Vendors

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. 

PROFILE: A PIECE O CAKE, EAST LANSING BAKERY

Michigan Wedding Photographer, A Piece O Cake Bakery East Lansing Michigan, Wedding Cake Photos

This is a profile I did of Kelly Kobus from A Piece O Cake last year, and I wanted to re-post it with a few new images.  Kelly is a friend, and a fabulous cake designer.  Not only have I had the opportunity to photograph several of her amazing cakes, but she's our choice whenever we need something fun and tasty!

The cake above was one she donated for us to photograph at our workshop last month!

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I wanted to share with you one of the coolest Cake designers/bakers I know! Kelly Kobus, from A Piece O Cake, in Okemos, took the time to answer some questions, so I thought I'd share them with you!

How did you get started in the cake business?
I got started in the cake business in the Fall of 2007. I had recently graduated from Albion College and was searching for a way to combine my love of food and art. As fate would have it, my father found an ad in our local newspaper advertising the sale of A Piece O' Cake. From the moment I walked through the door I knew it was meant to be. Within a week I was purchasing the business. I truly love my job.

What's your favorite thing about designing really fun cakes?
I love designing cakes. I've always believed that food brings people together and when a client commissions us to create something for a special occasion I always feel honored to be a part of their special day. I especially love the different stories behind each cake, for example, one of my favorites was a puffed up heart cake that we made for the 10 year anniversary of a heart transplant.

On average, how many weddings do you do a year? 
On average we do about 80-100 wedding cakes per year.

If someone wanted to book you for their wedding, what are the important things they should know (timeline/process/etc)?
I always suggest that brides set-up a cake consultation at least six months prior to the wedding date. We only do a limited number of cakes per weekend, so it is best to book earlier rather than later.

It is very helpful if the wedding dress, bridesmaids dresses, flowers and venue have all been chosen. When I design a cake, I take into consideration all of the details of the wedding. Often times there is a detail in the dress or the invitation that we want to mirror. Color swatches are wonderful to have on hand, too, because if we are creating a color in sugar paste I want to match the color perfectly on the cake.

Besides weddings, what other types of events do you commonly create cakes for?
We do cakes for all occasions including, but not limited to, corporate events, birthdays, anniversaries, holiday parties, graduations, bridal and baby showers and engagement parties. We also have a great selection of gourmet cupcakes that are very popular for any occasion.

What makes "A Piece O Cake" different from other bakeries in town?
A Piece O' Cake is different in many ways. First, there is the cake. Our cakes are always baked fresh. We want our cakes to be pleasing both to the eye and the palate. Having a stunning cake means nothing if it is not edible! Second, there is the design. We want each cake to be unique to the client. We work very hard to find a design that compliments the clients taste and fits perfectly with the event.

Lastly, there is the comfort in knowing that your cake is treated with great care. We are a family business and each wedding cake is delivered by myself and my father and mother. We do not leave until the cake is complete and perfect. From the moment you make your initial phone call to the time the flowers touch the top of the cake, your cake is in our care and treated as if it were our own wedding cake.

On a personal note, what are some of your favorite things?
I love to travel. I speak French and France is my favorite place to visit. I enjoy gourmet cooking, visiting outdoor markets and discovering new restaurants. I love my family and my dogs. I enjoy reading, photography and art.

What is something you would want a future client to know about you?
Each client should know that when they order a cake from A Piece O' Cake they are commissioning a work of art. We are not a normal bakery, so 95% of the time we are doing a design for the first time. We have many photos on our website and in books at the bakery for inspiration, but majority of the time your cake is going to be one-of-a-kind!

 

PROFILE: LINDSEY NARTKER DESIGN

I had a chance to meet a super fun planner a few weeks ago when we both attended Engage09Encore  in Las Vegas, NV.  Lindsey is super talented, and if you're looking for an event designer - you should get to know her! 

 

How did you get started as an event and wedding planner?

I went to school for hospitality management always knowing that I wanted to work with events in some capacity.  I guess I was assuming I’d be working in a hotel or at a convention center.  I sort of fell into weddings!  I applied for an internship with a local wedding planner 6 years ago and decided after the first event this is what I wanted to be doing! 

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

Lindsey Nartker Designs is a full-service wedding boutique.  We work with couples all across the United States planning weddings and events.  We are a team of 3 coordinators and work from our studio in downtown Birmingham (Michigan). We do what we do because we all love a great party!  We appreciate and understand the time and energy that goes into planning a fun and unique event and love showing couples how to make their ideas come to life!

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

My favorite thing about helping couples plan their wedding is really seeing their faces when it all comes together.  So many brides have ideas of what they want but don’t know how to make it all happen (within their budget).  I love being able to show them that with persistence, patience, and a little creativity we can make anything happen!

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

We limited the number of wedding we manage to 15 per year.  This allows us to provide personalized service to each couple truly create unique events.  

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

There are so many important things you should know!  I guess if I had to pick out just a few, the most important thing would be to wait on making purchases until you have a plan!  It’s really easy to get excited when you first start planning – my recommendation is to budget for everything and make sure what you’re purchasing is really worthwhile (this goes for large ticket items as well as the $10 or $15 items you have to have!)  My other piece of advice is to let me help you with your budget!  As a coordinator, I’m experienced in defining wedding budgets.  By allowing me to help, I can show you places you can cut back without a single person knowing, places where you should splurge, and ways to make your budget go farther than you thought possible! 

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

The first place to start is meeting with a wedding coordinator.  Most companies offer a complimentary consultation.  This is a great way to decide if working with a coordinator is the right fit for your wedding.  Whether you decide to move forward with a coordinator or not, the next steps should always be developing your budget and thinking about your overall guest count.

 

What makes LND different from other event designers?

What makes us different…  well, the first thing that comes to mind is the way we do business.  We’re a very casual group of ladies.  We love what we do and are always committed to our clients, but we do it in a very relaxed environment.  Our clients are more to us than simply clients – they become our friends.  We get to experience a journey with them that is unlike anything and we are forever grateful for the opportunity.   

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

My favorite things….  Peanut butter and chocolate ice cream (my absolute favorite thing!!), beautiful stationery, reading a great book, being near the water (ocean, lake, pool… anything!), and of course, spending time with my husband!

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

I really, truly love what I do!  It’s a little crazy sometimes, but I really do enjoy the high energy, fast-paced, stressful job we call wedding coordinating! 

 

Photos provided courtesy of Lindsey Nartker Design [© Aruna B. Photography  ©West Park Photography]