Get To Know Ikebana: Japanese Styled Floral Arrangements

The Japanese art of flower arrangement, Ikebana, provides an alternative to western flower arrangements which typically consist of many layers and symmetrical styles.

Ikebana is an art form which focuses on blending nature and humanity together. The practice began in the 15th century, its name coming from the Japanese word ike, which means “alive" and bana, meaning “flower."

An awareness that nature has its own rhythm and order is considered the first step in practicing Ikebana. The arrangement serves as a link between the indoors and the outdoors, aiming to reference nature as a whole. Because of this, artists often use a large variety of plant material in each piece. In an Ikebana arrangement, seed pods, leaves and branches are considered just as important as flowers.

Rather than paint or clay, ikebana utilizes any plant material such as blossoms, leaves, living branches, and grasses, to create art. Not only is ikebana an art form, but it is also considered a spiritual process associated with meditation. Arrangements are meant to be crafted in silence to allow the artist to appreciate the beauty of nature and gain inner peace. This silence is believed to help artists appreciate the moment, in addition to aspects of nature they had previously considered insignificant.


Unlike other flower arrangements, Ikebana employs asymmetry and empty space to develop harmony among the plants, container, and setting. The aim of these floral arrangements is to use as few plants as possible to bring attention to the flower’s beauty. Principles of Ikebana include minimalism, shape and line, form, humanity, aesthetic, and balance.

Benefits of practicing Ikebana are said to include a higher level of patience and tolerance towards differences in nature as well as in people. The practice is said to help you see beauty in all forms of art and in yourself. In addition, one is expected to grow closer to nature through merging indoor and outdoor into one.

Corporate Events vs. Weddings: The Do’s and Don’ts of Design

In my career, I’ve designed countless arrangements for corporate events and weddings. One of the key lessons I’ve learned is that different events with different clientele call for uniquely different designs. Today, I want to share with you some of the ways I keep audience and occasion in mind when I design.

An elegant atmosphere by JLD

An elegant atmosphere by JLD

Corporate Events

Although corporate events are work-related, they do not have to be stiff and lifeless. Corporate functions, holiday parties, celebrations, and fundraisers still need to intuitively utilize the space they are in to create a “Wow!” factor. When crafting these designs, I tend to keep these terms in mind: professionalism, excellence, and elegance.

Visually, these terms embody the essence of the company I’m designing for. The flowers, decor, and linens, and may incorporate the colors of the company’s logo, for example. I also strive for perfection and formality: carefully crafted floral centerpieces, luxurious, draping tablecloths, string lights, candles, and even photographs are all carefully chosen to make guests and employees feel valued.

Finally, I try to take the company’s mission and goals into account. So, if the company strives for sustainability, perhaps I will use greens, blues, bamboo reeds, and water features to fill the space. Or, if they are a jeweler, for example, I may use hues of gold and silver to reflect their product. These colors may show up in the linens I drape around the furniture and walls, the flowers that fill tables, or the frames and vases I use to accent my design.

Entrance flowers I designed for Rogers & Hollands Jewelers, Fort Wayne

Entrance flowers I designed for Rogers & Hollands Jewelers, Fort Wayne


Weddings aren’t unlike corporate events, but they are often more intimate and reflect an individual rather than a conglomerate. Many of the same essential pieces you would find at a corporate event are used in weddings: flowers, linens, frames, elegant centerpieces, and more are still used to create lasting memories for my clients. How I craft them, however, is a little different.

Weddings have more moving parts than a corporate event. For a wedding, I create a cohesive design scheme for the bride’s bouquet, whatever the wedding itself takes place at, and the reception. The colors I base my design on may be chosen by the couple themselves, selected from my recommendation, or created based on the values they cherish. For more on creating a bouquet based on values, see my post about the history of the bride’s bouquet and floriography.

A dreamy, romantic — almost Victorian tone.

A dreamy, romantic — almost Victorian tone.

Another difference I have to keep in mind is the location of the reception itself. Most corporate events take place in a banquet hall; a reception, however, can take place in a banquet hall, a barn, a park, a church gymnasium — almost anywhere, really. Designing for the space is essential in creating a design that makes sense for the guests.

