Did You Know Wedding Floral Design Can Help Heal a Community?

Did You Know Wedding Floral Design Can Help Heal a Community?

 Natalie Halleen Photography

Natalie Halleen Photography

Sometimes we as floral artists believe that being creative, original, and innovative means that all of our ideas have to be birthed in genius and products of our singular imagination. Or that being relevant and successful as a florist means mimicking what we see other designers creating. Being in the business of beauty, it can be easy to become consumed by the pressure to compete, and we sometimes make an idol out of the need to be the most applauded and acclaimed, the most popular and talked-about.

But the truth is, our talent and our art – they are the gifts we get to love the world with generously. We rearrange the materials of the earth to create meaning for this time, this place, these people. We give away in a grand gesture of service: our time, our energy, our talent, and in so many ways – our hearts – for the uplifting of others.

I am lucky enough to live in a big, small town. It’s grown large in numbers, but in profound ways has maintained a neighborhood feel and people love to celebrate local owners, local novelties, and the unique qualities of where we live (sometimes even local history or folklore). What’s exciting to me about this is the sense of community and grounded-ness – of in fact “being your brother’s keeper,” celebrating and mourning with the people around you. And what better an opportunity to come together to celebrate than a wedding?

So how can we foster this community? How can we hand over flowers that aren’t empty pretty things? How can a wedding belong to more than one couple, and be an agent of unity and restoration in a community?

I believe that by the way we think about design and what we communicate in our creations, and by the way we conduct our businesses, actively knitting a family around us as we work, a wedding can serve as a public signpost of hope in a city.

 Natalie Halleen Photography

Natalie Halleen Photography

These are a few of the questions I ask myself to while designing for a local bride:

  • What am I fostering in my communication and relationship with my brides? With my peers and other vendors?

  • Do I know the personality of my city outside of the wedding industry? The influencers of this personality?

  • What do I believe my brides are trying to communicate and achieve by holding a wedding? (It’s often more than the obvious answer of getting married! You need only sign a piece of paper to accomplish this.)

  • What is my perception of why brides want flowers? What is my understanding of why they want flowers?

  • How am I tapping into the heartbeat of the city? How can I support my town in addition to (and in the process of) supporting my bride?

  • Do I let the landscape and physical attributes of the city inspire me?

We can and should take inspiration from what is around us today in form and mood, personality and color, people and land. We do not create in a vacuum of Insta-Florists. We exist in a community, go to a grocery store, eat at the cafe down the street. We are served by these people every day in a generous outpouring of talents. We as florists should be no different. We are champions of our brides individually, and we shouldn’t sacrifice their particular dream in any way, but we can also be champions of the place we inhabit by including it and by listening.

What I think much of this comes down to is that I don’t want to be in the business of production or popularity; I want to make people my business. I want to design with them in mind rather than with how much publicity this bouquet might warrant me or impress my competitors. I want to be for the people in my community more than I am for my own gain.

This belonging to others and acting from that space, considering them in all our choices is how a wedding can heal a community and bring it together. Its a bit of a trust-building exercise and it won’t happen overnight, but it is worth your energy and your hope. Love like that spills and flows. From you to your bride, your bride to her barista, the barista to a student, and so it goes. One blooming heart at a time.

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