The changing leaves, the slight chill in the air at night give signal that fall is just around the bend. Summer brides have brought us blush toned peonies, delicate yet daring orchids, and striking calla lillys. What will fall brides be carrying down the aisle? We chatted with the green thumbs of Avant Gardenia owner, Jenna Sprengel to dig up the answers on what’s trendsetting in floral design this upcoming season.
Photo Courtsey of Lindsay Ammons Photography
Avant Gradenia is a sort of play on words, coming from the French term “avant-garde”, meaning daring, unexpected, innovative, etc. in regards to any form of art. Jenna, never being one to settle for the status quo, felt this would be a perfect representation for her business. She goes on to tell us, ”‘Gardenia’ refers to the flower and reminds me of my Grandma Nebel. She always loved to make herself a gardenia corsage to wear for Easter and Mother’s Day because she loves the smell of them. Seeing that I probably would never be doing what I love everyday if it weren’t for my grandparents’ influence, I was thrilled to be able to have part of the name of my business represent them in a way, even if I was the only one to know it.”
Just how did your grandparents influence you to go into floral design?
My grandparents, Jim and Pat Nebel, owned and operated a flower shop for 35 years beginning in 1969, well before I was born. I remember being there a lot as a child and seeing my grandparents create beautiful arrangements. Because of my grandparents, flowers have always been a part of my life. My grandma would always make the biggest and prettiest presentation bouquets to give me after my dance recitals when I was a little girl. She would always bring a beautiful floral centerpiece over for every holiday, and I would always look forward to a gorgeous arrangement for my birthday. I have always been artistic and had a knack for visual design, so I began working for them when I was in high school a few days a week and in the summers when I was home from college at the University of Iowa. It was fun to be creative with flowers and learn about the business while also getting to spend time with my grandparents. I went to school to be an English teacher, so when they retired and sold the shop, I began doing friends’ weddings on the side just because I really enjoyed it. Thanks to word of mouth, it didn’t take many years for me to be able to give up the teaching profession and have my very own full-time wedding and event floral business.
Photo Courtsey of Pick a Pose Photography
What advice do you have for planning fall floral?
Fall is such a beautiful season, and the possibilities for wedding floral décor are endless. It’s important to first think of your personal style and then how you can translate that for the season. There is always the standard fall color palette full of warm, bright colors; however, a more muted color palette, such as textured floral in ivory and soft green, would also be lovely and compliment the season beautifully. Furthermore, incorporating other autumnal elements besides just fall colors will add a lot of character and elegance to your wedding. Perhaps vases wrapped in birch bark, interesting branches such as witch hazel rather than curly willow, centerpieces elevated by pieces of a tree trunk, or white pumpkins would add a bit of uniqueness to your floral designs. Also, accenting with mercury glass candle holders or votive cups can provide the perfect warm glow to complete your look.
Is there a Chicago venue that you are dying to get your fall style into?
A venue that I would love to decorate for a fall wedding is the Morton Arboretum. Fall is the only season of which I have not yet done a wedding there! I love that one entire wall in the space is made of floor to ceiling windows, which would provide such a stunning backdrop of trees dripping with rich fall colors. The space is simple and contemporary, yet natural elements compliment it so beautifully, which makes it the perfect space for a fall affair.
Photo Courtsey of Jiho from Lilly Photography
While Chicagoans hang on to the tailcoats of summer and begrudgingly start dusting off their cold weather jackets, we had to ask:
What styles should our winter brides have their eye on? How will the winter weather affect their flowers?
Winter weddings are so romantic, and couples have the opportunity to display some really beautiful floral and décor as so many fabulous varieties of flowers are available. I believe it’s the best floral season! Winter floral décor can go in several directions, probably best to be inspired by personal style and venue. Personally, I love a monochromatic look for a winter wedding; it is so elegant and stylish, yet simple, just like the color outdoors. Whether it is all white, all purple, or all of another color, your floral designs can be paired with some beautiful decorative elements in order to set the seasonal scene. For more contemporary elegance, lots of bling and crystals or glass balls can be incorporated and will point to the sparkle in the snowflakes outdoors. For a more natural look, things like pine cones or winter greenery and branches also add seasonal elegance. Regardless of your style, it’s important to also add warmth to the space via lots of candlelight. An abundance of candlelight in every possible nook and cranny will make such a statement of warmth and romance.
Just like the extreme heat being a challenge for fresh floral during the summer months, temperatures below freezing are detrimental to flowers as well. Flowers can flash freeze and be ruined if they are not properly covered or wrapped for transport. Brides should also keep this in mind if wanting to step outside for a quick photo amongst the winter scenery.
Photo Courtsey of Lilly Photography
What floral design have you most enjoyed this season?
A recent favorite wedding floral design of mine would be a monochromatic AND mono-botanical floral scheme (see photo above); it was fabulous and definitely made a statement. My good friend, Leslie, currently lives in Chicago, but wanted to get married in her favorite place and hometown, Iowa City. We met in college, and Leslie is the most diehard Iowa Hawkeye fan that I know, so of course her wedding colors were black and yellow. I did the cocktail-style reception in all yellow, each centerpiece concept featuring an abundance of a single variety of yellow flower including spray roses, calla lilies, celosia, and orchids in black glass. Of course, she wanted to accent with some ‘bling’ as well. Her bouquet was also monobotanical; it was made of over 30 white peonies (which reminded her of her grandma), complimented her dress perfectly, and smelled divine!
Photo Courtsey of Life on Print Photography
It is Jenna’s own style of “rebellious elegance” that had us knowing she would win the hearts of Be U readers. With her knack of pushing the boundaries in floral design while still reflecting the couples’ personal style, we will have our eye on this floral talent. She wants to share her floral wonder with our Be U readers. Should you mention this Be U Weddings and book floral design of $3,000 or more, Jenna will provide you with a free bridal bouquet for your walk down the aisle! As Jenna pushes her“rebellious elegance” to new levels with each wedding she does, we look forward to having her grace our site.
If you have questions for Jenna about the right flower for the season or style of your wedding- ask in our comment section below!