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Intimate Crowds, Big Color

Kelly Thompson, the owner of Fleur—a chic lifestyle boutique and special event design studio in Logan Square—answers our burning questions about beautiful floral design for micro weddings.


By Kelly Aiglon



The trend in micro weddings isn’t fading any time soon. Yet while couples scale back on attendees and more finely curate their catering plans, they’re not hesitating to go big with one key element: floral.


Kelly Thompson, president of Fleur, a floral design studio in Logan Square, has been busy bringing vibrancy to smaller affairs with bold pops of color and joyful natural elements. Now more focused than ever on making every detail count, couples are carefully considering floral options and the moods they evoke.


Curious to know more? Kelly shared some trends, inspiration and ideas for dialing up floral impact and drawing from the beauty of nature.


The wedding industry is looking a bit different these days. What are you seeing as emerging trends in floral design?


KT: A number of our clients are choosing to celebrate with a micro wedding in 2020, followed by a one-year wedding reception at a later date. I’ve noticed that a lot we are speaking with are looking for cheerful, happy and colorful palettes for their floral. Overall, the approach we’re seeing to weddings is intentional, comfortable and joyful. Everyone is looking so forward to finally being able to celebrate with their loved ones, that receptions in 2021 are still being looked at as elegant and beautiful, but with a slightly more relaxed feeling.


There seems to be a surge in appreciation for natural elements in floral design. Perhaps it has to do with the get-outdoors-more movement we are experiencing). What natural and botanic elements do you like incorporating in a floral design?


KT: We always love working with fresh herbs. Rosemary, lavender and mint add very light and wonderful fragrances that are not overwhelming, and when placed in centerpieces often compliment the meal. For a more boho-inspired celebration, we love incorporating dried flowers and grasses.


We’ve also been working with natural dried palm fan leaves a lot lately to add drama to a centerpiece and backdrop. We’ve used them in ceremony displays, too, for a wonderful pop of texture. They are a lovely, neutral color and can often bridge color palettes together as well.


When thinking of natural materials, texture matters. Why is texture an important and alluring aspect of floral design?


KT: It’s always fun to be surprised, and using a dried element as a textural focus can really make the event feel unique. They are very sculptural, and that’s a lot of fun for the designer and the right couple!


Let's talk color. What are you drawn to — a simple pop, neutrals, a full-on burst of hues?


KT: It’s really hard to choose between neutrals and lots of color, especially because seasonally the flowers change so much and I personally delight in the shifting. During the late spring I am drawn to coral, apricot and fresh greens; and in the fall the muted earth tones that we begin to see are soothing.


I really think it’s best to look at the space you’re decorating and determine the best fit, also considering what time of year it is. If the venue setting is neutral, then the color wheel is your oyster! Overall, I think it’s great when couples aren’t afraid of color. Blush, ivory and sage are beautiful, but if you add a little burgundy it can really warm up the room and add some incredible depth to the design.


What inspires you? Is there any part of Chicago you’re drawn to for aesthetic ideas?


KT: My background is in painting and art history, and I often find myself pouring through my old art books. When I have some downtime I love to play around with watercolors, and — no surprise — 99 percent of the time my subject matter is flowers! Nature in general is hugely important to me, so whether I am taking a stroll through the Chicago neighborhoods, or I’m in one of the more formal gardens in some of our parks, I’m always looking around at what is growing. I love seeing the little nuances of trees and shrubs between spring and summer. I’m always excited by it!

Every couple-to-be could use a hotlist of useful suggestions for wedding reception venues, amiright? Check out the Chicago Loft Venues blog at chicagoloftvenues.com. You’ll find ample info on event spaces we adore, plus resources on everything from micro wedding trends to ways to throw a woke wedding that shows you care. And all of our posts are peppered with tips and advice from some of Chi-town’s top wedding planners and party professionals. Because, like our tagline suggests, memories start here.

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