Moody, Boho Wedding Shoot at Rivercrest Farm

the Garden by the Gate florist


I was so lucky to work with this talented team for an amazing styled photoshoot at Rivercrest Farm in Dover, Ohio. Planned and organized by Ashley Anderson of Ash&Oak Planning, I hope you enjoy this video by NB Photography. The shoot featured our model Katherine making her entrance on the grand staircase in the Rivercrest barn. She then joined her “groom”, Russ, at the romantic sweetheart table styled with soft fabric, greenery, and flowers in retro glass bottles. Then on to the charcuterie board! Oh my, this table was literally covered with cheeses, meats, dips, rustic bread, fruit, and hand-decorated cookies. Our group then traveled up to Rivercrest’s iconic hilltop ceremony site. After a stop in the darling photo booth camper, and some shots in front of the beautifully decorated ceremony arch, our couple finished the day with a walk among the magnificent horses pastured nearby.

Being asked to provide the floral decor for this shoot was a huge compliment and I didn’t let them down. The bride’s bouquet was a large, free-form hand-tie featuring a large succulent grown in the Garden by the Gate, along with garden roses, roses, pampas grass, willow eucalyptus, and dahlias, also grown in the Garden. The groom wore a boutonniere of natural materials and a bit of pampas grass. The arch feature foraged materials from around the Garden by the Gate along with eucalyptus and flowers.

If you are planning a 2021 wedding, be sure to include this dream team of vendors:

Planner and Designer: @ashandoakplanning
Photographer: @cassiemwolf
Florist: @gardenbythegate
Gowns: @abridesdesign
Hair and makeup:@meghansullen @jenniferandco
Cookies: @cisforcookie_sr
Cakes & cupcakes: @clevelandand.cakes
Photo Booth: @happycamperbarcar
Models: @glimpseofwildflowers @russpitsul
Video: @nbphotographyllc

Rent our Hexagonal Arch

Rent this hexagonal wooden wedding arch from Garden by the Gate Florist

Our new hexagonal arch can add a unique look to any wedding. Geometric wedding arches are a hot look for 2021 whether you cover it with masses of greenery and flowers or just add a few strategically-placed clusters. In any non-church/temple wedding, it’s important to define the ceremony space and give it the wow factor that your vow exchange deserves. You want all eyes focused on you! This can be achieved in a number of ways; large urns of flowers can be placed on each side of the ceremony space, overhead hanging installations can be used, or you can bring in a structure. And remember, the backdrop of the ceremony space will be in many, many of your photographs.

Our arch can be adapted to any wedding style from a  country club right on the golf course to framing a gorgeous view at a home wedding. It’s important for the arbor, arch, or pergola that you use to be sturdy enough to hold the decorations you plan to place on it and it needs to be secure so it stays standing through any kind of weather. Sandbags are helpful for this.  A quick, DIY sandbag can be made by fill dollar store zip-top cosmetic bags or school supply pouches with kitty litter. Be sure to assess the ground where the arch will be placed so that you are prepared to secure and keep it level. Plan for a way to disguise the sandbags such as sheet moss or decorative fabric.

Unload all these worries on me at Garden by the Gate by renting our hexagonal arch. We’ll deliver and set it up for you; making sure it’s steady and safe. Floral décor is an extra charge or you can decorate it yourself with some faux greenery garlands. You don’t have to be a Garden by the Gate floral customer to rent the arch. Our arch is made from 2X2 lumber stained a neutral brown. It has extra-sturdy, wide-set double base legs for your safety.

Contact me to learn all that we can do to make your wedding day everything you’ve been dreaming of.

Wedding Inquiry Form

Joy Walko, owner & lead designer
Garden by the Gate Floral Design
[email protected]

The Top 4 Worst Ever Wedding Flower Tips from the Internet

Purple Wedding Bouquet by Garden by the Gate, photo KristinLeanne Photography

The internet is your friend. When planning a wedding you simply can’t live without the tried and true stalwarts of the wedding world; sites and blogs like The Knot, Wedding Wire, Style Me Pretty, and of course Martha. But there are a few duds out there. I’m not going to call them out here, but I’ll just anonymously share some of their worst advice. Where do they get this stuff? They clearly didn’t interview any florists before writing these clunkers.

Dud Number 1

 “Try to have a meeting with your florist two weeks prior to your event so you can get a true sense of what is in season that close to your special day. ”

Wrong on so many levels! Two weeks before your wedding, your flowers have been ordered, your arrangements and bouquets carefully planned down to the last stem of stock. Your florist knows what is in season during your wedding, he or she doesn’t need to wait until the flowers are ready to ship from the farm to find out. If you’re living on the edge, trying to get, say, peonies in January, then there might be some last-minute shuffling.

