We Need to Talk About Those Florals! Ellie’s Wedding Florist Breaks Down the Big Day

The owner of Brooklyn’s Tin Can Studios talks about her inspiration for those incredible arrangements.

Katie takes flowers very seriously. (Many years back, her mother even made floral arrangements for weddings!) So when Ellie’s wedding was in the planning phases, Katie knew they needed to come up with just-right visuals, featuring plenty of lush blooms and greenery. They both love color and given the setting and the circumstances (the wedding had to be postponed a year because of Covid) they thought the happiest, most colorful flower palette was in order.

To pull off the look they wanted, Katie and Ellie turned to Brooklyn’s Tin Can Studios, founded by Ingrid Carozzi. The studio is known for creating natural, organic-looking collections of flowers that look as if they were just plucked. But achieving those kind of lovely, relaxed arrangements is no small feat. Here, we asked Carozzi how she and her team turned Katie and Ellie’s vision into a reality for the wedding.

Katie and Ingrid, founder of Tin Can Studios

How would you describe the look we were going for?  What kind of direction did you get from Ellie?

Ellie (and Katie) wanted us to create something special and festive without being fussy or overdone. They sent me videos of flowers from farm stands and farmers markets! Ellie also said she wanted her bouquet to look like she had run through a beautiful field of summer flowers and just grabbed a bunch. When a client loves flowers as much as they do, that makes everything so much easier. Katie’s mom was very artistic and did wedding flowers and it’s clear from her instagram that Katie is equally obsessed! She loves antique glass bottles and single blooms that show off the beauty of just one flower. So we worked those elements into the wedding events. The invitation by Emily Baker also served as wonderful inspiration, since it had these amazing watercolor illustrations of flowers. We actually ended up using some of those exact flowers on the invitation, like anemones, snapdragons, cornflower, ranunculus, cosmos, mixed with farm roses, ranunculus, and other wildflowers. Ellie really trusted us with her vision, which always yields the best results.

Each night of the wedding had a different vibe: Can you talk about the rehearsal-dinner flowers and what you were trying to achieve?

The rehearsal dinner arrangements felt just as important as the reception and ceremony flowers. Ellie wanted a romantic garden vibe: Feminine, with lots of pinks and white flowers and some potted herbs. So we used weathered terracotta pots and mixed in some vintage bottles to get that overgrown, secret garden feeling she was looking for.

The reception dinner (Photo: Tin Can Studios)

Another shot of the incredible reception flowers (Photo: Tin Can Studios)

You were very creative with your choice of vases for every event. How did you source some of them?

We always love using vintage vessels for our arrangements. My daughter and I dug up lots of bottles in the Rockaways and we used those for the rehearsal dinner, as well as brass and cut-glass vintage vases from our private collection — bought in antique stores, thrift shops, and Etsy.

There was a ton of color at this wedding. Is color coming back? 

Definitely! Many of our clients come to us because of the way we work with color, and we’ve noticed an upswing in requests for vibrant and playful color palettes. People need some cheering up after a rough year.

How challenging was that magnificent arbor?

We loved creating the arbor and aisle flowers! But the main challenge — in addition to the usual hot sun weather and wind, etc. — is that we only use sustainable methods for all of our floral installations. The most common and easiest way to create an arbor with a lot of flowers is to use floral foam, which is very harmful and toxic. Our approach isn’t the easiest, and takes longer but it’s absolutely worth it. I encourage everyone to ask their florists about their sustainability practices and make sure they don’t use floral foam or overly processed flowers!

The incredible arbor (Photo: Brian Dorsey Studios)

How did the pandemic impact the flower supply?

Some farmers chose to not grow flowers at all, because there was no demand compared to a regular year. In addition, flowers shipping from California or elsewhere get stuck on the tarmac, because there aren’t always enough flights to take cargo. So flowers sometimes arrive ruined, wilted, or dead. Plus, using local farms means we’re more dependent on weather, which always fluctuates, but even more so in the last few years.

You really like to use local flowers. Why is that?

