Our dogs are our children. All three of us have a deep passion and love for animals. The girls of Champagne + Linen believe it is extremely important to adopt and not shop. After a long day, there is nothing more comforting to us then curling up with our four legged babies. Since you’ve gotten to know us, we thought you may want to get to know the pups behind C+L. Or we just wanted to take this opportunity to post pictures of our adorable dogs.
Scottie // Rescued by Mariah // 3 Years Old // Corgi Pomeranian Mix
Scottie's Story // After my Beagle, Boo, passed away from cancer I was in need of a new furry companion. I rescued Scottie from All Hearts Rescue out of Kalispell MT. Scottie was seen day after day hanging around this local bar, and was in bad shape. When he was finally caught he lived in a shelter and a few foster homes. Unfortunately, since Scottie has had zero stability in his life he came to me with severe separation anxiety. Scottie absolutely could not be left home alone. After lots of love, treats, training, and doggy Prozac... Scottie is finally comfortable in his new home and is living his best life.
Favorite Toy // Scottie is OBSESSED with any kind of hedgehog toy. He has a couple of his own, but he always manages to find hedgehog toys when we go to his friend’s houses for playdates.
Favorite Pastime // Scottie loves long walks. The dog park. Splashing around in the Clark Fork. Playing with Buster, Porter, and Flora. Playing in the snow. Getting the Zoomies. Snuggling on his recliner with his heated blanket on. And sleeping in with his mama.
Favorite Treat // Chicken jerky. Turkey meatballs. Sharp cheddar cheese. Starbucks Pupachino.
Buster // Rescued by Alicia // 3 years old // Border Collie Hound Mix
Name story // Buster’s previous name was Snuffleupagus, Snuffy for short. Hard pass. We changed that ASAP. My husband is a huge San Francisco Giant fan and their catcher’s name is Buster Posey. We went with Buster (Pawsy).
Favorite toy // Buster doesn’t have a favorite toy because he destroys them all in about three minutes. He does love his bones though. This one he got from his Barkbox has lasted forever, along with a giant elk leg bone.
Favorite pastime // Buster’s all time favorite thing is to get chased...whenever we go to the dog park he just wants to find a friend to chase him around. Since there is only so much chase one can play, we also play hide and seek. Basically we just tell him to sit and stay then we hide someone in the house and yell come. It’s hilarious for everyone involved. Other than that, Buster loves hiking and playing outside - especially going out for a rip. When he isn't playing, he loves to perch on the couch like a cat, as pictured above.
Favorite Treat // Buster takes after and loves all things carbs and cheese. We don't give him bread, but if it's left on the counter, game over. He will get it. When we first got Buster and took him to puppy classes, they suggested giving him small pieces of cheese. Well, that is his favorite thing in the world. If he is sleeping in a different room and hears a plastic bag, you bet he's going to come running.
Flora // Rescued by Ariel // 4 years old // Chihuahua
Name Story // I got Flora as a puppy from a resident at the battered women’s shelter I was working at, I laid eyes on her just days after she was born and I couldn’t say no! *heart eye emoji* I’ve always been obsessed with all things flowers and floral, so Flora just seemed to be appropriate for my new little lady! Ana-Leigh and I call her Chi Chi most of the time though, she’s a mysterious dog of many faces and identities.
Favorite Toy // Like her cousin Scotty, Flora is also ob-sessed with her hedgehog toy. We have to buy a new “Hedgy” every few months, because she likes to viciously rip their eyes, ears, and toes off until their insides start coming out. She also really digs these bones that she has been hooked on since she was a little babe at the teet.
Favorite Pastime // Flora loves to go hiking and to the dog park with Scotty, Buster, and her sister, Porter, but only when it’s warm outside. In the winter her fav activity is sleeping, preferably curled up under her moms covers or under the blanket on the couch. She also casually and occasionally enjoys eating cat poop if she can get it, loves cheese and popcorn, riding on laps in the car, and wrestling with her cats.
