March 30, 2010

Stylish Blooms

P6080004 One gigantic benefit to having a wide array of deeply talented friends is being able to convince them (pretty please!) to contribute to this humble blog. I must say, even if I weren’t besties with this next mister, I would still want to pick his brain, but thankfully it didn’t take much convincing for him to  cooperate. All you soon-to-be (or wanna-be…or hope-to-be) brides out there are in for a real treat. Recently I was able to do a little Q&A with Mitchell White, a talented artist and floral designer having over 100 weddings to his credit. With 25 years of experience, the services he provides through his eponymous floral design business are always in high demand. If you can get him for your wedding then you’re very lucky. If not, I know that his knowledge, experience and style insights will be beneficial to you as you are planning your big day.
mitch flowers2
{all flowers by Mitchell White Floral Design. Above images by Amy Callahan Photography}
sbs: How far in advance should a bride make arrangements/meet with a floral designer?
mw: Brides book with me anywhere from a year to a month in advance. Eight to ten months is usually good. If you wait too long, the florist you want could already be booked. Also, if you have something particular in mind that might be difficult to track down, the earlier you book, the better.
sbs: I can totally see myself being that type of bride who brings tons of pictures and ideas to show you, but wouldn’t that get kind of annoying? I mean, you are the expert after all.       
mw: Ideas and pictures are great. It gives me a better understanding of the vision a bride has for her wedding day. There is a point, however, where everyone has to realize that the pictures are just a starting point and it is up to the bride, florist, planner, etc. to make the day unique and special. Also, the bride must realize that flowers in magazines are just like people in magazines; they're often not a realistic depiction of the subject. They've been airbrushed and photo-shopped way beyond their normal state.

mitch flowers3
{all flowers by Mitchell White Floral Design. Above images by Amy Callahan Photography 
sbs: What recent floral or wedding trend has surprised you the most?
mw: Color trends surprise me. I often feel like editors at bridal magazines just see how far they can stretch it. Color is great and it is very important, but simple, classic, elegant and low key is always best in my book.


{all flowers by Mitchell White Floral Design. Above image by Amy Callahan Photography}
sbs: I crack up when I look at wedding pictures from the 80s or 90s. How do you help a bride make floral choices that are more towards the classical end of the spectrum as opposed to the trendy stuff?
mw: I guess I've been lucky in that most of the brides who choose me typically want something that is classic in style. I think that's why they choose me, what I do leans in that direction. There have been a few occasions where I've had to make suggestions and each time the bride has trusted me and gone with what I suggested.

mitch flowers4 
{all flowers by Mitchell White Floral Design. Above images by Red Letter Days Photography}
sbs: Have you ever had to work with flowers that you thought were hideous but had no choice because the bride wouldn’t budge?
mw: I've never had to work with flowers that I thought were completely hideous. I really do think that most flowers are beautiful and their beauty is showcased in keeping things simple. I do not work with silk flowers; I think that would put me to the test. If a bride wants to use silk, I generally don't do the wedding. That sounds kind of rough, but I do this freelance and am not set up for silk, just fresh flowers. ...but I don't think I'd do a silk wedding even if I were set up for it. A wedding day is special and I think that fresh flowers are a must if at all possible.

sbs: Let’s say there’s a bride who is working on a very small budget. What is the most important floral element not to skimp on?
mw: I don't think a bride should skimp on her bouquet. It's one of the things that everyone looks at and it will be looked at in the pictures for years to come.

{all flowers by Mitchell White Floral Design. Above image by Red Letter Days Photography}
sbs: What advice do you have for those DIY brides out there who have no money at all to pay a floral designer?

mw: DIYers should just keep it simple. Choose a couple of flowers that you want to work with. Try to buy them in bulk somewhere. Do a simple, hand-tied bouquet and simple low- key personal flowers for the wedding party. Candles for the ceremony and floating flowers for the reception. All easily done and nothing too pricey. {sbs: I want to add that I’ve seen some gorgeous bouquets lately at the fancier grocery stores in my neighborhood and I think it would be neat to try and see what you could do with those, i.e. taking them apart and adding other flowers to make them look one-of-a-kind}

sbs: If money were of no object and you were given complete creative freedom, what bridal bouquet would you create for a medium-sized, outdoor spring wedding?
mw: If money were no object for an outdoor spring wedding, I would use orchids, roses, tulips, ranunculus, lily of the valley, stephanotis, miniature calla lily and maiden-hair fern.

sbs: It seems like more attention is being paid to the men’s boutonnieres these days. What is a modern, but classic choice for boutonnieres that isn’t too frou-frou?
mw: In my opinion, a boutonniere should always be simple and very low-key. For a more contemporary look, I like to use a miniature calla with a few sprigs of bear grass. 

sbs: How do you deal with bridezillas, maniacal mothers-of-the-bride, and wedding day melt-downs?
mw: I've not had too much experience dealing with bridezillas. I've been pretty lucky I guess. I continually reassure the brides that I work with that everything is going to be ok and that at the end of the day, she will be married and there is no floral catastrophe big enough to keep that from happening. I'm a very calm, collected person and I've had a lot of brides tell me that they've appreciated my calm demeanor and that it put them at ease. I've been doing this kind of work for twenty five years and at this point, I think if I picked up on a potential bridezilla, I would politely decline the job.
So there you have it folks. Some really good stuff here. I’m thinking I might try my hand at making a bouquet, just to see if I can (will definitely keep you posted). I agree with MW that simple and classic are the best choices and will look great in photos for years to come. Many thanks to Mitchell White for this wonderful information!
wedding flowers yours,mine,ours
{I’ve always loved this bouquet from the classic 1968 comedy Yours, Mine and Ours starring Lucille Ball…this picture is stored in my inspiration file!}