I’m really excited to kick off a new series with you all today! Over the coming months, I’m sharing more about some of my very favorite wedding vendors in the Raleigh, NC area, mostly focusing on florists and photographers that I regularly have the honor of working with on weddings. These are creative partners (and friends!) that I both know and love, wholeheartedly recommend, and know just how much heart, time, wisdom, and love they put into their business and their clients/couples. Most of these are quite well known already, but I’m excited to get to know them even better, interview them, and share more about these wonderful ladies (and a few gents!) with you all.
First up is the amazingly talented Meristem Floral and an interview with Anna, the owner of Meristem alongside her husband, Brian. I first worked with Meristem Floral on a wedding back in 2016 and we just recently did another wedding together this past October 2020. As always, Anna and Brian absolutely blew me away with the incredible, breathtaking florals they created for this wedding, the countless ways they went above and beyond for our clients (so, so many generous extras that they lovingly surprised the couple with!), the energy and spirit that they bring to wedding days, and the flawless and beautiful execution of every single thing. You know you’re always going to have a showstopping, intentional, magical wedding design when Meristem Floral is involved, and I am always so grateful when I have the chance to work with them! Goodness, these two are AMAZING at what they do, and it’s no wonder they’re far and away one of the most sought after florists in the Triangle area! Not only are they wildly talented floral designers, but they also have a beautiful farm, Jubilee, with lots of big dreams that I cannot wait to see come to fruition.
Tell us more about your background and how you got started as a florist. What made you want to become a wedding floral designer?
I became enamored with all things floral at a very young age. I grew up with a mother who was an avid gardener and a father who grew truffles in a hazelnut orchard. I began taking horticulture classes my sophomore year in highschool and then went on to study Agri-business and Horticulture at NC State University. After graduating from NCSU, I worked for several years for the top commercial landscaping companies in North Carolina.
After getting engaged, Brian and I thought that it would be a fun way to save money on our own wedding if we made our wedding flowers. Once we did our own flowers, I had friends and family members ask if we could do their flowers too. Eventually I began doing flowers for friends of friends and the rest is history. Meristem Floral started soon after that!
Originally what drew me to floral design was that it was a great way to be creative and express myself. For some reason, weddings just really do it for me! I love the whole process of a wedding from the moment the flowers arrive, designing all week and the fast paced vibe on the day of a wedding. I love nothing more than seeing the joy on everyone’s faces when they see and smell the flowers on their wedding day. To this day delivering the bridal bouquet still gives me butterflies.
Almost three years ago Brian and I became stewards of a property named Jubilee, not only is Jubilee our home it is also where we have our floral design studio which is a former horse barn on the property. Our dream during this lifetime is to build a garden sanctuary where folks can come to learn about themselves and connect with nature. We hope to be able to host and facilitate creativity workshops, yoga, meditation, breathwork and silent retreats. We also have dreams of creating a “farm stand for all” where we can give away our produce and eggs to those in need.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
I draw inspiration from many unexpected places but mainly nature. Nature is such a creative force, I guess you could say creativity and nature are inseparable. Things like a sunrise or sunset, crystals and gemstones, wildly overgrown gardens, a hike through a pine forest, sitting near the water. Other things that inspire me are interior design, music, fashion, travel and cuisine.
How would you describe your aesthetic and design style?
It’s always a challenge for me to describe myself because I am always wanting to grow and expand my skills as a designer. I would say that I love showcasing and in a sense honoring the flowers I am working with. I want my designs to allow anyone who interacts with them to feel like they are seeing flowers anew.
What is something you’re most proud of with your business?
I am most proud that what started as a “side hustle” doing quite small events has grown into a business that supports myself and my husband. I am extremely proud of the amount I’ve grown as a designer in almost 9 years and in awe of Brian’s design skills that he’s developed in the last 5 years of working together full time.
What’s your best advice for a couple planning their wedding?
My BEST advice is to think and talk about your marriage as much as you think and talk about your wedding. Having a wedding is such a blessing, but having a beautiful marriage is what it’s all about!
Also, prioritize what’s important to you as a couple. If you are foodies and that’s your jam, go wild on a plated meal with wine pairings. If you’ve dreamed of a certain designer gown, go for it! If you are in love with blooms and think they add a lot to the day, focus on that. All of the other details will fall into place once you’ve got your priorities in order.
What’s something most people don’t know about you and/or your business?
Something that most people don’t know about me is that I had a spiritual awakening. This shifted some things deep within my being and helped deepen my love and reverence for weddings and the sacred act of creating the ceremony space. It has allowed my heart to open up to the beauty that is within and without. I understand that life is one BIG ritual and we are all participating. I am grateful for the opportunity to be a part of my clients wedding day, it’s so much more than just a “job” is my dharma!
What’s your favorite flower?
This is always such a tough question for a floral designer, because I like different flowers for different reasons. My absolute FAVORITE flower is not one that you will see much in arrangements. It’s the flower of an evergreen shrub called Sweet Olive or Tea Olive (Osmanthus fragrans). It has the most delicious and dare I say mouthwatering scent. I have several in my garden already, and when they are in bloom it literally stops me in my tracks!
this or that with Anna:
tented reception or ballroom reception
ceremony exit or reception exit
colorful design or neutral design
large wedding or intimate wedding
linens or farm table
tall floral centerpieces or floral installation
peony or garden rose
coffee or tea
spring or fall
summer or winter
You can find Anna on Instagram here for SO much more stunning floral goodness – she is such a delight to follow, learn from, and work with! Thank you, Anna, for being a part of this series and sharing so much. I always feel like I’m learning something new from you… and I also can’t wait for our next weddings together, as well!!
wedding photos by Jordan Maunder Photography, headshot of Anna & Brian by Ally and Bobby Photography, and action photos by Forage + Film
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