If you haven’t spent time in Florida’s Emerald Coast, you are missing out! From its turquoise waters to its sugar fine sand, the panhandle’s Gulf Coast beaches are really a sight to be seen. It’s not wonder that so many couples across the country choose this location as the backdrop for their “I Do’s,” (just see here and here if you don’t believe us). With paradise on our minds, we sat down with the incredible team behind Florals by the Sea, a wedding & event design firm local to the area, to chat about their inspiration and what it’s like to plan weddings in bliss. Read all about it…
Nuage Designs: Tell us your story. What is Florals by the Sea?
Florals by the Sea: Florals by the Sea is a full scale wedding & event design company that specializes in floral artistry and couture rental décor along the beautiful Emerald Coast. What makes our particular
company special is the fact that we are actually comprised of three individually talented designers, making us one of the largest design companies in the panhandle. From a professional standpoint, this allows for our company to expand the number of weddings we can execute each weekend, averaging 150 – 200 events annually. Most importantly, it gives us a huge advantage to the collaboration process of each and every event. While each designer is individually assigned to their clients, we also have the luxury of bouncing ideas off of each other behind the scenes, for we all have our own personal style and taste – which always trickles into each others inspiration one way or the other.
ND: Your designs always feel so fresh and unique, where does this inspiration come from?
FBTS: Again, having three designers definitely contributes to that, but personally speaking, it always starts with the client. As always, they’ve likely done their research and have a few design components of their own in regards to color palettes and style – but the fun part is taking their vision to the next level, for there are so many elements that go into the entire design process that most don’t even consider before walking through our doors. The inspiration really comes from everywhere, depending on what’s important to the client; anything from a floral swatch of a bridesmaid dress to the iridescence of an oyster shell to the label on a favorite bottle of rosé. We see it all! And that is where you guys come in. I always tell my clients to “never underestimate the power of a fabulous linen, for this is one of the greatest ways to make an individual statement, which is truly something everybody craves.”
ND: How does your setting in the Gulf Coast play into your weddings?
FBTS: Considering we have one of the most beautiful beaches in the nation, (if not the world) – it doesn’t come at surprise that people want the Gulf Coast to be the heart of their special day. That being said, a majority of our clientele is destination, which means tons of planning and communication via long distance. Most have been visiting since they were children, while others did a quick Google search, found a picture of a pretty beach and said, “Let’s go!” Regardless, it’s that ultimate view of crystal clear emerald waters and white sugar sands that wins them over every time. While we get clients from all over – a majority of them seem to come from the surrounding southern states, in which the Emerald Coast has been a part of their family for decades, before it was a booming wedding industry.
ND: How is the collaboration process with your clients? Where does the basis for their wedding begin?
FBTS: Because a majority of our clients are destination, upon booking, we always try to schedule an in-person consultation at some point in the planning process, for our meetings are actually quite interactive and fun. (Plus, it’s always a bonus if you get to personally meet your clients’ personality, which isn’t always the case with destination.) We pull all their inspiration up on the big screen, have all swatches and samples pulled and ready to display, and really just go where the meeting takes us. I can usually tell within the first five minutes which direction I need to gear the meeting towards. Some clients LOVE discussing every little detail, while others would rather trust the professionals to make the decisions for them, for it can get overwhelming if “decision making” isn’t your forte. After the initial consultation and design proposal, communication with the client practically stays in full swing up until the day of the event, for this is what we like to call “the perfecting period” in which we ensure every “t” is crossed as every “i” is dotted. Do brides change their minds? Of course they do. Does budget play a realistic role? Of course it does. But this is all part of the collaboration process from beginning to end. Not one detail is overlooked on our end, for we believe that proper preparation is key to a successful event.
ND: Do you ever find it difficult to push clients towards what they might see as an “edgy” design?
It’s as if you took the words right out of my mouth. While all girls love the idea of an “edgy” design concept, it’s rare that you actually cross paths with a client that is brave enough to go for it, and when they do – ultimate excitement. As designers, we are constantly looking for something new, something bold, something edgy – the next best thing – but it’s very important to remember, that while this may be our 500th+ wedding, this is still the clients first, so we have to be mindful of that. But insider note, all things aside, as simple the concept may be, I always try and find a place to put a little “edge” in there
somewhere and it usually ends up being one of their most memorable details.
ND: We know you are big on making sure everything is literally perfect at each event – why is that?
FBTS: Simply stated, Sally (the owner) has always said from day one – “In this industry, you do not get a “do-over”, therefore each event must be executed at 110% each time, every time.” It’s that extra attention to detail that truly brings us to the next level.
ND: What are some of your trademark styles?
FBTS: Oh, where do we begin? Of course we love fresh flowers and custom installations, for we are constantly drafting out new ideas to create unique, never-before- seen, design elements. We actually custom build quite a bit of pieces throughout each season to accommodate our crazy ideas. However, we also take serious pride in our signature lounge collections – for we LOVE incorporating decorative furniture and accessories into the mix. Just like a custom lighting and/or floral installation, unique pieces (including specialty linens!) are what truly make an event remarkable and memorable.
ND: What is your advice to couples coming to you with a “trendy” design in mind?
FBTS: Remember the key word timeless, for it should be in the back of your mind at all times. You want to be able to look back at your special day 10, 20, even 30+ years from now and still see all the beauty and love that was put into it. Event design is just like fashion – constantly evolving, eventually repeating – so if you even think for a second that something feels “trendy” then you’re likely not going to be wild about it later on down the road. It needs to feel substantial and whole.
ND: What is your favorite thing about designing weddings?
FBTS: The best, most rewarding part of our job is always the clients first reaction upon seeing their special day come to life. It’s right there in that moment that all the hard work, late nights, and time invested become 100% totally worth it. The feeling is indescribable, but also an instant reminder of why it is we do what we do.
ND: What trends do you see for the spring wedding season?
FBTS: I’m really hoping to see more depth and contrast come back into play. Especially being where we are – a lot of people crave that light, bright, clean feel, which will always be beautiful, but I’m starting to get the itch for some wild colors, textures and patterns. Something a little more dimensional.
And what more can we say other than “I Do!” to Florida’s Emerald Coast!
Photographer Credits Olimb Photography | Rae Leytham Photography | Lacher’s Lens Photography | Paul Johnson Photography | Caleb Shane Photography | Shannon Griffin Photography | Dear Wesleyann