*This is a paid post from an APW Sponsor*
In 2009, before even the thought of a wedding design business existed in my brain, I was planning and making everything for my own wedding. Meg and I got married a few weeks apart so when I stumbled upon APW and read about her planning process written in a sane and funny way, I felt like I had finally found my people. I like to say that APW saved my sanity when I was crying over messed up DIY invitations. I like to say it, because it’s true. It’s a safe haven for all of us engaged folks where all types of weddings and styles and budgets and choices are accepted. APW has always had the smartest, most intelligent readers who aren’t apologetic for what they are or aren’t spending their hard earned money on for their weddings. Being a crafty gal, I did the flowers, the decorations, the invitations, the paper goods, etc, etc, etc all for my own wedding. Now, I’ve created a company where I get to do that for other people. And my favorite people to do that for, are the readers of APW. You spend your wedding budgets, big or small, in the ways that are most meaningful for you. To my clients, the decorations, flowers, and personalized, handmade touches are what lights their hearts on fire. They might not care so much about designer shoes, but they’ll pay to have 500 carnations hung above the bar at their reception. They chose an inexpensive venue so they could hire me to hand paint vases filled with lush flowers. APW readers are opinionated, which makes for a much more fun design process. You know what you like, and more importantly, what you don’t like. You are more concerned with letting your awesome personalities shine through, then copying the latest wedding fad.
And let’s talk about those 500 carnations hung over a bar for an APW wedding, which is probably my favorite lush wedding thing I’ve seen in a million years. I mean, you guys: it’s crazy, it’s beautiful, it’s smart, and it inverts what you expect. It is, in short, everything you’d expect from an art installation at an APW-er wedding. And Michelle, without a doubt, is an artist. (She’s a trained artist at that. She doesn’t brag about it, but she’s spent a long time working as a professional designer. Designing prints is her thing, if you care to know, and she’s CRAZY good at it.)
So what, in a nutshell, does Michelle Edgemont do? Michelle offers a whole range of services. First, she works as a wedding florist (well, really: wedding florist/ artist, see above carnation installation). You can hire her for just bouquets ($200) or centerpieces ($125), or she can do all of your flowers for your wedding, which I can pretty much guarantee will be mind-blowing (that package starts at $4,000, I mean seriously: CARNATION INSTALLATION). She tries to work not only to design something that fits your aesthetic (no plug-and-play flower designs from Michelle), but also works with you to keep things cost effective by using in season flowers, and will even source flowers for you from local farms, if that’s your thing. She says, “I believe in whimsical, quirky floral arrangements made from in-season, colorful flowers. I don’t believe in super tall table arrangements or hanging crystals. I do believe in hand painted moose on wooden vases and hanging flowers upside down over bars.” (She’s my girl).
But maybe flowers aren’t your bag, and what you really want is Michelle’s crazy brilliant decorations, and her knack for putting it all together (because as someone who’s thought ‘oh, styling things is dead easy, anyone can do it’ I can just flat out assure you that, uh, not all of us have brains that work that way. Cough. Me.). She can design decorations for you a la carte, and even ship them to you (get in touch with her if you wan to chat about that). She has packages for people that want to do their decorations themselves, but want a little guidance to knock it out of the park (starting at $1500). In that case, she can be the person who comes in and styles the shit out of what you put together, or she can be the person who takes all of your ideas, and shows you how you can put them together yourself. (Again, someone has discovered this is way harder than it seems. Cough. Me.) Her goal is to help you make the magic you’re dreaming of making, without the sobbing meltdowns over the little things. (Again, cough. Me.)
Michelle also has packages for people that want her to create most of the decorations for them (starts at $6,000, includes time, materials, day of styling, tons of emails, design meetings and general fun). She works with you on a varitey of projects that she describes as “Giant, In The Middle, and Accents.” AKA: Giant decorations are photo booth backdrops, custom table linens, and altar installations. For In The Middle, some choices are custom ceremony programs, paper garland, and intricate favors. Accents could be place cards, table numbers, and drink stirrers. And then, if you really want it, she can take over and become your wedding Fairy Godmother and do all the flowers and decorations and run the show. And if you do THAT, I not only want pictures, I want to have a drink with you and get the whole play by play.
There are lots of people out there that will help make your wedding pretty. But in fundamental ways, how Michelle Edgemont does things is different. She doesn’t have a team of wedding vendors that she’s going to push you to hire (which is the industry standard for people you hire to make your wedding pretty). You hire her, you work with her awesome self to make the magic happen, no up-sell pressure, no budget shaming. She’s as excited to work on your picnic wedding as she is to work on your hipster hotel wedding (and holy moly is that not often the case). She says, “My modern-quirky aesthetic is a contrast to the current rustic-vintage trend. I thrive on smaller weddings with a maximum of 150 guests. You are going to have a friendly, honest experience. I mean, my studio is in my apartment, which you will eventually come over to and eat cookies. I trust you enough to come into my apartment and you trust me enough to bring your personalities out in your wedding decor. I will not up-sell you, load your final bill with fees, or force you to buy an ice sculpture that you don’t want just because it’s “built into the package.”
Also, Michelle doesn’t have a vision in her head of what will make your wedding “good” or “rad”. She’s not trying to give you the trendiest wedding that will look good on blogs. She’s trying to give you the wedding that you want—one that reflects who you are, makes you happy, and is a massive celebration of your marriage. Her philosophy (through and through) is, “I believe that a wedding is about the creation of a new family first, and the pretties come second. I love making a difference in someone’s life. On what will be one of the most memorable and happy days, I get to play a small part in that by bringing happy-inducing decorations and bright, colorful flowers. I get paid to be at the day when someone’s whole family is together and celebrating their choice to get married.” Michelle Edgemont‘s work isn’t about the aesthetics, its about using her particular talents to celebrate what’s really important. And that, of course, is what I wish for all of us. Now go hire this lady! (And please report back.)