Advice: Design Stars
From pale petals to heirloom pedestals, two local décor mavens dish on modern wedding style
Owner, Zest Floral and Event Design
A longtime lover of flowers, Bernstein never thought she’d work with them professionally. But during her four years at the Metropolitan Group she also managed to get certified by the Floral Design Institute and study under renowned British florist Paula Pryke. In 2010, Bernstein said goodbye to marketing and hello to Zest, her forward-thinking studio inspired by fashion, décor, and, of course, weddings.
Q | Any floral trends you’re noticing among Portland newlyweds-to-be?
A | The look this year is very romantic and opulent, but natural—think ultraluxurious blooms like peonies, garden roses, dahlias, and clematis fresh-picked from the garden of a grand estate. Bouquets are also getting looser; we’re getting less and less requests for the tight, perfectly round dome. With color it’s all about tone-on-tone and neutrals: whites, creams, and blush are crazy popular, as well as peach, coral, greens, taupe, gray, and navy or black.
Q | Can you share your top flower tips for style-savvy couples on a budget?
A | First, decide what elements of your wedding are most important, and then make the florals for those parts überfabulous. If you’re having a short ceremony off-site, limit décor there and focus on making a splash at the reception. Second, have flowers that do double-duty: repurpose altar arrangements, put wedding-party bouquets in vases for centerpieces on your head table, and display your toss bouquet alongside your guestbook. Third, vary your centerpiece styles—incorporating something more candle-heavy or a scaled-down version of your more dramatic arrangements will help with the price and create interesting variety. We’re also happy to help with just the personal flowers and consult on DIY décor ideas.
With color it’s all about tone-on-tone and neutrals: whites, creams, and blush are crazy popular.
Q | How about couples for whom money is no object?
A | Think beyond bouquets, bouts, and centerpieces, with showstoppers like massive globes of carnations floating in a pool, lush greenery chandeliers, or a strung-orchid ceremony backdrop. But jazzing up some of the traditionally simple details is also a brilliant way to get that “wow factor.” For example, add character to tables by using unique containers. We love mirror-paneled or crystal vases accented with mercury glass for elegant affairs, and centerpieces in rustic wooden boxes accented by antique lanterns for more laid-back, outdoor weddings.
Q | What might eco-conscious couples do with their arrangements post-wedding?
A | You could donate your flowers to local retirement homes or hospitals, or consider
having them also serve as favors. Portland’s Blumebox has stylish recyclable cardboard vases that make super-cute takeaways. Or instead of traditional center-pieces, do groupings of mini ceramic pots filled with succulents and sedum—at the end of the night, each guest gets their own little planter.
• Book Ideally six to nine months out. At your initial consultation, share your wedding date, venue, and general likes/dislikes.
• Budget Most couples spend about 8 to 10 percent of their wedding funds on all their floral needs.
• Seasonal favorites Spring: peonies and lilacs; summer: garden roses and hydrangea; fall: dahlias and persimmon branches; winter: amaryllis and paperwhites (narcissus)
Owner, Something Borrowed Portland
Raised in rural Alaska and later in Seattle by her grandparents, Bigsby (a Master Recycler!) learned the importance of resourcefulness, crafting, and sharing with her community early on. But it was discovering Portland’s dearth of vintage rentals while planning her August 2011 wedding that inspired her to found a business of her own. The rest is sustainably stylish history.
Q | Why do you think specialty (vintage, rustic, industrial) décor is so appealing to today’s newlyweds-to-be?
A | It allows you to extend the uniqueness and hospitality of your home into your venue and express your personality, interests, and memories in memorable ways. For instance, someone might remember a sofa from their great-grandparents’ home and be drawn to our gold-framed French Provincial sectional, which is perfect for cocktail-hour lounge areas or a photo op. Another client might want to add a rustic element to a venue that provides tables, so they mix in the farm tables we’ve made from 80-year-old wood reclaimed from a fallen barn for the favors and dessert.
Q | What rentals are local couples crazy about right now?
A | We’re definitely seeing a trend toward comfortable seating areas with a couch, chairs, coffee table, and side tables. It’s more conducive to mingling, whereas once guests are sitting at dinner tables they typically don’t want to get up. Vintage suitcases are also huge, huge, huge, serving as anything from card holders to photo-booth props. We started carrying specialty lighting midyear, and that’s increasing in popularity, too: ’60s or ’70s-era swag lights, for example, will give your ceremony backdrop that cool boho look.
We’re definitely seeing a trend toward comfortable seating areas with a couch, chairs, coffee table, and side tables.
Q | According to the Wedding Report, Portland pairs drop an average of $1,783 on rentals. What’s your advice for twosomes on a tight budget?
A | We always ask clients if their grandma or great-aunt has a collection of unique pieces, such as old pedestals, mason jars, a teacup set, or even cameras, tucked away in an attic that they could mix in with, say, rented mismatched vintage china, silverware, and tablecloths. Also, try to repurpose ceremony décor at the reception—wine barrels topped with floral arrangements by the aisle entrance can easily turn into bistro tables or a cake table. Another great idea is to use chalkboards in ornate vintage frames for signage rather than printed materials.
Q | Reusable rentals are naturally eco-conscious, but how else are you making earth-friendly choices?
A | I am really passionate about green living in general. In addition to other sustainable business practices (printing, cleaning, wind-powered web hosting, etc.), Something Borrowed Portland strives to purchase items within a 100-mile radius and give new meaning to old items—we’ve even made tables from wood we found by the side of the road! We’re also registered with the city as a recycler where couples can bring leftover wedding items and we’ll find new homes for them, like a set of ribbon wands that have now had three different lives.
• Book At least one month in advance—if not much longer—for limited/popular items like upholstered seating
• Invite With 40 unique chairs plus wooden benches, Something Borrowed Portland can accommodate approximately 150 guests.
• Seasonal favorites Spring: anything milk glass; summer: lawn games; fall: jewel-tone goblets; winter: vintage swag lighting