When it comes to the day of your wedding, there’s one inevitable truth any seasoned professional in the wedding industry can tell you…something’s bound to go wrong. Don’t panic. Typically it’s a small, overlooked detail or a hilariously unplanned moment in the middle of the ceremony that will have you laughing for years to come.
Your wedding day will unfold in a beautiful, messy, memorable and unpredictable way. Much like nature itself.
Nobody knows this better than wedding florist, Rebekah Clark Moody of Forage & Fleur. The Atlanta-based floral designer finds the hands-on challenge of working with nature nothing short of inspiring.
As the founder and visionary behind the company,Rebekah grew up with a love for the arts and creating things with her hands.
“Floral design really allowed me to meld the craft and the hands-on approach of it all,” she explained. “There’s a very fine-art aspect of floral design and that’s what got me excited about the industry.”
She launched Forage & Fleur in the fall of 2014 after earning a degree in business administration and gathering experience working under some reputable wedding florists in the Georgia area. She began to explore her own design avenues, growing her company as new opportunities arose. When it came to naming her business, it came about in a natural way.
“Foraging is a huge part of what I do. I love to gather stuff that is growing fresh, to pace the seasonality of things, to go out and search for the beauty in nature and cut things down that are growing around me. It’s very raw and rugged,” she explained, adding, “Fleur is a French word for flowers, so bringing in the whole vine aspect of it and combining the two describes what I do perfectly.”
During the initial meeting with a new client,Rebekah starts by getting to know the couple and gaining a clear understanding of their vision for the wedding. She then lets nature really lead the way. This helps ensure the overall look of the floral design tells an organic story.
“I am one hundred percent inspired by nature. I am driven by the shape of everything, the natural movement, the textures found in nature,” she said.
Rebekah enjoys the process of meeting with a bridal couple and gaining a clear understanding of their unique style. She also prioritizes building a strong relationship between the client and herself to ensure a smooth design process and execution on the big day.
“It’s important that a bridal couple has an idea of what they want, but at the same time, trusts my style and creative vision enough to hand it over and let me run with it. I can implement their ideas and take it to the next level,” she said.
When it comes to the visual aspect of the design process, she admits to having a love-hate relationship with online tools such as Pinterest. She has seen brides get overwhelmed by the constant influx of new trends and lavish images posted daily to the online site.
“It can get a little crazy, but at the same time, it can help give me a clearer picture of what the client’s style is. It’s a visual language and that’s really important,” she explained. “For instance, what I think of as rustic and what a bride thinks is rustic are two totally different things. I may go towards the restoration hardware, worn wood, aged look, where a bride may be envisioning burlap and mason jars. Having a visual board as a starting point is a good way to help point us in the right direction, but then I like to have the freedom to explore my creativity from there on out,” she added.
Her top tips before hiring a florist includes the following: 1. Book a venue 2. Have a rough estimate of the bridal party and guest count 3. Most importantly, lock down a budget.
Rebekah prefers to know a client’s budget upfront and offers a standard pricing which is available on her website.
“The reason I do this is so I know what amount I’m working with when suggesting different flowers and arrangements,” she explained. “I don’t want to get the bride excited about something and then have to tell her it doesn’t fit within the budget she wants to spend.”
According to Rebekah, there are creative ways to stretch any budget. She may suggest ways to cut back on floral displays such as using a mix of flowers and candles on tables throughout the reception venue. It keeps the space looking full and lush, but saves on the budget without your guests ever knowing the difference. She’s also a fan of repurposing bridal party bouquets and displaying them in vases throughout the reception for added floral appeal.
“If $3,000 is your budget, I’m going to work with you and figure out how to make the ceremony and reception look beautiful, while staying within those numbers. To me budget is very important because knowing that, along with your vision, will allow me to get the best handle on what to propose to you,” she said.
Once the budget is set and the overall design concept is decided on, she gets to work selecting product depending on seasonal availability, color palette, and flower preferences by the client. This is where her creativity really comes out to play.
This year, she began to plant a floral garden of her own so she can use some of the product in her designs.
“I can’t ever guarantee flowers and I try to make that very clear upfront. There are certain times I can say I’m 95 percent sure I can get this flower, but at the end of the day, I’m working with nature and it’s very unpredictable. Especially with the crazy weather we’ve been having,” she said, adding, “Yes, it’s challenging, but floral design is a true passion of mine and I think that really translates through my work.”