Embracing Florals with Elite Events by Paula Coleman
Floral arrangements are the highlight of many events, especially weddings. Paula Coleman of Elite Events by Paula Coleman can not only make your wedding stand out from the planning standpoint, but her floral arrangements are sure to leave your guests in awe. Read on and experience Paula's incredible wedding insight for yourselves through this Kentucky Bride interview!
Paula Coleman: Well I started in flowers first in the mid 80s. At the time, I was just doing regular florist stuff and it was pretty uninspiring. But then, I did my first wedding and I just loved how creative I could be with it. It was so much more exciting to me than designing a baby or sympathy arrangement.
PC: Well, I had worked for different popular florists for several years and I had pretty much gone as high as I could go at every place I worked. I decided that in order to grow, I would have to expand my horizons and go off on my own. I started off doing only floral arrangements at my first business, Wayside Garden, and then I expanded it into an event company. Later on, I switched the name to Elite Events by Paula Coleman in order to fit the full-service event company aspect.
KBM: How did you learn the art of floral design?
PC: It came very naturally to me. I grew up in the country and my family always had gardens and flowers. I did learn a lot of the basics in the floral industry, but I really feel that you can’t teach floral design. I think you either have a natural eye for it or you don’t. Growing up surrounded by nature really taught me the most about floral design. I didn’t go to floral design school or anything like that. However, I have studied floral design in Germany and the Netherlands. I love to immerse myself in that world, especially in Europe because they treat floral design more like a serious trade. You have to have a license and apprentice for three years prior to designing flowers professionally.
PC: I’ve had brides book fairly late, but we like to be notified at least six months in advance. If they know even further out than six months, that's great as well!
KBM: What is the most challenging aspect of working in the wedding and event planning industry?
PC: I guess, for me, it's finding the balance between home life and business. Also, setting yourself apart from the competition is a huge challenge because there is a lot of it. I want brides to know that I have a lot of experience, but that I’m not dated.I follow Pinterest and keep up with the latest trends. However, I try very hard to not be too trendy. I want to set my self apart by making my weddings look unique.
KBM: Why should a bride choose Elite Events by Paula Coleman to plan her wedding?
PC: I believe a bride should choose us for the impeccable, personal customer service we provide. We work one-on-one with every bride and we try not to take on too many weddings at once so we can give superior personal service to each bride.
PC: We do planning, of course. Also, if the bride wants us to plan her entire wedding, we can do day-of coordinating, lighting, linens and negotiate contracts. Another big aspect of Elite Events is that in the past seven years, we’ve incorporated travel into our business. We can negotiate hotel rates, book honeymoons and even book destination weddings. Throughout the year, I scout locations for destination weddings. At this time, we’re pretty much a full service travel agency as well as an event company.
PC: Yes, absolutely. And we work with several different industry vendors that we can recommend. However, once our brides meet us, they usually end up planning everything with us.
KBM: Do you plan bridal showers and other wedding-related events as well?
PC: We can plan anything that brides need. Also, we can suggest venues and scout locations even for engagement photo shoots. We have a fabulous arsenal of photographers, videographers, caterers, bakers, etc. to recommend as well.
KBM: What is your absolute favorite part of planning a wedding?
PC: My favorite thing of wedding planning is definitely the flowers. I’m a little biased when I say this, but the flowers often set the tone for the event. I think they help make a wedding really memorable.
PC: My advice to the bride would be to listen to her intuition and not to focus on pleasing everyone else. It can get tricky for the bride because she’s taking everyone’s feelings into account but she needs to listen to herself and focus on her own ideas. Also, when it comes to marriage, respect one another and acknowledge each others' differences.
KBM: Is there anything else you would like to tell us about Elite Events?
PC: On my website, it says, “If I had but two loaves of bread, I would sell one and buy hyacinths for they would feed my soul.” Flowers make us so happy. Even taking a friend a rose or a carnations can brighten their day. Keep that in mind for your wedding.
Photographs courtesy of Mango Photography.