My Preferred Vendor Interview with Bridezilla Headquarters
How long have you been in business? Who/what can you attribute your expertise to?
My love for flowers and wedding design started at a young age; every Christmas morning I found a BRIDE magazine in my stocking and in the summer months, I couldn’t wait to pick flowers while dreaming of the wedding I’d have one day. I began my career in floral design in 2006 following my own engagement and planning experience when the work of local designers just wasn’t cutting it. I created a few designs of my own and even visited a local flower farm to do my own foraging, and as one recommendation led to another, Dandie Andie Floral Designs was officially born in 2010. I enrolled in Mohawk College’s floral design program as well as a professional floral design certificate with the Canadian Institute of Floral Design to further refine my expertise.
What kind of budgets do you work with?
I don’t turn a bride away based on her budget; if she only has $500 to spend on flowers, I’ll do whatever I can to produce floral arrangements that she’ll love and that will fit within her means. I’ve also done a wedding where the bill came to around $14,000. So large or small, we can do it all!
How many weddings do you work on a yearly basis?
In 2013 I did 17 weddings. I’ll never want to turn a wedding away, but I will only take one large event per weekend. And with young children and family as my first priority, the most weddings I can see myself working would be 35 per year.
Describe your ideal couple.
They have a grasp of their wedding’s vision and can designate boundaries as far as theme and style goes, but my ideal bride and groom allow me to have creative range with their wedding flowers. When I’m not restricted to a list of stems that must be in the bouquet or a picture of a centerpiece that they want me to assemble identically, I can produce the best work I can because my imagination is not restrained and I have access to best quality of flowers that are local and in season.
Why are you head over heels for your job?
I really love the whole process; from the consultation to talking through ideas, to picking the best flowers for bouquets and arrangements, ordering, then assembling it all together to delivering it right on the wedding day. Seeing everything come together from A-B-C is what I love most. This job just really suits my personality, and it’s an amazing feeling to be a supporting character in the overall ensemble of their wedding day.
Describe your personal style when it comes to creating/servicing weddings.
I have the ability to work in a variety of styles and themes, but I’d say my niche is nature inspired floral design with a whimsical twist. I hate to alter flowers with wiring and other artificial props, because I really love the variety and natural forms of flowers just the way they are. My rustic chic approach to floral design embraces texture and diversity while still sustaining a cohesive look on the overall floral arrangement, bouquet, corsage or boutonniere.
How do you keep updated on wedding trends in your industry?
Like many brides, I live on Pinterest – where I draw inspiration and forecast new trends in floral design from my perspective. I also contribute to a variety of floral blogs and panels, regularly read articles from national wedding websites and research other local florists to see what they’re up to and the new designs they’re creating.
Can you brief us on the kind of packages you offer?
Everything is customized to the couple.
What are the largest and smallest weddings you’ve ever serviced?
The largest wedding I’ve done would be flowers for the ceremony, reception, entire bridal party. Everywhere you looked – outside and inside was completely decked out in floral arrangements. The smallest one would have been a one-off bouquet for the bride.
Briefly describe the typical initial consult with a client.
Generally, we’ll email back and forth or chat on the phone beforehand, and this is when I’ll ask the couple to forward me any images of floral arrangements that they like or ideas they have, so when we meet we have a starting platform and can further discuss their unique designs. By the time we have our first consult, I will have already made a look book with their concept and theme in mind, and we can spend this time going through what they like, don’t like and the number and type of bouquets and floral arrangements they’ll require. From here, I will apply a starting quote and we can figure out where we need to go and what needs to be tweaked or added in. After this meeting, I will electronically send the couple a formal quote and contract.
What tools/resources do you use to create unique arrangements that reflect the wedding’s personality (themes, colors, etc)?
After the booking, I start a Pinterest board based on the discussion during the initial consult of the bride’s vision. I’ll send them a link to the inspiration board, and they can provide feedback on what they like, don’t like and even add new images to the board, providing a track record of the design direction so I can pull all the pieces they love most about these samples and create something unique to them and their wedding day.
What is one thing that brides and grooms usually don’t know about the flower industry?
You’re not only paying for the flowers, but you’re paying for the work and lifestyle that goes into the floral design of your customized pieces. There is only a small window of time that allows designers to create arrangements and bouquets because of the short life of a flower – which means two or three days before your wedding, we’re standing on our feet for up to 16 or 17 hours a day preparing everything for your wedding. It’s overtime for every event; so you’re not just investing in the flowers themselves, but the work that goes into the creation.
Floral designers are integral to the wedding planning process in more ways than just the bride and groom. How do you manage the expectations of the betrothed couple, a wedding planner, baker and the venue coordinator?
When there’s a lot of moving elements in a wedding, I try to encourage open communication through all channels so we’re all on the same page and ensuring the bride is happy. However, it does help when a planner is involved to connect every party and facilitate this coordination, and I try to be as cooperative as I can during this process.
What is your favourite flower of all time?
Although I can’t just name one, I really appreciate and love a perfect specimen that is in full bloom. Besides that, I’m a huge fan of texture and variety in floral design, and adding something as simple as berries, pods or an interesting green foliage really add character and contrast to a floral arrangement.
If a bride’s preferred flower is out of season, what are the options to create a bouquet she’ll still love?
I have a library of books on hand regarding seasonal availability, and if a bride had her heart set on a peony bouquet when it is not available, we look at a similar garden roses, and ultimately find an alternative that still contributes to the essence and overall beauty of her bouquet.
Do you create eco-friendly arrangements?
I traditionally don’t use organic flowers, however, I am kind to the planet by being very diligent with recycling and composting. I try not to let flower arrangements go to waste after an event, I donate these arrangements to those who can still enjoy their beauty after the wedding.
Where do you source flowers from?
I aim to source flowers locally as often as I can (the Niagara region hosts many flower farms) however, there are some species that are more common to get outside of Canada – such as roses, which will be coming from Colombia or Ecuador. Both locally and internationally, the suppliers I work with are on the same page, and we are dedicated to providing the highest quality of flowers to couples on their wedding day.
What is your biggest pet peeve when it comes to flower arrangements/the floral design industry?
My biggest pet peeve would be when brides want to know every single stem and every single flower that will be going into an arrangement. This turns my art into math, and limits my creativity on producing the best floral arrangement that I can.