I spent four days in March in NYC, battling high winds and bitter cold temps, at The Chapel Designers 5th Annual Conference. It didn't feel much like spring in New York, but the weather was certainly no match for the abundance of fresh ideas and inspiration that was ever-present amongst this warm-hearted group of wedding and event specialists from around the globe.
For those who may not know, The Chapel Designers is a unique and eclectic group of studio-based wedding and event designers that was created by the talented Holly Chapple of Holly Heider Chapple Flowers. I became a Chapel Designer last July, when I traveled to Virginia for a portfolio workshop at Holly's home studio, tucked in the historic and beautiful hills of Loudon County. Her vision was to create a platform where designers could share and support one another through a variety of learning and networking opportunities. The group is a testament to her unyielding dedication to the business of weddings and her love of flowers. To us, she is the quintessential Flower Mama.
I listened intently over the course of three-days, as new floral techniques and design styles were presented by some of the best names in the business, including Holly, Sarah Winward, David Beahm, Naomi DeManana, Robbie Honey, and Ariel Dearie. We talked about business practices with the help of Sage Events, had a lesson in Quickbooks, and were cleverly reminded by David Beahm about the importance of just being YOU. We spent a day designing compotes and bouquets at David's fabulous studio digs in the South Bronx, and were treated to lunch at Verde Flowers, across the street. We visited Squarespace headquarters to learn about how to further customize our websites, and the importance of capitalizing on SEO. Joy Thigpen helped us better grasp the true meaning of composition, through visuals that spoke without the use of words. We toured Martha Stewart's downtown studio, and were able to see the magic created with the help of a prop room that was to-die-for. From Meg Biram, we heard tips and tricks on being more effective within the realm of social media. As she spoke, I realized that living with a teen, as difficult as it may be at times, has helped to keep me informed about current trends, like Snapchat. We ended the three-day conference with a kick-ass, eye-opening speech from the edgy Jes Gordon.
A gigantic thank you to Holly, her husband Evan, and the many hands and voices that made this an opportunity to remember. Next stop...London!
Photography: Lauren Carnes Photography and astrid photography Venue: David Beahm Studios