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Celebrity Style: Q&A With Floral Designer Jeff Leatham

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Photo: Courtesy of Jeff Leatham

In international event-design circles, he’s known as the “king of clean.” But floral genius Jeff Leatham is so much more than the reigning monarch of the monochromatic arrangement. As artistic director for the Four Seasons George V in Paris, Leatham’s bold, vibrant floral installations and event design work have won fans including Tina Turner, Oprah Winfrey and Madonna. He’s partnered with Hermes, Rolls-Royce and the Dallas Museum of Art. His book, “Visionary Art and Floral Design” (Rizzoli, 2014), is a must-have. He turned Kris Jenner’s Gatsby-theme 60th-birthday bash into an instant Instagram darling…and he just designed one of the most lavish weddings in wedding history. Leatham’s thoughts on flowers, color and weddings with inimitable personality are the subjects of this exclusive Weddings in Houston Q&A.

Weddings in Houston: How were you first introduced to the world of floral design?

Jeff Leatham: It was really an accident. I had been living in Los Angeles, doing a lot of retail management. I started modeling, went to Europe, and when I came back to L.A. I didn’t have a job. I put it out there to friends, asking if they knew anyone who was hiring. A friend had a friend who worked at the flower shop at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills. I went in to help her for a few days…and it was so much fun, such a great experience, she asked me if I wanted to come back the next week. It was the first time I saw flowers as art—and it just grew into something I really wanted to do.

Jeff-Leatham

Photo: Courtesy of Jeff Leatham

WIH: How did you end up at the Four Seasons George V in Paris?

JL: When the Four Seasons reopened the George V, they asked me to come work there. The hotel’s renovation was so exciting, there was so much press around it—and so much money to be spent. In the first year alone the hotel spent nearly $2 million on flowers. It was a major undertaking, and it really put me on the map. I was able to experiment and try new things. If they didn’t work, I could just toss them out and start over. That’s when I started to work with really clean design and big bunches of flowers.

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Photo: Courtesy of Jeff Leatham

WIH: How would you describe your signature style?

JL: It’s funny really. Jean Paul Gautier designed that pointy bra costume for Madonna—since then he will always be known as the “pointy bra guy,” even though he does so many different things in fashion. I’ll always be known as the guy with the big bunches, big vases with flowers leading up the sides. But really, for me, mixing it up is important. I don’t always do the clean, monochromatic style. Sometimes I’ll do an English Garden design, or really romantic pink flowers. But it is funny—I’ll put a really pretty arrangement like that up on Instagram, and it will get 2,000 Likes. Then I’ll put just a huge bunch of hydrangea up, and it will get 5,000. I find that simplicity really gets people’s attention.

WIH: With Houston’s heat and unpredictable weather, most brides opt for indoor venues. What are your favorite ways to transform a basic ballroom into a lush, vibrant wedding…experience?

JL: You only have one chance for a first impression, so an entrance piece in your reception area is so, so important. For centerpieces—“table art,” I call them—remember that people are going to be sitting in front of those arrangements for three or four hours. People are going to be looking at them, touching them. You should have three different centerpiece designs, to bring depth and texture to the space. But keep it monochromatic, though just different enough, and never use more than three different types of flowers. It’s so important—and difficult—to know when to “stop” with floral design.

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Photo: Courtesy of Jeff Leatham

WIH: What’s the single most important aspect of reception room design?

JL: Lighting. Find the best lighting company you can, even before you find your florist. Then focus on the table art.

WIH: What’s your best advice to brides for working with a floral designer?

JL: Every bride has always imagined that day. When I work with a bride, it’s important to have her explain to me what her dream wedding is. I ask the bride to stop, close her eyes, tell me with her eyes closed what she sees her wedding feeling like. Then we go from there. I work best with brides and clients when they really trust me. So, trust you wedding designer. Don’t micromanage. I do understand that wedding flowers are a big expense, and sometimes the couple or their family has saved a lot of money to spend on those flowers, and they want to make sure they are spending it well. But if you can just trust your designer, you will always get a better effect.

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Navy & Gold Wedding at Agave Estates by Civic Photos

Finding love was simple for Rosa and Chris, who met on the field while they were playing co-ed softball. Chris tells us how it all went down: “She was standing on 2nd base and I was walking towards left center. Rosa asked what my name was, then asked me out on a date and the rest was history.” Let’s hear it for making the first move, gals!!

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Rosa got the right mix of vintage and modern, with a refined palette of navy and gold, complementing the stone, wrought-iron and wood accents of Agave Estates. Ditto her personal bridal style, which combined loose, sideswept hair with a figure-contouring Enzoani gown and pretty peep-toe Loubs!

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After feasting on slow-roasted pork, and dancing the night away, the couple exited the reception surrounded by love and LOTS of bubbles, making their newlywed getaway in a Rolls-Royce Phantom!

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Photos: Civic Photos | Venue: Agave Estates | Bridesmaid Dresses: Houston Bridal Gallery

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Venues We Love: The Bryan Museum…Especially The Conservatory!!

One of the questions we get asked a lot here at HWB is: “Don’t you get tired of weddings?” And the answer is, well…no. We really, truly don’t. And the main reason is because every wedding is different. Every. Single. One. Color palettes may come and go, centerpiece heights may soar one season…and then come back down to earth by the next, but, we guarantee you, each wedding, no matter what trends they may share, is unique, special, unlike any other wedding in the universe. Because each couple is unlike any other couple in the universe—their love story is their own, and nobody else’s, and as such, their wedding is a magical celebration unto itself, singular and perfect.

