When creating the floral design for events like the Naples Winter Wine Festival, 50Fifty Creative Services stays away from trends—instead, they opt for structural pieces that leave a lasting impression. “People want things that are really special and intricate and involved,” Matthew Huddleston, co-founder of 50Fifty Creative Services, says. “But the concept of impressing and grandness are leaving us.” Arrangements that complement the reason for gathering—such as a bride’s memory of her favorite childhood flower—drive the materials chosen and how they’re presented.
For a spring wedding, Huddleston is skipping simple table bouquets and installing a suspended arrangement. The base is a traditional blossom branch to represent the blooming cherry blossom trees of the bride’s upbringing in New England. Dried grasses and clouds of dainty baby’s breath billow out from the branch for an artistic palette that doesn’t detract from the occasion. In speaking to the structure, Huddleston explains: “The flower part remains open, naturally spaced apart as opposed to closely mounded. It’s increasingly more open, natural and less studied.”
50Fifty’s proclivity for defying traditional bouquets comes to life in their single-color designs. “For a romantic yet modern setting, a monochromatic use of color can work well,” Huddleston says.
The bride’s color preference is often used to charge the entire day. Huddleston worked a pink-themed wedding where pale blush arrangements trimmed the ceremony, a combination of pale and medium hues dressed the cocktail hour and deeper shades of fuchsia enveloped the reception. “In this way, color can be another way of setting the mood for each environment of a wedding day–literally building in intensity as the evening unfolds,” he explains.
For a bright and cool-toned pink arrangement, he suggests Sarah Bernhardt peonies, Clooney ranunculus, Miranda garden roses and pink parrot tulips—a combination of softly rounded, ruffled petals. If the arrangement stops just short of making a statement, Huddleston incorporates touches of textured filler, like greenery, branches or seed pods, that give it the angles and motion they are after.
WILD AND ORGANIC
Sean and Melissa Stevenson, of Naples’ Kaleidoscope Floral, look to Mother Nature for direction for the majority of their arrangements. “Our general style is based on organic and loose, free-flowing floral arrangements,” Sean says, citing Dutch Golden Age still lifes as inspiration. “If you look at them, they’re drooping and they have movement.”
When building an arrangement, the couple start with flowers facing in different directions for depth. Sean likes to use ranunculus and white majolica spray roses, which open to a large bloom. He adds that heirloom garden roses from California are a current favorite for their high petal count, stronger fragrance and draped quality (versus the rigidness of supermarket roses).
The couple add local greenery and seasonal stems between the flowers—and often accent with a dried palm frond. They have an affinity for foraging, too. “We’re not afraid to clip something from the yard or the side of the road,” Sean says. “The seed pods that come off the palm trees are neat because they have such a funky look and they add so much texture.”
Though ‘dreamy maximalist’ arrangements might sound like an odd juxtaposition, Kaleidoscope Florals excels in bunching together lush, richly-colored flowers in such a delicate way that they appear to be floating. This means keeping the color palette focused on an assembly of soft tones, like peach, coral, blush and lavender, with pops of neutral whites and creams.
The Stevensons often create bouquets that include any variation of bulbous white peonies, quicksand roses, Snow White campanula and orange ranunculus—the petals of which typically billow out from the center in a soft gradation of color from a pale citrus tone to a fiery orange. To balance the visual weight, they punctuate the arrangement with lighter pieces, like dried amaranthus and draping orchids, that trail out of the showier flowers. Sean brands the combination as unique and romantic.
Photos Courtesy Kaleidoscope Floral/Austin Trenholm Photography/Kaity Brawley Photography,; Courtesy 50Fifty Creative Services/KT Merry Photography (top)