In an elegant ballroom,spring is brought indoors with blooms intangerine, melon and chartreuse adorning the tables. Among a scenic Hill Country ranch, a bride and groom exchange vows under an arch of vibrant cherry blossom branches.
Touching the heart and the senses, the floral pieces of Melissa White of Botanika exude amazing dimension and splendorous hues. For the last 16 years, she has cultivated a reputation for designing flowers and décor that captivate wedding couples and their guests.
“Flowers should tantalize the eyes and stir the emotions,” she says. “By using variations in texture, shape and color, my goal is to design floral pieces that are never predictable—but always visually interesting.”
Flowers to Adore
Some brides come to White knowing exactly which variety of flowers they want: hydrangea, peonies, orchids, roses, or calla lilies, just to name a few. While others come withgeneralideas. She helps her clients discover and express their style in every floral component, from the bouquets to the centerpieces to the cake.
“I always tell brides that we like many things, but we love few things,” she says. “When we are looking at different images of flowers in magazines or Pinterest, I read their reaction. When they say, ‘I love that,’ that’s a pretty good sign that the flower is for them.”
Her travels to fashionable locales such as New York, Paris, and Sonoma Valley nspire the eclectic flair of her designs.
“I work with some of the nation’s top floral wholesalers to provide blooms that are fresh, abundant, and if the bride desires, unique,” Melissa says. “I’m also looking for the latest trends in color schemes and fashion to see where I can infuse them in my designs.”
She pairs flowers with flattering containers, including candelabras, towering tapered vases, mercury glass vases, antique silver pieces and painted wood boxes. To complete table ensembles, she can help brides select linens, chairs and place settings.
During her consultation with her clients, she becomes familiar with their ceremony and reception itineraries, who will be in their wedding party and the overall mood they want to achieve.
“I help them think about the little things that are important,” she says. “For instance, do they know how many grandfathers will need boutonnieres? Does the church allow aisle or altar decorations?"
No event is too large or small for Botanika.
“Whether it’s a charming chapel ceremony with 50 guests or an elaborate reception for 300, I customize floral designs that match the venue and the couple’s vision,” Melissa says. “What matters is that the details are lovely and that the ambience is just how the bride and groom imagined.”
Sharing her Passion for Petals
Flowers are more than a profession for Melissa. They are her passion. At the San Antonio Garden Center, she teaches hands-on floral design courses. She also supports the nonprofit community through donating her expertise. Recently, at a fundraising event at the Valero Energy Corp. headquarters, she volunteered to teach 250 students how to make Fiesta-themed arrangements. The proceeds from the class benefited The ALS Association Texas Chapter.
Melissa also uses her business skills to serve as PTA president at her daughter’s middle school, and she is active at her son’s high school.
“As a single mom, I am absolutely adamant about being very visible in their schools,” she says. “I enjoy organizing opportunities for parents and the community to help teachers, staff, and students.”
Though she finds teaching and volunteeringgratifying, one of the best parts of her week is bestowing a bride with her much-anticipated ceremony bouquet.
“For me, all the months of planning and design culminate in that one special moment,” she says. “I’ve pinned the corsages on the mothers, handed the bouquets to the bridesmaids andgiven the boutonnieres to the men. Now, it’s the bride’s time to shine. I know that she and her flowers will look beautiful.”
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