Heather Webster has reinvented herself several times, having worked as a nurse and an overseas missionary before opening Heather’s Floral Expressions six years ago. She decided to do so after several local girls started asking for her help coordinating and designing their weddings.
“I like to find meaning in everything I do, and helping these brides brings me great joy,” says Webster.
Though she helps brides with their flowers, she doesn’t consider herself a florist, but rather a wedding and event floral designer.
“A lot of times brides don’t know what they want,” she says. “They show me different types of flowers and ideas, and I help them narrow it down. Then I design something unique, made specifically for them so it’s not cookie cutter.”
Webster goes to the venue with the bride to talk through various ideas and flower options. Brides often go into a flower shop and place an order based on a photo they saw in a magazine or on Pinterest. Webster feels those brides are shortchanging themselves as there are so many available options.
“I like to think outside the box by using things like three-dimensional designs and hanging installations,” Webster says. “A good floral designer shows you things that complement a certain flower, style or design.”
Before a meeting, Webster asks the bride to send pictures that show her desired atmosphere, colors, vibe or flow. Once they meet and the bride is presented with other possibilities, her choices may change. For instance, last year Webster met with a bride who said she wanted a fall wedding. She sent Webster pictures of pumpkins and sunflowers with lots of oranges and yellows because she thought those components were necessary for a fall barn wedding. Ultimately, Webster learned that what the bride craved was a bohemian event. They kicked the pumpkins to the curb and created a beautiful, romantic boho affair.
Webster loves using amnesia roses, chocolate Queen Anne’s lace, brownie tulips and brown lisianthus, all of which give a muted, antique feel, and blend beautifully with many other colors like champagne, dusty rose, mauve and neutrals. Pampas grass has also been popular in boho weddings.
In addition to guiding her brides in their floral selections, Webster mentors her brides and their families.
“I was seeing a lot of these girls spending all this time preparing for a wedding day but not a marriage,” Webster says.
Having been through a divorce and now happily remarried, she felt a calling to help mentor couples in understanding what marriage really is. She offers an objective ear and encourages brides to find ways to include the groom’s mother in the wedding planning, because she feels it’s important to foster those relationships going forward.
“When you get married you’re blending families, so you should look for impactful ways to do that,” says Webster, who reminds her brides that contrary to popular belief, the wedding day is not all about them. “The people you invite to your wedding have made an investment in your life. This is your opportunity to bless them and thank them for that.”
Webster feels mentorship is the heart of her business. When she meets with her brides they discuss flowers and design, but they also talk about real issues.
“I ask, ‘How are you and your fiancé doing? How is it with the families?’” Webster says. “There are so many interpersonal relationships within the families and little conflicts going on leading up to the wedding that a lot of these girls aren’t prepared for. I help them overcome those challenges in a healthy way.”
Couples often thank her profusely for her services, letting her know that they enjoyed their wedding process so much more because of her mentorship.
“I think couples are really looking for that [guidance] and may not even know it,” she says.
Webster believes that one upside to COVID-19 is the fact that perspectives have changed. As a result, there is less focus on perfection.
“Brides and grooms have become more flexible and adaptable, and that’s a great thing because sometimes you may end up with something you love even more,” says Webster, who is open and honest with her brides, letting them know that they are the ones who set the tone for the wedding. “If the bride has a bad attitude, nobody is going to enjoy themselves. If, however, she is grateful and kind, she’ll have the best memories of the day and so will everyone else.”