Given we share a profound love for all things Italian, this month’s “vendor of the month” has been an easy pick.
Meet the beautiful and incredibly talented Evgeniya, owner and creative head of Tulipano Floral Décor.
Read the interview below to learn why she became a florist, what she loves most about her job, her dream wedding setting and the key advice she would give any couple planning their wedding…
Let’s start at the beginning: tell us a bit more about you, your work, and what role you play in someone’s wedding.
I see my role as a so called projector: showing the couple’s story, dreams and visions (common and individual ones) with the language of flowers, in a way that is timeless and up to date at the same time, able to shape necessary cultural codes, meanings and personal features into images and interpret them with the instruments of floral design, and doing it honoring interests of the couple (and sometimes of their whole family), floristry as an art and the standards I set for Tulipano as a brand.
In short, my role is to make each partner in a couple happy. And it comes to the way I treat their interests from the moment they get to know Tulipano, through the wedding day when the bride gets her dream bouquet on time for her ‘getting ready’ photoshoot and the groom with his groomsmen have their boutonnières fixed in the right way with no stress to think about it. All the way until the moment they look through their wedding album remembering the day in every detail (emotions of guests feeling welcomed and taken care of with the ambience we created as they enter the ceremony area or join the reception, the flatlays we style thoroughly to name just a few) and I am to make sure it’s all done with the attention to every detail that matters so that they are relaxed and smiling when it comes to their florals that are an essential and critical part of such an occasion.
What made you decide to become a florist?
It’s interesting as I never thought of becoming one until 7 years ago when I felt overwhelmed with management tasks solely and missed being an artist. As a child, I was always into art whether it was playing the piano, violin, singing, or dancing.
After graduating from university – I studied business in culture and events management in particular – I worked on several international projects, managing artistic tours; I used to run a touristic business for more than 10 years and dealt with real estate too and I think after working in the hospitality industry, business and culture background, event floral design ended up to be a logical continuation of my way as it gave me the opportunity to be both: the manager and the artist.
As I get to work with flowers (during initial concept brainstorming or physically) this is the time I actually rest from administrative tasks and get into my passion, the world of design with its shades, tones, color gradients, texture combinations, and the alchemy of composition.
While I also like to be in control of things and manage processes, it is here where all the logistics concerned with import of flowers, custom clearance, transportation, giving florists the artistic direction, managing the schedules, negotiating with suppliers and partners (to name just a few), come into play.
What do you love most about your job and is there anything you’d consider your specialty?
Oh, there are so many things I love about it! I love floral design tools, love working with hands, I admire the craftsmanship itself, its traditions on one hand (just think of Ikebana art for instance!) and its transformations as the time goes by and it changes along with the fashion cycles, interior design trends and whatnot on the other hand.
It also requires analytical skills and I like that about my job. It’s not just about flowers and beauty itself 🙂
I am driven by the challenge to solve conflicts of interest in the best way too (for example sometimes couples think they have a totally different vision on their wedding and get to the point of considering giving up and even separating while planning their wedding. I had the honor to be the floral designer such couples approached after dealing with other companies and to find the design solution that worked for each of them and I wish more couples knew that the professional possesses all the tools to make their dreams happen without sacrifices. But that’s another story. I mention this as a good example, when psychology, floristry, and overall creativity come together for a bigger purpose. This is what I like about my role too.
Having to consider cross-cultural aspects (I am so fascinated with that, I even wrote my diploma on the matter and was about to continue with it for my Ph.D. too) working in the UAE with its cultural diversity and for destination weddings as well as something that also keeps my job interesting.
I think I could talk about floral design endlessly as it is the whole world of beauty with the philosophy behind it too.
Speaking about specialty, if you asked me this question a couple of years ago I would find it reasonable to speak about our signature style focusing on a botanically inspired garden style. Now I would speak about eco-friendly floristics and its tools accordingly but to generalize I like to see Tulipano be a trend-setter inspired by nature overall. Nothing extra or artificial. Only fine art floristry, tailored for every event individually, with quality over quantity.
