member spotlight :: embellishmint floral + event design studio

Wedding Flowers San Diego

Embellishment, with an “e”, is exactly what Embellishmint Floral + Event Design Studio (with an”i”) does, with flowers, of course.

Our special wedding vendor being showcased this month is Embellishmint Floral + Event Design Studio.  This amazingly creative studio not only offers clients stunning floral arrangements, but even event design consultation!  So, let’s here about Dawn Stone’s company and how she came to be where she is today: an iconic figure in the San Diego wedding industry!


>Embellishmint is so successful in San Diego; how did you start this business?

I never intended to become a florist, per se.  I was actually going to school at the Design Institute for Interior Design.  But then a major life event happened (my son got into an accident) and I had to quit to take care of him.

While I was taking care of him, and also around that same time, I was working part-time with a wedding coordinator, helping her on the day of an event.

Then, around Christmas, a florist friend of mine needed help for a Christmas party she was doing, so I signed up.


>Did you know anything about flowers?

No, not really.  I had to learn all the flower rules.   I had no experience!  The internet is a magical thing, so in addition to my own research, I partnered up with florists I knew in the business, and I also took classes with a local, renown florist.


>So when did Embellishmint come into existence?

Well, I started Embellishmint when I was working with the coordinator.  I was still helping her out as I began this journey into floral design.  I figured that since I was helping embellish certain things for her brides, I could do the same with the floral and more.  The two just came together! I also had a good friend of mine, Julie, and she and I started the business together originally.  She, unfortunately, has since moved to Hawaii, but we still are very close.


>Where did you start?  Did you have a space?

We didn’t have a space set in stone, but rather we bounced around.  Currently, the business is in National City, and we’ve been here for the past two years, but before that we operated from a space in Coronado, which we were in for over three years.

With regard to the business itself, we built it through word-of-mouth.  We continued to work with the coordinator, and we just put ourselves out there. Many people gave us a chance, and it worked out!


>How long ago was that?

7 years.  We did it part-time that first year, but it has grown exponentially since!  Our space now in National City is great because we needed more space, so now our studio location is perfect and spacious.


>You now offer floral design for all types of events; did you start out that way?

Initially, we advertised our business for weddings.  It took a lot of networking and a few magazine ads.  That proved successful.  But, when the economy tanked a few years ago, we shifted our focus to corporate.  We adapted to the financial times.  Many of the venues we were working with for weddings were also hosting major corporate meetings and events, and we were fortunate to expand and move with the times.


>So, what sets Embellishmint apart from other floral designers/florists?

Well, we are not retail.  We really only focus on event floral, whether that is for a wedding or a meeting.  Embellishmint will only do one event/wedding day, because our #1 focus is the customer.  We have a slightly different focus than other floral experts and that is my design background.  I offer clients event styling services, and I can work hand-in-hand with a couple’s coordinator.

Any good planner is an architect, and a good florist is also a craftsman/designer.  The balance of the two is fine, and I am able to work with and appreciate others’ abilities.  That is what I think makes Embellishmint so unique.

Nowadays, budgets for weddings and events are constrained, and I think the defining feature of a good designer is working within the constraints of budget.  As a floral and event designer, I can make anything and any budget work; I can make it look like a million bucks without costing even close to that!

My focus: I don’t care about knowing the names of flowers and being an encyclopedia, I care, instead, about the beauty of things and different pieces together.  To me, that’s the most important.


>Does Embellishmint have a business tagline?

Nothing formal.  My work is unique, and my design background helps influence this uniqueness.  When I was in design school, we worked with textures and colors, and now I get to use this knowledge base and apply it in a different context.

The best thing for any business is for you (the owner) to stop and get a hobby, this way the mind doesn’t get stagnant.  My hobby is design, for lucky for me, my work and my hobby are intertwined.


>Talk more about your hobby…how are you combining that with Embellishmint’s work and your own growth as a person?

I am interested in going back to instructing.  I believe that education is first.  For example, when I first meet with a bride, couple, whoever, the first meeting is about teaching them the process.

I would like to start offering more classes, making them open to the public and to couples.  I want to look at trends and then teach about how to create looks based on that trend.  Maybe make it an evening event involving wine and food, in addition to the helpful information!  For example, fantasy, going green, and DIY are really hot now, and people are trying to expand on everyday life, so I want to make accessories and then teach people how to do it as well!  It would not be a DIY class for the crafty bride, per se, but an environment to teach them a few things so they then see the value in my business and me.

