Profile: Salt Harbor Designs


{Image Credit: Millie Holloman}

A few weeks ago, Rachel from Millie Holloman Photography posted images from a session with Salt Harbor Designs. I loved them so much that I contacted Jennifer, the owner, and she graciously answered a few questions for us.

Salt Harbor is based in Wilmington, North Carolina. Jennifer founded the company in March of 2007 and the first wedding was booked two months later! Jennifer worked at a flower shop while still in high school, and continued to design there through college and graduate school. She eventually chose event design because it combined all of her loves: flowers, graphic design, interior design, art and theater.


{Image Credit: Millie Holloman}

EAD: What is your favorite type of client?

Jennifer: My favorite client is the one who falls in the very center of controlling every detail and giving me total artistic freedom. One might think that the hands off client is the easiest, but I would rather get to know my clients so that I can personalize each detail to their tastes and personalities. I love the client who has a clear vision for her wedding, but lets me have some freedom in how we execute that vision. The most successful events are the ones where the client and I work closely together to develop a look that is completely unique. These occasions are the ones that I remember best and the ones that produce a relationship that continues even afterward. They are the events that get published in the magazines, and the ones where both the client and I are most fulfilled by the outcome.


{Image Credit: Wrightsville Beach Magazine}

EAD: What design trends are you anticipating in the next year?

Jennifer: In terms of flowers, the trend has been minimal for the last few years, often using one type of flower in bouquets and arrangements without any type of foliage. While this is a very clean look, the trend among my clients has been moving away from this to more full, wildflower concept. Foliage is once again becoming acceptable and clients are willing to break out of the roundy-moundy form of bouquets and consider something more dimensional.

The overall feel for receptions and events continues to be about creating interesting spaces. Clients are seeing the potential in using seating beyond just traditional tables and are willing to break up space with structures, plants, benches, sculptures, etc. It is a really exciting time to be in the event industry, because materials and goods are more accessible than ever.

Up is definitely the new direction. While the paper lanterns have heen popular for a while now, there are so many other unique items that are being suspended from above– chandeliers, flower arrangements, glass lanterns, grapevine, interesting glass, etc. I am doing a few events next year where the centerpiece will actually be suspended over each table, with something low on the table top. The main dilemma for centerpieces has always been about how to create something dramatic without blocking the view of everyone around the table. This solves the problem, allowing for height and not obstructing the view of any guest.

EAD: What color trends are you anticipating in the next year?

Jennifer: It seems that yellow is making its way back. Green appears to be staying and the yellow/green combination is one that I think will be popular. I have always appreciated the pairing of close colors- green and blue, yellow and green, orange and yellow- and luckily for me, I think this trend will be around for a little while longer. I also think the draw of brides to pink is shifting slightly toward purple. I am anticipating some really rich combinations of eggplant and brown, and plum and green, rather than the pink and brown / pink and green that has been worn out.


{Image Credit: Millie Holloman}

EAD: Do you have a favorite flower that isn’t used much but should be?

Jennifer: There are so many wonderful flowers that are not used nearly enough, I don’t think I could choose between them–hellebores, star of Bethlehem, eremurus, blushing bride, andromeda. However, now with the internet and the availability of rarer flowers, people are more aware of options. I encourage clients to consider rarer flowers. Roses, calla lilies, and hydrangea are expected at weddings, and so guests really do appreciate different flowers that add an element of interest and excitement. I also think non-floral items are not used enough– pods, vine, grasses, foliage, feathers, acorns, kumquats. These bring such dimension to arrangements and bouquets.

EAD: What should a client ask you at the initial meeting?

Jennifer: I encourage people to ask a few important questions at interviews with event designers and florists. I have surprisingly never been asked these questions, and in my opinion, they should be the first questions asked. The first is whether all of the work in the portfolio is the designer’s work. It is so important to know that the materials being show are the work of that company and not stock photos or things done by a designer no longer employed there. The second question is if the person at the interview is the actual designer who will be working on the event. A client needs to make sure the designer with whom they meet will be the one overseeing the event. This way nothing is lost in translation to another designer. A third question is important for florists– whether the price quoted pertains to a certain stem count. Good florists will tell you that they quote a price based on what they feel will make a beautiful arrangement and that they do not have a pre-determined stem count. Flowers can vary drastically in size and shape, so a client wants a florist who will use the number of flowers necessary to make a bouquet or arrangement look right.

Thank you Jennifer! To see more of her work and for booking information, click here. To read her blog, click here.

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