Create an Account
Look at any bridal magazine or web site and you’ll be inundated with ideas for all the things you can do to make your big day special. With floral arrangements, Michelle Northey encourages brides-to-be to simply trust their instincts. The owner of Floral Girl Design Studio, Appleton, has a few guidelines.
“I first tell brides to explain to me the overall vision for the event,” she says. “Is it based on a color scheme, a shape or a texture? I encourage them to collect photos and images and bits and pieces of anything that inspires them, and even things they do not like at all. This allows me in turn be inspired to create a look unique to their event.”
Northey says she doesn’t get caught up in what’s trendy. Everyone has their unique tastes and preferences, she says, “although the succulents are super fun right now.” (Succulents store water in their leaves, stems and roots. The most common example is a cactus plant or aloe.) Such plants increasingly are being used in contemporary centerpieces and in other creative ways in wedding settings.
When she meets with a potential client, Northey asks about the overall vision for the event.
“I pride myself with high standards in both the quality of my flowers and in each wedding being well done,” she says. “My goal is in keeping a slight classic feel so that the images and memories of the day can be kept for years and seen as beautiful and timeless, yet unique and not boring.”
Northey obtained a Bachelor of Art degree in studio art from Lawrence University. She says she’s always been drawn to anything creative. “I enjoy working on things that require my hands and my eyes, and anything with texture and color.”
While in the Twin Cities in Minnesota in 1998, when her husband went through USMC officer candidate school, she discovered Arts & Flowers, Inc., an upscale flower design studio. She spent deployment months there learning the profession, and then moved to be with her husband. From 2002-2005 she worked there year round. “I left there knowing what I would do from then on,” she says, adding that the owner, Steve, remains a mentor and friend. “He’s a great resource for inspiration and encouragement and the most amazing teacher.”
In 2005, Northey decided to move home to Appleton. In the fall of 2006 she decided to officially create Flower Girl Design Studio. The name for the business sprung from a doodle she created, “always little flower shapes … using the flower as the head. I drew a funny little body wearing a dress and heels, which became ‘flower girl,’” she says.
She has built the business on word of mouth and it quickly grew into a full-time job. Early this year she brought her mother on as a full-time partner (although her husband and father pitch in when needed.)
Northey has worked on a lot of weddings, as well as corporate events, and has a lot of special memories.
“The most exceptional events are the ones where I have the freedom to do what I think is best, where the customer gives me a lot of inspiration but trusts me to put together the end product,” she says.
The largest wedding she’s done to date was all planned via email between the bride, Northey and an event planner. “Even though I never met the bride, it went perfectly. It’s a good example to those who get super stressed out over every detail.
“Flowers are not an exact science,” she adds. “As long as I get the idea of what they want, we let Mother Nature and my creative instincts do the rest.”
You can also visit our website for a complete list of Northeast Wisconsin Bridal Bouquets and Wedding Flowers Vendors.
Categorized in: Unique Ideas / Just for Fun