We all know that florals make a big visual impact on your overall wedding aesthetic. They can add color, texture, convey a sense of romance while setting the tone for celebration. If design is important to you for your wedding or elopement you’ve probably already started dreaming about what your florals may look like. Although knowing where to start can be super challenging. I reached out to Alexis at Slow Cult, a Portland based elopement florist and designer to give us some insight into her, her business, tips for couples planning, and 2022 wedding floral trends to look out for.
I had a ton of fun visiting the SlowCult studio and photographing Alexis in her element. Read on for Alexis’ expert insight into how to find wedding floral inspiration, how to find the best wedding floral designer for you and more.
My name is Alexis Ramblings and I am a creative who has a nature and textile obsession. I have been admiring and studying fine are for most of my life. I have a degree in Business with a focus in Fashion Merchandising and a double minor in Fine Art and Styling. I’ve traveled all over the world and love how different cultures tell stories and mark life occasions with textiles and flowers. After ditching the fashion grinned in NYC I moved to Portland on a whim, mostly because a bunch of strangers told me I would like it and my gut instincts agreed. I truly found a home in the PNW and my love for florals blossomed after seeing what an incredible part of the world this is for flower and plant production.
SlowCult came out of my passion and belief that the good stuff in life takes time and the natural magic that is a giant flower growing out of a pin-prick of a seed. Our name comes from our creative philosophy “Slowly fostered, adventurously cultivated design” which is at the core of all of the creations that come out of the SlowCult Studio. We specialize in sustainable intimate outdoor weddings and wild elopements!
I can’t imagine life without constant physical connection to nature. It grounds me and delights me at the same time and allows me to create with knowing that the work is impermanent and fleeting, making it that much more special in the moment and that much easier to push my creativity knowing it won’t last. I think of myself as the swan-song conductor for each perfect blooms breathe and It’s always my goal to make it special and worth all of the love and care that went into it.
My design approach always starts with the couple. I use my background in styling to get to know their joint style and better understand their vision for their wedding day. Each couple has a unique story to tell and I feel strongly that a large part of my job is to help them interpret that story through flowers and styling. Seasonality is the next consideration for design because we focus on sustainable seasonal product and we have spent years building relationships with local growers and understanding what is available and thriving in different climates in particular times of the year. It can also be an important part of telling the couples story by highlighting the season or place through florals.
Lastly, the physical location is considered, especially when working on outdoor events in wild spaces. Nature already knows how to put on a show and we are never trying to be in competition, we’re the accessory. We think about whether we want the flowers to harmoniously contrast with the setting or flow, take weather patterns into consideration, and create designs that won’t be harmful to the natural environment.
After visiting over 20 countries and literally living on a ship around the world I can confidently say I think the Pacific Northwest is one of the most breathtaking beautiful locations in the world. While there is so much lush greenery I have a soft spot in my heart for the desert so I find Painted Hills and the surrounding John Day Area particularly inspiring. If your looking for a waterfall wedding you cannot go wrong with Wahclella Falls and the Oregon coast never disappoints! Samuel H. Boardman State Park on the southern Oregon coast feels like driving through a movie scene and offers rugged wild coastal nature that is perfect for the adventurous couple, not to mention you can be in the redwoods in CA in about an hour!
Color blocking. I love color and some of my absolute favorite designs are created by clustering similar colors in the palette together. This can be done on a large or small scale. For example, you could have a large installations that flows from one color in your palette to another and creates a bold statement or on the other hand you can group like colors within a table arrangement where all of the palette is still being used; this creates a natural garden like effect that is both colorful, but familiar to the eye as it is the way the plants grow in clusters.
Unless you are truly passionate about flowers I think the best approach is not to really think about the flowers at all and instead to look at art, nature, clothing, home design, that really excites you. Consider your wedding venue too. Did you pick your location because it has a contemporary flair, an amazing view, or tons of natural texture? These can be great indicators of what are important elements to be the common thread of all of your wedding day.
Find a florist whose body of work you love. I cannot stress this enough. Consider a floral designers instagram page to be their portfolio and look over it as a whole. If you connect with their design style and the core values their business is built around then reach out! The key is to find someone’s style you love so much you will put your full trust in them to run with your inspiration.
I can promise you that if you come to a floral designer with this approach, have an open mind about the types of flowers used, and give them a wide variety of inspiration outside of florals (it’s always great to point out some floral bouquets or installs you really love) like fine art or personal style, you will get the MOST out of your florist. They will go above and beyond for you if they feel that creative trust.
This is such a great question because there are so many creative options, but I do want to start by saying don’t feel pressured to have to do anything extra with them and enjoy all the hard work that went into their wedding day swan song. If you are into the idea of taking your wedding florals a step further here are my top suggestions:
– Ask your florist to create an installation in your home with the product that is or will dry well. Home installs can last for up to two years depending on the location and type of florals used. It’s also a fabulous option if you are not planning to go on a honeymoon right after the wedding as it feels special to have part of your wedding day still living along with you.
– Send your bouquet to a professional flower preserver. They can make some beautiful everlasting creations from acrylic art blocks with your flowers floating in them to practice home items like coasters. Some preservers specialize in pressed flowers while others specialize in resin preservation. I am always happy to give my couples recommendations for my personal favorite preservation designers.
– Let your guests enjoy them! Let’s be real, no one really wants a ball jar with your wedding date on it and I can’t tell you how many couples wished they hadn’t spent a large chunk of money on guest gifts that get left behind or tossed in the trash. Instead talk to your florist about purchasing the vessels your flowers will be in so guests can take them home at the end of the night. Flowers are a luxury and your guests will thank you for giving them something they actually want.
An 85 degree clear summer day. Brunch outside at a favorite PDX restaurant with friends and my hubby. Hanging at the river all afternoon with the same peeps, but bring the dogs. Smoking weed and eating summer salads. A pit stop at Sugarpine Drive-In for a seasonal ice cream sundae. A potluck, a bonfire, and an outdoor movie night in the backyard with more friends to top it off. I CANNOT WAIT FOR SUMMER!