I can spot a good local flower from a mile way! They’re always the prettiest since they haven’t been squeezed into a box and lost their shape. I have become friends with my wholesalers and farms over the years and they often put the best stuff aside for me! For Ellie and Mark, we even got a big delivery from my favorite farm Hautau & Sons, located just 30 minutes away from Cedar Lakes.

Incredible local flowers for the wedding’s welcome dinner (Photo: Tin Can Studios)

What were some of the biggest challenges for this particular wedding?

In all honesty, the pandemic could have been but wasn’t, because Ellie was so patient, sweet and trusting. The fact that we created flower arrangements for a four-day stretch with three totally different looks/concepts and five completely different flower orders also took a considerable amount of planning and communicating.

Ellie got married on the Fourth of July! So you took advantage of that, especially for the barbecue that was held that day!

We tried to make it festive and celebratory without making it too Yankee Doodle Dandy-y. We wanted to have those colors, but we did interesting variations, but having burgundy, periwinkle, and other flowers to soften up the look but to still give it that patriotic feeling. Amanda’s team mixed in a few flags here and there on the picnic tables that added to the holiday feel.

You’re such a floral artist! What’s your background? 

I started working with flowers 8 years ago sort of by coincidence, when I was working as a graphic designer and my former boss asked me to come up with floral concepts for a gala dinner with the king and queen of Sweden. (I’m from Sweden originally.) She thought I had a great eye and was good with concepts so… It went very well, to say the least, and things blew up very fast. Within the first year, I was doing flower arrangements and installations for clients like Moet Chandon, Michelle Williams, and Nate Berkus. And I launched my first flower arranging book and was featured as a Best Florist in New York Magazine.

Ingrid’s boutonnières for Mark and the groomsmen (Photo: Brian Dorsey Studios)
A close up (Photo: Brian Dorsey Studios)

Where do you get your inspiration?  Some of the arrangements looked like they’d be right at home in an 18th-century painting!

I look at a lot of still-lifes and paintings by the Flemish masters, but I also love using fashion, design, food, architecture, and people for inspiration.

What advice would you give to other brides (and MOBs!) about picking flowers for a wedding?

Trust your florist and let them show you concepts they think you’ll like based on the mood and vibe you are going for! Send lots of photos of things you like, since this is such a visual medium and it’s easier to communicate ideas that way!

You’re not a flower snob though, are you? I think we spotted some carnations in some of the photos!

To me, color is really important. Any flower works if you do it right. If you have a carnation in an arrangement, it works if it’s complemented by other more “sophisticated” flowers. Carnations come in some amazing colors so I love those! I’m very democratic when it comes to flowers. It’s really what is the prettiest flower. Every one of them deserves a chance to shine.

Photo: Tin Can Studios

Flowers can be quite pricey! Do you have advice for people who want to stay within a budget without sacrificing beauty?

That’s tricky, since flowers cost a lot, partly because they have such a short shelf life. I’d recommend people focus on the areas that are most important to them, rather than spreading out things everywhere. Another great way is to cut back is by doing Japanese ikebana-inspired arrangements instead of fuller centerpieces. Those types of arrangements can fill up a table without having to use too many flowers. And I love that style — it’s really coming in as a strong trend now. More isn’t always better. Sometimes a simpler, more sparse arrangement can really show off the beauty of the flowers.

What are some of your favorite flowers to work with?  What did you love about the flowers at Ellie’s wedding?

I loved using the local wildflowers: cosmos, dahlias, ranunculus, and garden roses. I especially loved the arbor and aisles with all the colors, and that wilder, more natural feeling of the form and shape of everything. We compared the final to our rendering and it really looks almost exactly like what we presented. I love the foraged look as it reminds me of my childhood growing up in Sweden, where you can forage everywhere!

While we were setting up and creating the flowers, it felt magical: looking at all the colors with the sun shining and Ellie’s sister Carrie singing “Songbird” while a bunch of birds were chirping and singing away. A moment like that makes me believe that flowers are a gift to us humans. Actually, my cat also loves flowers so I’d say flowers are both for humans and animals’ viewing pleasure!

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