Day 3 of The Local Vendor Series! A five-part podcast series where I chat with some of my favourite vendors on the London, Ontario area about the importance of creating a dream-team vibe, how to best serve one another on a wedding day, and some do's and don't's we've experienced during our time in the industry.
A new episode is on the way every day this week!
Show Notes: https://simplysandrayvonne.ca/keepingitcandid-shownotes-017
Stephanie Commisso from BLUUMBLVD (and BLUUM Maison)
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Welcome to Keeping it Candid - Wedding Photography Unfiltered for photographers who want to keep it real. I’m your host, Sandra Henderson, international wedding and family photographer and educator with a Marie Kondo-style approach to running a business - you know, keeping things simple and getting rid of anything that doesn’t bring you joy!
More importantly, I’m a strong enneagram 3w2 who is obsessed with tacos, and my love for travelling plus navigating chronic illness life are just two of the many things that drive my passion for all things systems, workflows, and beating burnout as a business owner.
Join me twice a month for a candid, behind-the-scenes look at what it’s really like working as a wedding photographer - where I’ll give you actionable steps to take your business to the next level. Absolutely no fluff here, friends! So grab your favourite notebook and pen, and let’s dive into this week's episode.
Hey friends! Welcome back to day three of the Local Vendor series! Today I’m joined by the One and Only Stephanie from Bluum Blvd!
In case you’ve missed the last couple of episodes, here is a quick little summary that this is a five-part series - and we are on day three! - where I’ve sat down to talk with local wedding vendors from the London, Ontario area about things like why it’s so important to work together to create that ‘dream team’ vibe on a wedding day, how we can support and serve one another, and some of the ‘do’s’ and ‘don’t’s’ we’ve come across during our time in the wedding industry.
Before I dive into today’s interview, let me tell you a little about our unbelievably talented guest. Stephanie is the head floral designer and owner of Bluumblvd. Her work has been featured in Style Me Pretty and Wedding Bells, *and* she was listed as the forist to follow on Instagram by Martha Stewart!
Yes, THE Martha Stewart! And I don’t know about you guys, but I love Martha!
Let’s get to it!
Sandra Henderson 00:00
Thank you so much again for joining me. I'm so excited to have you this morning.
Stephanie Commisso 00:04
Thank you for having me. I'm really excited.
Sandra Henderson 00:06
I'm so glad. So before we get started, let me know a little bit about yourself who you are your company where we can find you online and things like that.
Stephanie Commisso 00:15
Yeah, so my name is Stephanie. I'm the owner of BLUUMBLVD [note: pronounced bloom-boulevard]. I have over eight experience=- eight years experience, as a wedding florist and event designer. My work has been featured on publications and blogs over the years, Breakfast Television and CityLine, which was exciting. And listed as the florist to follow on Instagram by Martha Stewart. And I'm really proud about that!
Sandra Henderson 00:42
That's amazing! Congratulations!
Stephanie Commisso 00:46
Thank you! So you can find me at @bluumblvd on Instagram - BLUUM BLVD. And I also started a new home decor line called Bluum Maison that specializes in table setting sets for the modern hosts. So if I'm not working on weddings and doing flowers or hosting a dinner party, you'll just find me hanging out at home with my two year old daughter and, and my husband. So that's that's me. That's what I do. That's what I'm up to.
Sandra Henderson 01:20
I love that. And I have been following you on Instagram since you were mentioning that you are coming into the London area, and I'm absolutely obsessed with all of your florals and everything. So if you are not following you definitely have to go and check out her work!
Stephanie Commisso 01:35
Thank you. Yeah, it's- you know, London has been really great. Like originally, we were in the Toronto area and we moved to London about two years ago. And London's just been so warm and welcoming. So I'm so glad that we made the move out here.
Sandra Henderson 01:49
Oh, that's good. I'm so glad to hear that. Especially having to make a big move like that during the pandemic, could not have been easy.
