As you may know, we are pretty new around the wedding circuit. Being the newbie can sometimes be a struggle but when you have a kind friendor (friend+vendor) take you under their wing, it makes the experience so much sweeter and we were so lucky to get connected with Mrs. Gaye of Tulips and Twigs from the start.
Gaye McNair is the Owner of Tulips and Twigs and is a fabulous floral designer. When I first met Mrs. Gaye, it felt like a big warm welcome from a friend that I've known for years. She instantly made me feel welcomed to the great big world of weddings. I always think that when creative people are able to make such beautiful things, it's just a reflection of their personality and this rings true with Gaye's floral work.
I asked Mrs. Gaye to be our first vendor spotlight because she's always so quick to step up to the plate to help out when in a pinch. She's created florals for the inside of The Inn at Cotton Hall as well as threw together the most beautiful bouquets for our first styled shoot that we put together last minute.
So without further adieu, here's a few questions I put on Mrs. Gaye last minute because as a fellow creative, sometimes that's just how things work.
Q: Where are you from? Are you a local to the area?
A: I’m originally from the midlands of SC, but I’ve been calling the Lowcountry home for about 35 years. My husband and I met in college (Go Gamecocks!) and have three adult children, and four grands with another on the way. Not many people know we homeschooled our three children and saw one graduate from Auburn, another from USCB, and our youngest now at Clemson. While I am so thankful we were able to homeschool, starting Tulips and Twigs in this second season has given me an exciting and new focus.
I love that becoming a "empty-nester" gave you the opportunity to begin a new venture for you in the wedding industry!
Q: Tell us a little about your story and how you became a floral designer?
A: I started as a gardener. I love my little garden! I walk through the garden and am reminded of so many friends and relatives who have shared treasured plants with me…special “pass along” plants that are often hard to find in nurseries. It brings me great joy to then share these flowers with my brides! I often include a little something in their bouquets from my garden.
If you don't follow Tulips and Twigs on Instagram, you should! Mrs. Gaye often shares stories about her gardens and it's one of my most favorite things about following her on Instagram!
Q: Can you tell me a little more about your decision to not use floral foam and how this makes a difference? When I first met you, this blew me away and I was so excited to learn more about this aspect of floral design.
A: I believe we should be careful stewards of this wonderful creation. As a person who loves and works with flowers, I try to make choices that do no harm. In my garden, I avoid pesticides that might hurt the insect and bird life. In my floral work, I avoid floral foam as much as possible. I use chicken wire instead of floral foam and really think that allows for a looser design with more natural movement. And surely the flowers prefer drinking clean water instead of sucking it up through the foam! More and more designers are leaving foam behind as studies have shown it doesn’t completely break down and can find its way into our sea life. It also has chemicals that I just don’t want to be a part of. HOWEVER, there are times, limited though they may be in my opinion, when foam is going to be the best alternative for event work. I don’t always use them in installations, but there are times in our hot climate that it is the best choice. But I try to do my part by limiting the use of it.
Q: What are your favorite flowers to work with?
A: My favorite flowers to work with? Seriously? That’s like asking a mom who her favorite child is! But I’ll name a few that I always find I gravitate toward. Garden roses. Not supermarket roses, but those soft, multi-petal beauties that open up so lush and full! They often have a wonderful scent as well. I love for a bride’s bouquet to have a scent that will spark memories of her wedding day in later years. (Guys, take note! Surprise her with these on future anniversaries!) I love vines, and some wonderful things that are found growing wild in our fields and woods such as beauty berry and pokeweed. And of course, I love the fancy tulips like the parrot and double tulips!
Q: What makes a couple a good fit for Tulips and Twigs?
A: I think the couple that would appreciate our designs the most are those that like a more natural, garden style. But more than that, I want our couples to see our joy in working with them and being a part of this most special day. Our team is there because they LOVE seeing a bride’s vision become a reality. And we truly want to BLESS them, their families, and their guests. I think when a couple begins to look for a florist, they need to find someone they can be comfortable with, someone they know they can trust. I think the best compliment we’ve had was when a bride told her rehearsal dinner guests that the 3 people most invested in her wedding were her, her mother, and her florist. I love that so much! That’s what I want all our brides to say!
When I first started working with Mrs. Gaye for an upcoming wedding client, the first thing she asked me was "can I speak with the bride" so that she could begin building their relationship which I thought was so nice. She was ready to dive in and get the ball rolling right away.
I can't express enough how much we've enjoyed working with Mrs. Gaye and Tulips and Twigs. It has been a wonderful start to kicking off things at our wedding venue.
To learn more about Tulip and Twigs and Mrs. Gaye, check out her website and social links below:
Do you know of a wedding vendor you'd like to see featured on our blog? Leave a comment below!