From orchids to roses, bohemian chic to timeless elegance, Wisteria Design Studio has the very best in flowers. Wisteria prides themselves in offering specialized and unique floral design and arrangements that fit the feel and look that you set to achieve for your big day. Russell Toscano, artistic director and founder of Wisteria Design Studio tells us all about his passion for floral design and how to make the most out of your wedding floral in this week’s VOW!
Q: What does Wisteria Design Studio specialize in?
A: Our company motto is “the very best in flowers”. So for starters our aim is to give our clients the best quality flowers we can find both locally and globally. The same goes for our design work, being a design studio, we specialize in one of a kind floral designs created for each client and each occasion. Sometimes it frustrates the “grab and go” customers that we don’t have little bouquets premade, but we prefer to make even those custom for each person who stops by our flower cart at International Market Square.
Q: How and when did Wisteria Design Studio start?
A: I was formerly a drama and art teacher in Washington, DC, then I moved back to my hometown NYC to become an actor after 10 years of teaching. Well the theater business being what it is…parts came very slowly…so I was a waiter like most actors. Eventually I missed the creative hands on process and opened a freelance flower business in NYC, that morphed into the first “Wisteria” storefront in New Jersey where I was living. I met some guys from Minneapolis and we became best friends. After they moved back to Minnesota, they encouraged me to move my business here. I visited for four days and in that weekend decided to sell my house back east, move here, and open my business here in Minneapolis! That was November 1986 when I officially opened and incorporated as Wisteria Design Studio Ltd. 30 years ago. People ask if I’ve ever regretted that decision…absolutely not!
Q: What makes Wisteria Design stand out in terms of wedding floral design?
A: For one thing Wisteria has always had a distinct signature “look”. Clean, focused, classic with an edge. Most folks “in the know” can pick my work out from the crowd and brides LOVE that! Another thing is the level of service we offer when we work with wedding couples from consultations to wedding day. Our commitment and attention to detail is unparalleled and gleans many kudos in our reviews above the mentions of how pleased they were with the flowers!
Q: What makes wedding floral and wedding décor different from other events?
A: Generally it’s the level of contact we have with the client. Wedding clients plan so far in advance and this day is so very important to them that we usually get to know each other much more and develop more of a rapport than we have a chance to do when we do a dinner party for a client or even a large corporate event where there are many decision makers involved in mounting the project.
Visually wedding floral is typically softer and “prettier ” if you will than most corporate jobs we do.
Q: What is an average day at Wisteria like?
A: Well I am always checking Wisteria emails at breakfast, so my day starts way before I get to the shop. If I notice special orders in the emails involving product we don’t have currently, I’m on the phone in between bites, checking with my wholesalers. Once I get to the shop we check voicemails, put our fresh flowers out on our flower cart, and do the “orders of the day “. Beyond that it could be wedding consultations, prepping centerpieces for a party or wedding, or ordering flowers for the following week’s events/weddings. In between, we wait on walk up clients and try to grab lunch at a semi reasonable hour!
Q: What would you want a couple searching for their perfect wedding florist to know?
A: I would hope that first of all they have identified a color scheme of some sort and a general style or feeling for the overall look of their wedding. Most importantly they need to decide upon a flower budget just as they do when they approach buying anything else in life. My consultation requires a budget from the potential wedding couple.
Q: How far in advance should couples book a florist?
A: I recommend 6 months ahead to avoid disappointment with the better florists. Most of us limit the number of weddings we do in a day/weekend. Here at Wisteria we definitely do. You can never book “too early “!
Q: What are some unique or memorable floral arrangements you have done recently?
A: We did a very awesome wedding in Palm Springs…our second for this family. We created a “floral hedge” elevated across a 24 foot head table using multiple double trumpet vases as supports. Glass bubble candles hung from the hedge all the way down the table. It was stunning!
Q: Tell us about a unique floral design you have completed for a wedding.
A: We did a wedding in June that the centerpieces were 2/3rds white and 1/3rd brilliant colors! When we placed the centerpieces around the room, we made sure that different views of them faced the entry doors so with some you saw mostly white, some half and half, some mostly color etc. It was a trick of the eye to appreciate all sides of the flowers at once.
Q: What is your personal favorite kind of flower?
A: My instant impulse is to say orchids but roses take a close second!
Q: What is your favorite part about working in the wedding industry, specifically with floral design?
A: I think I can answer this one with a photo…