Today’s Vendor Spotlight features Chicago Wedding Florist Stephanie, of Flowers by Stem. I was lucky enough to meet Stephanie at our wedding industry event, Thursday Therapy over a year ago. Every month our group meets at a different Chicago wedding venue and different businesses donate their time and talent to provide photos, florals, design, music and food for the event. This is a great way for us to meet new friends, network, and stay on top of the latest wedding trends. It just so happened that Stephanie and I volunteered the same evening. God knows why but I was SO freaking NERVOUS before this Thursday Therapy. Thankfully Stephanie was there setting up (because I arrived WAY too early like the nerd I am) and we were able to chat for a while before everyone arrived. And she totally put me at ease!
On top of creating beautiful flower arrangements, Stephanie is a pleasure to sit down and have a cup of coffee with. She’s super friendly, easy to talk to, organized, and ambitious. She’ll get the job done and you’ll be thrilled with her breath taking work. It’s been inspiring to watch Stephanie’s floral design skills and style evolve over time. Over the course of the past year, her business has really flourished and I’m seeing her mark all over Chicago. The Flowers by Stem team would be the perfect choice for making your wedding vision become a reality.
Photo Credit: Carrie Wildes Photography
Tell me about your business- what do you specialize in? I think flowers can inspire beautiful moments. Whether it be a bouquet as unique as our brides, or a vibrant centerpiece that captures the essence of their celebration, I love creating innovative, one-of-a-kind experiences through our flowers and think that the key is a personalized approach. While I have a wonderful team, I still personally attend to every design element, from initial consultation to final set-up. The best part of this business is creating these beautiful moments that celebrate some of the biggest events in a person’s life – it’s an honor we cherish!
How did you get started? Quite by accident! My husband and I moved to Charleston, SC so that he could attend grad school for architecture. After working for years in advertising, I found myself in a small city with no advertising industry work! I luckily met the wonderful owners of Tiger Lily Florist, and they hired me to design their website and manage their marketing. Within two months of peaking around the corner to the design room, I was learning the ropes of floral design and fell in love! When I returned to Chicago, I started very organically – designing flowers for friends’ weddings, and then friends of friends, and so on!
Photo Credit: City Love Photography
What’s your favorite thing about working in the wedding industry? It’s being a part of these beautiful moments that will forever mark the beginning of a new journey for our clients. We love being excited with them, encouraging them when they get totally stressed out by the family politics that creep into every wedding, and then celebrating the final vision coming to life.
How would you describe your business’ style? Approachable, responsive and inspiring (I hope!). I try to really listen to my clients to get a sense of who they are as people, and what is their vision for their wedding day. I then begin guiding them with suggestions until we land on a unique design for their day.
How far in advance should clients book your services? As early as 15 months in advance, and as late as 1 month in advance!
Where does your inspiration come from? I get truly inspired by the flowers themselves. The flower market is my candy shop – I love the colors, textures, and finding new ways to mix them to come up with something totally different.
Photo Credit Left: Justine Bursoni; Right: Cage & Aquarium
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working? I have three hilarious, beautiful little flower girls of my own – ages 2, 4 and 7. That’s one of the best things about my job – I design out of my garden unit studio, allowing me to be home more with my kids!
What is one piece of advice you think all couples would benefit from knowing? Do your research so that when the time comes to hire your vendors, you can relax and trust in the knowledge that they are dedicated to putting together a beautiful day for you and your guests! Oh, and don’t replan your wedding on Pinterest every day.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
1. Embrace local seasonal flowers. I believe in a sustainable approach to floral design, and encourage my clients to take advantage of the beautiful seasonal local blooms when available.
2. Pass on the flower love – at the end of your wedding, donate all of your leftover flowers to a local nursing home or hospital. I have organized this for many of my clients, and everyone is always so happy when this happens!
How can clients connect with you?