It is no secret that we are floral lovers over here at the Smith House, so we are BEYOND excited that our friend, Phuong, is joining us today for some amazing tips on wedding florals + beyond. Phuong is the owner of Mibellarosa, an incredible Houston florist whose bouquets are unparalleled. She once said “Just a girl holding a big ass bouquet of pretties” and I said that should absolutely be her tagline (You’ll see why when you keep scrolling and see those gorgeous, big bouquets). Ready to meet Phuong?! Let’s dig into her Q&A!
Let’s start out with some get-to-know-you’s…
Alma Mater: University of Texas at Austin
Cake or Ice Cream? Ice Cream
Dogs or Cats? Dogs
East Coast or West Coast? Both
If you could only have one food for the rest of your life, what would it be? Vietnamese
Tell us a little about your journey into the floral world.
While working for a law firm, my friends kept asking me to help plan their weddings since I was involved with event planning for college and City of Austin events. I’m extremely Type A and also creative, so they trusted me to get things done and make it look good. I can also speak fluent Vietnamese, which won over lots of parents. I eventually began booking more weddings on the side and one day a bride asked if I could help her with her flowers for a small boat wedding in Austin. After that wedding, I just realized working with flowers made me much happier. I started working nights and weekends at multiple flower shops to gain more experience from the bottom up–bleaching buckets, taking out trash, making deliveries and all. In 2011, I finally decided it was time to let go of that steady paycheck in pursuit of floral happiness full-time. In 2016, the flowers overtook my event planning side of the business. I learned what I loved most about wedding planning was the design aspect, so I made the decision to stop wedding planning and focus solely on creative direction and florals. I’m now able to do what I really excel at versus trying to tackle everything when there are professionals who are better at the planning part than I am.
The Mibellarosa style is unique and distinct; we always know a MBR bouquet when we see one. Tell us a little bit about your design process, how you honed in on your style, what makes you different, etc.
My brides are my ultimate muse for each bouquet. Each one of my bouquets is different than the others and move differently because each of my brides — their smiles, style, shape, size, and spirit — is unique. It sounds uber corny, but I try my best to create a bouquet that will be the personification my bride.
Describe the perfect Mibellarosa bouquet.
The perfect Mibellarosa bouquet fits her bride, makes her look proportionate, complements her dress and veil, works with the season, smells phenomenal, and, most importantly, she DANCES.
What are your three favorite flower varieties + what do you love about them?
I love by the season. My favorite overall has always been tulips even when I was a little girl. I researched them and their personalities (yes, flowers have personalities) and I really identified with them. I also love the fullness of peonies, the smell and daintiness of garden roses, the way Japanese sweet peas move, and the delicate joy of all flowering branches–it’s really unfair to make me list only three!
Let’s dig into wedding planning specifically.
And where better to start than with the dreaded: Budgets. Where should a couple even begin with planning their floral budget?
One of the things that really impact your floral budget is guest count. As a former wedding planner, I can show my brides how much more they can have if they are able to cut out a few tables of people they really don’t even know or people they thought they should invite out of politeness, and they are always flabbergasted and excitedly begin making some cuts. You know that third cousin twice removed, whom you’ve never met or the coworkers at your new job, or your parents’ friends’ friend’s sister? Each person costs much more than a meal if you really look at where your money goes. They can be the difference between rose petals down the aisle or a ceremony flower arch.
What is worth the “splurge”?
The bridal bouquet. She’s in photos more than any other floral item in the wedding. Splurge on her and the bridal party even if you don’t have money for guest tables.
What is the difference between a florist and a designer?
That’s a hard question because I feel like all florists are designers in their own right even if their level of design and styles are different. I do, however, think a true designer is someone who actually works off her own ideas, comes up with her own designs, and creates a look for herself instead of following someone else’s design and work.
When should a couple hire their florist?
If flowers are important to you, I would begin at least 8 months out because many good designers do not take multiple weddings in one day since they want to focus on one wedding at a time to make it perfect, and perfection takes time. My brides often book us a couple of months after their engagement.
Anything final words or tips you want our brides to know?
Often times, I hear people say flowers are a waste of money because they die anyway and they’re only needed for that one day. I disagree. Flowers are the embodiment of joy, celebration, romance, wonder, and all things happy. You can smell them before you even see them and that in itself can transport you to a magical place in your mind. If flowers give them ALL the happy feels on their wedding day, that’s all that matters. [A NOTE FROM BECKI: I personally love that Mibellarosa will repurpose flowers if they are doing break-down and pick-up from your wedding! They often take florals to retirement homes to bless people with the incredible florals that adorned your wedding!]