JASON ATEN | MICHIGAN PHOTOGRAPHER

FAVORITES: SEBESTA DESIGN, EAST LANSING EVENT DESIGN

I had the pleasure of working with Corinne Sebesta of Sebesta Design on Jeff and Anna's wedding, and her work was fabulous!  In fact, it was so great, i asked her to create something incredible for our workshop back in October - and she totally blew us away.  

Last week I asked her if I could feature her on here, and she graciously agreed.  Meet Corinne!

How did you get started as a florist?

The path I followed to becoming a florist and event designer was a long, winding but fortuitous one.  Right after college I got a job as a Pennsylvania campaign coordinator for President Clinton’s reelection.  One of my rallies caught the attention of the national press and shortly thereafter I got a call to work on Presidential Inauguration directing the Inaugural Parade’s volunteer corps.   It was an amazing experience that, even today, I cannot believe I was a part of.  And it got me hooked on events.   

While living in Philadelphia, I worked for non-profits planning fundraising campaigns and events.  I realized I liked planning, but it was the design aspects that I really loved.   When I was offered a job managing the design department of a new event production company, it was a no brainer.  Technical production was the owner’s specialty and I learned so much from him.  He was also the one who encouraged me to compete in a tabletop design competition for the International Special Event Society and Special Events Magazine where I took first prize.   Even with the win, I knew I needed to learn more about flowers and design.  I was trying to produce massive events with very little floral knowledge.  It was definitely a challenge so I looked for opportunities to learn floral design.  I began working for one of the nation's top floral companies, managing their high end store, and working with their top platinum and corporate customers. Because we did such a high volume in sales and because I worked with their top customers, I got to design with every flower imaginable. The flower education I got there has been invaluable.

In 2007, I moved to East Lansing, Michigan to be with my husband and I started Sebesta Design, LLC.   If you had told me back in college I would be doing this I wouldn’t have believed you. I’m so fortunate to have had these opportunities and I love what I do!

Tell us about Sebesta Design. (Who you are, what you do, why you do it)

Sebesta Design is a full service event design company that specializes in florals.  We can handle as little or as much as our clients need from bouquets and centerpieces to complete décor including lighting, draping, props, etc. Designing an event starts with a few small details and by the time the day arrives it has taken on a life of its own.  I love to see the faces of my clients as they enter the room and see everything I created for them. We work to bring our client’s vision to life.

What's your favorite thing about helping people plan their perfect wedding?

I think my favorite thing is getting to know each client, what they like, don’t like, what catches their eye and then drawing their vision from it.   Oftentimes a bride has been thinking about this day since she was a little girl and it’s an honor to be trusted with bringing her vision to life.

On average, how many weddings do you do a year? 

We typically design between 50-65 weddings a year.

If someone wanted to book you for their wedding, what are the important things they should know (timeline/process/etc)?

The earlier they book the better.   We take only a very limited number of clients for each weekend so they fill up quickly.  As far as what items need to be decided on before we meet, there are two important things we need to know: the date and what colors the couple would like to use.  There isn’t much we can do without that information since the season and color dictate what flowers are available.


What do you recommend for brides who just aren't sure where to start with their wedding?

When a bride is unsure about where to start I always suggest they find an inspirational picture that captures their style and the look they are trying to create.  For instance, I’ve had brides show me a fabric sample, invitation, or even a picture of a living room from an interior design magazine to help articulate their vision.  And if they can’t find something they like, I suggest they do the opposite:  find a picture of something they don’t like.   A picture is worth a thousand words.

What makes Sebesta Design different than other florists?

Though we have many clients who only need floral, we don’t think of ourselves as simply florists.  We always collaborate with the client and their other vendors.  More often we design the entire event, so our services are all encompassing.   Our attention to every aspect of the event - from lighting and draping to flowers and décor - makes us different from the typical florist who might only deliver the flowers without a complete picture of the event.  Because we do it all, we know how all the pieces should fit together.

On a personal note, what are some of your favorite things?

I love to entertain.  I wish I could say I was the cook in the family, but that’s definitely not the case.  However, I’m lucky to have a husband who is a fantastic cook and who is usually easy to convince to cook for the dinner parties, as long as I clean up.   I also love to spend time with friends and family.  As well as travel whenever I get the chance.

What is something you would want a future client to know about you?

We’re not a retail flower shop.  We focus exclusively on events.  This allows us to provide our clients with our full attention.  It also allows us to provide them with the highest quality and freshest flowers because they have been specially selected for them.  We work to draw out each client’s vision, which is why we don’t offer packages.  Every thing we do is aimed toward customizing each event to our client’s wishes.