Gracious Events Blog

{GEM Spotlight} Flou(-e)r

Written by Nicole Mitsakis

Today’s {GEM Spotlight} we would like you to meet Gregory Costa-Saint John of Flou(-e)r Specialty Floral Events.  As the Creative Director of GEM, I don’t have the pleasure of working with our clients on a day to day basis…until everything comes together.  So as the resident Pinterest expert and lover of everything inspired I am happy to be highlighting, both an amazing florist and good friend to the GEM team.


But, before I go on about how fabulously talented Gregory is I need to share with you how the paths of Flou(-e)r and GEM crossed.   Gregory and Jen met prior to my start as the Creative Director, but it’s not shocking to hear how they met, as Jen seems to find amazing vendors in the strangest places.   So here’s a little back story on how they met:

Me: “How did you and Jen meet again?”

Gregory: “OOOOH that’s a long story…Flou(-e)r was doing our first ever bridal expo at The Newburyport Chamber of Commerce and we were all set up when in comes Jen in a rush to set up!  As the bridal expo was about to begin I noticed she was trying to arrange the hydrangeas she just purchased from a local market (another story and one she better pay me to keep secret).  It just so happens her color palette matched our table and I went over with some of our leftover blooms and made an arrangement for her table. Between Jen’s fun vivacious attitude and our fun loving attitude it was destiny, we started working with her on a corporate event the following month and the rest as they say is history!”

Flou(-e)r is a forward thinking specialty floral design company, fusing imagination and innovation to create unique designs for the discerning client who seeks a truly personalized floral experience.  They NEVER disappoint us both in terms of what they create, or the professionalism and wit of their team.  Just a few samples of their work:

The March wedding of Gregory’s lead designer Elizabeth at Willowdale Estate.

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A beautiful New Years Eve wedding at Springstep, a dance studio in Medford, MA.


A holiday party for a corporate client at Via Matta in Boston, MA.


A rustic wedding at Smith Barn in Peabody, MA.


Congratulations as well are due, as not only  was he recently named Best Wedding Florist by The Boston A-List, Boston Magazine also recently featured him in their magazine naming him the “Bloom Baron”.  Which still continues to amuse us, and thank you Baron for all you do for us.

Wedding images courtesy of Tim Rice of Tim Rice Photo

Springstep Photographer:  Peter Clayman

Smith Barn Photographer:  Alison Taylor Photography

“Bloom Baron” photo courtesy of Rania Matar


{GEM Spotlight} White Loft Studio

Written by Nicole Mitsakis

We know no one likes to get older, but every now and then it works in our favor!  Over the years that we’ve been doing event planning we have been lucky enough to work with some fantastic vendors.  What makes them fantastic?  For us it is someone who is creative and comes up with new ideas for our clients, who rolls with all the changes there inevitably always is, who is kind and most importantly laughs with us!  So to honor those fantastic people who make our job easier we are going to bring you the best every month.  By the way there are fabulous vendors out there who we have not worked with, and if you are one of them we hope to work with you soon as well!

To begin our series we’d love to introduce you to Heidi of White Loft Studios, and incredibly talented lifestyle photographer that gives new meaning to the word organic. I don’t think there is anything she doesn’t photograph, whether it be a real wedding, children, animals or styled shoot for a magazine she brings a style all her own.    Her vision when she looks at a project is unlike many, and the romance and vintage quality she brings out is rare.

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When it was time for the team at Gracious Events to have new head shots taken we did not have to look very hard for a photographer or a location. Heidi met us at The Four Seasons Boston on a chilly day in December, which turned out to be one fun filled day of laughs. She had so many ideas of how she wanted to capture us. If you have never visited the Ladies Lounge on the second floor at The Four Seasons then you are missing an iconic pink piece of furniture. Yes, business head shots in the bathroom on a pink couch is not typical but here at Gracious Events we are anything BUT and thrive on thinking outside the box.  As you can see there were plenty of smiles, tons of laughs but that is expected when the three of us are together. Heidi was able to capture some many great moments that day and sometimes was laughing as much as we were.

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Thank you Heidi for a great day and we hope to work with you soon!

To place, to escort or to seat…that is the question?

Written by Nicole Mitsakis

In all honesty most people have no idea that there is a difference between a place card or escort card.  And unless you’re an event planner, or stationer, why would you even care? That being said though most every wedding will utilize one or the other so it can’t hurt for you to be educated on your choices – and it honestly carries into business settings and other social occasions you plan.

So here’s a quick explanation on different seating card options:

{PLACE CARD} a small decorated card inscribed with the name of a guest and set at the place he/she is to occupy at the dinner table.

{ESCORT CARD} a small card {not found at the table} that instructs your guests to sit at a specific table at your wedding reception.

{SEATING CHART} a large list where guests will find their name organized alphabetically under the table number in which they will be sitting.

Our clients are always challenging us to figure out unique ways to display their seating options – gone are the days of white or ecru folded cards.  We’ve hung escort cards from gorgeous full sized trees, stamped names on library cards, made handmade wine labels adhered to vintage bottles and attached cards to a starfish  Note to self, if ordering starfish make sure they are not alive because they smell like a barn full of horses!

