So, piggybacking on my previous musings about why I love where I live so much, I'd be remiss in not including what I feel is perhaps the biggest asset here, my lady friends. I feel like a perpetual lottery winner whenever I meet up with any of these sensational ladies. Adjectives that immediately come to mind include, but are in no way limited to: stunning, insightful, arresting, intriguing, creative, hilarious, clever, gracious, generous, witty and kind. You know in "Around the Way Girl" when L.L. Cool J lists off his favorite ladies from the block? Well, here's my version: "Meredith, Nicole, Rachel, Bailey-I love you, you're from around the way."
One of my ladies listed in the L.L. rendition, Meredith, with her business partner Jessica, created Aria Floral last year. Aria is a sustainable floral design company. The sustainable element of their business includes both the plants and flowers used as well as the manner in which they are obtained. Aria's signature style utilizes potted plants and herbs in centerpieces, often locally sourced. At the conclusion of the occasion (wedding, dinner party, Arts event, what-have-you), the centerpieces can be disassembled, allowing guests to take home the plants and incorporate them into their own gardens and homes. Additionally, Meredith and Jessica ethically wild craft many of the items used in their displays, from forests, their own yards, even roadside underpasses, I've been told.
This approach to floral design has found an enthusiastic audience in the Asheville area, and beyond (they're doing a wedding in the mountains of Virginia soon). Many floral companies use cut flowers shipped from thousands of miles away, including a large amount from Central America. While Aria uses national distributors when needed, their emphasis on sourcing from local growers and suppliers, as well as from nature at large, is timely and conscientious. Plus, they do some pretty gorgeous work. I've been lucky enough to have worked with them on several weddings this season and am continually struck by the beauty of their designs. "Forest Elegance" is how Meredith described one look for me. Who wouldn't want to fall into such a world on their special day? Even the nastiest bridezilla would surely be silenced in the face of such profound beauty. Any one who would not succumb is the type of person who doesn't like rainbows, or would kill a bee, or spit at a unicorn.