We are joined by Christine Mandese from Plant Girl Shop, who will guide you through the process of choosing the perfect florist for your special day. This dedicated educator turned floral expert is here to share her insights and passion with you. Christine explains how selecting the right vendor can bring joy and leave a lasting impression on your wedding day. How can you find a reliable florist? How can you effectively convey your vision to your florist? And how can you empower your florist to craft breathtaking arrangements for your wedding? Sara and Christine delve into these questions in today’s episode!
I’m Christine, a florist here in Rhode Island serving brides and anyone having an event in the area! We love providing florals and decor for their event or occasion and wedding, anywhere in Rhode Island and beyond.
The story of how I got started in this is really funny. I was in education for 20 years as a teacher, a reading specialist, an Assistant Principal and then a principal for over six years locally. I was in education during COVID and I left about a year and a half ago. So, I haven’t been in the floral world that long! I should back up. I’m from a long line of artists. My mother, my grandfather and my brother are all amazing artists. But in the education world, it was hard to get the creative energy flowing. So I started getting into plants and then flowers came next. I began wondering what came next and just embraced it all. Now I own Plant Girl Shop! It’s been a wild ride. I’m so happy I took the leap and embraced it all.
What do you love most about being a florist?
So many things! I will say one thing is definitely the calming, beautiful energy of doing flowers. It’s peaceful, its nature and it brings a sense of calmness that I did not have previously in my world. But then also working with couples and event planners and building relationships with them on a really special happy day celebrating their life, their love, family. It’s so nice to be a part of that and get to know them – understand what their vision is for their flowers. I feel like I become a part of the family and we stay in touch after they get married. It fulfills me and my team.
You have to have that passion. I love that you said your feelings around working with the plants was the first thing you love!
It really is grounding to work with plants and it’s something that I really value and I love watching them grow. No pun intended. The creative side of the design is really important to me too, too and I value it as well. Being able to be creative, being in the moment, and watching the designs come to life is so special.it’s a really wild job and career. That’s why I do: I just love love!
What is your advice for someone who has their vision for flowers and is looking for a florist?
No matter where you live, looking for a florist for your wedding day is really important. They’re bringing your vision for your big day to life. So you want to make sure you do research, really going on their website, their Instagram, looking at their flowers, and asking yourself: does what you see match what you’re looking for? Each florist is different and how they design is different, too. Even though we’re all working with the same flowers, we have our own way of putting them together. So you want to make sure you’ve done that work ahead of time and now just reaching out to a list of random florists without ever looking at their work.
How do you recommend someone does their research to find a wedding florist?
I love Instagram. I love looking at florists all around the world and looking at designs. So, I recommend starting there or other social media sites, like Pinterest. Look at what someone is posting and look at what’s on your own inspiration boards. You can also talk to vendors or the venue to see who they recommend as a starting place, too. Don’t forget to look at reviews, too. Check that what other couples are saying matches what you’re looking for.
I love that idea. I’ve definitely have seen vendors that work well together, and are really a team supporting a couple on their wedding day. That’s a great idea. Once you feel like you’ve found someone and they check all the boxes, it’s time to sign the contract and start working with them, right?
Yeah, it can be time consuming to talk with all of these potential vendors, so make a checklist of what you absolutely need to get done with your wedding planning. Get one of those wedding planning books to help you stay organized and reach out. As you find your vendors and book them, trust them. We’re full of knowledge and it’s so important that you trust us.
So Christine, for those who are getting married or know someone who’s getting married and found their florist, how can they prepare to start working with you?
I always encourage my couples to think about what they want beforehand. Come up with three words to describe your wedding. Start there and then think about how you want your wedding to feel. How do you want guests to feel when they walk into your ceremony? What energy do you want to bring to your celebration? I also encourage them to find pictures of inspiration. I know a lot of florists ask for Pinterest boards or get some sort of inspiration that way – and that’s wonderful. Some couples come with one picture and a few words. And that’s okay, too. You don’t have to have a full board of everything you want. It’s our job to put together the vision with you and build that proposal. You want to have someone that’s going to put that vision together for you to save yourself time and help you get great ideas about what’s possible and what you’re looking for.
What about greenery v. plants?
