We are chatting with Jacki Fortunato, Owner and Team Leader of Stylish Stems, about the beautiful floral designs she and her team create for couples across Georgia!
Wedding Belles: Tell us a little bit about your company and how long you have been in this industry.
Jacki: Stylish Stems is an event floral and design company that was founded in 2003. I came onboard as a designer in 2012. At that point, the previous owner took a step back from event design to manage the backend of the business while I managed sales, designs, and day to day operations. We grew quickly, and in 2018 I purchased the company from the original owner. We currently design 300+ weddings a year and have five amazing lead designers who design weddings from start to finish for our sweet clients!
Wedding Belles: What led you to the weddings and event industry?
Jacki: My very own wedding in 2010 jumpstarted my love of floral design within the realm of the event industry. I’ve always been a little more than a little obsessed with flowers, foraging blooms from nature for as long as I can remember, and arranging them in small, antique vases all around my grandmother’s house. When it came time for my wedding, I was very involved in the floral planning and spent hours researching exactly what I wanted and how to make that happen on my budget. I found I had a natural knack for floral design on a large scale and knew I could deliver affordable designs to brides like myself who wanted to have a beautiful wedding filled with flowers, and also get the most bang for their buck.
Wedding Belles: What is it about your job that makes you excited to go to work?
Jacki: Oh my, literally most everything. I love the design aspect. I love meeting with my clients for that initial consultation, working with them in the months leading up to their wedding, and then delivering something beautiful and impactful on such an important day in their lives. I also work with the most AMAZING and talented team of designers, operational and office staff who balance me out with the things I’m not so excited about like paperwork and organizational related tasks.
Wedding Belles: When you think back, what is one wedding that stands out over the rest? Why?
Jacki: Oh wow, such a tough question! Each wedding we design is so unique to our clients. Unlike many florists, we don’t stick to a certain style that we call our own. Our designers are well versed in a wide range of styles and techniques, and really meet our clients where they are to create the vision they’ve been dreaming of. That being said, I do have a special place in my heart for organically styled events with lots of foraged branches, and blooms from all over North Georgia. Jordan from Wedding Belles and I recently did a wedding together at the ruins of Dunaway Gardens that mimicked this style which I LOVED and might be up there with one of my fave events to design.
Wedding Belles: What do you wish couples knew before they came to you?
Jacki: Not necessarily something that I wish they knew beforehand, but I do try to assure my clients early on that although picking out designs and florals for their event may seem daunting, I am here to guide them through the process and present options that fit their vision and maximize their budget. I always encourage my clients to trust the designs they like, and I will help them to navigate the process of pulling that into a cohesive design that resonates throughout their event space.
Wedding Belles: How heavy is the average bridal bouquet?
Jacki: I’m so guilty of wanting to design the biggest, heaviest bridal bouquets, but we always ask the bride about the look she would like, and discuss the comfort level of holding the bouquet for extended periods of time, and then design to her tastes. I don’t think there is an “average” bouquet weight I could pinpoint. The smaller “Kate Middleton” bouquets have been trending, so have the overgrown cascading bouquets that weigh quite a bit, but are guaranteed to make our bride’s arms look extra amazing when walking down the aisle. Every bride is different, and we design to the look she loves, whether big or small!
Wedding Belles: How much does seasonality affect availability and prices?
Jacki: Not as much as most of my clients initially think! Luckily, there are brilliant farms all over the world, growing different crops at different seasons. So while Peonies may be available early Spring out of South America, we can also get them later in the Fall out of Alaska. Of course, there are several blooms that may not be available anywhere at a specific date, but, for the most part, we can get specific blooms or something very similar year-round. Prices can definitely vary from season to season, but typically we don’t see a huge spike in pricing.
Wedding Belles: If you had one tip for couples, what would it be?
Jacki: Book an amazing planner! As a florist I am here to guide you through the process of flowering and designs, but there are logistics between us, the photographer, the venue and other vendors, that a planner can quickly navigate to ensure your day runs smoothly and efficiently, decreasing your stress, and making the process of planning with your vendors fun and enjoyable for you!! I highly recommend Wedding Belles!
To learn more about Jacki and her amazing team and to book your wedding or event with them, please visit the Stylish Stems website.