Dud Number 2

“In season, fluffy-headed blossoms like hydrangeas and peonies can stretch a budget, because you need only a few to nicely fill a vase. “

This one is part dud and part true. Hydrangeas are HUGE, and not very expensive, so they do give you a lot of bang for your buck. I use them in practically every wedding. Peonies, however, are never cheap, even when at the height of their season, despite what the wedding websites may say. That said, they are beautiful, fragrant, and are a favorite with brides. I suggest that they be used in bouquets where their beauty and fragrance will be most appreciated. If you are on a budget, substitute less expensive flowers in table and ceremony decor. I love white cremones, which are a type of large mum.

Dud Number 3

” One costly mistake people make is adding the word “wedding” before everything . . . “

This little dud would have you believe that florists mark up the flowers just because they hear the word ‘wedding.’ Wedding flowers are special and they require specific techniques of designing, ordering, conditioning, and arranging. They are not your cash and carry grocery store bouquet. This is really a disservice to the floral industry; florists are not rip-off artists just looking to separate you from your hard-earned dollars. Believe me, we could find a more lucrative way to make a living if that were all that mattered. We are florists because we love beauty, we love to create, and we are wedding florists because we want to make your wedding day very special. The best thing you can do is be honest and upfront about your wants and budget. Then we can do our best to give you the best of both worlds.

Dud Number 4

This little gem was written by a wedding photographer:

” It is no secret that wedding flowers can be very expensive . . .”

Well, they certainly don’t want you thinking about how expensive your photography package is! (Community, not competition people!) Everyone wants to get the best photographer they can afford because “the photographs last forever”, but when it comes to flowers they’re all like “but flowers just die.” Oh really? Check out any wedding photo album and you’ll see that it’s full of pictures of, you guessed it, flowers! The bride is holding flowers, the bridesmaids are holding flowers, the men and women in the family are wearing flowers, every couple and group shot at the ceremony site shows the flowers that were used. Your flowers will last forever, just like your photos!

So where should you look for wedding flower advice? Talk to a wedding florist. Do they listen to what you’re saying? Do they try to talk you into something that doesn’t ring true or do they truly get your vision? Do they respond promptly and answer all of your questions? When you find a florist that understands you and your vision, who has a reputation for doing what they promise, then you can trust them to guide you to your perfect wedding flowers and give you a good value.

Call me today and let’s talk. I’ll give you my best effort and hope you’ll trust me to bring your wedding vision to life.

Wedding Inquiry Form

Joy Walko, owner & lead designer
Garden by the Gate Floral Design
[email protected]

Choosing your Wedding Colors

Barn wedding at Rivercrest Farm, flowers by Garden by the Gate Floral Design, Photos: Loren Jackson Photography

Your wedding color scheme will have a huge effect on the mood and vibe of your wedding. Color can read hot or cool, exciting or calm, trendy or traditional, and more. At Garden by the Gate, color is one of the most important aspects of your floral designs. We are happy to help you refine your color scheme to communicate exactly the right ambiance for your celebration. To get started with planning your perfect wedding, tell us a little about your dream wedding day using our Wedding Inquiry Form.

For more help, head on over to the Perfect Palette, the number one resource for wedding planning. More than just color, you’ll find carefully curated content and heartfelt advice for planning any kind of wedding. Garden by the Gate Foral Design is thrilled to be featured in their post, Vibrant Pink Dream Wedding which took place at Rivercrest Farm in Dover, Ohio.

Wedding Season is Back!

A boho wedding in the country features mis-matched bridesmaids bouquets and natural bouquets by Garden by the Gate Floral Design, Photo: Mallory + Justin Photography

I’m so excited that brides can start planning and having wedding celebrations again! Beginning in July, wedding ceremonies and receptions are allowed to host up to 300 people. There are still restrictions designed to minimize the spread of COVID 19, but gatherings will be happening again.

Of the couples that Garden by the Gate Floral Design is working with, the May and June weddings are mostly postponed and rescheduled for later in the year. Some couples are opting for a small ceremony now and a big party when things get back to “normal.” Others have postponed everything, some until 2021.

No one could have known that this pandemic was coming, so we all need to be patient and understanding as we work through this unprecedented event together. I want to do everything I can to give couples one less thing to stress about!

For those of you just starting on your wedding planning, I’m happy to say that while phone consultations have been working quite well, in-person appointments are available starting this month. So it’s up to you and I’ll do what you are comfortable with.