Same goes for wedding venues: No two are alike. But…every once in a while, we come upon a venue that is so distinctive, we just have to single it out for some special love. The Bryan Museum in Galveston—housing one of the world’s largest collections of historical artifacts, documents and artwork relating to Texas and the American West—is one of these venues. And The Bryan Museum’s Conservatory is what makes it so totally one-of-a-kind for weddings.

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Photo: C. Baron Photography | Flowers & Decor: Darryl & Co.

Constructed of intricate metalwork and dazzling emerald-green glass, the Conservatory isn’t for huge bashes—it maxes out at about 150 reception guests—but the wedding celebrations it does house are stunners.

Bryan-Museum-Conservatory-Courtesy of The Bryan Museum

Photo: Courtesy of The Bryan Museum

For larger wedding events, the 2,000-square foot Bryan Museum Conservatory opens onto a large stone patio that can be set up with additional guest seating.

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Photo: Ryan R. Jones Photography

During the day, the Conservatory looks out onto a velvet-green lawn, while keeping guests comfortably cool, in its climate-controlled interior.

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Photo: Courtesy of The Bryan Museum

At night, the jewel-like glass walls of this gem of a venue glow with candlelight, making for an ultra-romantic wedding reception atmosphere.

The Bryan Museum

Photo: Ryan R. Jones Photography

And while most couples tend to have their ceremony in one of the area’s houses of worship, before segueing to the Bryan Museum for their celebration, you can say your “I do’s” on site, al fresco, beneath the museum’s jasmine-covered gazebo.

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Photos: Courtesy of The Bryan Museum

Planning a Galveston getaway this summer? Call 409.220.3022 to schedule a visit to The Bryan Museum, and check out the beautiful Conservatory—plus the lavish bridal suite and awesome groom’s lounge—in person, as you plan your unlike-any-other-wedding wedding. It’ll knock your socks off. But heck, it’s summer in Houston. Who needs socks anyway??

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Photo: Courtesy of The Bryan Museum

Happy venue-hunting, loves.

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Rustic-Elegant Barn Wedding by Plants N’ Petals

If we were to give out awards for adorable proposal stories, we’d definitely have to hand one out to Houston couple Britnie and Valentino. “When Britnie and I first started dating, we used to jam out to ‘Anyone Else But You’ by The Moldy Peaches, but we added our own lyrics,” says Valentino. So, naturally, when Valentino had the opportunity to propose to Britnie in front of 200 people at a church retreat, he decided to sing out the beloved indie hit…his way. It went a little something like this: “I am a Jedi and you were an English major/I’ll always protect you with my blue light saber/Here I kneel on this one knee/Oh Britnie, will you tell me you’ll marry me/Because I don’t see this ring more fitting for anyone else but you.” Just like that he swept his beloved off her feet, and they tied the knot a year later with their dearest family and friends in attendance, surrounded by insanely gorgeous flowers and decor from Plants N’ Petals. They even included their favorite Houston hangouts, Southside Espresso, as a vendor at the wedding, which “gave our guests a great non-alcoholic option,” the groom says. Congratulations, Britnie & Valentino, and thank you SO MUCH for sharing your beautiful celebration with us!

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Photos: Photography by Niki | Wedding Dress: Weddings by Debbie | Flowers, Decor & Rentals: Plants N’ Petals

 

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6 Hot Summer Makeup Essentials for Brides

Ah, summer. The sun is shining brighter, and it makes us want to play…with makeup! Channel your inner sun goddess with these five makeup essentials that’ll make you glow through pre-wedding festivities all summer long, while you save your bridal skin from the harming effects of the, you know, actual sun.

1. If there’s anything we want to do this summer, it’s look like always-aglow beauty queen Chrissy Teigen. Now all of us can get our Chrissy glow on with the Becca X Chrissy Teigen ‘Glow Face Palette’! This pretty palette includes a shimmering highlighter in two shades (Rose Gold & Beach Nectar), a near-perfect bronzer and a creamy blush. This handy little compact is our go-to palette for the season!

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2. Get ready to pucker up to summer with ‘Love At First Bite‘—one of MAC’s newest lipstick colors for summer. It’s the prettiest shade of fuchsia, and looks great on every skin tone, poolside, beachside and beside your boo at barbecues, cocktail soirees and more pre-wedding celebrations!

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3. Get a sultry, smokey eye with Clarins’ Sunkissed Summer Eyeshadow Palette for those hot summer nights in Houston. Feel free to mix it up and combine all of the shades—it won’t crease and lasts super long.

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4. Looking for a highly pigmented nude lip color that’s semi-matte AND doesn’t dry out your chap-prone summer lips? Try out NARS Velvet Lip Glide in ‘Unlaced’—trust us, you’ll love the way it looks against sunkissed skin.

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5. If you’re traveling this summer and want to look like you’ve been on the beach for days, Tarte’s Limited Edition ‘Girl Just Wanna Have Sun’ Sun Bronze & Sun Set is going to be your best-kept secret. It comes with a travel size self-tanning lotion, self-tanning face towelette, bronzer and contour for your bod and a waterproof bronzer that’ll give you a sun-kissed glow all day long.

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6. Don’t forget to add a pop of color to the apples of your cheeks with Clinique + Jonathan Adler’s Cheek Pop, available in pretty shades of plum and peach. Did we mention how much we love the packaging? It’s also the perfect size for summer travel or to stick in your clutch on a hot night out! Happy shopping, loves…

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