I had the opportunity to sit down with Maribel, the Owner and Lead Floral Designer of Eight Tree Street, a premiere wedding floral designer in the Washington, DC metro area and talk all things flowers. I worked with Maribel over the summer and was blown away by her creativity, flexibility during the planning process, and the absolute floral masterpieces she created for my client's wedding. I wanted to get her expert point of view on the floral design process, what couples should look for in a florist, and how couples should prepare for their floral consultations to ensure they find the best florist for them. I asked Maribel a series of questions to help figure out what couples should be asking and for a few tips and tricks to help them with the floral design process.
What tips do you have for couples when it comes to picking their wedding flowers?
I love telling my couples to look at colors and blooms they love, what's in season, designs that fit their venue and the details (linens, place settings, overall décor for bridal and bridesmaids) and also find blooms that have meaning for them, even if they aren't super fancy blooms. I worked with a bride whose husband brought her daisies from Trader Joe's each week, so we had a few blooms in her bouquet and centerpieces along with ranunculus, dahlias and garden roses.
It's all a matter of being open and exploring different ideas. I love taking a couples inspiration boards and making the floral ideas uniquely them. I have a wedding coming up with a couple that collects succulents. After talking through different ideas, we are incorporating succulents into their chuppah for their October wedding and it is going to be fabulous! It's always fun to see what details and colors couples like and how to incorporate them and make the overall design perfect for them. Trends are great but I love designing looks based on the couples personalities and preferences.
As a florist, what is the best way for couples to prepare before reaching out for a floral consultation?
I love when my couples have picked a few ideas as inspiration (styles of bouquets, ceremony arches, centerpieces, etc.), desired color palettes, and have pulled a couple of weddings from online wedding blogs that display the type of design they are going for. It's a perfect way to start talking about the overall design and figuring out what they are drawn to. I have also created a floral checklist that I send when I get requests and once clients fill the questionnaire out it's amazing how quickly we design the overall look and can also determine different price points for pieces and the overall floral budget.
What trends do you see for the 2020 wedding season?
For centerpieces, I am getting a lot of requests for natural materials; pampas grass, loose greenery, and grasses along with containers made of stone, cement, and wood. We are moving away from mercury glass details. I am seeing flower vignettes for tablescapes with multiple vases, different sizes and heights, and tons of free style and loose blooms - nothing too structured. I am also seeing a lot more bleached, dried, and painted floral details. The biggest trend is decor and flowers that are easily re-purposed from the ceremony to the reception. We are seeing a lot of super lush arbors that are moved behind bride and groom's sweetheart table or living aisle décor that goes in front of the band or in front of the sweetheart table. Couples are really jazzing up their ceremonies but in a calculated way that adds a big "wow" factor throughout the evening.
I am also personally loving that there is such a great movement in the floral wedding industry to use locally grown products. The flowers are perfect, last so much longer, and we are also able to create great connections in our community and support local floral farmers.
What trend are you most excited about for 2020?
I am in love with the movement towards natural materials; pampas and grasses. I am also seeing a trend towards natural stone containers, and the emphasis on sustainable designs using less floral foam products and adding more locally grown blooms as well.
Living aisles are my absolute favorite trend right now. It is such a pretty way to add flowers and color to your ceremony and they can be so easily re-purposed in your reception space.
What advice do you have for couples who are trying to stay within a certain budget when it comes to flowers?
I try to emphasize having great floral points that can be reused; and for the couple to be open to substitutions. Carnations for a while got a bad reputation but growers are coming up with amazing colors and there are new techniques to work with them.
A lot of couples love garden roses but they are a pretty expensive flower and can really break a budget. Instead of garden roses, I can incorporate other flowers (caliber roses) that look very similar for a much lower price point.
If budget is limited, emphasize a few big pops of floral within the reception. I recommend doing about 1/3 to 1/2 of the room with big pops of floral and then doing simpler centerpieces on the other half of the tables like vignettes, candles, or touches of greenery.
How far in advance do you typically book out?
We usually book out weddings 1 year to 8 months before, and we work throughout that time to make sure we get the exact look our clients want. We make changes throughout the planning process and work with their budget and overall vision to make it perfect for them.
What is your favorite thing about being a wedding florist?
I love seeing everyone at the reception have that “wow” reaction, nothing makes me happier than when people are taking photos of the centerpieces and loving the overall look of the wedding. All of my couples, want an unforgettable design and I love thinking outside of the box and creating the perfect ambiance for my couples and their friends and family.
I also get excited when flower boxes arrive. There is nothing more exciting than knowing that they will transform into a complete wedding design within 3-4 days. Seeing it all come together is magical!
What is your favorite element to design?
I love designing table centerpieces and bouquets. I love seeing the tablescapes come together with the linens and place settings; it is such a thrill! I also love designing the bridal bouquet. I adore when I have a bride that gives me ideas of what they want but also gives me a bit of creative freedom; those bouquets are always my best creations!
What is your favorite flower to work with?
I love ranunculus, it's one of my favorite flowers. I love how they are bouncy, happy, and come in such bright and delicate colors. They also sort of speak for the other blooms in a design, they tell you where they want to go, so it's a fun detail.
What other tips and advice do you have for couples when it comes to picking their wedding florist?
Chat with a few florists. Phone consultations are great, if you have time visit them and bring tons of inspiration. See what weddings they have done in your venue or a similar venue with a similar design. If you have a special design, see if they are excited to explore new design ideas and really work with you to create something out of the ordinary.
I was so excited when I got my first request for a living aisle (something I wanted to do for a while) and my couple trusted me and it was beautiful! The same with a bride who wanted designer floral trees for her secret garden wedding, even though she had a limited budget we were able to explore ways to make it happen. That wedding for me was the most fun and most exciting design to date. You want a florist that feels excited and committed to your vision. I always tell my team there are no do overs so it has to be perfect and we try to embrace each wedding for its unique personality!