THE MNY SPOTLIGHT
Megan Chandler, Floral Designer
This week's Wedding Wednesday features Megan Chandler and Vero Designs! Megan is a floral designer in Charleston, South Carolina who creates lovely bridal flowers for each bride's special day!
How did you get into floral design?
When I graduated from college in 2009, no one was hiring anyone. My heart was set on going to New York and working for a Vogue or Harper’s Bazaar, but instead I went back to Charleston, where I am from, and got a job a local bi-monthly newspaper that focused on local personal interest stories. Since it was a small, but dedicated readership, we had several events that surrounded the paper, and as the editor/social director (and Jane of all trades, wearer of all hats), it fell upon me to orchestrate those events. I found myself craving more client-based work. So in 2012, I left that job and dipped my toe into the wedding industry as a wedding planner with a fabulous Charleston-based firm, who was kind of a one-stop-shop. In the winter of 2016, I was approached by a landscape firm in Houston, Texas where my roommate from college was working. They told me that they were seeking to diversify their brand, and to launch a sister company that could work with their clientele (an affluent sect of the Houston elite) to execute special events and projects. So, I took a chance, and in April of 2016, I packed up my life and my little black and white pup, Kevin, and we were Texas-bound. What happened was that their clientele didn’t necessarily buy into the approach. They weren’t necessarily looking for the job that this firm was crafting. So I did what I knew how to do - I looked for the wedding professionals. After hours on hours of debate, pain, tears, and conversation, we created an extension of the arm of the company that focused on floral as a counterpart to their landscape architecture roots. And that took off like a rocket ship. In September of 2018, I felt like I’d put them in a good position to continue their growth so, I moved back to Charleston to be nearer to my now-husband. And at that time, he encouraged me to go out on my own. I’ve never looked back (almost never).
What is the most opulent floral design you've ever made for a wedding?
Opulent! Oh my! I don’t know if what I do translates as opulent since I feel like I truly have a laid back, Southern design approach. But I can tell you, that the first wedding I ever had featured on a national platform was a true and earnest labor of love, and the first time I really felt like “I can do this.” My bride was also a wedding professional in Houston, and we designed the whole thing very arm-in-arm. It was a show stopper when all was said and done. Inspired by deGournay and held outside at the Houston Zoo, it was a reception for 280 of her closest friends and family, with a head table fit for a queen.
What are some of your favorite flowers to work with?
I love a good lilac, the smell, the color, the texture, everything. I love hellebore. A good peony or garden rose is hard to beat. Viburnum makes me swoon. Butterfly ranunculus - ideal for spring bouquets. How do you pick a favorite?
For individuals still practicing social distancing, and want to learn how to create their own arrangement at home, what hacks do you recommend to achieve a professional and creative look?
Always have some mechanics within your arrangement. Whether you cut a square of chicken wire and tape it into your vessel or if you use floral tape to create a grid, always give your foliage and blooms some support. Always start with your filler flowers or foliage on the outside, and work your way in.
Have you had many brides postpone or cancel their weddings? If so, what is some advice you could give to other business owners or vendors on how to cope during this time?
I’ve moved 14 brides to different wedding dates so far. Some are getting married in the fall, and some have moved to 2021. What can I say for the brides? This too shall pass. I’ve had several couples reaching out to me about elopements, and I totally understand. You’ve been waiting a long time to marry your love, and you’re just ready. You can still have the big party even if you say your vows on the original date! And I’ve had a lot of brides reach out to me trying their best to maintain everything they can about their originally planned wedding. You have a vision you don’t want to sacrifice, and that’s okay too. There’s no right answer in any of this. So take the pressure off. This day is about you and your spouse to be, not about anything else. I’ve found, with weddings, tradition is kind of out the window as it is. “Traditional” vows are often traded for personally penned words. Receiving lines are often a rarity. Not all bridesmaids are always women, some are best friends or brothers - and vice-versa! Set your own course, and reach this day as thoughtfully and comfortably as you can. What can I say for the businesses? This too shall pass. Know your books, and have the right people in place who can hold you accountable to that. At the beginning of the pandemic, my husband said to me, “No good decision is made out of fear.” And he’s right. We feel compelled to make fast moves and pivot as business owners who could be supporting other people or just starting out, but one thing I’ve learned in my eight years as a wedding professional is that this is an industry of community. We’re here to hold each other up, and I’ve felt that pretty strongly in these past few months. How lucky are we?
What draws you to the Mestiza brand?
Mestiza is all about a woman and her body. What I’ve found in following y’all, is that the shapes are designed to not only fit but flatter all kinds of kinds while still looking high end and expensive. It’s just a truly celebratory line, which makes it a perfect pairing for a wedding.
What are some of your favorite Mestiza pieces?
All about the heritage collection, but really that Cleo Ballgown - what a showstopper! But I’d be remiss if I didn’t comment on your fabulous jumpsuits. Actually, I opted for a white tuxedo as my change outfit for our November wedding - one of my favorite ideas I’ve ever had!
What's next for you?! What are you working on?
I’m currently working on what I can do for the community right now as a designer. We all know that workshops are a fabulous way to interact and learn, but we’ve not really been able to interact! So, I’m currently working on designing a workshop series that will work from a digital, socially distanced, or limited guest attendance platform partnering with businesses in the Lowcountry area of South Carolina/Georgia. It’s called the In Fiore Design Workshop. In Italian, In Fiore translates “In Bloom.” Vero is Italian for “True,” so as they tie together, we keep rooted in our approach of honoring the design process. It should be launching in early July! In addition, I have several collaborations with planners in my community (stay tuned for those coming soon), and of course, we’re still working with our fabulous clients and brides to produce their weddings and shift them accordingly. And before you know it, it’ll be that holiday season again!