Wildwood Floral Co | Ashley Sassoon
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How long have you been in business?
Just over 4 years.
What made you start Wildwood Floral?
It was actually my experience with my own wedding! My florist missed the mark in so many areas, and I realized later that it all came down to lack of organization, attention to detail, and communication. I’d been teaching for a number of years by that time, and all of those areas were ones that I felt I had down pat as a teacher. That, plus the fact that I’ve always loved flowers and gardening (I was out working in the garden with my mother since I can remember) made me realize that this might be something I could do and really enjoy!
I started the business a few months later (mostly to gain access to wholesale flowers so I could experiment on my own). I did a lot of free work that first summer to practice (I wasn’t able to work and learn with other florists because they’d always have finished making arrangements by the time I was done with the teaching day, and there weren’t any local classes in floral arranging that weren’t based on a style that was decades old–so I came to the realization that I needed to learn on my own!).
After that first summer my business started attracting attention, and a year later I had enough weddings booked for my second fall that I knew I couldn’t both teach and do wedding floral work anymore. That was when I ended my teaching career (after 7 years) and dove head first into the wedding world.
It’s been an amazing transition and I wouldn’t change a bit of it! I always remember my own experience working with a florist for my wedding when working with my clients, and it’s a priority to me to make sure those areas that made me start thinking about this career path are a focus in working with clients in the future: staying very organized, clear, and detail oriented with them to make sure there aren’t any big surprises on their big day from my end. In my experience surprises on a wedding day aren’t usually good ones!! I make myself extremely available to them whenever they need to make sure they feel taken care of. I absolutely LOVE this business and look forward to many more years to come in the wedding industry!
What is your favorite part of owning your own business?
My favorite part is getting to meet new couples and chat about their visions for their wedding!! Clients are always SO EXCITED to talk about their weddings, and without fail always have their own unique touches and elements they’d love to include to help make their day special for them and their guests. It’s so incredibly moving and invigorating to talk to new clients, and this is something I will never get tired of. :)
Who is your ideal client? Many florists have a very specific client they’re looking to work with, however my ideal client can be a wider range of individual. I truly enjoy working with most people, but my favorites are those who see floral design as an art (like I do) and really value the work that goes into it. In the past I’ve had a bride that even told me in a meeting that she just doesn’t really care about flowers. To me, it’s so important that the couple I work with realize the potential impact that floral design can have on a wedding, and appreciate the work that we do to create their own perfectly unique and lovely wedding florals.
Who inspires you in your design?
There are some nationally (and internationally) renowned florists that have had a huge impact on me and my style of design, but theirs, and my, main inspiration always comes back to nature. My favorite form of floral design comes from witnessing flowers and foliage in their natural environments. Arranging roses in groupings of two or three like you’d see them growing on a lush rose bush, or letting taller, whimsical, and dainty elements float in the air above arrangements so you can appreciate their unique and delicate features. I’ve always been a gardener at heart, so this is where I can come back to time and time again to be inspired in my work.
Describe the process of working with you. What do couple’s need to know? In our initial meetings, I’ll ask couples for their color palette, favorite/ least favorite florals, and overall get a feel for what they’re hoping for in their wedding. I love helping to guide couples based on what info they give me to something that is uniquely THEM, so I don’t mind if the couple I meet with doesn’t have every little floral element decided. In fact, it often makes the process even more fun for me!
The one thing that I’d say is helpful for me as a florist is if they have a floral budget in mind when we initially meet. There is a HUGE range of options available to us as we plan their wedding, but knowing where their comfort zone is price-wise is always very helpful. Unfortunately there is not a good formula for this and I would recommend working with a planner, as they are immensely helpful in helping you hash out a budget that you’re comfortable with! That way, when it comes time to start meeting with florists, the couple would have a good idea of how much they’d like to spend, which saves a lot of time for both of us. :)
What trends are inspiring to you right now? There is a wedding industry wide move towards making weddings more about the individual couple and an experience for the guests, as opposed to “this is a wedding, so you have to do a, b, and c”. It’s so refreshing to have the event revolve around the unique people we are celebrating, as well as keeping in mind what would be most fun for their guests. It kind of seems like a no-brainer to have weddings work this way, but long standing “traditions” have been largely pervasive in the wedding world for decades. It’s wonderful when couples include traditions into their weddings now, but the focus is more on “is this tradition meaningful to this individual couple?” If it’s not, it’s not included, which makes the experience so much more rich for the couple as well as the guests!
What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?
It changes, but right how it’s pistachio. :)
Where would you most like to travel?
Hmmm….this is a tough one! I’ve been to Israel once (in 2018) on a whirlwind week and a half trip around the country and I just didn’t get enough! Israel has so much of my three favorite things: history, natural beauty, and AMAZING food. I can’t wait to go back!!!
Want to see gorgeous photos of Ashley’s designs? Check out Maysun and Nathaniel’s blanc Denver wedding.