Being Adaptable: A Couple’s Game Plan for Their COVID-19 Wedding

As the novel Coronavirus continues to unfold, wedding industry professionals are facing uncertain times while couples are doing their best to remain afloat through the unpromising, forced changes. Couples who have the mindset that “The Show Still Goes On” are thinking outside their original dream plan and having celebrations on their porch, in the backyard, along the waterfront and even an intimate apartment ceremony while family and friends watch from the worlds leading video conferencing platform,  Zoom.

Planning a wedding requires one to have patience and an open mind otherwise you may find yourself having uncontrollable spurts of lashing out, taking advice from the wrong people and constantly itching with panic. I’m a soon to be bride and I am guilty of lashing out at times due to the uncertainty of plans moving forward and the ever changing guidelines from the CDC and our Governor.


To wear a mask outside or not to wear a mask outside. To stand 6 feet apart or 10 feet apart. Social distancing or is it really called physical distancing. To quarantine or to isolate yourself; what do they mean ?? To strip down and wash clothes on high heat or walk through your house with the same clothes on you’ve been wearing all day. Anti-bacterial should have 60 % alcohol, no wait 70% and even 90% is better! If sold out of the good kind, settle for the 60% its still effective if you lather up! Oh, wait… anti-bacterial does not work anymore so you should wash your hands with HOT, soapy water. And, the list goes on and on and on. Folks on social media have become sudden experts while YouTubers are becoming famous for their 2-3 minute hand washing videos explaining how to kill germs.


Couples are faced with tough decisions whether to cancel or postpone their event due to a number a factors while industry professionals are becoming advocates for the ” Postpone. Don’t Cancel #SAVEEVENTS ” movement. As a soon to be bride and floral professional, I see this from both sides. I’ve had clients cancel even 2 weeks before their wedding and no, I did not make them pay their balance because services were not complete. Many have had brides turn into bridezillas over this pandemic and mothers itching for answers like many of us are. Unfortunately, there is no good answer because everyone is in the dark. No one knows for certain that a second wave will not sweep the nation in the fall or the flu will spread rapid and government officials will force citizens to go on lock down mode again placing a pause on gatherings.

As we know it, this outbreak could forever change the wedding culture. On the contrary, the fact is that this outbreak has helped put things into perspective. This shift in society is going to be one for the books so I hope many are keeping a journal or photo blog of events occurring and how those are adapting. While it is easy to say or think ” Just cancel and get married because at the end of the day it is about YOU TWO” it is not that easy. Things have been put into motion, deposits have been made along with re-occurring payments that according to contract are not refundable. At times, cancelling one plan and starting over is more stressful depending on the extent of Plan B. Oh and did I mention hundreds of clients have LOST XXXXX $$$ ?!


With 10 weeks left, couples like me and my fiance still do not have answers and therefore are unable to just cancel and book something new. We need to find a Priest because though my cousin can marry us, his ordination wash pushed to the end of August and not June as originally planned due to the Virus. Despite what you’d think it’s not been a walk in the park to up and find a Catholic Priest to co celebrate either. Gathering sizes will not be determined here until Phase 2 ends on June. 26th and that is if they do not extend it. Going from a wedding of 125 + guests that received Save the Dates to Immediate Family only receiving an Invitation is difficult because we want everyone to share in our joy. And though many could gather for the ceremony, the number is unknown for a reception gathering. Life still goes on and there is much to be done in the months ahead moving passed a wedding. For me, I’ve got goals of evaluating for AIFD again, attending a National Symposium which helps me keep my CFD otherwise if not, I get suspended from the industry! Yes, it’s true so I’m doing everything in my power to prevent that, keep up with trends, continue studying and move forward with online education until we can gather. Also, representing the State of North Carolina in the Arkansas Design Competition. In addition, my fiance has summer conferences he’d like to attend and we’d like to start a family. No, there is no real rush, but time is valuable and how you spend your time dictates your future.

Something Blue Photography

We do not want to put anyone at risk or make other uncomfortable wearing gloves, masks and having a hug-less and dance-less wedding. We want to kiss and say I love you to our family and friends along with the numerous handshakes. It’s tough and there is no easy way to figure this out, but please know that Every. Single. Day we discuss a back up plan. Right now the wedding industry may be taking a cutting, but I do believe we will be the first to THRIVE again once all can safely gather. The determining factor is out of our control, so what we can do is take control of our health by protecting those around us.

