Mallory and Patrick’s July wedding at Herban Feast’s SoDo Park was as soft and romantic and gardeny as they get! Texas Smilax vines hung from the cafe lights overhead and climbed up the antique doors that served as a romantic backdrop for the ceremony and head table. More greenery graced the aisle, interspersed with hurricane candles. Fresh summer blooms were everywhere: cafe au lait dahlias, fairy roses, sweet scabiosa, local snapdragons, false spirea, mixed with hosta leaves, raspberry foliage, and olive. And on the dining tables, lush compote arrangements, tall sprays of greenery and blooms on top of gold stands, and groupings of gold candles and buddy vases sat atop peacock blue velvet linens. And have I mentioned Mallory’s bouquet? Definitely one of our favorites – swoon!
So, what is the difference between a planner and a designer? What does it all mean and what can you expect from each vendor?
There seems to be quite a bit of confusion regarding Event Planning versus Event Design, or Event Styling. Every so often our Event Design company gets confused with an event planning business. While we do handle an important part of the overall event planning process, we are not the same as a planning company! With this blog post I’d like to explain the difference between the two jobs. And I will outline the different service levels that our team at Flora Nova Design can offer.
A beautiful wedding reception for which we helped design and provided floral services
First, I want to explain the difference between an event planner and an event designer:
The event planner is a professional who handles all the logistics of an event, from finding a location to making sure vendors are paid. The planner handles all the intricate details of an event: the menu, dress selection, the hair and makeup appointments, the detailed schedule leading up to the big day, the transportation and accommodations of guests, makes travel arrangements, and so on. The event planner is often called an event coordinator.
The event designer creates a vision for an event and then designs all of the visual details to transform your space and tie it all together to ensure a cohesive look and feel across all elements. The designer can help you come up with the overall look: general style and theme of the event including color palette, design style, and overall direction. This includes the floral designs, decor elements like chairs, linens, furniture, table top elements, and much more. The designer creates an enticing floor plan, can design the food buffet displays, and can give input on cake design, invitation design, and attire.
To distinguish the two different jobs here some specific examples:
While the designer will advise on the look and feel of an escort card table, they will not actually assemble that table on the day of your event. And while designer might help you choose the right guest favor that matches the overall style of your event, they will not coordinate the production, timely shipment, or placement of the favors. While the designer might give input on the look and feel and the design of your menu card at each place setting, they will not get it printed and delivered to your event location.
You start seeing the difference … More on Flora Nova’s different event design services below.
Signage for signature drinks
Fun invitation details
Signage reflecting the overall style
Chic seating chart
Hip bar designs
At Flora Nova Design we offer 3 different design services. You’ll notice that I don’t want to call them “packages” as each service level is completely customizable and the cost for each depends greatly on the extent of our involvement:
“Floral A la carte”: Floral only
“Floral Plus”: Floral and Decor Rental coordination
“Signature Flora Nova “: The Full Event Design option
Floral A La Carte:
If you choose this service option, you typically have your design all figured out and will most likely work with an event planner who is helping you choose all of the decorative elements. You have determined your color palette, your design styles, and already know what you want. We will present all the fun floral choices and help you choose from the endless options of design styles, floral varieties, and pricing options to create a flower order fully customized to your very specific needs. If you are not working with an event planner, we will address overall design elements (like specialty rentals, floor plan, lighting, etc) and you have the option to handle these tasks on your own or can have us assist with them (see options 2 and 3 below).
Besides all of your floral needs, we help you coordinate any specific decor rental elements: specialty chairs and linens, lounge furniture, specialty table top elements (charger plates, flatware, glassware, dishes etc), draping, and lighting to name just a few. You know exactly what you want and just need help coordinating the details with the rental vendors. For a fee (a percentage of the total) we will handle all of the communication, determine final counts, and guarantee timely delivery of all rentals on the day of your event. Note, we will not assist with the selection process of the rentals – this process is part of our “Signature” service outlined below. Many of our clients who choose the Floral Plus option don’t work with an event planner but do have their overall design figured out: they just need coordination help.
Signature Flora Nova:
This option is for all those clients who trust us to bring their vision to life but don’t know where to start. We will help you achieve that vision by helping you determine and select all design elements: the overall style and color palette, floral design styles, specialty rental selection process, lighting plan, floor plan selection, with input on invitations, cake, dresses, etc. Our goal is to create a memorable event by ensuring a cohesive overall look. We will present a comprehensive decor plan with quotes from the each of the vendors who will handle the decorative parts of the event. A design fee will cover these services and will ensure that creative owner Christiane Zweifler is involved throughout the design and implementation process and will be present the day of your event to oversee the setup and installation process. This level of service is often provided in coordination with a client’s event planner.