>What’s next for you and Embellishmint?

I want to work with others vendors, network, learn from them, and pick up on their talents.  I would like to add the LA area/corporate LA to my list of areas served, and I would like to restructure the business slightly, and actually do fewer events, but really optimizing the ones we do participate in.  It’s the work smarter, not harder mantra.  Through a lot of trial and error, I am involved in a constant evaluation of how my business can evolve/change the right way.  It’s about quality, not quantity.


>What does being a member of Weddings of Distinction mean to you?

There are so many associations out there today for wedding professionals, and often they can feel stale.  But, one say I was at the Prado for an open house and Weddings of Distinction was there and everyone in the group was smiling and proud.  I knew I wanted to be a part of it.  The referral system is great, and being a part of really quality professionals who are genuinely trying to help one another is so refreshing.

I find myself really excited about the meeting, and you can tell everyone wants to be there. No fake-ness.  We trust one another and help one another out.  With so much competition out there for wedding professionals, it is refreshing to be among like-minded experts. It is not a drudgery being present.  After I found WOD, I stopped going to other association meetings.  I really like the direction WOD is going.


>What is an interesting factoid about you that people may not know?

I have an extensive succulent garden, and I rent out these pieces, in various vessels, for an event!  I love succulents, so this is another way for me to combine a passion and business.


>Rent succulents?

Yea, a business or event may want certain pieces, so I rent them to them, deliver them, set them up, and then pick them up after the event is done.  The great thing about succulents is they last forever, and they’re gorgeous!  This is mostly for my corporate and business side of the business, not for a bride or wedding.  Its more of a wholesale business.


>Any advice you would give those planning a wedding?

Don’t do it!  Elope in Vegas.  No, just kidding, sort of.  Well, couples need to really think about what the day is about.  Get your priorities in order. Know your budget; be firm.  Don’t lose wight about what the day is actually about.

Also, and most important, be truthful to a good, quality professional.  A trusted vendor is one you can have faith in to get the day exactly right.  Hire good people and your eliminate one stress!

real wedding :: beach wedding at the hotel del coronado

Sweet Cheeks Baking - Embellishmint Floral



Beach weddings are a popular wedding option nowadays, and San Diego is one of the most-perfect spots for an exquisite beach wedding.


So recently, two of our fine vendors, Embellishmint Floral & Event Design and Sweet Cheeks Baking Company worked together to make one special couple’s beach wedding in Coronado a success!


It happened to be one perfect Coronado Beach day, equipped with giant sand castle – a great photo opp.  The couple, Avery & Thomas, have such a darling sense of style and comfort together.  Their quite stunning bridal party added to the charismatic bride & groom with humor & beach-side antics.


For this couple, the colors were coral as well as other natural beach tones.  Dawn Stone, of Embellishmint, decorated the ceremony aisle with hanging glass bulbs on the aisle chairs.  They were the perfect little pots of cuteness.  At the same time, the floral arrangements at the ceremony altar blew the house down in grandeur!  Dawn’s incredible use of stock, ranunculus, roses, hydrangea, and other wild flowers made these flower arrangements, both on tables and within the cake tiers, pop with intense color while at the same time as being beautifully delicate.


When it came to the cake, Sweets Cheeks Baking Co. came up with a delicious combination of Vanilla Bean Sour Cream Cake with Luscious Cream Cheese Filling and Italian Butter Cream.  The couple selected not only select a stunning cake design, but then during the reception, they took it upon themselves to have some fun and play around with one another, in a fashion that involved a lot of cake in the face!


It was the perfect beach wedding in San Diego, and all the wedding vendors involved made this day lots of fun and extra special!

Venue: Hotel Del Coronado
Wedding Dress: Here Comes the Bride
Makeup: Lipstick & Luster
Coordinator: Mint Weddings
Officiant: Reverend Powers
Invitation: Seaside Papery

:: style + inspiration at the US Grant’s ‘swoon 4’ bridal show


Spring is a season of new beginnings.  It’a a time when people begin to get out more, and enjoy the outdoors. Well, for those in the wedding industry (and for those getting married), spring is the unofficial start of wedding planning season!

At the beginning of March, the US Grant hotel hosted its annual “Swoon 4 Bridal Event“, and in true fashion, they truly outdid themselves.  Many of Weddings of Distinction’s vendors (the US Grant included) took part in this special day, and in doing so, claimed themselves among the finest San Diego wedding vendors.

