I am always inspired by incredible designers from around the world and today’s expert, Sandra De Ovando of Ovando Floral Design and Event Production does the most breathtaking work. So it’s a pleasure to have Sandra join us today to share her wisdom!

Please tell us a little about your background and what inspired you about all things floral?

I really must thank my mother for creating my passion for flowers. She truly had impeccable taste and always went to great lengths to make the sure that our home was decorated with beautiful flowers, many of which were from our own garden. In fact, I spent much of my time as a little girl gardening with my mother and I distinctly remember how happy I felt in those moments. She really sparked my interest in using flowers to create beautiful designs, and she also taught me the importance of transforming a space by using flowers.

What is the ‘mission statement’ for your business (or your business philosophy)?

Ovando’s mission statement is that we always want to “wow” our clients…literally!  I am constantly telling my team that anything and everything they do, from impeccable client service to unforgettable designs, must make their client “wow” aloud! We really aim to leave a lasting impression.

Photo by Matthew Hanlon Photography

What or who inspires you?

So many things on a daily basis inspire me! Art, fashion, architecture, nature, other great designers, my kids! In fact, I truly believe that inspiration is cyclical and ever-evolving. What we see, hear and live gets digested, transformed, and then reinvented so that it bears one’s personal signature style.

How would you describe your ‘style’?

Ovando’s design philosophy is “Simple not Simplistic.” In other words, we aim to create a style that embraces the natural sophistical and elegance of the flowers themselves. While many of our arrangements look as though they were simple to make, the truth is that a great deal of thought & intricately detailed work is invested in each arrangement. The idea is to create a chic arrangement that has a veneer of effortlessness, simplicity and weightlessness—and this, in my opinion, is much harder to do then one might think!

How do you keep your ideas fresh and different?

To be honest, it’s instinctive. There really is no formula to creating fresh and new work. When I see something I love, it just know; It calls out to me. And in order for me to love it, it must be fresh and different. It’s simply the nature of the work I’m drawn to.

Photo by Matthew Hanlon Photography

How do you decide on the colours and designs for your bouquets? Does each bloom, leaf or berry ‘tell’ you how to use it in your arrangements?

While there is no formula to choosing your color palette, there are a few things that we aim to incorporate in our designs, the first being our use of bold, bright colors. We even love to mix-and-match hues of the same color. Colors are certainly seasonally adapted, but we still aim to incorporate signature pops of pink when possible. We also love to mix in accent colors which provide delicate contrast to the body of the arrangement.

How did your success in your floral design business inspire you to open a dedicated event production wing?

I think there’s a fairly natural progression from event design to event production. When we were first starting off in the realm of floral & event design, we often received requests for lighting design, vendor management and other things that touch upon the realm of production. The evolution from there happened fairly naturally, and so we now have dedicated staff members that work on the production aspects of an event.

Photo by Matthew Hanlon Photography

What services do you now provide for brides and grooms? What do you love about designing the wedding event for couples?

We offer full-scale event design & production services for brides and grooms, including everything from overall design concept to vendor management to furniture rentals and floral design. It’s always such a thrill to work on weddings because it’s such a personal experience. It’s almost inevitable that we become friends with our bridal clients in the process—that said, the wedding becomes very personal for our staff as well!

How do brides find you?

Most brides find us through word-of-mouth referrals, either via friends and other brides, or from some of our hotel & restaurant clients like The Modern, The Central Park Boathouse, and the Four Seasons Hotel. Otherwise, we’ve been very fortunate in receiving a great deal of wedding-related press over the years. This seems to generate a lot of inquiries as well.

Photo by Matthew Hanlon Photography

What is your dream for your business in 3 years time?

I see Ovando growing into the national luxury market, both on the retail and the event sides of the business. This will hopefully include more Ovando boutiques but also additional collections of home décor accessories. One of our recently launched endeavors includes a collection of luxury-scented candles. They’ve been very well received so far and I do hope that within 3 years time, Ovando will be synonymous not only for “design” but also for “luxury candles!”

What are your favourite floral wedding ideas?

My favorite designs are the ones that really incorporate the personal styles of the bride and grooms. It’s hard to choose just one because, at the end of the day, it’s really about making sure that your clients love what you’ve created! Of late, however, we’ve really been enjoying tablescape designs that incorporate mix-and-match vases which extend the length of the table. It’s a fun new alternative to the traditional, grand centerpiece.

Photo by Matthew Hanlon Photography

Do you have some simple design tips for brides and grooms?

Stay true to your color palette! The array of choices can be overwhelming and it makes brides feel pressured to incorporate everything that they find beautiful into their 1 special day. We know it’s difficult, but It’s better to simply choose one design scheme and stick with it! Also, lighting is key, especially for indoor weddings. You want to choose a lighting scheme that is flattering and “photogenic” so that you are sure to enjoy your wedding photos for years to come!

Thank you for joining us today Sandra! For more information on Sandra’s work, check out Ovando Floral Design and Event Production.