Porter // Rescued by Ariel // 2 ½ years old// Lab Pit-Bull Mix
Name Story // Ana-Leigh and I picked Porter out as a puppy from the Humane Society when she was only 4 months old. She had been named “Harper” when she was still living at the shelter, but that just didn’t feel right to us. We love all forms of booze, and had previously named our first cat together, Jameson (and our second cat, Tito, was yet to arrive in the family, but we carried on the tradition), so it only felt right to find a boozy name. Her dark chocolate color of course reminded us of a porter beer, and so here we are, with a glass of Jameson, a pint of Porter, a Tito’s and soda, and…...a vase of Flora??? Whatever, Flora is the oldest so she can be named whatever she damn well pleases.
Favorite Toy // Porter doesn’t really have a favorite toy, but enjoys tug ropes, bigger versions of Flora’s favorite bone, and sometimes chewing up her mom’s favorite baseball cap (R.I.P. to my favorite Yankees hat). She loves all forms of treats, including but not limited to: Salmon flavored squares, Greenies, and licks from her mom’s dinner plates without asking moms first.
Favorite Pastime // Porter loves going on unnecessarily long and treacherous hikes with Ana-Leigh, cuddling on the couch with her moms, barking at and terrorizing the neighborhood deer and wild turkeys, and licking cat butt holes. She can be a naughty dog sometimes, like when she she eats Floras fifth collar, but she’s very concerned with house security and likes to warn the whole neighborhood if Alicia or Mariah come over to the house.
Now that's enough about our dogs...tell us about yours!
Must ask questions for wedding venues // Wedding Tip Wednesday // Champagne + Linen // Western Montana Wedding Designers and Planners
One of the first steps of wedding planning (and the most fun) is picking a venue! Lucky for us Montanans, there are many options of all sizes, styles, and locations. It’s easy to get caught up in how beautiful a venue is, but it’s important to take a step back and ask the venue some practical questions. Here are the top questions we ask:
What is your capacity? Follow up with their seating arrangement options. Keep in mind that the weather can affect capacity. For example, maybe they have a beautiful outdoor space but a tent would be required if it rains. Tents are a little pricey, prevent sticker shock and ask ahead of time!
What is your deposit and refund policy? Life happens. Might as well be prepared for everything!
What is include in the rental fee? Hours, tables/chairs, arches, linens, etc. Keep in mind that sometimes rental fees are super low, but they only include the space. A perfect example of this is having a wedding on family property (or a park). This sound great, but not so much when you have to rent all the chairs, tables, linens, restrooms, generators. All. The. Things.
Do I need to use your on-site services (catering) or vendors on your preferred list? Sometimes it’s a lifesaver if you have to have all your vendors through the venue - hello one stop shop. Sometimes it will cost you an arm and a leg. Make sure you get quotes from any required vendors before booking.
What is your alcohol policy? Some venues require your to purchase alcohol through them, some allow you to BYOB, some only beer + wine. Also ask if you will need to purchase liability insurance or hire bartenders.
When will I have access to the venue? The more time for set up the better - and less stressful!
What areas do I have access too? Bridal suites, kitchen, restrooms, river access, gardens. Follow up with what time they’re available at.
What time does music have to be turned off? There is no greater buzzkill than having to have the music be turned off early.
When does the venue need to be cleaned up? The next worse buzzkill is having to be cleaned up at the end of the night - but you can always hire a day of coordinator to take this off your plate ;). And how “cleaned up” does it have to be?
What parking is available? Some venues have very limited parking which then requires transportation to bus people in. Some might not allow overnight parking. Know this before booking!
Is camping allowed? What a Montanan question. There are many venues that allow overnight parking, but there are some who allow access fees. Make sure you know this before offering this option to friends and family!
No answer to these questions is the wrong answer, just some might be better fit for you (and your budget). Don't be scared to ask questions, it is your big day and no one likes surprises!
Vendor Spotlight - Earth Within Flowers // Champagne + Linen // Western Montana Wedding Designers and Planners
Here at C+L, it's extremely important to us that we support local businesses and are environmentally cautious. Lucky for us, Melissa Lafontaine embodies both of those things. We first met Melissa before we first launched back in 2016. Ariel was off honeymooning in Mexico, Mariah and I started scheduling meetings with different vendors just to introduce ourselves.