Stephanie Commisso 01:55
Sandra Henderson 01:57
So I know when it comes to a wedding day, photographers and florists don't typically cross paths very often. So given that, what would you say your past experience has been like working with wedding photographers on the times that you have crossed paths with them, or outside of the actual wedding day?
Stephanie Commisso 02:15
I find, you know, over the years that I've had really good experience with with photographers, I think if you just treat each other with respect, you know, respect each other's art that they're, you know, providing for the couple. And really just, you know, everyone has the main goal of creating an exceptional experience for the couple. So as long as everyone has that in mind, I think, you know, the day will go smooth. But, you know, as an introvert, I guess an extroverted-introvert, I find like, doing the introductions the day of the wedding, like introducing myself to the photographer of who I am or what I'll be doing... It was really hard for me and even so, like, people are busy, it's a busy wedding day, everybody's focused on what they have to do. So I found like, before the wedding, developing that relationship, you know, sending an email introducing myself, letting you know, when I'll be arriving to deliver the personal flowers, you know, offering extra blooms, you know, for the stationery styling, even following them on Instagram. It helps to, like, develop that relationship so that on the day of if there's questions, if there's, you know, requests that you know we have, if there's issues, we've, you know, gotten rid of all that awkwardness, we can get right to it. So I found that has helped create, like, a good experience with working with photographers or any other vendor really.
Sandra Henderson 03:44
Yeah, absolutely. I love that so much. I also like to reach out to vendors, when I am able to track down their contact information and things like that, just to kind of make that initial interaction in the beginning, so that it's all like you said, all the awkwardness is out of the way on the wedding day. And I loved what you said about how everybody's coming together with this main goal to serve the couple. And that was really the biggest motivation I had behind making this episode on the podcast is that, just trying to kind of shift the idea that, you know, everyone is just in it for themselves. Like we're all there to serve the same client and we all want to give them the best experience possible.
Sandra Henderson 04:24
So do you have any like specific "please do" or "please do not ever do this" scenarios that you've had from past interactions on wedding days?!
Stephanie Commisso 04:35
Um, one of the big ones I would say is not to snip flowers out of arrangements or installation.
Sandra Henderson 04:44
Stephanie Commisso 04:46
Yeah, like as a florist, you know, you are... You think of every single stem that you placed into a centerpiece or into an install or into a bouquet. And so, you know, there are times where I'll, like, stand at a centerpiece and contemplate for like five minutes whether I should place that, you know, rose there or that, that ranunculus. So, you know, just respect each other's art, like, if there are blooms - blooms that you need for the wedding day for styling, you know, just ask. And another thing is, not all florists will offer, you know, those extra blooms for free. So if ahead of time, you know that you need that, that you need extra blooms for the styling or whatever, just either speak to the client, and let them know, like, this is the idea that I want to do when it comes to styling the stationery. I need extra blooms. Can you contact your florist to see if there's an extra charge? That, that I think goes a long way. I think, again, it's about the communication and not assuming. Not assuming. I think that's what that, I guess irks some people. Me personally, I don't mind, like, I don't mind offering those extra blooms, but not everyone will do that. So just just having that communication.
Sandra Henderson 06:05
Yeah, for sure. That makes so much sense, I think as photographers, because our product and service that we're delivering - a lot of it is just kind of like based on time, and the tangible items don't come until after the wedding. So I do think that sometimes people kind of forget that it's not just, you know, as simple as a florist just giving you some extras. Like, there might not be extras, they might have to actually purchase more and things like that. So just having the respect and courtesy to everybody that's coming together on the wedding day, I think is super important.
Stephanie Commisso 06:34
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And one other thing is so funny. I was talking to another florist and I don't know if this is like a trend now, but I know years ago, it was like they would throw the bouquets up in the air and get like... As a florist your heart is dropping, because if they don't catch that bouquet, guess where it's going to end up? On the ground! So that that's another one like, yeah, don't... Don't do those shots, please!