Perhaps our Plan B will not mirror Plan A; therefore, we are going to do our best to communicate with one another, industry professionals and our family to figure out the best decision possible. Lastly, if we post pone everything to next year, we risk loosing out on our fabulous vendors and they are true GEMS in our lives.




Mom Called and Wants Flowers!

First and foremost, if you are struggling with the unknown, fear and or worry about the current situation we are facing, know you are not alone. There is a light at the end of the tunnel and one way we can brighten our moods is by sending flowers. This week marks the start of Mother’s Day Week, which is one the of LARGEST holiday’s in the floral industry. Florist across the world, in many different states are working very hard and diligently to keep safety procedures in place and take each individual order with care.

Many are unable to see their mothers or mother figures in their lives this year and because we are all given TIME especially now, pick up the phone and place a flower order with your local florist. It can be anywhere from $35.00 to $55 or $75 and up! I’ve shared a few photos below of designs from the last few days of work during the pandemic as a way of spreading the love and sharing inspiration with you.

Know, we are here for you and all your flower needs. No matter what state you are in, call your local, small shop florist today and place an order. Until next time, my friends thanks for reading and be on the look out for another inspirational post this Thursday!


Your Safety Procedures Suck and Could Improve.

On March. 25, 2020 my fiance called to inform me he was heading home to quarantine from work for a few days until a few issues got resolved in the work place. The end result is everything was fine and nobody was infected with this novel virus thank God. However, on that Wednesday in March I quickly became overwhelmed by fear and anxiety knowing I couldn’t be around my fiance for a few days. Now, for those readers who would like to be in the know, we do not live together. I live in an apartment, he lives in a house and therefore, we will not live together until once we are married in 106 days. This was our agreement once we met one another. Whew! Now that we got that out into the open, let’s resume my starting point.

He was sent home and though it was NOT mentioned I could not see him in person, we chose to social distance so in case he was infected, then I would not infect others. See how simple that is? Well that is easier said than done for some and for the rest of the population, well I cannot speak for their ignorant behavior. Did it suck ? YES, for a lonnnngggg few days it sucked until the results came in NEGATIVE. So, aside from speaking on the phone and video chat through the computer, I communicated with my fiance this way; through his glass front door crying my eyes out and “touching” his hand on the glass. Thank You Cydney English, owner of The English Garden for the Virus Killer Spray, Paper Towels and Disinfectant. We are creeping up on a month since this incident and now we see one another in person and still social distance to the best of our ability from others in public.


If you are not sure what social distancing means please refer to this great article from Johns Hopkins Medicine. I often ask myself, ” What is the real definition or how can I understand this better? ”

I get it, there is a ton of information being published daily; some we believe one day and the next something new is coming out for us to believe and put into practice. However, according to the CDC the definition of social distancing remains the same and that is: also called “physical distancing” means keeping space between yourself and other people outside of your home. Under that umbrella, to practice physical distancing it is stated to stay at least 6 feet from other people. In some places, others are taking it further and distancing 10 feet apart, while others are isolating as much as possible at work. I do understand this is not the ideal situation for everyone as many pass others especially when you go grocery shopping. It is the point of staying in one spot for an extended period of time. Period.

I’ve been chatting with FL floral designer friend, Jenna Sleeman, AIFD whose been sharing LOTS of great information on how to cope, distance and safely prepare yourself in the workplace. Jenna’s husband is a surgeon and with a combined knowledge seeing first hand what is going on with COVID19 and her knowledge as a business owner and florist, they are really a dynamic duo we could all aspire to follow especially during this time. If you could, go ahead and share this article and or video so others can be in the know!

In addition I’ve provided you with other links that are useful to abide by during this time. And, as always listen to your governor and state officials for the latest information.

It’s interesting because there are many similarities between all these articles in the media today. No matter how short or how long, they have a few things in common and procedures to follow. There is no fancy way to say this:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water.
  • Physical distance 6 – 10 feet away from others.
  • Cover your mouth then WASH your hands with soap and water after coughing or sneezing. (There is no fancy way to address this, right?)

OH, but there is! 


