Advice from our Floral Designers, Giselle & Michelle!

We stopped by Jasmine Galleria to chat with our two fabulous on-site floral designers, Giselle and Michelle! The pair specializes in wedding and event design, and together have a combined 15 years’ experience in the floral industry. With backgrounds in art and design, and a mind for customer service rooted in their years spent at local florists, these two designers pride themselves on their creative minds and their ability to rise to any design challenge brides can throw at them! So we asked them: What makes Jasmine Galleria’s floral department stand out from the rest?

How do you feel your individual design backgrounds play a role in your floral designs?

Michelle – “I was schooled in fashion design and have always been interested in combining floral elements with my designs. I was working at a local flower shop during my time at school and it was always a constant inspiration to see the colors and textures that nature creates! I have always had a love for texture; I am a very tactile person. I love papers, fabrics, flowers, anything! I always try to vary up the textures in my floral pieces either by utilizing different mediums (like fabrics, ribbons, etc.) or juxtaposing different flowers to make each stand out.”

Giselle – “I’d say my background in ceramic sculpture has made me fearless when it comes to the actual arranging of a difficult design.  I’ve always loved working with my hands, and the opportunity to work with such gorgeous blossoms is a delight!  Also, I’ve always been attracted to texture and color, the way they play off one another.  Which flowers do amazingly!  Something as simple as a dozen roses can be arranged a million different ways, and I love discovering the possibilities.”

What makes Jasmine’s floral department different from, let’s say, a “mom and pop” shop?

“The main difference between our floral studio and a local florist is our array of rental items (Chiavari chairs! Candelabras! Linens! Crystal globes!), and the accessibility of fresh flowers. We work with top Chicagoland wholesalers that always provide us with the freshest product at competitive pricing. Most small shops don’t have the same access to certain floral varieties as we do, and simply don’t have the retail space necessary to store all the extra merchandise. Our brides love all our rental options; they are budget friendly and can fit into any wedding theme! At Jasmine, we encounter brides with a variety of budgets and this can provide us with some unique challenges! It is our job to make smart recommendations and suggest alternatives, but still create a one of a kind wedding that follows the bride’s aesthetic and theme. Keeping with the “one-stop shop” theme, we offer to deliver, set-up, and transfer floral product from the ceremony to the reception site. This way, we can ensure the bride doesn’t have to worry about a THING on her wedding day. We take care of everything!”

Tell us about a wedding you designed where you had to think outside of the box?

“We had a wedding we designed in September where the bride, Jamie, asked for manzanita branches covered in moss and an array of flowers for her centerpieces. We used manzanita branches before, but never to this caliber! We had to figure out a way to keep the flowers hydrated on the branch, a way to mount the branches on the table, and of course to have them be deliverable! We decided to set the branches in plaster in plastic liners (That’s Giselle’s ceramics background there!). That ensured the entire piece would sit flat on the table AND in our delivery van! For the flowers, we designed the main floral sections in Oasis Igloos (basically a half sphere of floral foam) to keep them hydrated and wired them to the branches. It turned out AMAZING – we attached single blossoms and extra moss using floral adhesive to complete the effect. Jamie was ecstatic! It was exactly what she envisioned, and her wedding remains one of our favorites!”


It sounds like you two can encounter some challenges! Describe one of the most difficult weddings you designed?

“The first one that comes to mind was a wedding this last December taking place at The Bridgeport Arts Center for our bride, Eileen. Ironically enough, the reception didn’t use any flowers! Half of the centerpieces were 24” glass cylinder vases filled with birch branches and decorated with hanging candles. The other tables had cylinder trios topped with floating candles. The main focal points however, were the eight ceiling to floor wooden beams decorated with grape vine and string lights! The set up was one of the most physically demanding we had ever done! Giselle was up and down a twelve foot ladder for most of the afternoon, while the rest of us were running back and forth from the kitchen with watering cans to fill all the vases (countless trips!) The room was BUSTLING! Everyone was busy! When we finally finished, the room had transformed! The soft lighting of the string lights and candles perfectly accented the wood grain of the room surrounding them. It was a stunning winter wedding. In the back of our minds, however, we knew that in just a few hours we would be back to tear it all down. And so around midnight we arrived! We finally finished around 2:00 am. We were EXHAUSTED! I mean, absolutely exhausted! It’s on days like that that we know we’re in the right profession. Even after accomplishing such a physically (and mentally!) demanding wedding and set up, we still LOVE what we do! That’s exactly what it’s all about – creating a special moment for a couple 🙂 “


We know there are so many to choose from, but tell us about one of your favorite weddings!

Michelle – “We designed a wedding this summer for our bride Gina that had DIY elements I absolutely LOVED! (I believe she was already featured on our blog). The wedding and reception took place outside at a beautiful golf course right on the pond. The day itself was perfect! Not a cloud in the sky and not too hot, or windy. We lined her guest chairs with hydrangea filled mason jars (Which I LOVE!) Her bouquet looked like it was picked straight from the garden with soft lisianthus, stock blooms, garden roses, spray roses, and other different wild flower elements. It was probably the closest idea to the style of bouquet I would want (Eventually!). For the reception, each table showcased a menagerie of thrift store vases, each different, but similar in the way of texture and size (texture!). The simplicity of the arrangements really let the flowers speak for themselves and showed off their natural beauty. Overall, it was just sweet and light, I loved it!”


Giselle – “Another summer wedding we designed for our bride, Stephanie used soft romantic elements with accents of black. Her bouquet was traditional white, but the variety of flowers and textures is what made it stand out! For the reception, we used our black candelabras decorated with ivory and blush flowers for a third of the centerpieces, which popped wonderfully against the light tones of the banquet room. While a lot of brides shy away from black in their floral or decoration, I believe it adds immediate depth and creates a classic romantic look when paired with blush or champagne tones. Admittedly, I love blush pink!  I also enjoy using accents of black in designs. For the remaining tables, black cubes placed low on the table filled with white hydrangea and ivory and blush pink roses (our favorite “Sophie” variety), and recycled pomander balls used at the ceremony atop black julep cups. The result was romantic, edgy, and all around classy!”


Any tips for brides working within a budget?

“We encounter MANY different budgets at Jasmine. Each bride is different and each wedding has its own aesthetic and theme we need to work around. But there are definitely ways to work within a budget! Of course, the simplest advice we have is to choose flowers in season: peonies and tulips in the spring, dahlias in the fall, amaryllis during the winter, etc. Ordering flowers in season keeps the price down and ensures each variety is in its PRIME! Sure, we can try and order peonies in the fall, but trust us, you wouldn’t want them! Another option is to introduce some kind of DIY element. For example, some of the reception tables can display a non-flower element such as books, tea sets, lanterns, the options are endless really! Additionally, if some tables feature DIY pieces, the rest of the tables can utilize our rental items, which is a great way to save! We also offer to transfer ceremony pieces to the reception to be re-used as centerpieces or other decoration. This is a FABULOUS way to keep on a budget and to recycle pieces that would otherwise be discarded. There are many suggestions we can make on this end, just ask us!”


Thanks for all the wonderful advice Giselle & Michelle! If you’d like to schedule an appointment with them for your special event design call 888.952.7646!


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