Sandra Henderson 07:03
That makes so much sense. I actually, as you were saying that, I have the funniest story from my own wedding. So I wanted to keep my bouquet nice and pretty and beautiful. So I had seen on Pinterest, I fell into a Pinterest trap, and I had my florist make a second bouquet that I could untie so that when I threw it, it all came apart on purpose, and then everybody could get a flower. So - but when I did that, I guess I didn't really realize like my, the strength that was going to be required. And I threw it directly up and it ended up landing on a ceiling fan. And so parts of it came down, but the ceiling fan was off. So there was just so many flowers stuck in the ceiling.
Stephanie Commisso 07:46
Oh, gosh, yeah.
Sandra Henderson 07:49
But yeah, I totally, like, there was no way my bouquet that I, like. my actual bouquet was beautiful. And there was no way that I was going to be throwing that one.
Stephanie Commisso 07:57
Yeah. So those are a few don'ts. But a few like things that I guess people appreciate is just, you know, crediting the florist in pictures. And even sharing the photos that happen on, or that you guys take on, the wedding day. I know that's like a very controversial topic is sharing photos. But again, it's that same thing, you don't want to assume even as a florist that it's you know, the photographer's responsibility to share the the pictures that are taken on the wedding day, but it does help with building that relationship. And I mean, you know, you're taking pictures of our art as well. And there are some times of the day where we can't be there to take photos of them, you know, walking down the aisle or all those special moments. So yeah, I think just working together and, and sharing those photos is something that florists really, really, really appreciate. So...
Sandra Henderson 08:59
yeah, absolutely. You're totally right about it being a little bit of a controversial controversial subject. I personally am a huge advocate for sharing photos, I think it's a great way to network in a way that's like not awkward and just, like, handing out business cards and telling people to refer their clients to you. Like, it gives you a chance to work together, and I think when we are referring other vendors to our clients, we want to make sure that we know who we're referring and that we can stand behind the work that they're going to be offering our clients as well, and being able to share photos and things like that is such a great way to do that.
Stephanie Commisso 09:34
Absolutely. Yeah, I mean, yeah, it's a really touchy subject. I think, again, like if you don't assume and have that entitlement when you sp-speak with the pharm- er, pharmacist, the photographer! Sorry, I had a hospital background and I used to be a pharmacy tech! haha
Sandra Henderson 09:51
Yeah, no problem at all!!
Stephanie Commisso 09:53
But um, yeah, I think it's just, it just helps with yeah, getting your name out there, whether you're crediting - the photographer's crediting - on their their page, you know, credit the florist and as well as florists always, you know, credit the photographers. It just, you know, all around, it just creates a lot of buzz around the wedding and a lot of new contexts that you wouldn't have otherwise.
Sandra Henderson 10:15
Yeah, absolutely. So speaking of photographers taking photos for florists, um, what are ways that you think that photographers can represent your work in the best way? You already mentioned, like, not doing bouquet toss photos so that you're not getting photos of a destroyed floral arrangement! Are there any other examples that you can think of?
Stephanie Commisso 10:38
Yeah, I think also capturing, you know, those detail shots. I realize, like, you know, time is a big concern when it comes to wedding day, trying to get all those things, but yeah, getting the detail shots of like the bouquets, even of like the arch without, you know, people standing under it. You know, the table settings, all those detail shots really help create a full picture of the day. One of the other things is like, reminding the bride on how to hold the bouquet. Although, like, we do our best beforehand, the day of, you know, to remind the bride like, you know, keep the bouquet low and not up to your face. And I remember one time I created like a cascading bouquet, like I pulled it out, I demonstrated for her how to hold the bouquet like, you know, and everything. And then, you know, the pictures that I got back, like the bouquet was like up to her face and like, pointing outwards. So, I mean, although it's not your job, it does help when you, you know, remind the bride throughout the day, like how to hold the bouquet. I realize you, and for her, like, there's a lot of things on her mind. She's nervous. But yeah, that that helps. How to hold the bouquet as in height, knowing where the front is, where the back is, that also helps you know, the- the photography of the bouquets. Yeah, I think those are, are major ones, for sure.
