.
Siv

Joseph + Jaime said...

Cheers to being bored and having a day without a list! Hurray for making it through this season! xo

Sarah said...

Alison: Coriander Girl - you and your flowers - actually do save/change lives. They changed mine! Beautiful post. Thank you for being so honest. I'm having a lot of similar feelings right now; this helped.
xo, Sarah

Coriander Girl said...

Thank you so much Sarah, Jaime and Siv. Your support is felt so strongly. Sarah, sending you a big hug across the land. xo

Brittany Smith said...

Oh, I love you, darling. Glad my Momma inspired you with her "honest gut." I still use it when I do my own check ins. Can't wait to get one of those lattes with you and stroll together. I'm so proud of you. You bashed the &$#( out of it!!
xo

erica-knits said...

Finding you and your flower shop meant so much to me during my first year in Toronto. You were such a friendly face and I left your shop feeling like a million bucks. I always come back for that feeling (and your beautiful flowers). I'm so thrilled your business is growing and I'm a proud supporter!

Amy Renea said...

First off...absolutely stunning photos and bouquets...

Second..."I miss falling asleep without a thought in my head. I miss an empty inbox"...those phrases really resonated with me...but then again I would be sad were there nothing to think about and an empty inbox...catch 22...

I am a wedding photographer and I am with you on the stress of weddings...such a huge pressure to get EVERYTHING RIGHT...first time...the best they have ever seen themselves, your best work ever, etc. etc. ...but oh how fun the industry is... love it hate it love it hate it....

Janessa said...

Honest gut. I love it. And I adore you for so many reasons! This blog is just the latest reason.