For Portland, Oregon–based floral designer and event stylist Heather Smith, known as @Sea.of.Roses on Instagram, creating “one-of-a-kind experiences through flowers” has been a goal ever since childhood, when she spent summers playing among the marigolds in her grandparents’ Southern California yard.
“[One day], my sister and I were called in, and [my grandmother] told us to take out the marigolds from our pockets,” she remembers fondly. “We rubbed them between our hands and took the petals and sprinkled them out in the wind. She said all the marigold babies would grow up and make more marigolds, but only if we set them free. So we ran around the yard dropping little petals all over. Looking back, it seems so silly, but I’ve always held on to that day and that place.”
Now years later, she’s amassed quite the following, one that’s become mesmerized by her carefully curated feed overflowing with stunning tablescapes, blushing brides, plenty of roses, and (of course) marigolds. For anyone looking for serious bouquet inspiration, Smith is the person to follow. Given that summer is nearly upon us, we asked her to share some of her favorite DIY bouquets with us.
“I think that movement is very important, and a little wildness goes a long way,” she says. “Unexpected color pairings are huge right now, as is spraying and dyeing florals.” Want to create Instagram-worthy arrangements like Smith’s? It’s quite simple and all comes down to four steps.
Step 1: Foliage First
Smith’s feed is floral perfection, and she credits Mother Nature for her self-described “garden-inspired” style, one that undoubtedly ties back to those childhood summers spent at her grandparents.
To achieve a carefree and not overly done bouquet, foliage is always the first step, she says. “Grab a few stems of foliage and place them in your hand, so they create a bowl-like shape to hold your flowers.”
Today, 90 percent of Smith’s business is focused on weddings, and as with every bride, each bouquet has to evoke a different feeling, starting with an array of varying flowers. “Layer in flowers of varying heights, and add in larger focal flowers or flowers that you want to give depth to your arrangement,” she recommends.
Whether inspiration comes from learning about the bride’s favorite things or pulling from the ceremony’s location, Smith’s bouquets not only add to the beauty of events but are also there to tell a story.
Step 3: Fetching Filler Flowers
Remember, less is always more. A handful of spray roses, some delicate delphiniums, or the classic baby’s breath will do the trick to fill in around the larger flowers. “Add another layer of smaller focal, filler flowers or something to give your bouquet some bounce and organic airiness,” says Smith.
Step 4: Unexpected Touches
When Smith finds herself in a creative rut, she often looks to gardenscapes, paintings, or even runway shows to find extra inspiration for the finishing touch every arrangement needs. “Finish off your bouquet with accent pieces such as unexpected color, strong lines, or dried flowers,” she says. No need to spend hours in ikebana classes. By following these four simple steps, you’ll always have a fresh, artfully arranged bouquet at hand.