This is also known as "respiratory etiquette" 
  • If you cough or sneeze, do so into your elbow.
  • Discourage workers from using other workers’ phones, computers, desk or other work equipment.

Millions of American’s have submitted unemployment claims only to hear that only a fraction of them are actually being processed leaving many uneasy and in a slow state of poverty. The other day after voicing concern about the lack of physical distancing a Baptist Pastor exclaimed to me, ” Well if you are afraid of the Virus or are paranoid, then don’t drive your car.”  In addition to, “ You should never use the bathrooms at work or leave your house.” This was almost as bad as when I saw a nurse in MD state that those at home ” Should not get unemployment while they are on the front lines not getting any PPE ”


It is ignorant that many push aside the severity of this novel virus because they are not sick, and little do they know they could be infected with mild or no symptoms.

This is called Asymptomatic.

Though the UK and the US are labeled as wealthy nations, there are so many lack of essentials due to the current pandemic, many are left without pay and how they will simply overcome this in the future. Small businesses that were unable to get a Small Business Loan are finding themselves unable to reopen once shut, because the start up cost is far too much.

It is now a misdemeanor for those who knowingly fail to take responsible and reasonable measures to prevent this virus from spreading. We are all struggling in some way, shape or form. Tension is high, stress is through the roof if you talk to some and others simply just do not know what day it is and how to move forward.

In my boat, I’m doing my best to work in a healthy environment, SOMEDAY see an unemployment check for lack of hours, maybe a stimulus check one day and that “extra money” because some of us don’t have it like the rest. If it is a matter of playing by the rules to keep someone from dying, just do it. Please. For me, for you, your children, your grandchildren and everyone as a whole. Many ask, ” How are you doing? ” and to answer that I’m not okay. And, frankly it is OKAY right now to feel that way. I’d love to marry my fiance in 106 days so I’ll do my part to not mess that up.

Will you do your part ?









Pantone Color of the Year Wedding

How about a little inspiration for your morning ?

We are so excited to share with you the feature in The Carolina’s Magazine!

In the link you will see the list of amazing and talented vendors who contributed to this shoot.

Drop a comment below and let us know what you think !


#somethingblue #weddinginspiration #northcarolinawedding #trianglewedding

Southern Belle Photography

Comprehensive Knowledge about Flower Halos by Jaclyn Gough, CFD

Good Afternoon, isolated flower lovers! Before we dive in I wanted to thank you for tuning into my 26:19 FaceBook Live this afternoon. If you missed it, I saved it to my timeline as a reference. Please feel free to fast forward to 10:13 for the educational how-to process of how I make a flower halo and in doing so note this is just one of the numerous ways I design a halo. As promised, I’ve provided you with a few links to more educational videos and articles that I’ve created and blogs I’ve been featured on.

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How to Create a Floral Headdress by Jaclyn Gough

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My design program on Flower Halos was sadly cancelled due to the pandemic, so this is one of my ways of giving back to you until we reschedule the meeting in Greensboro, NC.

I hope you enjoy, that you take a little piece of valuable information away and share this with others. If you create a flower crown at home, I’d love to see your design. Until next time, be well, nourish your body with healthy foods and wear flowers in your hair.

6 Simple Steps 

  1. Measure head with chenille stems bringing two ends together around head. Twist in the middle.
  2. Wire any flower components if necessary; Roses.
  3. Wrap stem tape around the base to lock into place before adding fresh material.
  4. Cut materials, create tiny bunches together and secure to the wire base.
  5. Continue step 4 until complete. Small flowers at the beginning, larger flowers and materials toward the middle and smaller at the end. Weight distribution, friends.
  6. Spray with Crowning Glory and place in the cooler until use.





Classic Blue Southern Spring Style

Good Morning! We are so excited to share with you photos from a styled shoot with some incredible vendors at The Matthews House. When planning this shoot we wanted to incorporate the Pantone Color of the Year which is Classic Blue and pair it with Pink because who doesn’t love ‘pops of pink’? After reviewing the photos with the other vendors I quickly realized how beautiful a splash of color really is. Now, have a peak at the full gallery and let us know your thoughts in the comment section.

