People ask me what does my business name mean or how did I come up with it. It is a rather long, winding answer that usually goes beyond what there is time for in a quick conversation. But here goes….
The “Peony”: Well, besides the fact that it is just a fabulous flower (tree and herbaceous both!) they have a great history… including here in Ann Arbor at the Arb. The photos of tree peonies in China which are hundreds of years old are just stunning. My fascination with these beautiful flowers started one Mother’s Day when my Mom asked me to come dig (actually, she said “rescue”) peonies from a house being torn down in my hometown. It was rainy and muddy but we saved all of them and planted some at her house and some at mine. It was her request for a Mother’s Day gift and I have not looked at a peony since without being back in the mud digging next to my Mom. Maybe it was her gift to me…
The “&”: When I realized I really wanted to create a floral design business I was in a bit of an English costume history phase…although I am pretty sure I will always be in that phase. I am completely in love with the work of Janet Arnold… her costume history expertise was stunning and will simply never be equaled in my opinion. She wrote several historic costume books that include her detailed pattern drawings and an incredible tome called Queen Elizabeth’s Wardrobe Unlock’d. The first Queen Elizabeth… the one that takes a whole lot of research and digging through dusty libraries and buildings to get to know. The type of research that takes dedication and focus and determination that lasts a lifetime. In this book and others, the travels of the Queen are documented to some extent including the inns that her travelling party would stay at… lots of inn names that are two nouns and an “and.” I just love the rhythm of those names.
The “Peacock”: When I was young I used to visit my grandparents up north for a week every summer with my cousin. There was a farm with peacocks near their cabin which my Grandma took us to visit. The peacocks sure made a racket but, wow, they were gorgeous. I had never seen a creature more beautiful and elegant. Fast forward a fair number of years to a visit to an art fair at the Toledo Botanical Gardens where I found a lovely photograph of a white peacock. That photo hangs where I see it often and every single time I am caught by his regal, unexpected beauty. Several years later when I was choosing a name for the business a beyond dear friend of mine told me about a dress her Mom would wear…a black dress with a black sequined peacock on the shoulder. Can you imagine how stunning this dress must have been? How beautiful and confident this woman must have felt wearing it? So how could I resist? The peacock has a history with me.
The shorter answer I usually give is that I love both peonies and peacocks and could not choose between them. Fits a certain conversational time frame but leaves out almost all of the heart.
I look at weddings and events the same way…there is the quick answer to the question of how to describe an event. And then there is the discussion I want to have… the history, the nuances, the people being celebrated, and the moments in life that changed everything and brought you here, to the present moment, to your event.
Now you know the real answer of what’s in a name, my business’ name…this heartfelt labor of love and creativity. So if my work seems like the work you want around you at your event share with me the real answer to your event… the complicated, gorgeous, heart of it.
Thank you for reading and take care,