Dan and I don't want to have a cookie cutter wedding that looks like everyone else's. Apparently there is a whole market for people like us. Go online and you will find a ton of wedding web sites (see my blog roll), each with very creative and interesting ways to make a wedding that reflects your personality.
While I search these web sites to inspire me come up with our own original ideas, what really impresses me about them is that I have discovered that there are a ton of young(ish) people--people like me--who run these really creative small business making everything from custom stationary to photography to veils to flowers. You get the sense that these people are doing what they love, being extremely creative, defying cheesy wedding conventions, making it their way and somehow getting paid for it (or at the very least, getting tons of exposure via wedding blogs). These people interest me.
Lately, I have been fantasizing about starting a business based on my own creativity, but there is one catch. I have no skills. Okay, I am being a little hard on myself. Of course I have skills. In actuality, the freelance thing I have going on now is essentially my own marketing business. But I am talking about artistic skills...graphic design, photography, baking cakes, arranging flowers etc. All these things sound awesome, but I am just am amateur. I don't specialize in anything. I can't sell that. Another things: while it sounds cool to own a business like this, is it just a fantasy? Perhaps when it comes down to it, dealing with bridezillas or say, slaving in the kitchen all day baking cakes isn't really all that fulfilling after all.
I looked into paying jobs in some of these fields and realized fast that I didn't have the right experience. Still, intrigued by the idea, last month, I decided to email two woman small business owners based in Brooklyn who I found on wedding web sites, who are doing creative things and are just beginning to establish themselves. One business is a floral design studio, the other a cupcake bakery. I told them my deal and since I have the time on my hands from being unemployed, I asked if I could be an intern and learn from their trade. Both ladies contacted me within 24 hours with a resounding yes, and I have since met both of them in person.
Denise, the floral designer, asked if I would be interested in helping her prepare flowers for a small wedding. I was excited about the idea but a little nervous. You see, I like flowers. But I don't know anything about flowers. I think I have arranged flowers maybe once or twice in my whole life! So yesterday I headed to her studio with butterflies in my stomach (and that self-help mantra, "Do something everyday that scares you," in my head) where I met up with Denise and her assistant, Christine.
I chose Denise as a mentor because her aesthetic matches my own, and if I am going to learn how to arrange flowers, I want them to resemble hers. While the color palette is different, the flower arrangements we created yesterday were similar to those I want for my very own wedding. She showed me an inspiration board for this wedding that included images I had already pulled for my own. (I lament the fact that she isn't based in New Orleans!) Basically, she had sourced small vintage-looking glass containers and we could be creating small arrangements of flowers that will be grouped together on the table. The look is very lush yet somehow informal, like someone was inviting people over for dinner and decided to create a beautiful centerpiece out of the glasses in their china cabinet. It looks effortless, but it's not.
Most of the work I did all day was schlepping buckets of water up and down stairs, cutting and cleaning the flowers, washing all the dishware, filling them up with water, but I have to tell you, the time just flew. I loved it. I watched Denise work her magic of creating the most beautiful arrangements, and it was fascinating and inspiring. She had me try to create a few small vases (basically copying one that she already did). I had fun with it even though she ended up redoing most of my work (I didn't feel bad because it was my first time and she did the same thing with the other assistant, too).
It was a fun day. I didn't come away with any grand conclusions about starting a business or being a florist. All I know is that I want to try it again. I am really grateful to Denise for the opportunity.
At the studio, here's Christine and I after cleaning/cutting all the flowers and putting them into buckets.
Those flowers in buckets turned into mini centerpieces of mostly orange flowers, highlighted with pinks, whites, yellow, plums and lush greenery.
This was my favorite arrangement. This picture doesn't give it justice. It was stunning.
I made those little rose guys on the bottom.