Southern Belle Photography





• Photographer- Southern Belle Photography @southernbellepix
• Venue- The Matthews House @thematthewshouse
• Coordinator- Lillian Suarez Weddings + Events @lilliansuarezevents
• Model bride- Naomi Ansano
• Model groom- Craig Green Sr.
• Dress- Gavin Christianson Bridal @gavinchristiansonbridal
• Florals- The Skinny Vase @theskinnyvase
• Décor & Design- An Event Lady Production, LLC @aneventladyproduction
• Balloon Decor- Party of 5 Eventz @partyof5eventz
• Make-up artist- Artistry By Angela @artistry_by_angela
• Hairstylist- Jessica Hair MUA @jessicahairmua
• Cake baker- Wicked Sweet Cakes @wickedsweetcakes
• Invitations – The Paper Creation @thepapercreation
• Bridal jewelry- On Holiday Jewels @onholidayjewels
• Videography- 180° Productions, LLC @180productionz

The Agnoy of Planning… Part III

What a whirlwind of a month it’s been! Between the countdown of 5 months until we get married, writing articles, brainstorming, working and running on little to no sleep all while doing my best to be in the moment. I’d say I’m doing just fine one day at a time, thank you. If you did not catch my last two series on The Agony of Planning Our Wedding check it out before reading the rest of this.

These days, just about anything goes when it comes to weddings and that includes the price of products and service. Every vendor always seems to jack the prices up, only they don’t jack up their customer service or the desire to be available for answering some of the most important wedding questions when they arise. For me, as a floral expert in the wedding and event industry this has been especially hard for me and knowing I do not have my Mom-Mom to run to about shuts my whole body down inside. Years ago, I’d rush to call her and somehow she knew all the right things to say. She was the go to person in our family and I knew I could always count on her especially when things needed to get done because she would send messages to her daughters to hop to it!


As a bride to be, though me and my proactive fiancé are doing the majority of the planning, I often think of what my grandmother has told me in the past about wedding planning. By her words of wisdom, laughter on certain topics of wedding planning and getting things accomplished, it eases my mind to play the words over and over again in my head. Getting bridesmaid dresses has been a nightmare, except for my best friend who already has hers and my Maid of Honor who I’m not terribly concerned about as she is having a child in another couple weeks! I can hear it now; my grandmother would ask ” Did you expect anything more from her??” referencing to my second bridesmaid or she would say, “Now, you know how she is.” And, boy is she right. Eventually everything will come together and in 5 months it will be grand and extravagant.

Often times I get upset my sister was able to have her at her wedding; then, I think that I’ve got many guardian angels who have the best seat in the house to watch me walk down that aisle to meet my future husband while I hold a beautiful, lush cascade bridal bouquet. Going back to the thought of “anything goes” I read this sweet article on a bride having her grandmothers as the flower girls. I’m sure if you read it, you will think it is sweet just as I did.

When Ashley got married, I gave a sweet toast by including my Mom-Mom in there. Grandparents love bragging about their grandchildren and I know mine surely did. She requested I give her printed photos of my design work so she could show all her friends! After she died, I got them back and still read all the letters we wrote to one another. She requested I talk to her once a week when I moved to Florida and I’m certain she was happy I did it just about everyday! How could I only talk to her once a week??

Although I will not be giving any toasts the day of the wedding and giving shout outs to her, I will be wearing something special of hers on the day of our wedding. She was pretty hip on the new trends and knew the true definition of style and class so I know in 5 months, I’ll make her very happy.

Before, I go and you get back to your daily programing here are a few ways to honor a loved one at your wedding. By reading this leading up to the wedding makes wedding planning a bit better if you ask me knowing you’ll have a piece of them with you on your special day.

  1. Include a family heirloom; rosary, wedding ring or part of their veil just to name a few.
  2. Add photos of your loved one into your bouquet. (don’t forget to laminate it or place in a small frame with a hook)
  3. Set up a memorial table at the reception with photos and flowers.
  4. Put the “something borrowed” to good use. Tie lace around your bouquet or to your spouses wearable flower.
  5. Honor their memory during your ceremony perhaps during prayer intentions.
  6. Favorite flowers! Life is better when you smell the flowers anyway. Incorporate a loved ones favorite for your big day.
  7. Words of wisdom during a toast. Whomever is giving a toast could say a few words from a loved one who is no longer with you.

That is all for now. Thank You for taking the time to read and know that the flowers will be extravagant just as she requested.