Let’s talk about timelines: can you highlight the most important time-frames when it comes to flower arrangement planning (when should the couple contact you first, when do you place the order, etc.)?
Some colleagues in the industry would answer ‘The earlier the better’. I wouldn’t say so. Due to various reasons, I would say 6 months prior to the wedding date is a good time if it is to be held within the UAE, and 6 to 9 months for destination weddings (especially if its outside Europe, Turkey for example, where high import taxes apply, custom clearance procedures are very strict and require lots of preparations in good time to allow all the authorities to approve every stage of the process). I wouldn’t say we won’t be able to make things happen if a couple approaches us 1 month before the wedding, we did so even for destination weddings in Turkey which was our new destination back then. But I can’t guarantee we will be able to assist with such last-minute requests with current bookings and events taking place. And as we discuss ideal scenarios and standard procedures, here it’s important to mention that we start placing flower orders 2 weeks prior to the event date for the events taking place within the UAE and much earlier for destination weddings (it depends on the country).
I would also like to bring attention to the fact that all the designs and financials are to be finalized by then. If we are to manufacture some structures for installations it also requires additional time not to mention the time needed for working on the design concept itself with sketches of every floral element implemented, for the mock-up or both.
Yet, it would be reasonable to approach us once you know or you are close to finalizing your wedding venue (as this would influence the style a lot), have either the draft floor plan in place or know an approximate number of guests (this would allow us to guide you through pricing) and some guidance on the style that inspires you to give us a better idea on the direction to follow (if you don’t have any – we are happy to advise on how to shape it best).
What would your dream wedding setting be/What setting reflects your style best?
A setting allowing us to fully show and honor the beauty of every flower involved. Where every detail and element services the purpose to reflect the concept without being underestimated. It is a rather natural setting even though this notion is quite subjective.
Talking about my personal preferences, ideally, the setting would be somewhere in Tuscany, Sicily, Amalfi Coast, or Côte d’Azur during summer and in the UAE’s stunning locations during winter. I love The Desert Palm, Dubai Polo & Equestrian Club, Park Hyatt, The Ritz Carlton on JBR, to name just a few of my favorite venues here.
How would you describe your “ideal” couple?
The couple that chooses us for our style and standards and thus trusts us to define it in short.
Overall I have been quite lucky having dealt with incredible couples and people all over the world, those we used to meet several times during planning and those we haven’t met until the wedding day. What gives me peace of mind while preparing for their wedding is the trust I am given to do my part of the job with all its responsibilities.
While I always do my best to provide as much detailed information and visual material as possible during the planning process there might appear too many issues that require immediate adjustment and while I am available 24/7 when needed to be in touch with Holland auction, for example, or custom clearance, I would prefer not to disturb the bride when it’s not really necessary. For example, some flowers from our floral selection might get sold out in the Holland auction and due to limited quantity, I’d have to find the appropriate replacement or some flowers might get detained at customs and in this case I also have to find the alternatives on the local market last minute, within the established design concept and color palette of course. These cases are mentioned in our contract and as it is part of our work, I appreciate when couples trust that no matter what situations we face, we will do our very best to provide the result they will be happy about.
Any piece of advice you’d like to give any couple out there planning their wedding?
Yes. Since you asked, I’d like to use this chance and advise couples to choose the floral design company whose style is closest to their own taste and heart. They (*the companies) might create projects within concepts that differ a lot yet you can feel their signature. I wouldn’t advise to go to the company that has never done anything similar to what you are looking for and waste your precious time in attempts to teach them how to do it (they might actually just not like working in this style, it happens, and/or might not understand it as you do).