So, while corporate events and weddings often feature many of the same elements, personalizing them for the company, couple, or setting create vastly different moods. By keeping the audience and the occasion in mind, I’m able to create stunning spaces for my clients!

Contact me for a consultation! 

Wedding at the Embassy

Wedding at the Embassy

All photos are examples of Jennifer Lee Design creations.

Born Unique: Birthday Bouquets

Certain flowers and arrangements are better suited for different events. Everyone knows roses are common on Valentines day or anniversaries, and flowers at weddings usually complement the color theme. But what type of flower should you give your loved one on their birthday? Their birth month flower of course!

Like the more commonly known birth stones, there is a flower assigned to every month of the year. Make your loved one feel special by including their birth flower in a personalized bouquet made just for them!

January: Carnation

Carnations are among the most popular and long-lasting flowers. They carry multiple meanings depending on the color including; admiration, deep love, true love, luck, and maternal love.

February: Violet

Violets are said to be the flower of Aphrodite, representing faithfulness, truth, and affection. They are known for their sweet fragrance — perfect for creating an enjoyable ambiance.

March: Daffodil

The daffodil carries many meanings, but most commonly symbolizes hope, joy, and friendship due to its bright yellow color.



April: Daisy

More than 1200 species of daisy exist, carrying with them a variety of vibrant hues to choose from. With so many options, you can pick your loved one’s favorite color for an additional personalized touch in their bouquet.

May: Lily of the Valley

The lily of the valley is known for its lovely scent which has inspired many perfumes. This flower is especially popular in bridal bouquets, symbolizing purity and virtue.

June: Roses

Roses are the most popular of all cut flowers, symbolizing love, friendship, and beauty. The scent from this flower is said to be calming and relaxing.

Summer roses

Summer roses

July: Larkspur

Larkspur symbolizes a beautiful spirit, lightness, and swiftness. It comes in multiple colors including blue, red, purple, pink, yellow, and white.

August: The Gladiolus

Like the rose, the gladiolus is one of the most popular cut flowers, symbolizing remembrance and strength of character.

September: Aster

Asters, which get their name form the Greek word for “star,” symbolize love, daintiness, and luck.

Aster tongolensis

Aster tongolensis

October: Calendula

Calendulas are famous for their skin-healing properties and represent thankfulness, excellence, and serenity.

November: Chrysanthemum

Chrysanthemums represent optimism and joy. They are perfect for fall with colors ranging from bronze, to yellow, and even burgundy.

December: Narcissus

The Narcissus represents youth, beauty, and good fortune. While most narcissi bloom in shades of yellow, orange, pink, or white, there are 12 main varieties to choose from.



Fort Wayne’s Best Greenhouses for Floral Designers

Last May, I wrote about the importance of adding greenery, flowers, and pops of color into the design schemes for events; today, I wanted to write about how you can make that happen, all while highlighting some of my favorite places in Fort Wayne to get fresh, beautiful flowers that you can incorporate into your homes and celebrations. There’s no better way to satisfy your decorative side!

1. Stuckey’s Greenhouses

Stuckey’s Greenhouse — which has another location known as Stuckey’s on Tyler — should be your go-to choice for big greenery: think ferns and the like. If you need to spruce up your landscaping or have space to fill at an outdoor event, their selection cannot be beat. Smaller flowers are also available at Stuckey’s, with a selection including perennials, vegetables, herbs, tropicals, and more! Stuckey’s is also known for their vintage-style fairy garden creations, put together in-store or able to craft yourself. Their list of healthy, thriving plants should put them on your radar.

2. Gassafy Wholesale

Family-owned and operated for over 50 years, Gassafy Wholesale is truly your one-stop spot for everything that goes in a pot. The incredible team at Gassafy possesses an amazing energy, and their friendliness is endless. Gassafy is constantly receiving shipments of plants and plant supplies from all over the world — Italy, California, Colombia, Ecuador, and more — so their stock is second-to-none as well. If you can’t make it to Gassafy’s Warehouse, that’s no problem either; Gassafy has trucks that deliver all over Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, and Illinois, bringing their diverse selection to you.

3. Frank’s Wholesale Florist

Frank’s Wholesale is one of the best places in town to go to if you’re just beginning to master the art of floral arrangements. Like Gassafy, Frank’s also boasts an international collection, supplying flowers from Hawaii, Holland, Ecuador, and more. Between the quality of their flowers, the wholesale prices, and the helpfulness of their staff, Frank’s is perfect for fashioning unique, custom arrangements.

