Today is the fourth installment of this series with local wedding vendors and creative partners, which has quickly become such a beloved feature on this blog! It’s truly such an honor and delight to share so much more about these creative partners (and friends!) that I 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. If you missed the first three, you can catch interviews with Meristem Floral, Ally and Bobby Photography, and Adelyn Boling Photography!
Today is all about Nikelle and Hannah of Wylde Flowers, and you are going to love learning more about this phenomenal duo, their business, their heart for sustainability and botany, and the breathtaking, romantic, perfectly imperfect florals they create! Wylde Flowers was one of the very first florists I had the honor of working with in the Triangle area, and I have been so fortunate to have worked with Nikelle and Hannah on many weddings over the last five years. Many of my very, very favorite weddings include these two, and goodness is this team incredible at what they do. Nikelle and Hannah are so, so talented and create the most masterful, romantic, creative, and stunning works of art with flowers (and nature in general!). Like you’ll read in their interview below, I really think “garden nouveau” describes their style and aesthetic so well… a little organic, sophisticated, multi-dimensional, interesting, romantic, ethereal, and filled with movement. The ladies of Wylde are also filled with so much knowledge about botany, flowers and plants, gardening, education, and design, and they’re more than just wedding florists. They have the most robust garden and use many of their own blooms in their designs, they have a heart for sustainability and nature, and they are masterful magicians at creating floral works of art. I am forever learning new things from them and am constantly finding so much inspiration in their work and their business!
Tell us more about your background and how you got started as a florist. What made you want to become a wedding floral designer?
Nikelle is a graphic designer by trade who came to floral design as a way to play with color and form away from the computer screen and to work with natural materials. She found a sense of creative freedom in the impermanence of floral design compared to the enduring nature of graphic design.
Hannah’s curiosity about floral design sprang from her love of gardening and sustainability. Prior to joining Nikelle to run Wylde, Hannah ran a variety of nonprofit garden education programs and was beginning to experiment with cut flowers in her own garden. Floral design gave her a new way to explore her fascination with nature’s cycles.
Nikelle started Wylde in 2014 as a side gig, doing a few weddings for friends, and it has grown to a full time pursuit over the years. Nikelle and Hannah met in 2015 and Hannah came on board as Nikelle’s business partner in 2017. We have evolved from a little home-based flower gig to a retail shop to a private design studio and garden. We keep evolving and following our curiosities!
Where do you draw inspiration from?
We draw inspiration from the ephemeral beauty of each evolving season and the effortless grace of the garden. Often we look for inspiration beyond the flowers themselves; we love seeking out moss, lichen, rocks, dried grasses, branches, mushrooms, and even vegetables to gain new perspectives on color, texture, and form. Working with local farmers through the growing season and cutting from our garden always keeps us thinking outside of the box and playing with new ingredients. Trying new things each season–especially using our design work to highlight locally grown materials–keeps us energized and open-minded.
How would you describe your aesthetic and design style?
A friend came up with the term “garden nouveau” to describe our style, and that resonates with us! We often use phrases like perfectly imperfect, ethereal, and sophisticated. We seek to capture the nuance between airy and grounded, wild and delicate, untamed and elegant. We aim to be as true to nature as possible in terms of the way each specimen moves and breathes within our designs.
What is something you’re most proud of with your business?
We have learned and grown a lot in honing our aesthetic through an emphasis on seasonal materials. We haven’t logistically been able to commit to 100% locally grown flowers, but sourcing from farmers and our garden through the growing season gives our work a sense of life and depth that we couldn’t achieve through conventional blooms alone. The incredible color variations and sensory experiences of local flora are unparalleled. Prioritizing local sourcing also helps us think more sustainably about other parts of our operations. For example, we’ve eliminated floral foam entirely from our practice because it is highly toxic and non-biodegradable. Many florists rely on foam to provide a water source and hold stems in place, and we used to use it for certain kinds of installations and vases. Thanks to other pioneering foam-free designers who have shared educational resources, and time spent practicing alternative methods, we now feel confident creating a wide variety of complicated designs without the use of foam. We know we are much better stewards of the land now, having eliminated this pesky material from our operations. We hope we aren’t far from a day when floral foam in its current form is obsolete. We’ve learned so much over the past few years about how to make our business more sustainable.There’s really no end point for sustainability, but continual, imperfect progress. Our garden is a constant reminder of the incredible abundance that comes from healthy soil, clean water, and thoughtful stewardship. We are committed to the practice of looking inward, learning, and improving.
What’s your best advice for a couple planning their wedding?
Stay true to you! It’s easy to get sucked into scrolling Instagram and Pinterest, feeling like you “should” have and do certain things at your wedding, or that it needs to look a certain way. We encourage couples to think about their personal style, their priorities, and the photos they want to look at decades from now. What is truly important to you? How can you plan a wedding that feels like a true expression of who you are? Try not to be too influenced by trends or the expectations of others. This is a celebration of your unique love story, and you will enjoy the day most fully if it really feels like you.
What’s something most people don’t know about you and/or your business?
Before the two of us met and started working together, we both had *multiple* people tell us, “you HAVE to meet Nikelle!” or “you HAVE to meet Hannah!” It happened so frequently that we were both thinking, alright already! I get it! Finally we met when Hannah volunteered to help set up for a farm dinner where Nikelle was providing flowers. We bonded over a shared love of ferns and moss, and have been geeking out together ever since!
What’s your favorite flower?
How could we possibly pick just one?! How about one per season (and if you ask us next week, we might answer differently!)
Spring: Shirley Poppy ‘Mother of Pearl’
this or that with Nikelle and Hannah:
tented reception or ballroom reception (It depends on the tent, and it depends on the ballroom! We’ve always wanted to flower a sailcloth tent.)
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 (coffee in the morning; tea in the afternoon!)
spring or fall
summer or winter (we don’t love the heat, but we do love when our garden is in bloom!)
You can find Wylde Flowers on Instagram here for so much more! I especially adore seeing so much of the behind-the-scenes from their garden, what’s blooming, expert gardening and botany tips… along with gorgeous weddings, designs, workshops, and offerings that Wylde has. They offer so much insight and beauty, for sure! Thank you, Nikelle and Hannah, for being a part of this series and sharing so much. I always feel like I’m learning something new from you and being constantly inspired by what you create… and I also can’t wait for our next weddings together, as well!!
all florals by Wylde Flowers from weddings planned and designed by Stephanie Shaul Events and photographed by Ally and Bobby Photography and Anagram Photo