Rebecca Shepherd came to floral design after experimenting in a few different professions, including the medical field. Now a full-time florist, she has become a sought-after floral designer for New York weddings, and is a featured vendor at the chic bridal salon, Lovely Bridal Shop. Below she shares her sources of inspiration and how she consults with brides to create her romantic, whimsical arrangements.
What’s your background? Did you go to art school, or are you a self-taught designer?
I have had a roller coaster of careers and interests from being an emergency medical tech in a pediatric ER, to a massage therapist, a jewelry designer, and now full-time florist. In the medical field, I quickly realize that I felt incomplete. Something was seriously missing… I was always called a day dreamer in class and was often caught staring out the window. I would say that I am a self-taught designer. Designing for me comes from the heart not the brain. I can’t say why something looks “right” or “wrong” to me. It’s a natural inclination that I attribute to the years of designing jewelry. This practice exposed me to blending different materials, colors, and shapes as well as really listening to the needs of my client.
You design jewelry and floral arrangements–which came first, and do you feel the two are related?
Now that I really think of it, flowers came first. I grew up in the South on a bunch of land where we had an extensive rose garden as well as orange trees and blackberry bushes. I would bring a basket out to the garden and cut as many roses as I could carry back inside. I would peel off the leaves and arrange them in all different size containers to place around the house. Jewelry making has been a part of my life since 1993. I managed a little shop in Tampa, FL where I would make custom necklaces made of beads and crystals. Jewelry design and floral design are very similar for me. It’s all the same in that it’s all about symmetry, asymmetry, color and texture. The only difference is the ingredient!
How and when did you begin doing floral design for weddings?
I began doing floral design as a full-time job about three years ago and it all started by doing my own wedding flowers. I was shocked at how natural it was to put together and never saw the relation to jewelry making until then. Before I knew it, my friends were all getting married and asking me to do their flowers and it all grew from there.
How would you describe your style of floral design? What kind of bride or couple is best suited for your style?
I would describe my floral designs as romantic and whimsical. Modern yet classical. Combining the unexpected textural elements with soft fluffy blooms is one of my personal favorite things to put together. I am also not afraid of incorporating large elements like ladders, chandeliers, antique mail slots, old books and more into the design. I grew up in the South and have been a lover of antiques for YEARS. My apartment looks like we live in the country! I seem to attract couples that are relaxed in style, and not too fancy.
How do you work with brides to determine their bouquets and arrangements?
When a bride contacts me, I start off asking more about what she needs (how many guests/tables, bridesmaids, groomsmen, etc.) as well as getting to know her personal style or the look she is going for. I’ll often ask for some images that inspire her, whether it be just for color or scale. Once I understand what she thinks is pretty, I’ll design her flowers based on that information, the season, colors, as well as any stylistic influence that the venue may provide. It’s also important to know a ballpark budget so I can understand the scale of the designs.
Where do you get your inspiration for your floral design?
My inspiration comes from the seasons, fashion trends, color combinations, fabric patterns, antiquities, wallpaper, eras from the 1880s to the 1950s, the weather, food, or anything that makes my heart pitter-patter.
Are there any particular types of flowers that you love working with? Does that change from year to year?
I love garden roses, fiddle head ferns, peonies, succulents, air flowers, textural bits and seasonal greens like jasmine. Each season brings forth new favorites! It’s amazing to see the growers expanding the varieties, colors, and sizes of blooms every year.
Do you have any favorite venues that you love working at? Why?
Some of my favorite venues to work at are the Montuak Club, reBar, the Foundry, Prospect Park Boathouse, and the Botanic Gardens. Not only do we love Brooklyn, but, we love to stay local. These venues are some of my faves because they each have a very unique look that is all their own, in addition to having a wonderful staff that has always been very accommodating.