So, just a few illustrations on each choice, starting with the seating chart.  The best thing about using a seating chart instead of individual cards is it saves you money (how nice is it that you can actually save money some where) as you use less paper!  Our bride’s wedding was “Rustic Chic” and took place in a beautiful New England Barn, the mother of the bride found an antique door at Flukes and Finds, a favorite Newburyport store.  Our stationer, BeeCustom Design, then created individual seating cards using the brides colors (hot pink and brown). The numbers were glittered (never can have enough glitter) and and held in place by old horse shoes the bride’s father created for luck.

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Next, is the place card since this card will be set at the table usually in front of each place setting, most brides are now coordinating them with the overall look of the wedding by matching it to the table number and menu cards.  This is your wedding, think outside the box!  Below are some FABULOUS inspiration via our favorite site PINTEREST.

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Last up is the escort card often confused with the place card, but as you now know there is a difference. Since escort cards are usually placed outside the reception room there is plenty of room for creativity.  Display is key here and how brides are choosing to display their escort cards is starting to take on a life of it’s own.

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Whatever you choose, go above and beyond.  Look at your space and see how you can utilize it to the best of it’s ability – there is no excuse for boring seating cards anymore so don’t be lazy.  If you need some ideas check out Gracious Events inspiration boards on Pinterest that we have created specifically for place cards, escort cards and table numbers!

Have fun with it!



Rustic Chic

Written by Tania Atkinson

Since “Rustic Chic” is such a hot theme for weddings right now, I wanted to feature a wedding we did at the historic Smith Barn in Peabody, Massachusetts. Right from the get-go, Jacqueline, and her fabulous mother Kim,  knew how she wanted her wedding to look and feel. Cowboy boots and fuscia throughout were used which were the perfect accents to the dark wood of the barn. When using a historic venue like this, the barn itself is what provides the unique decor.   We worked with all the vendors to make sure the flowers, linens and decor didn’t detract from the wonderful bones of the barn.


Adjacent to the barn is the charming Brooksby Farm where Jacqueline and Nate had planned to hold their ceremony. However, in typical New England fashion, the weather did not cooperate. After waiting hopefully, and patiently , for the rain to stop Jacqueline made the decision to save her gorgeous gown (and the hair of many guests from the almost certain doom of frizz and flop) and held the ceremony inside the barn – in the reception space. So on that drizzly day in June, guests found their table numbers on the adorable, painted barn door (the mother of the bride found it at a gem of a local resell store called Flukes and Finds), sat down with their friends and family members, and witnessed Jacqueline and Nate exchange their vows.  The backdrop was amazing, a misty view of the 250 acres of orchards and conservation land of the Felton-Smith historic site, through the giant open barn doors.



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Following the exchange of unity sand, guests remained right where they were and let the party begin around them! As it would happen, the rain did stop and the wedding party and guest were able to enjoy the grounds outside while sampling passed hors d’oeuvres and cocktails.  Following a sit down dinner back in the barn, everyone danced the night away under pink and white Japanese lanterns and white string lighting.



Event Vendors:

Photographer:  Alison Taylor Photography

Florist:  Flou(e)r

Paper goods: BeeCustom Design

Corporate Annual Meeting

Written by Nicole Mitsakis

Why do we love corporate events? There are too many ways to count!  We’ve been honored to do this annual meeting for the last 12 years and every year we walk away saying we wish we had more clients like this.  As you know in the olden days (5 or so years back) most corporate events were a bit on the safe side – and now a whole new world has opened up and sky’s the limit on a teams ability to impress their guests.  Which means fun for us!

The event was held at the Four Seasons hotel in Boston and as always they did an amazing job.  In fact our team always jokes that we could grab a glass of wine, sit back and not even be missed that’s how good the staff is.   Their attention to detail throughout our process every year and the fact that every employee at the hotel (and we mean from the houseman to Mr. Taylor) makes sure our events always go smoothly and we wish we had  more events there.


The floral arrangements were provided by Gregory Costa-Saint John of Flouer who did an extraordinary job- as always. His vision was to coordinate with the corporate client’s colors of silver and navy as well as appeal to an audience of both male and female.



This year our client wanted to showcase one of their latest portfolio acquisitions, Party City, and we worked with them to put together a sports room honoring all things New England – and that guests could take away with them.  It was a huge hit, and we can’t thank them enough for flying across the country and bringing their morph suits and making us laugh!  Also, Dunkin Donuts (another portfolio company) was on hand to show guests their new line up of foods for the winter, and as always it was a huge hit.  We will miss them as it was their last year doing this with us!  Thank you Mark and team.




Another year down and onto year number 13!  Our lucky number.

All photographs courtesy of Denise Barry Photography

2013 Pick - Best of Weddings on The Knot
Weddings, Wedding VenuesGracious Events Management, Best Wedding Planners in Boston - 2013 Bride's Choice Award Winner