Restarting wedding celebrations is awesome, but mostly we’d like to know that fewer of our fellow Ohioans and Americans are getting sick and even dying from this disease. In our global society, we grieve for all of the world’s people who are going through this.

Will Covid-19 Affect Your Wedding Plans?

WEdding flowers by Garden by the Gate florist.

Garden by the Gate is closely monitoring developments related to Coronavirus (COVID-19) in our region. As the number of confirmed cases in Ohio continues to rise, including in Stark, Summit, and Cuyahoga Counties, we are taking all necessary steps to help keep our clients, co-workers, suppliers, and the larger community at a low risk level.

With that in mind, we are following the recommendation for social distancing from the Ohio Department of Health and Governor Mike DeWine. As of today, March 17, 2020, all consultations will be held via phone or teleconferencing. If you have an in-person consultation scheduled, we’ll be in touch personally to confirm the phone consultation. If you are already a client of Garden by the Gate, we’ll also be in touch to let you know whether there is any effect at this time on your flower order. Our first priority is the safety of our clients and all those involved in making the magic happen!

We pray that this health emergency will soon abate, that these measures will help save lives, and that we will soon return to celebrating joyous events in the company of family and friends. Stay well and God bless!

Best regards,

Joy Walko

A Conservatory Wedding at Gervasi Vineyard

Wedding at Gervasi Vineyard. Cafe au Lait dahlis, anemones, quicksand roses in flowers by Garden by the Gate Floral Design

Dana and Andrew planned an intimate ceremony in the Conservatory at Gervasi Vineyard followed by a wedding dinner in the wine cellar at the Gervasi Bistro. Dana planned her whole wedding long-distance so she trusted Garden by the Gate to understand her vision. When we finally met on her wedding day I felt like I’d always known her! Dana wanted to feel surrounded by flowers so I added delicate flowers to the hanging baskets of ferns that were already in the conservatory. She wanted the ceremony to be the focal point so we put a large arrangement of garden flowers at the front of the room. The colors were soft and neutral, lots of cream, blush, and sage green. The weather couldn’t have been more perfect and the sun shone through the glass walls and ceiling of the conservatory, lighting the way for the beautiful bride and her groom.

Afterward, everyone went over to the Gervasi Bistro for a cozy dinner in the wine cellar. A lush runner of flowers decorated the long table. An amazing cake by LaLa Custom Cakes of Lakewood featured Dana and Andrew’s initials carved into the icing. Check out the gorgeous blush roses accenting the cake! These are Quicksand roses and are absolutely gorgeous when coaxed into full, open bloom like these.

How Much Should You Spend on Wedding Flowers?

Garden by the Gate Floral Design, North Canton Ohio

Is there a budget that you’d like to stay within? That’s the question asked on every episode of Say Yes to the Dress and it’s also a question that your florist will ask you. Many couples will say that they don’t know what their budget is. This is not because their budget is unlimited, but because either 1.) They have no idea how much the flowers should cost (after all they’ve never planned a wedding before) or 2.) They fear that giving the florist a budget means that the florist will make sure that the flowers cost at least that much, and the couple will be paying more than necessary.

The reality is that having a stated budget amount will help your florist create your dream wedding flowers and will help you spend your money wisely. The first issue is that brides have no idea how much flowers cost, and there’s no shame in that. You might ask your florist how much their average wedding sale is or how much they would consider a minimum cost for your size and type wedding. Another way to get an idea of your budget is to use a percentage of your total wedding budget. You’ll want to spend at least 10% and more likely 15-20% of your total wedding budget on flowers. A lot depends on what your floral vision is, how many guests you’ll be having, how many bridesmaids you have, and how important flowers and decor are to you.

The second worry, that the florist will make sure to spend at least the budget amount, is kind of a moot point. A florist’s biggest struggle in designing wedding florals, is how to keep within the expected budget. We are constantly reworking and tweaking the flower combinations to try to give the bride the maximum look that she desires while staying within the budget. When the couple shows the florist some pictures from Pinterest of the ideal wedding flowers, the florist doesn’t want the couple to be disappointed by flowers that just don’t live up to the dream. So, if there is no stated budget, I will “quote the dream” as shown in the inspiration pictures. Then the couple knows what it will cost to get the equivalent look. If that is not within their budget, I will then explain that we can get a similar look, one that most people will not be able to tell apart, by making a few changes. If the necessary budget is greatly different from the “dream quote,” I can design something that is different from the original look, but still very beautiful. We may repurpose some floral pieces to get double duty out of them or scale back on centerpieces by using candles and greenery on some of the tables.

