Wedding Professional Wednesday: Lee Forrest

We are back with our new 'season' of our Wedding Professional Wednesday series on the Joie de Vie Weddings & Events Blog. This season (I'm thinking seasons because like the TV shows WPW takes a hiatus over the summer, LOL) we have a great group of professionals in the central Florida area that will give you great insight into our industry. Our first professional featured this fall is none other than Lee Forrest. Lee owns Lee Forrest Design and he is a zany, fun and extremely creative floral designer. In addition to being a great professional in central Florida he is hilariously funny, sweet and overall a great individual. All who interact with him can truly say he is one of the nicest vendors you will interact with. Well enough of me describing Lee, I will let you read his response from our Q&A.

Name: Lee Forrest

Name of your Company: Lee Forrest Design LLC

Location: (Downtown )
51 North Bumby Avenue
Orlando, FL 32803

Number of Years in Business: 10 (five under my current corporate name and working in a retail space, and five years as a sole proprietor working from home)

Tell us a little about your business and the services you offer:
I design beautiful and exquisite flowers for weddings. We stay incredibly busy--usually four to six weddings per weekend on average. We have 27 weddings confirmed for October. We are extremely blessed to be this busy.
How did you get started in the Wedding Industry?
I worked for another now-defunct shop in town as their exclusive wedding consultant, even though I feel like I really didn't know that much about weddings at the time. Then later, Lee James hired me as his assistant and also as the primary wedding consultant for his clients at a local bed and breakfast venue--and the rest is history. I also worked with Jonathan and Jesus at Raining Roses on a free-lance basis. Between what I learned at these two companies and these amazingly talented gentlemen, I knew that I had the talent and the confidence to be able to build this into my own career.

What professional organizations or networking groups are you a member of?
Orlando Wedding Guild, Perfect Wedding Guide, Orlando Wedding Professionals, Orlando Wedding Group, Lake County Wedding Professionals, The Diamond Package--I think that's it?

Any industry awards or recognition?
I was on the PWG Prom Court! LOL!! Does that count? Actually I'm not out to win any awards--I just want to excel in what I do, with or without the credibility of an award. Although our work is prominently featured in a magazine or a newspaper almost every month. I get quoted a lot--by Orlando Lifestyles Magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Knot Magazine, Orlando Home and Leisure, Orlando Style, to name a few. I dunno--it's fun seeing your name in print. I guess winning an award would be fun--but I don't really have the time to pursue applying for any awards. Oh, wait--I was in the WESH A-list top five the last two years. The first year I campaigned to be on the list, but last year I didn't even try. But I made the list anyways--so I guess that was an honor.

Furthest place and/or interesting place you’ve travelled to while working on a wedding assignment?
I used to free-lance in my earlier days and a coordinator friend up north hired me to travel to Rockland, Maine to help design the flowers for a "true million dollar wedding" at a small country club overlooking the rocky cliffs of the Atlantic Ocean--two very wealthy Boston families--it took 14 people seven days to design the wedding and two days to dismantle it--and their flower budget was $325,000. Truly a dream wedding and an experience of a life-time.

What are a few suggestions you would make to couples as they are selecting a florist/floral designer for their wedding?
Make sure you are totally comfortable and that you click with your designer before signing a contract. Gut instinct is SO important. Also, are they a "designer" who can think outside the box and create something truly extraordinary--or merely a "florist" who can merely copy something tried and true out of a recipe book (boring!)? I love working with clients who stretch my imagination and do things that most people wouldn't have the nerve to do. Those end up being the most memorable weddings for both me and the guests. And the most fun.

What are a few trends and innovations you have seen in the industry?
Lighting seems to be a lot more important than it used to be--good lighting can make or break the look of a wedding. A good lighting company is worth every penny.

Are you a blog reader? If so, what are your three favorite blogs besides the Joie de Vie blog?
Probably Michele Butler's blog is one that I read on a regular basis. Besides being a great coordinator and a dear friend, she is fun and so on top of the current trends. I really learn a lot from her! Other blogs would be Amy Morelli at the 2U Collection--she designs the most exquisite custom invitations and paper products--and also my friend Heather Ahrens at "HA! Photography". Also Rootography by Nathan and Jensey Root--and also Leigh Taylor's blog--photographers really have it sweet when it comes to featuring their work in blogs.

If you weren't working in this industry, what field would you be in instead? Why?
I can't imagine not working in the wedding industry. Being such an important part of the most special day in someones life is such a great honor for me. Seeing a bride's face light up when she sees her flowers--it's a cliche to say this--but it really makes it all worth it. Actually, the best compliment a bride can give me is to just burst into tears when she sees her bouquet. Then, I know I have moved her beyond words. I know her appreciation is totally genuine--it's hard to fake the tears! Just make sure she's crying because she is overwhelmed with joy! LOL!
We also asked Lee if he blogs. He doesn't. He swears he is not up on anything that deals with technology.
What would we be surprised to learn about you?
Probably that I grew up on a farm in Kentucky? Most people seem surprised that I don't have the typical Kentucky farm boy accent--and it's just funny watching people trying to process the visual of me growing up on a farm. But it's where I was introduced to flowers--running through the fields picking the wildflowers on the farm and planting flower seeds in a row at the edge of our big country garden. Being a florist is actually the first thing I can ever remember wanting to be--at age 5. Yes, even then, we knew! I had the creative gene in my blood. LOL!!

When not working on a wedding, what are your favorite pastimes?
I am pretty much always working on a wedding, working on a proposal or designing something for an event--it's something that doesn't stop for me. Everybody teases me that my facebook updates always say that I'm working--and working--and working--and it really is true! It's a passion and a hobby for me--and therefore, a favorite pasttime. I get bored when I am not working. Although, I do love to hang out with my friends at my favorite local bar Savoy, though, when I am not working. Which is rare. The not working part, that is. : )

Well there you have it! Lee Forrest is one of the vendors you can definitely consult as you are planning the floral design for your next event.

Until next time,
© 2005 - 2009 Joie de Vie Weddings & Events, Inc. - All Rights Reserved.


Jensey! said…
Aww, Lee! Thanks for the shout out! I love that you follow our blog. :)

I loved this interview! I've said it before and I'll say it again, but Lee Forrest is pure magic! :)
Joe said…
Great article Kerline. How do I get featured on your blog? :-)
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