When it comes to your budget, plants are expensive. People come in saying they just want plants on all of their tables and it’s not really any cheaper. Of course, it depends which kind you’re using. Just like with flowers – some are expensive and some are inexpensive. It comes down to the vision that you have, the texture and feel you want for your arrangements. That’s what will decide the cost per piece. But, generally adding greenery does bring the cost down vs someone who says they want big beautiful flowers and no greenery. That will cost more.
So, if I’m a couple who has those photos and my words and I’m showing you alongside my budget, what words of advice do you have for them in that stage?
That’s the importance of an initial consultation with your florist. You need to give them the budget or number you want to be around upfront. Show them your vision and ask how it all works. We can discuss things like – we know you love this fall palette with white peonies, but you’ll have to keep the cost down so here’s a flower we’d recommend instead.
So the flower type is what changes the budget?
Yeah. It can be the actual floral. It can be the number of designs, number of guests that you have and pieces you need. If you have a wedding with 100 people, the cost will be very different than a 200 person wedding. It’s more centerpieces and more time to create them with a bigger wedding. So flower type, design type, work time, and size will all impact the final cost.
What are some of the trends you’re seeing in the floral world right now?
Color, color color. I’m telling you: we were in a world of white and greens for a long time. We’re still there sometimes, because it’s classic. But we’re also seeing a lot of color happening. The bright spring pops of color. People want to feel happy and bright and cheerful on their wedding day. They want their guests to feel that energy. So we’re seeing a lot of color coming back.
It’s so funny that you say color, Christine. About two years ago, I predicted we’d see more colors come to weddings!
Remember how I always ask for those three words to describe your wedding? Over and over, my couples have said they want their guests to feel happy, to have fun and celebrate together. Happiness is a word that’s used across the board. And when you think of happiness, it’s bright and cheerful – that kind of vibe coming into your day.
What is a trend that you would love to see more of?
I love the color when you bring in the yellows and the pinks and the blue. I’d love to see more couples open to looking at a color wheel and seeing how one little addition can bring their whole arrangement to life.
Talk to me about the Eucalyptus trend. I feel like a lot of brides had that in their bouquets for awhile.
I actually think that it’s starting to fade out. There are so many alternatives to Eucalyptus. We use ruscus, which has a darker tone and is more green. I love a good olive branch. It makes a huge difference. But it comes down to using those muted greens in the bouquets. If you want something that pops, eucalyptus won’t be it.
So for someone who wants to make an impact on their wedding day with their florals but isn’t sure how to, what would you recommend?’
So, Olivia and Christian did it within their tent. We hung greenery across their entire tent on the ceiling. And it was not too much in your face, but it was just enough to add that dimension and feel across their tent. We highly recommend adding just that vining greenery that creates a really romantic feel at the venue at the reception space. We’ve also done the hanging florals like suspension pieces, too. It really makes an impact on your guests and offers that wow factor.
A lot of people worry that it’s expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. You can do a smaller piece that’s suspended or work it off of existing lights or chandeliers. It will still make that huge impact. They can be super time consuming for our team, but we love doing these suspended pieces.
I think that’s something that people don’t realize about florists. They’re doing so much prep work – from showing up early and creating all these pieces beforehand.
It’s a lot of hard work. I will say coming from a different industry where I wasn’t lifting and moving us as much, that it’s very challenging on your body, too. I own this company but I still get my hands dirty and do this work. It’s hard but it’s so worth it to see the beauty come alive.
What are some key points that couples should be asking their floral company when they are inquiring to make sure that they are working with a professional company to ensure that their wedding day is an absolutely perfect event?
First, ensure that your florist is organized. Organization is key and all the pieces need to be together for a great proposal. You need to know nothing is going to be forgotten.
Make sure that your florist really understands the vision and what you’re looking for on your wedding day: the most important day of your life as a couple.
Number three would be communicating with you, communicating what’s going on, where you are in the planning process, and what the exact day is going to look like.
What We Discussed
Meet Christine (2:09)
How to research a wedding florist (9:27)
Floral trends (19:14)
Wedding floral color ideas (26:19)
Hanging installations (35:03)
Wrap-Up Question (40:37)
Links Mentioned in the Episode
You can subscribe to this podcast from wherever you’re listening so you never miss an episode. And, we would so appreciate it if you left a fabulous review for our show on Apple podcast! Even better, share it with a friend. It’s a great way to show your support and let us know what you think. Thank you so much for listening!