With a passion that took root for a young girl working in her grandmother’s garden, Katie Penfield of KatieBug Florals is now living her dream. Designing large-scale statement pieces and delicately handling every small detail, a KatieBug Floral wedding always bursts with floral variety. Because of her one-of-a-kind style, we wanted to allow Katie to share her best tips and favorite parts of working alongside brides, grooms and their families. Enjoy!
The Laurel: Hi Katie! What were some of the first flowers you ever learned about and what drew you to floral design?
Katie Penfield: My Grandmother was an avid gardener and always included me in the planting process. I remember some of her absolute favorites that she always had were geraniums and pansies. At one point she got into collecting antique rose bushes and I remember being fascinated by the different varieties available. Each variety was so different in not only its bloom type and colors, but whether it was a shrub or vine or bush—so many options and so many ways to create different looks within your garden.
TL: When did you know that you wanted to start KatieBug Florals?
KP: I began by doing florals on the side for friends, family and small events. I remember it was February of 2015 when I was working on flowers for my friend’s wedding and something in me just clicked. I begin thinking through the logistics of creating the business and all the details that went along with that. I told my husband about the possibility and he really believed in me and my sometimes wild dreams and told me to give it a shot! I’m grateful for not only his support, but that I took those first steps. Now I am truly living my dream!
TL: What does KatieBug Florals specialize in?
KP: We specialize mostly in weddings, but do take on a few small events and parties. Our style is more loose and wild with a love for large-scale installations. I get excited every time a bride wants me to build something different and unique that will serve as a statement piece.
TL: What can a potential client expect from their first meeting with you?
KP: I love to use that initial meeting to get to know the bride and groom and their overall style and vision for their wedding day. I think it is really helpful for them to bring any inspiration photos and a good idea of their budget range. The photos help me visualize what they are seeing that they like and the budget helps guide me in the recommendations that I make. Pinterest is kind of a love/hate resource because a bride might find something she loves, but is 3x out of her budget. So it’s helpful to make recommendations that are way more feasible.
TL: What has been your favorite floral trend in the past and/or in this season?
KP: I’m really loving how non-traditional brides are going with their wedding florals. I see floral design as a work of art. It’s the part of your wedding that can really make a statement and leave your guests talking about long after the wedding. There is so much more access to incredible varieties of blooms to us florists and so adding unique and interesting things that you wouldn’t see in your normal grocery store flowers, will take your florals up a notch. I love the large installation pieces that brides are willing to do. They are truly a work of art. Building these pieces to accent or add to your venue or space is such a good use of budget and design.
TL: How does the venue impact the floral options for your clients? What cool things have you been able to do at The Laurel in particular?
KP: The venue definitely can impact the florals. If the bride would like something hanging from the ceiling, but the venue’s ceiling doesn’t have the correct mechanics or support, that would make that type of installation very difficult. At the Laurel there are beautiful beams across the ceiling not only in the chapel, but in the reception space. We’ve done several weddings at The Laurel with lush greenery swags hanging across the ceiling above the dance floor, creating a garden-y feel indoors.
TL: Any tips for engaged couple when thinking through their floral options -- new ideas? Trends? Things to consider? Budget tips?
KP: I’d say stay open minded! Let your floral designer help guide you and let them be creative and design for you. When I have a trusting bride/groom, I’m always able to create something different and unique that makes an incredible statement! Also, think through your realistic budget. Like I said in the earlier question, budgets can be both helpful, but also limiting. If you want to spend no more than $4,000 on florals, but your ideas are more like $10,000, it will be really hard to achieve. So it’s good to go in knowing your range of budget to allow your floral designer to help guide you in your choices.
TL: Where does the name KatieBug Florals come from?
KP: I was called KatieBug as a kid, but the name really was revitalized by my mother-in-law. I began dating my husband when I was 16 and when I met my now mother-in-law, she immediately started calling me KatieBug. It caught on among his family and everyone started calling me that, eventually getting shortened to Buggie. I wanted a name for my business that was uniquely me! And it just had a nice ring to it!
TL: Anything else you would like to add?
KP: I also have a passion for teaching floral design. I hosted a floral workshop back in June and am hoping to host more in the future! I’m always happy to teach and encourage floral designers not only in the area of design, but also in building a floral business. I love the idea of community over competition and creating a supportive floral community!
Awesome! Thank you, Katie, for sharing your expert thoughts and tips with us. We wish you the best as KatieBug Florals continues to create gorgeous floral designs.