The most important thing is to establish a rapport and trust with your florist. You should feel comfortable in telling the florist what you like and don’t like, what you can or cannot afford, and know that the florist has your best interest at heart. If you feel intimidated by your florist or don’t feel that he or she is “getting” your vision, then they may not be the right fit for you. Your florist wants happy, satisfied customers and wants your flowers to be beautiful just as much as you do. After all, it is their reputation on the line with every bouquet and arrangement that goes out the door.

To find out how Garden by the Gate can create beautiful wedding flowers for you, just fill out the

Wedding Inquiry Form

Keeping Up with the Latest Wedding Floral Design Trends

Wedding Floral Design Specialist, Floral Design Institute

Joy Walko, Owner/Lead Designer, Garden by the Gate Floral Design, North Canton OHIO Hi, everyone! I’m super excited to share some news with all of you! I’m going back to school, flower school that is! As owner and lead designer at Garden by the Gate Floral Design, I am committed to offering the highest quality, on-trend floral design possible. To keep up with current floral design trends and hone my skills, I am currently studying with the Floral Design Institute to become a Certified Wedding Floral Specialist. As I learn, I’ll be sharing some of the newest wedding flower designs with you in future blog posts, so keep following Garden by the Gate.

I decided to invest in further education because fashions in wedding flower design are constantly changing, just like clothing, home decor, and everything else we use every day. Many of the same influences are at play in changing wedding flower trends as in other consumer goods. Factors affecting fashion trends include:

  • Color forecasts from industry leaders such as Pantone
  • Celebrities
  • The economy

and many other national and world events. In addition, leading floral designers around the world are constantly coming up with new products and techniques to make wedding flower designs better, fresher, and more exciting.

Check out some of my earlier blog posts for more on color forecasts (Wedding in Pantone’s Color of the Year), celebrity weddings (Royal Wedding Trends), and saving money on wedding flowers (How to DIY Your Wedding Flowers or Tips on Saving Money on your Wedding Flowers).

To find out how you can engage Garden by the Gate Floral Design to have chic, on-trend flowers for YOUR wedding, just click here:

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Tropicals are Trending for Weddings

For 2019 Weddings, one big trend we see is the use of tropical flowers and foliages. Since they come in almost any color, tropical flowers can be included with any color scheme. Weddings using tropical flowers do not necessarily have an island feel or rainforest vibe; tropicals can be used in tandem with many kinds of flowers and incorporated into many wedding styles. For an elegant look, tropicals are your go to. There’s nothing more elegant than a bouquet of white Phalaenopsis orchids or a tall centerpiece with stems of cascading Dendrobium orchids. In addition to orchids Anthuriums, Strelitzia (Bird of Paradise), and Ginger are striking tropical flowers.

The Protea family includes a wides variety of species that were originally found in South Africa but are now grown in many countries having a sub-tropical climate. Protea range from the delicate Blushing Bride Protea to the huge, King Protea. Pincushion Protea are another form and come in shades of orange, yellow, and red. Closely related to Protea are the Leucadendron. Grown mostly for their foliage, they come in yellows, greens, and burgundy. Safari Sunset is a popular Leucadendron that is often used in wedding flower arrangements for its range of color from green to burgundy on the same stem.

One of the most popular ways to go tropical for your wedding flowers is to use tropical foliages, with the Monstera leaf leading the way. These leaves have been the inspiration for artists like Henri Matisse and were a common motif in decorating during the golden age of Hollywood. There is a resurgence of popularity for use of the Monstera leaf and images in decor.

One of the most traditional wedding flowers, the gardenia, is actually a tropical bloom. And their scent is heavenly.

Tropical flowers and foliages are perfect for summer weddings, not only because their bright colors and lush shapes evoke an island paradise, but because they love the warm, humid weather typical in summer.

For those brides looking for cheap wedding flowers, you’ll have to get creative if you want to use tropicals. Because of their delicacy and the distances they must be shipped, most tropical flowers are on the higher end of the price scale. There are ways to incorporate tropicals without breaking the bank, however. You can often pick up potted orchids very reasonably at Walmart or other big boxes stores. A potted orchid plant can make a nice centerpiece if surrounded by candles and perhaps a few small vases of inexpensive flowers like Peruvian lilies (Alstroemeria). You can also keep the cost down by using just a few large high-impact tropical leaves like Monstera leaves surrounded by less expensive foliage such as ferns, which are also trending for wedding flowers.

Find out how Garden by the Gate Floral Design can design stunning wedding flowers for you, whether you prefer tropical, locally grown, or a mix. Fill out the Wedding Inquiry form to tell us more about your wedding ideas!

Wedding Inquiry Form


Florals pictured by MV Floral, image by Dulcet Creative, Design by Beijos Events