 The day-long bridal event spanned three floors and three ballrooms with loads of inspiration for couples.  Whether one is getting married in the fall, or in the winter, the event had special rooms dedicated to inspire the fall or winter brides!  Whites and silvers adorned the “Winter” room; vibrant colors and outdoorsy furniture decorated the “Spring/Summer” room.  There was a room specifically for groom’s, and there were others for the brides and even the ceremony itself!  Food and drink was plentiful, so couples were able to enjoy specialty cuisine from local San Diego wedding caterers.  Also, thanks to the donations from local wedding boutiques, brides were able to visualize different bridal looks during the fashion show finale!

There was so much to see and touch and experience; no stone was left unturned.   One could have spent the entire afternoon, and many did just that!

So, if you’re getting married in San Diego, there are many reputable San Diego wedding vendors to choose from.  Weddings of Distinction is likely to have many of the as a part of our group!

WoD vendors representedLois Mathews DesignSan Diego Events LightingSweet Cheeks Baking CompanyConcepts Event DesignAnn’s PlansHartworks FloralArtistic ProductionsBryan Miller PhotographyPink Star DesignStone Brewery, and of course, the US Grant Hotel!


Photos courtesy of Kristina Chartier Photography

For more pictures of the event, please visit the US Grant’s Facebook page!

news + press :: january meeting at la valencia hotel


San Diego Weddings of Distinction

Photos courtesy of ABI Photo

We kicked off 2013 in grand style, and for January’s Wedding of Distinction meeting, our fabulous vendors congregated to the La Valencia Hotel in beautiful La Jolla Village.  La Valencia is one of the newest members to join our select group, so this meeting was a great opportunity for all of us to see just what this beautiful hotel offers guests and couple getting married.

It may have been a work day, but we started the morning with mimosas outside on the Garden.  While waiting for lunch to be served, we had breathtaking views of the ocean.  Then, when lunch was served, we were all treated to a delicious family-style, 3-course meal created by Executive Chef Paul McCabe made up of striped bass and gnocchi with seasonal vegetables.

During and after the meal, we had the chance to “meet” our new Board members, listen to updates, and share ideas for the coming year.  We also heard from the staff of the La Valencia about exciting things coming up for the historical hotel!  The afternoon ended with prizes of fruit tarts, truffles, and flowers.

It was a great time to enjoy the company of friends, new and old, and get excited about another year of great weddings and events.

Special thanks to: Lois Mathews Design for the centerpieces; Concepts Event Design for the linens and tables + chairs, and of course to the staff La Valencia Hotel for the hospitality.

afr ‘passport to design’ event – san diego wedding vendors

Photos courtesy of Bob Hoffman Photography

Recently, one of Weddings of Distinction’s members, AFR Event Furnishings, hosted a spectacular event for those in the wedding industry.  As one of the premier San Diego wedding vendors, AFR offers stylish furniture rentals, and for this party, they showcased the extent of their design capabilities.  Taking place in the posh San Diego wine-bar, 57 degrees, the “Passport to Design” event was a great oppotunity for San Diego wedding vendors to meet, network, and have some fun!

Inside the expansive bar, attendees had four different styles of both wine and food to sample: France, Mexican, Californian, and South African.  To compliment the two wines that were offered at each station, cuisine (native to the region) was cooked up right in front of guests, offering them the freshest food, perfectly paired with wine.  The French Gourmet, another Weddings of Distinction member, provided food for two of the four stations!  In addition, many other WOD members helped make the event happen.  San Diego Events Lighting provided the gorgeous lighting, and Embellishmint Floral, Hartworks Floral, and Rae Florae provided the stunning tabletop centerprieces.

The night casual, yet lots of fun.  It was a great chance to enjoy some great eats and wine, to meet friends, and meet some new ones!


AFR Event Furnishings offers its clients high-end furnishing options.

Whether you’re planning a wedding, or any other social event, the right furnishings can definitely add to the ambiance!

Contact them for more information! >

real weddings :: Katy+ Dan

Images courtesy of Betwixt Studio

 The Prado Balboa Park is truly San Diego’s guiltiest pleasure for wedding venues. The beautiful history which enriches the architecture of the museums and the botanical gardens, is a wonderful backdrop for any wedding. The famous San Diego Park, is enriched with art and culture; it offers seventeen museums and multiple gardens that not only attract tourists from all over the world, but it has become a hot spot during wedding season.