My piece of advice applies also in those cases when the chosen wedding planning company does work with limited floral designers only (it’s a common practice) and you don’t like any of them. The wedding planner might be the perfect match for planning, organizing everything, and be the support along the process you need while the floral designers they work with might not be able to reflect your taste, vision, or comply with your standards. This happens a lot and in this case, couples approach us directly if they feel we are their perfect match when it comes to florals. Please don’t be shy or hesitant to do so, it is YOUR wedding, not the wedding planner’s or the floral designers’, but yours; and trust me, we as professionals will manage it best FOR YOU. We always do.
Can you run us through a typical wedding day for you?
It can sometimes start at midnight with a very intense schedule and scale of work to be done before we start the actual set up. To run through it very briefly it is as follows:
*If the ceremony place is far from the reception location (at the church for example), then 2 separate teams work on each area. Sometimes if the car decoration is needed it might be as well in the 3rd location and the personnel in charge is dedicated to fulfilling this task.
*If the schedule allows I do my best to assist the photographer or a wedding planner to style the flatlays and other detailed shoots.
After this, I get back to the setup location checking the status of the installations, giving priority to structures first (all the hanging features, ceremony set up or kosha, entrance area, seating charts décor, bride and groom table installations if there are any, lounge area, dance floor décor, etc.).
*My scope of work is of course to ensure proper communication between the couple, wedding planning team, production, sound and lighting, transportation, our team, photographers, videographers, the venue, and its housekeeping, catering and other vendors, while planning the schedule and sequence of such work hours.
Flowers make up a big part of a wedding budget. Is there any advice you would like to give couples when planning their flower arrangements & financials?
I would always advise choosing quality over quantity thus it’s better, in my opinion, to skip some décor elements (or some areas that don’t make a big difference on overall impression but rather complementary) and focus on areas that would be a focal point of guests’ attention (that is usually the ceremony and dining tables where guests spend most of their time overall) giving the lounge area and cocktail tables some simple touch-ups if the budget allows. The bridal bouquet is important too of course, even though in some cases it is also skipped but due to other reasons than financial ones.
Please remember that sometimes one table centerpiece done with proper attention to detail can give a much better impression and warmer feeling than a huge wall of artificial flowers at the entrance of the venue.
What inspires you when creating a concept for a couple?
Their story, their individualities, hobbies, tastes, families, backgrounds, and interests. The way they interact with each other when they talk about the wedding and the way they react to my suggestions. I can’t ignore the inspiration guidance they initially came with and I try to be attentive to what they speak about, to every detail, to the way they look and dress too, it all gives food for thought, useful while brainstorming the most suitable concept options.
Do you have any flowers you particularly adore using, for wedding setups in the UAE?
Most of my favorite flowers are quite delicate for the UAE’s heat and might not be reasonable to be used during the hottest periods of the year. Yet, there is a lot of dried and bleached foliage recently that became trendy and is suitable for local sandy landscapes and weather, for example, ferns (treated to get beautiful cream finishing or dried flat brown ones), bleached or preserved Italian Ruscus, Amaranthus, Phalaris, Setaria, dyed Asparagus and even white peacock feathers, while Cortaderia and Lunaria (natural, bleached or dried) are still being used widely too due to their unique look and durability.
What would you love to see more within the UAE wedding industry (trends, etc.)?
It’s interesting you mentioned trends as this is exactly what I feel is missing. I would like it to be more familiar with global trends that come into play at a fast pace. To be more flexible and movable if I can say so. In the floral design, in particular, I like having the chance to be a trend-setter on the market with new ideas, materials, and tools, while it would be very nice to work with colleagues in a team offering the client the best concepts that are up to date, unique and will stay exactly that and this is why I love interacting with you as I always get inspired by your concepts, approach, artistic direction, and vision.
How can interested couples reach you?
Through Instagram, WhatsApp, email or a call.
Reach Evgeniya at Tulipano Floral Décor:
+971 56 491 6531 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
I am looking forward to designing and creating again but even if it’s not the time yet for detailed planning, let’s keep interacting in other ways, using this time to get to know each other better and to do other things we usually don’t manage in the fast pace of wedding seasons…