Melissa was one of those first meetings! We met at the Lake Missoula Tea Company. If anyone knows me, you know I'm the introvert of C+L. I'm so lucky to have Mariah + Ariel who kill the networking game. But this meeting with Melissa was my first solo mission. Thankfully, we clicked and talking was very easy. Until Melissa asked me one question - what is your mission statement?
Well, at the time that was a tough question. The three of us are very like minded, I knew what we believed, but putting that simply was difficult. I rambled about how we don't have a definitive statement but we want to be approachable to couples and support local business.
Melissa knows exactly what her values are and we sat down to talk to her about all things Earth Within Flowers.
Tell us about yourself! How/why did you get into flower design. How did Earth Within Flowers come to be?
Earth Within offers the local community an earth friendly alternative to flower sourcing through artful arrangements and education. We connect flowers to their meaning and cultural aspect as much as possible and purchase our flowers from local and NorthWest farmers. We arrange flowers for weddings, events and just because! We also offer workshops on the 1st Thursday of each month.
In 2013 Melissa completed a certificate in urban agriculture at Brooklyn Farmyards , with an urban flower and vegetable farm, where she discovered ways to give back to the earth through ecologically friendly growing practices. In Brooklyn, she discovered the slow flower movement, where local farmers benefit from adding flowers as a cash crop and local community members celebrate with blooms that compliment their natural environment. For 3 seasons, her love and expertise for creatively arranging flowers blossomed during her time as a floral designer at Molly Oliver Flowers.
Melissa relocated to Missoula, Montana in 2014 for Graduate school, and Earth Within Flowers was born! Melissa studied Plant-based Education obtaining an MSc. in Environmental Studies and applies her teaching skills to her workshops. Despite the challenges of shorter growing season she was thrilled that it is still possible to source flowers from local and regional farmers during the summer months and design with dried flowers in the winter and early spring.
Why is it important to work within the community and to obtain flowers from local and regional farmers?
Working with local farmers is such a joy. In the winter months I meet with them and provide feedback on the colors and types of flowers to plan for in the upcoming season. I believe local flowers compliment the surrounding environment best. That's a big reason why we used dried flowers in the winter-time when all is sleeping (i.e. the gorgeous flowers from C+Ls very first styled shoot, featured below). It's also lovely to support the livelihoods of the folks in my local community and surrounding states with whom I have direct relationships with.
What advice do you have for couples who are looking for a wedding florist? What advice do you have for couples when it comes to working with a florist?
I recommend couples decide on their color palette and overall "look" for the wedding prior to connecting with a florist. Also, having a rough idea of your budget for flowers is very helpful. Our pinterest page has tons of color palettes and inspiration. Creating a "pinterest page" for flowers that you love will help you be able to see your inspiration next to your attire, shoes, tablescape and overall decor and allow you to make those tough decisions in a more visual fashion.
Can you explain the importance of Flower Justice?
85% of the flowers in the USA come from flower farms in Columbia and Equador where labor and environmental practices are less than ideal. Think about the journey that a flower takes from the soil, the pesticides (some of the ones they use in South America are illegal in the USA), the people's wages that grow, cut and package the flowers. The transportation, the design process and then finally having them displayed at your wedding. When flowers comes from local sources people are paid fairly, the soil and environment are treated with more respect and the flowers are more fresh and in my opinion more beautiful. It is truly a win-win. If you are interested in learning more about flower justice and how Valentines day is known as the 'International Day of the Flower Farm Worker' please visit our website.
Here is a little excerpt from my website:
"We love seasonal, local flowers not only because they represent the beauty of the present environment but they also tackle issues of social and environmental justice, one bud at a time. It is not surprising that today; over 80% of the blooms sold in the United States are imported from Ecuador and Columbia. They are produced where farm workers are often undervalued, overworked and exposed to toxic chemicals. If you are interested in learning more on the subject I encourage you to visit the Fairness in Flowers Toolkit."
Melissa will be hosting a Ethical Valentines Day Bouquet Workshop on Tuesday, February 13th from 6-8 pm at MUD. The three of us attended this last year and it was a blast! I still have my bouquet next to my bed.
We are so so glad that Melissa was willing to meet with us before we launched C+L. We cannot wait to finally have a wedding with her this summer.
If you're looking for a florist, make sure to check out Earth Within Flowers.