The Agony of Planning… Part II

If you missed part one of this post, please read it.

There is no such thing as filling the void of a loved one; however, we can feel a love around us when the planning is taking place. It was bad enough having my father die at such a young age knowing he would not walk me down the aisle at my wedding. Fast forward and I felt my world come crashing down even more once my Mom-Mom died because she is the one who said “I want to see you get married!” Well, if Heaven is considered VIP Seating, she’s got the best seat in the house with my dad so that makes me feel a bit better.

You see my mom walked my sister Ashley down the aisle 5 years ago and frankly, I’m not certain she will walk me down the aisle because that is my decision. I tossed up the thought of having my dad’s brothers walk me, another “father figure” in my life and/or even walking down with my fiancé, Tony. Walking down the aisle to the altar isn’t about someone giving you away, it’s about… you can read all about that here which lays it out quite nice. I will most likely walk solo down the aisle, given that I do not have a panic attack in the back or run away somewhere crying my eyes out making the ceremony begin late.

There is SO much to think about when planning a wedding and it’s dang near overwhelming. I’m a floral designer and this is what I do for a living. After much practice, continued practice, schooling, competitions, you name it, often times I feel I can design a bridal bouquet with my eyes shut and 10 elevated designs in 200 minutes. That averages out to 20 minutes per centerpiece. The rest of this planning, I’m not educated in so that is why we’ve hired professionals to handle all that for us. And, the little decisions that are actually quite big in the grand scheme of things especially when a loved one is not present puts a damper on things. I know, I know… they will “always be with me” and “I’ll always have the memories forever”, but that still doesn’t make it any better. Sorry, Susan it doesn’t and you know that.

I’m going to miss them, but will not allow grief to bring me down. This is a celebration of life and I’m thankful for all those who are willing and are able to attend our wedding. Though my father will not be physically present, you better believe I’m still designing a boutonniere for him as if he were present. It’s going to be fabulous and fun just like him.

Those who are deceased will be with me in Spirit and with all the Angels and Saints, I’ll get down the aisle with ease to marry my fiancé!


Our wedding will be grand, I know it. It was the second best decision after thinking about getting married in Italy. Do you want to hear all about that ? Okay, I’ll tell you a little. We had a few glasses of red wine and delicious dinners as we talked about where we wanted to get married. I’m a parishioner at Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral. It’s beautiful. When I first walked in, I had crazy anxiety. Satan is evil you know and he never wants you to receive the Eucharist. After the 3rd time attending Mass and going to confession there, I felt at home. Later, we stated the Cathedral is where we both wanted to marry. We also said a few months after our engagement that Italy was a grand idea. We could visit Deacon Justin, fly Father Mark (Tony’s cousin) from Spain and we’d get married! I think Tony’s sister was on board with this as well. Having the family on board was very unlikely and would most likely cause pain, stress and disappointment. This was all my plan to “run away” and not have to really think about those who have died that I’m having a hard time with not being present for our wedding.


Incase you skimmed over that last paragraph, moral of the story is we are not getting married in Italy. The look on my Aunt’s face when we told her our “thoughts” last year was let’s just say not good. Her son, Deacon Justin Gough is becoming a Priest and will marry us in August of 2020 here in Raleigh, NC. We are praying Tony’s cousin, Father Mark who is in Spain can fly here and co-celebrate with Justin. (He will be Father Justin after June. 20,2020). When me and Tony stared talking I told him I wanted Deacon Justin to become a priest before marrying us because I wanted us to see him get ordained. It was such a beautiful time for Deacon Justin and his family when he was ordained a Deacon.

… Part III – Season Finale coming soon…

The Agony of Planning Our Wedding

… without my Mom-Mom ( my mother’s mom). 

My triplet sister, Ashley; older than me by 2 minutes got married on February. 14, 2015. Our Mom-Mom was so happy for Ashley and Brent and the next chapter in their life they would begin to create together as a couple. I watched her walked down the aisle in St. Anthony of Padua Church then enter into the ballroom of the reception at Columbus Gardens with her son-in-law. She was all smiles and it made me so happy to see her celebrating with close family and friends. Side note: My sisters wedding was pretty amazing and it snowed that night as well!