Fresh, festive, and flowery events are easier to create than you’d think, and Fort Wayne’s collection of first-rate greenhouses makes getting started no problem. The next time you need inspiration or help crafting a bouquet, centerpiece, or otherwise, I hope you give these businesses a visit.

— Or give me a call and I can create something beautiful just for you!

Contact me today!

Summer '17 Backyard Makeover

This summer we completely redid the backyard, adding raised flower beds, a fire pit, and outdoor seating, and more!

DIY Garden Centerpiece (Video)

With containers from the Salvation Army, and flowers from my garden, my daughter Avery and I made several DIY garden centerpieces.


  • Be sure to cover all the green foam with flowers and foliage, no holes! 
  • Cluster similar kinds together for a more natural effect.
  • Good rule of thumb: follow the shape of your hand.

Just remember, it doesn't have to be planned, just grab some cups and whatever is growing in your backyard. 

When in doubt, just wing it — and don't be afraid to admit when you're wrong!

Don't have the time? Just give me a call, and I'll create something beautiful just for you!

Jennifer Lee Design (260) 615-2809

Why Do Brides Carry Flowers Down the Aisle?

Weddings, like any ceremony, are steeped in symbolism and tradition; therefore, weddings come with various expectations, but where do these expectations come from? One of the most memorable images from any wedding is seeing the bride walk down the aisle: the train following her all-white dress, the veil, her father giving her away. Another thing you will notice, though, is that she is carrying a bouquet of flowers. But why? Where did the tradition of bridal flowers begin?

The appearance of floral arrangements in weddings can be traced all the way back to classical antiquity, most notably in Roman society. Romans believed that donning the bride and groom in garlands and wreaths made of flowers not only assured good luck for the newlyweds, but also symbolized fertility, new life together, and faithfulness. As time progressed, however, societies began adopting new wedding customs.

In the midst of the Middle Ages, flowers were exchanged for bouquets of more savory herbs and spices. Dill, garlic, and chives were all incorporated into bouquets as a way to ward off bad omens and mischievous spirits through scent. These spices were also considered aphrodisiacs, and were often consumed by the bride and groom during the wedding meal before consummating their marriage.

Although Roman and Middle Age societies built the foundations for our modern-day wedding traditions, the past society most closely resembling our current ceremonies were the Victorians. In fact, the Victorian Era is where the still-used practice of “floriography” began.

Floriography — also known as the language of flowers — was developed as a way for people, often lovers, to send secret messages to each other through floral arrangements as a way to subvert a society that prohibited outright flirtatious behavior. Each flower was given a special meaning, and today, many bouquets are created with these principles in mind; for example, chrysanthemums are often associated with abundance and wealth. Lilacs, however, could mean beauty and pride. Even roses have different meanings attached to each color variant.

Today, wedding flowers make an appearance in our ceremonies as a nod to these ancient traditions; but, whether modern brides select specific flowers for their meaning, scent, or purely their beauty, they are here to stay.


Bonus Fact:

The reason brides throw the bouquet during the reception? This practice also dates back to ancient times. After the ceremony, crowds would often attempt to collect pieces of the bride’s dress and veil, believing that if the bride wore the item, then it would bring them luck. In order to safely leave her wedding, the bride would throw her flowers so crowds would take those instead. Thank goodness this tradition has evolved as well!

Wedding Florals at The Embassy

This weekend, I had the opportunity to do the flowers for a gorgeous wedding at the Fort Wayne Embassy Theatre.

I feel so blessed to have a career I love! I mean, I got to be in the beautiful Embassy all day, surrounded by flowers! Best job ever!

Spring Bouquet Photo Shoot & Video

Today for the photo shoot, I used my daughter Rylee as the model. We had her in a nice champagne colored dress, which is very popular right now with brides, and we went for more of a summer, outdoorsy, a little bit bohemian type flavor for the shoot. The theme was carried through with the bouquet, and the flowers, along with her dress.

Some of the colors that are trending right now are pinks, soft pinks, hot pinks, light blues, dark blues, almost a little bit of purple even. I also love navy blue right now, so I used that in the bouquet. 

