My first interview to celebrate summer weddings is with Lei Ann Salter of Happy Flowers. The photos above are from a recent southern California wedding with a Tuscan and Provance theme. How gorgeous are these flowers? That’s Lei Ann, above left with the happy bride.
SJ: Please tell us a little about yourself. How did you start? Did you always target wedding customers? Where are you located and what are the areas that you serve?
Lei Ann: Happy Flowers is located in Agoura Hills, Ca. I have a three car garage that has been turned into a floral studio. Walk in cooler and raised design tables.I have always done weddings. I started by working in a bridal salon selling wedding dresses. I would come into the shop and hand bride’s bouquets that I had made in flower school.My education includes a degree in art and then I took floral classes.
SJ: What is the history of a bride carrying flowers for her wedding Do you know where that tradition came from?
Lei Ann: I think there are different reasons for the bride holding a bouquet depending on what country. One is that the groom left flowers on the door step of the bride and she would carry the bouquet on her wedding day.
SJ: What is one your most favorite flower combinations for a wedding and why?
Lei Ann: My favorite flower for a wedding is hydrangeas- They fill up a lot of space and you can layer other flowers on top of them. I love roses, hydrangeas and orchids together.
SJ: Are most of the flowers you use grown here in California?
Lei Ann: Most of the flowers I get are grown locally in California which is so great.
SJ: What are your best sources for inspiration? Any favorite blogs or websites for brides planning a wedding?
Lei Ann: My best sources of inspiration are nature and looking at the work of some of the best designers around and then tailoring those ideas to fit the budgets of your typical bride. Websites for brides to look at- The Knot and Wedding Wire.
SJ: What is the typical lead time to insure getting the flowers of choice? How far out should a bride work with you?
Lei Ann: I usually book about 6-9 months in advance. These days brides are holding onto their money and will book as close to a month out. If I am not booked it is no problem to book close to the actual wedding date. I like to order my flowers a month in advance to make sure that I get the flowers that I need. Of course it is nature and many times things don’t go as planned.
SJ: Do you have look books to show your work? How does a bride make her selections? Any words of advice for brides of all walks and budgets?
Lei Ann: I have many portfolios for bride’s to look at. I always show my own work and not that of other florists.I ask my bride’s before meeting with me to look through magazines and bring a handful of “Inspiration Pictures” to our first meeting. My advice to brides is to “Spend your wedding dollar where it will show up in a picture”. I also tell them that the budget is usually 10-15% of their wedding budget.