 Katy and Dan expressed their warm love for each other in the late summer, and used Balboa Park to their advantage. Shades of purple and splashes of yellow, were the color scheme for this romantic wedding; having it all tie in with the Prado’s blue doors and wood floors, all photographed beautifully by Betwixt Studio and coordinated by CZ Events

Showered with candles, packed with vintage suitcases and the brass covered decor all contributed to the romantic setting. A sweet detail that the bride added was the remembrance of her little flower girls; giving them each a little suitcase of their own, beholding crayons, stickers, and other treats. This sweet idea is always fun for the invited children to keep them entertained meanwhile the adults are at play.

“To get the full value of joy, you must have someone to divide it with.”
Mark Twain

This quote truly fit in with the theme for Katy and Dan’s celebration. Before tying the knot, the love birds traveled around the world; everywhere from the evergreen Seattle, WA to the buzz worthy streets of Hong Kong in China. Traveling with your loved one is sincerely practiced in this couple’s hearts. If you notice how adorable their cake-topper is; the bride stands on vintage suitcases as she smooches her other half.

news + press :: may’s meeting at continental catering

photos courtesy of ABI Photography

Weddings of Distinction paid a visit to fellow member Continental Catering‘s facility in La Mesa for the most recent WoD meeting/luncheon. Decor, service, food, beverage… they rocked it! Kristie Emmons & company took great care of us. Their kitchen remodel is fantastic. Officiant Patricia Coleman showcased and shared some of her talents and stories with us, as well. Many guest wedding vendors attended to check out our offerings as one of San Diego’s oldest & most successful wedding networking groups (17 years). Welcome to our newest members ~ Darla Mercer and Humphrey’s on the Bay and the collection of The US Grant, Westin Gaslamp Quarter & W San Diego, represented by Kimberley Winninger. Good networking was had by all!

news + press :: april’s meeting at the prado

photos courtesy of Kristina Chartier Photography and Janine Whittaker for Studio Carré Photographie

The Prado at Balboa Park was our location for April’s all-industry networking event…and it was a hit! This month we opened the doors to everyone to have lunch and all around great networking. Live entertainment was provided by arguably one of the more versatile and talented bands on the West Coast ~ Sensation Show Band with their array of music from 80’s pop, jazz, rock, and disco…which kept the crowd lively and chatty. This was our first open door meet & greet and we were excited about the turn out and hope to do it again! Kudos to all of the members who worked hard to put this huge event together. Thank you to all of the fabulous area industry peeps for turning out.

member spotlight :: lois mathews floral designer

Lois Mathews Design is dedicated to creating a unique wedding for each and every bride. Lois’ years of floral and party experience, coupled with your ideas, help create your “dream” wedding. Lois takes a personal interest in each bride and adapts her designs to suit her bride and groom’s personal tastes. Prior to starting her own business, Lois worked at various venues around San Diego, including the legendary Hotel Del Coronado. Lois possesses an intense passion for her work and exemplifies trustworthiness ~ key factors for success. As advice for brides, Lois can adjust her design materials to fit client’s budgets. One way is to buy seasonal products from local markets. Another is to take advantage of equipment and décor items Lois has gathered and stored over the years. To plan for your special day, visit Lois by appointment at her vintage barn and garden studio in Bankers Hill.

Phone: 619.255.9144

tips from the pros :: do your flower homework

When preparing to meet with your florist, it’s easy to think they are going to have all the answers! But, if you are aware of your own preferences and needs in advance of your first appointment, the experience will be much smoother.

It’s important to remember that it’s your wedding. It’s your florist’s job to enhance your personal style by translating it into the floral designs that will become your bouquets, ceremony decorations, and reception centerpieces, among other details.

The more you know about yourself and what you are hoping to see, the better your florist will be able to guide you and make recommendations that are perfectly suited to your tastes! It’s true that couples often come in the door with partial ideas and leave with a much clearer vision for their wedding day, simply because the flowers tie everything together. From the dresses to the favors – your wedding design develops through your planning with your florist.

With this in mind, these are the key things to do before appearing at your florist’s door:

1) Know your colors.
Even if the shades change from dark to light or earthy to spring fresh, the general color scheme is a major force of guidance.

2) Know your budget.
Your florist can help you maximize the amount you prefer to spend if he/she knows from the start how much there is to work with.

3) Explore your options!
Look online at all the many, many blogs/magazines/websites with pictures of real weddings to help inspire you and show you the creative options available to personalize your day.

written by Paula Anderson of Rae Florae