Sandra Henderson 12:06
For sure, I even made the mistake as a bride where like, I - and I had been working in the wedding industry for years at that point, so I had like little very little excuse to hold my bouquet up as high as I did when I was walking down the aisle. But it happened. And it really - it just makes such a huge difference to hold it a little bit lower. You're wearing a gorgeous dress or a nice suit or whatever the case may be, and having your bouquet up super high covers so many details and definitely needs to go lower for sure.
Stephanie Commisso 12:36
Yeah, I mean, and even how the bouquet is designed, like, the most of the flowers are sitting on the top of the the bouquet right, so you want to lower it so that the top of the flowers are being are being shown. When you have it up really high, you're just seeing like the collar if that's the case.
Sandra Henderson 12:54
Yeah, that makes so much sense.
Stephanie Commisso 12:56
Yeah. So it's good to have that, have that properly shown. And even like with boutonierres too, like if it's, if it's all busted up... I know guys, like you know, they're hugging each other and it's hard to control that. But if you notice that the boutonierre is, you know, falling apart, maybe ask for a replacement, or, you know, kind of shift the boutonierre. Again, it's not your job, but it does help with the final look of of the wedding photos. And again, florists really appreciate that when you have that extra eye for those small things.
Sandra Henderson 13:33
Yeah, absolutely. Okay, so we've talked a lot about having like mutual respect for one another, ways that we can - as wedding photographers and florists, come together on a wedding day. What impact does it have for you, your business, your clients, when you do have a wedding where all the vendors have have come together as, like, a dream team?
Stephanie Commisso 13:55
Yeah, I mean, like I said before, if everyone respects, you know, what they contribute to the wedding. And, you know, just being kind, being considerate, it just motivates everyone to go that extra mile for that that couple, you know. There was one time where, you know, the wedding planner was behind and the place cards hadn't been put on the plate. I, I stayed behind and helped with that, you know, because at the end of the day, like we want the client to have that good experience. So if everyone is treating each other with respect, you're more inclined to do more for each other and for the couple. So I think that's the, the end goal when when everyone works well together.
Sandra Henderson 14:36
I could not agree more with that. All right, well, that wraps up everything that I had. So did you have any final thoughts, comments, anything else you'd like to add in?
Stephanie Commisso 14:46
No, I mean, I just really appreciate having this, this conversation. I think it's great to see the other side of things, and having that open conversation on what it's like to be a florist, um, on wedding day. I think having more communication about this helps each other to to have a more successful wedding day and better relationship with each other in the industry. So thank you for creating this platform. And yeah, hope we can do it again soon!
Sandra Henderson 15:17
Oh, you're so welcome. And thank you so much for joining me. I would definitely love to connect again. Hopefully we'll have some weddings together soon now that the wedding industry is starting to calm down a little bit and everything's starting to look a little bit more like normal time.
Stephanie Commisso 15:32
Yeah, that would be awesome. If we could do that.
I hope you’re all rushing over to Instagram to give Stephanie a follow. You can find all of her details in the show notes for today’s episode over on my website!
One last thing before I go -
I know it’s impossible to forget - but it’s still Black Friday week! Make sure you also pop over to the Show Notes for today’s episode to find some discounts waiting for you for Honeybook, my favourite CRM service, and Pic-Time, the gallery service I switched to this fall that I cannot recommend enough!
Thanks so much for listening to Keeping It Candid: Wedding Photography Unfiltered with Sandra Henderson! You can find full show notes from today’s episode at simplysandrayvonne.ca/keepingitcandid. In the meantime - let’s connect! You can find me on Instagram @simplysandrayvonne, and on Facebook in the Wedding Photography Unfiltered community! If you’re loving this podcast, I’d be so honoured if you'd go ahead and hit that subscribe button and leave me a review!
Until next time!