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Floral Roundtable: Three New York floral designers share their work and their advice for curating a personal and picture-perfect floral design at your wedding

Floral Roundtable: Three New York floral designers share their work and their advice for curating a personal and picture-perfect floral design at your wedding

Photo: Tin Can Studios

Amidst the wealth of floral designers in New York City and State, today I feature three who give a snapshot of the breadth of creativity amongst New York florists. Hannah Sharkey of Hudson Botanica, LaParis Phillips of Brooklyn Blooms, and Ingrid Carozzi of Tin Can Studios are each joining me at a virtual roundtable to share their inspiration for, and approach to, floral design and offer some tips and tricks for couples planning their weddings. As you consider booking your wedding florist and planning your floral design, learning about different aesthetics and approaches amongst wedding florists -- along with their expert advice -- is a great resource for guiding your vendor selection and creative process.

 

HUDSON BOTANICA

Based in: Cortlandt Manor, New York

Aesthetic: Nature-inspired, organic, wild yet delicate

Typical Budget Range: $3,000 - $15,000

Founder & Lead Designer: Hannah Sharkey

Photo: One Night Cereus

Hudson Botanica, founded by Lead Floral Designer Hannah Sharkey, plays with nature-inspired design to create custom wedding and event florals that are keenly tailored to couples’ tastes and love stories.

Pouring her heart and soul into her designs, Sharkey takes inspiration from her home in the Hudson Valley to create beautiful floral designs that mimic the flowing, ethereal nature of flowers in the wild. Speaking of her favorite flowers, Sharkey notes that those she loves most are “delicate and soft and fleeting — a Japanese butterfly ranunculus, icelandic poppies, chocolate cosmos, Queen Anne’s lace…sweet peas…I like the quiet, quirky and petite stems that make a statement above all the rest and sort of float at the top of arrangements.”

She goes on to say, “I’m fascinated by Mother Nature and try to mimic the way she intended them [flowers] to be in their natural state, giving each blossom, each tendril, the opportunity to be a part of the adventure, always embracing the fleeting nature of our work. We believe each material has something to say, and we aim to let our designs be expressive of nature and celebratory of the seasons. I’ve had a lifetime’s love affair with flowers and gardening since before I can remember. It was something special I shared with my mom, and, now that she’s not here anymore, it’s something that makes me feel close and somehow still connected to her — flowers are quite literally my therapy and food for my soul. They never cease to amaze me, and I can never seem to tire of them. Naturally, I had to figure out a way to make them my living.”

Photo: Hudson Botanica

Advice to engaged couples: “I know it’s easier said than done, but just try to start the process by nailing down the one thing that is important to the both of you on your big day — in terms of floral and design. What do you want to be your “standout piece?” For some it’s the reception centerpieces, for some it’s the arch — whatever it is for you, try your best to boil it down to one area. As a florist, that helps me know where to start and where your budget should be focused, and then we work backwards from there to the rest of the floral elements for your big day. Focus on the prize, and the rest will follow suit.”

 

BROOKLYN BLOOMS

Based in: Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn

Aesthetic: Funky, colorful, fun, dimensional

Typical Budget Range: $5,000 and under

Founder & Lead Designer: LaParis Phillips

Photo: Jason Spears

Founder and Lead Designer LaParis Phillips describes Brooklyn Blooms as a “love affair with Brooklyn.” Located in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn Blooms is a retail floral boutique that offers wedding and event floral design, in addition to retail florals, floral crown workshops (I highly recommend these workshops -- you’ll feel like a QUEEN), and weekly deliveries for corporate and individual clients.

Besides the daily inspiration Phillips garners from the people, the stories, and the shared passion and tenacity of her Brooklyn community, Phillips also takes inspiration from her other love -- fashion -- to create her arrangements. It shows. Her edgy, bold approach to floral design is unlike anyone else at the forefront of this industry.

Photo: Jason Spears

Phillips’ bold approach is best demonstrated in her frequent use of carnations. While carnations have garnered a bad reputation as being “tacky” or “cheap", Phillips utilizes them in innovative and interesting ways in her arrangements. Referring to them as the underdog in the flower world,” Phillips highlights their versatility in color and long-lasting and inexpensive nature, adding “They don't want much — just to be appreciated and loved, much like us humans!” Preach!

In essence, Phillip’s approach to floral design is centered in “love, passion, and gratitude.” Asked about her inspiration for opening Brooklyn Blooms, Phillips shares, “Flowers and nature have always been apart of my life. My mother always planted flowers in the Spring in old boots and I'd water them before going into the house after school. We had a family balloon shop where we sold flowers as well. Nothing fancy, but they were flowers and I was interested. In college, I worked at a flower shop all four years and loved it! It's so relaxing and amazing to have the ability to create something out of nothing. Having the ability to look at loose stems and create something that makes one appreciate beauty a little bit more. I do it because it makes me happy and free. My shop is literally my happy place and being able to put together beautiful bouquets and share my happy place with my community is a real treat!”