Mom-Mom & Uncle Scott Jacob’s Wedding

Fast forward to April 2019, I called my Aunt in Maryland to tell her I was bringing someone with me for Easter Weekend to which she replied yes even though no-one knew I was dating anyone. No-one knew I had been talking to my fiancé, Tony since December when we met at a dinner party for the Raleigh Young Adult Group. Okay, Okay, so we didn’t really talk that much; actually not at all. However, after seeing one another at the second dinner party followed by Daily Mass, we started talking in March. You can read more about how we met on Spoken Bride.

Rumor has it that life goes faster as you get older and if anyone knows me pretty well, you’d know that I’m very picky about whom I date and that I like to live in the fast lane. As soon as me and Tony met, after our first date, he had a very good knowing that he wanted marry me, hence talking about it shortly after our first date. I often thought to myself I wish my Mom-Mom were still living so I could call her and tell her all the grand news! For awhile it was difficult to pick up the phone then stop myself from dialing her phone number!

Mom-Mom’s Wedding Dress!

She died on December.16,2016. This is a day I will never forget and though I miss her dearly, I’m glad we talked as often as we did and much of it was about weddings! We had many conversations about fashion, what the family was doing, where the kids were going next, what soccer game they had and more. We shared our opinions on why brides should not wear cowboy boots under their wedding dress, but then agreed that it was not our wedding and who are we to say what others do 😉

MY Wedding Dress. Time for alterations soon!

Because she was a very private person this post is not about her personally and her illness before she died, but rather hardships of not having someone very close to me present for all things wedding planning now that it is my turn. I do know there are many brides and grooms out there planning without a loved one and know that you are not alone; I get it, it’s hard, sometimes it sucks and is downright the last thing you want to do. My Mom-Mom heard heard about many flower shop sagas since I started as a young designer, the flower competitions and the numerous clients I had while living in South Florida. No amount of planning can ever fill the void or replace the loss of a loved one.

When I said “YES, to the dress!”, I messaged my Aunt and asked her if Mom-Mom would love dress # 1 or #2 . She said that she would love the one we loved which is the one in the bag from Coastal Knot. I went solo from Day 1 traveling to different bridal boutiques and stores to find “The Dress”. It was stressful because some of the places were not clean, I had bad experiences and some of the staff was not so kind. A single woman coming in by herself surely needs a helping hand in the dressing room, wouldn’t you think?

It wasn’t until I went to Coastal Knot that I felt 100 % comfortable and knew that I’d get my dress there; the staff is fabulous! Some say if a loved one cannot be present to ask a close friend, even go with your DAD or go alone. Due to planning around others schedules, me living in another state than my family and close friends, I chose to go alone. There are a few girls here in North Carolina who I would ask, however planning around work schedules and when is convenient for them was starting to stress me out just thinking about it. Tony’s mom was so wonderful because I sent her photos from Dress # 1 all the way until I actually said “YES!”

Now that we are 6 months away, it’s time to hire a floral designer … anyone know of a good one ? 😉 ” Will want 2 b extravagant!” – Mom- Mom.

Text Message from Mom-Mom

… to be continued … 

Trendy Prom Flowers for 2017

Calvert Hall Junior Prom- May. 13, 2017

Calvert Hall Senior Prom – May. 6, 2017

Curley Junior Prom- May. 13, 2017

Curley Senior Prom- May. 19, 2017

IND Junior/ Senior Prom- May. 12, 2017

Catholic High Senior Prom- May. 12, 2017


With High School Prom’s being so close to Mother’s Day; one of the busiest times in a flower shop it is best to order your Prom flowers early. Right about now 🙂

One popular Prom flower style is the wristlet, flowers being worn on the wrist with petite blooms, accented with ribbon to match the girls dress and her dates attire. Flowers include but are not limited to Dendrobium Orchids, Miniature Carnations, Mokara Orchids, Spray Roses, Button Mums, Gerbera Daisies, Green Trick Dianthus, Sweet William.

Or, some are carrying small nosegay’s or taking it a step further and thinking outside the box with flower jewelry. These include anything from over the shoulder corsages to rings, necklaces, botanical shoes, hair flowers and so much more.

Ask your local florist about their options and the different styles that can be worn.

Flowers: Jaclyn Gough

Photography: Jacobs Photography

Dress: The Bravado

Flowers: Jaclyn Gough