At Flora Nova Design we accept only a few select full-design projects each year. While we love designing events, we are leaving enough time for our main passion: designing beautiful floral arrangements.
I hope this blog post was helpful in understanding the different event tasks and responsibilities. Let us know your thoughts by leaving questions or comments below.
Finally some fun examples of recent full-design projects:
Neetha and Binni’s August wedding was a grand affair in white and pale pink. The ceremony in Seattle’s Plymouth Congregational Church featured a towering white arch dripping in orchids and an aisle carpeted in white rose petals. At the reception, a 12 foot ceiling installation of white orchids and dangling crystal strands wowed the guests as they entered the ballroom at the new Hyatt Regency, Lake Washington. A mix of pale pink linens covered the assorted rectangular and round tables throughout the room, and each was graced with a lush floral arrangement of hydrangea, roses, dahlias, and stock accented by phaelenopsis orchids and delicate eucalyptus foliage. Gold accents were used throughout the room: in the gold rimmed chargers, flatware, gold rimmed stemware, and mercury glass votives on each tabletop, to the gold chameleon chairs, bar and dessert displays, and even the gold confetti released over the revelers on the dance floor late in the night. What a beautiful event – expertly coordinated by the lovely Alex with Taylor’d Events Group. Congratulations Neetha and Binni!
Kerry and Joe’s soirée at the Overlake Country and Golf Club last July is a perfect example of just how elegant an all-white wedding can be. Kerry chose a lush cascading bouquet of white garden roses, peonies, gardenia, stephanotis, and orchids accented by delicate iron vine. Blooming trees and understated tall floral arrangements graced the front altar for the traditional Catholic ceremony, while trailing greenery and dendrobium orchids adorned each pew. At the Club, guests enjoyed cocktails on the lawn before adjourning to the draped ballroom for dinner and dancing. A mix of round and long dinner tables created visual interest, and Phalaenopsis and dendrobium orchids accented the low white and dark green centerpieces. Textured neutral linens, clear ghost chairs, and crystal candlesticks helped to create luxurious layers of texture throughout the room. A clean boxwood backdrop behind the band (featuring the bride and groom’s own personalized neon sign!) and a low floral planter in front created the perfect setting to dance the night away. Congratulations, Kerry and Joe!
Daniela and Michael’s sweet summer wedding at the Woodmark Hotel and Still Spa last August was cool, breezy, and oh-so chic. Daniela had her heart set on a non-traditional bouquet: a giant grey succulent took center stage in this asymmetrical stunner, accompanied by pale blush spray roses, wispy grasses, nigella pods, and eucalyptus. For the lakeside ceremony, the tent was hung with trailing smilax vines, and an arch featuring blush and cream roses and dahlias framed the happy couple. More lush greenery graced the aisle, and rose and eucalyptus posies adorned the chairs. At dinner, the blush dining tables held an assortment of gold candlesticks, bud vases, greenery runners, and succulents in tiny gold terrariums. And be sure to look at the cutest little crocheted birdies you ever did see on top of that cake!
Mama mia, was this a gorgeous wedding! Last August, the Flora Nova team had the privilege of working with the ever-fabulous Katy of Vows Wedding and Event Planning to design this fairytale white wedding on the groom’s family’s private estate. This was a family affair on a grand scale: after an intimate ceremony at the family’s Catholic parish, the guests heads back to the family manse for cocktails by the pool. Check out those floating lily pads in the turquoise water!
After cocktails, the lucky guests strolled through the gardens down to a custom-built tent on the back lawn (constructed by the amazing team at Cort Party Rental) for dinner and dancing. This family has a love affair with the gardenia and just had to have them, so we obliged: 500 fresh cut gardenias were flown in for the occasion. As you can imagine, the scent when guests walked into the tent was heavenly! Each place setting was graced with a stemmed gardenia, and more gardenias were tucked into the abundant floral arrangements that lined the long dinner tables.
As the evening wore on, Andy, Melissa, and their attendants had the perfect view of the festivities from their 32′ head table loaded with flowers and fully framed by a lush floral backdrop. Dense greenery swags graced the ceiling and called attention to the drool-worthy (and enormous!) crystal chandeliers. Tall taper candles and glittering gold mercury glass votives created a romantic glow as the sun set, and the revelers danced long into the night. What a perfect day!