Photo: Jason Spears

Advice to engaged couples: “The best advice I can give when choosing your florist is to make sure the energy is right, be sure you get a good vibe from the person that will be creating beauty for you. You want to be happy during the entire process. Another piece of advice is to let your florist have creative freedom. The less direction you give, the more the creative juices get to flow with us. We love when a couple has a vision, color pallet, and inspiration but allows the floral artist to create beauty especially for them. When clients come to Brooklyn Blooms, they are coming for the Brooklyn Blooms floral style and experience.”

 

TIN CAN STUDIOS

Based in: Red Hook, Brooklyn

Aesthetic: Wild, loose, organic, asymmetrical, modern yet romantic. Strong emphasis on subtly interesting ingredients and color palettes, European-inspired design

Typical Budget Range: $8,000 - $40,000

Founder & Lead Designer: Ingrid Carozzi

Photo: Tin Can Studios

Tin Can Studios is a Brooklyn-based floral designer serving all of New York City. Besides serving wedding clients, they also work with corporate clients, weekly residential clients, museums, and even on fashion installations!

Owner Ingrid Carozzi creates high-end bouquets and installations without the stuffiness of traditional floral design. Originally a graphic designer, Carozzi began her floral career by helping a client with floral designs for an event. Carozzi remembers, “At the event, a woman came up to me and cried because she thought the floral arrangements were so pretty and reminded her of a garden in her childhood home town in Sweden. The reactions I received made me realize how powerful and meaningful flowers can be.” That event became the launch and catalyst for the growth of her business, and a year or two later, she was featured as “best florist” in New York Magazine and even launched her own flower book in Europe (now also available in the U.S.). By then, her clients and collaborators included Moet, Hennessy, Instagram, Vogue, and Takashi Murakami.

Carozzi’s high-end design is complemented by a commitment to sustainability. Apart from weddings, corporate clients, and the like, Carozzi teaches “sustainable methods for large scale floral installations for events at FlowerSchool New York and also love[s] doing flower arranging workshops on the same topic. I think it is important that we find new ways to work with flowers that are less harmful [to our planet] and try to reduce waste as much as possible, as the event industry is the second most wasteful after [the] construction industry. I don’t typically mention this to clients right at the start, as I dislike “greenwashing,” but I think it is important to have a constructive conversation about what we can do in order to reduce waste whenever possible. Several other florists, such as U.K. Based Philippa Craddock, are raising awareness in the field as well, which shows that the industry is going in the right direction." (Philippa Craddock did the installation for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding, used no floral foam and donated all of the flowers to charity after the event).

Photo: Tin Can Studios

Advice for engaged couples: “Our clients usually have a very sophisticated eye, and we take our design presentations very seriously. But the planning process should be fun, enjoyable, and stress free. We love having a glass of wine or beer together at our consultations. We also love having family members (mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers) involved as well (if the client wants). In addition, we encourage clients to use their own vintage vases, fabrics, or furniture whenever possible/available. Many of our clients become close friends and that is what is so special to us about weddings.

We also encourage our clients (and ourselves) to look for inspiration beyond pin boards of floral design, e.g., nature, fashion, people, interiors, sculptures, architecture, food, etc.”

Photo: Tin Can Studios

 

Thanks so much to each of my collaborators for taking part in this round table! As you move forward in your planning, I encourage you to check out a few other fabulous florist friends of mine, IndyFASO Floral Design, Rosewood Floral, Ember Floral Co., and New York Makers' Publisher's Pick Stems Couture, among many others! As a wedding planner, my piece of advice is to involve your partner in your planning. Even if one of you is more interested than the other in floral design, it’s so fun to share these experiences and memories, and you’ll be thankful for her or his input.

For those of you reading from across the state, I would invite you to share the most special florists with whom you have worked, so that we can spread the word.

Happy planning!

Shop on New York Makers Marketplace for floral-inspired wedding gifts, favors, and decor, from a selection of New York-made artisanal goods!


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This story is brought to you by:
Justine Broughal is a wedding and event planner, social justice advocate, and puppy snuggler. She is the Owner and Lead Planner at Together Events, a wedding and event planning company with a social impact. Together Events specializes in beautifully curated, people-centered gatherings that celebrate partnership, not patriarchy. 10% of all sales are donated to organizations that serve survivors of domestic violence. Her work has been featured on RuffledCatalyst Wedding Co.A Practical Wedding, Rock n’ Roll Bride Magazine, andThe Portland Mercury. She lives with her husband and corgi in Brooklyn, New York.


Photo: Isabelle Selby Photography


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