Another trend that I really like right now is the trailing ribbons. It's a very old, old tradition that has come and gone, come and gone over the years, and it is back for now — and I absolutely love it. I made ours exceptionally long, they go all the way down to the ground. I used pink and gold and navy blue. 

For the bouquet, I did tulips, and some Russian sage, and then bluebells, and peonies — and just combined the blues and the pinks together. They are all very timely right now, because peonies and tulips are just about out of season, but they're currently very beautiful as they're still blooming nicely. 

What she modeled for us is perfect for a June wedding, and we had a beautiful day to get outside and snap some pictures. I think that this look is great for any June bride right now — very popular. 

So if you're still looking for a florist for this summer, if you have an event or a wedding coming up, even still this month — feel free give me a call, I would love to help you with making your party beautiful.

Jennifer Lee Design: (260) 615-2809


Bringing color to your events is an important aspect of my design approach. Learn a little bit more:

How to Create Colorful Events that will Leave Guests Feeling Fulfilled

How to Create Colorful Events that will Leave Guests Feeling Fulfilled

Adding the finishing touches to any event can be stressful. No matter how thorough your Pinterest board may be, coordinating decor, attire, floral arrangements, centerpieces, etc. can become an overwhelming task that at some point or another may seem impossible to complete.

Simple fix? Color. Considering color can turn any wedding woes or dinner disasters into stunning, beautiful events that can affect the way both you and your guests feel.

Every year, Pantone®, a revered source for all things color, names a “Color of the Year.” The Color of the Year is meant to reflect the global climate and showcase general worldwide attitudes, and can be used to give your events a pop of color that will make guests feel welcome.

This year, Pantone® has named “Greenery” the Color of the Year 2017, remarking that nature’s neutral invites people to enjoy the “lushness of the great outdoors.” “The fortifying attributes of Greenery," Pantone® explains, "signals consumers to take a deep breath, oxygenate and reinvigorate.”

Adding Greenery to your event this year can help set a calming and welcoming mood from the moment guests enter the door. Events that want to express freshness, relaxation, and rejuvenation should pair the versatile Greenery with neutral colors like earth tones, pops of bright color such as coral and orange, pastel blues and lilacs, deep, rich shades of color like hues of purple and navy, and even silvers and other metallics. Greenery is a given in any floral arrangement, but decorations like green bowls, napkins, glasses, and outdoor settings will allow this luscious color to remind your guests of the wonders of the outdoors, letting them feel connected to each other as they take a break from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

Also pairing particularly well with Greenery are 2016’s dual Colors of the Year: Rose Quartz and Serenity. These colors “demonstrate an inherent balance between a warmer embracing rose tone and the cooler tranquil blue, reflecting connection and wellness as well as a soothing sense of order and peace,” Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute, revealed.

The inherent balance of Rose Quartz and Serenity creates an environment where guests will feel relaxed at any event. In order to maximize this relaxation, Rose Quartz and Serenity are best paired with purples, earth tones such as rich browns and beiges, all shades of pink and yellow, and of course, greens such as Greenery. Keeping these color combinations in mind when choosing accents and florals at your event is key to maintaining a calming cool.

For more elegant events, rich, bold colors like 2015’s Color of the Year—Marsala—stand out and leave your guests feeling enriched. “Marsala is a subtly seductive shade, one that draws us in to its embracing warmth,” Eiseman says.

Marsala works exceedingly well as an accent, pairing nicely with vibrant blues, neutrals such as rich browns and beiges, greens, and even tones similar to Marsala such as pinks and ambers. Teals, grays, and golden yellows also showcase Marsala’s versatility. When planning for your event, Eiseman suggests Marsala be used in dining rooms and around food for its hearty, fulfilling nature, but notes that this color has use everywhere: fashion, beauty products, and home interiors/exteriors.

Colors create an ambience that is impossible for you and your guests to ignore. When planning any event, cohesive colors are essential to create spaces that can stun visually, create memories, and yes, even affect mood. So, when picking your accents, making gorgeous floral arrangements, and finalizing decor details, make sure you note what color can do for you!


When designing any event, Jennifer Lee Design takes into account the trending colors, and how your guests should feel. Find out more.