Profile in Petals: Alicia Schwede


As flower‘s web editor, a portion of my job is dedicated to cruising through countless floral blogs and sites for information and inspiration (it’s a tough gig, but someone has to do it). I remember coming across Alicia Schwede on her website and blog for Bella Fiori, then again on Flirty Fleurs Design, and then again when a coworker passed a link my way for Schwede’s new book, Bella Bouquets. I decided it was time to learn more and I was so pleased that Alicia took the time out of her busy schedule to answer a few questions:

1. When did you discover your passion for floral design?

I’ve loved flowers for as long as I can remember. My grandmother taught me my first lessons in designing. Our summer days started with clipping fresh flowers from her garden and arranging them in vases throughout her house. It was 16 years later that I took my first official floral design class. I never looked back.

2. What was your inspiration for Bella Bouquets?

I always wanted to write a book, it just took me awhile to decide what I’d write about. About a year and a half ago I realized everything starts with the bridal bouquet. Once I decided to focus on that main element it all came together very quickly.

3. You have a successful floral design company and two blogs. How did you find time for Bella Bouquets?

I often ask myself the same thing! My days start around 5-5:30 a.m. The majority of the bouquets were created during wedding season, which did call for some longer days. We’d shoot the bouquets in the evening after all the wedding design work was completed; plus, the light is better to capture the true colors of the flowers. The end of wedding season coincided nicely with the beginning of the design layout phase of Bella Bouquets. It took 6 months to complete the design phase and the book was sent off to the printer just in time for wedding season to return.

4. You feature many different styles of bridesmaids and bridal bouquets in your book. Do you have a favorite style?

My favorite style is the hand-tied garden style bouquet. I love greenery and textures combined with big-fluffy flowers like dahlias, garden roses, and peonies.

5. Do you have any advice for brides when they’re choosing their flowers?

Follow your instincts. I often see brides try to convince themselves they want something different to make someone else happy. In the end, it’s your day. Do a bit of research, go through bridal magazines and tear out the arrangements that appeal to you–the more the better! Make appointments with a few different designers; a good wedding florist realizes a bride doesn’t pick out flowers on this scale on a daily basis and will walk a bride through the process.

6. What part of the process of making Bella Bouquets did you most enjoy?

Designing the bouquets! I wanted to make sure I had a wide variety of styles covering seasonality, traditional, contemporary, frilly, etc. I also searched high and low for pretty embellishments to add to the stems and flowers. Receiving the first sample from the printer felt like the best Christmas day ever. I tore that package open and it felt amazing to hold in my hands.

Check out Alicia’s new book, Bella Bouquets!