10 Questions with Lori McQuiddy

WeddingRule Interviewed one of the most experienced and a highly sought-after wedding floral designer in California, Lori McQuiddy of Floralei's. San Jose based Lori is the founder and lead designer at Floralei's.

Floralei's

Florist - Lori McQuiddy

10 Questions with Lori McQuiddy

1. Introduction: What's your story?

Hi there! I am Lori McQuiddy, the founder and designer of Floralei's. The name Floralei's originates from an old nickname of mine, "Loralei" and my love for florals.

It has been my dream for as long as I can remember to open my own flower shop. Just about 8 years ago I had the opportunity to begin my floral designing dreams, it has given me so much pleasure designing florals for brides and grooms on their special day. I love being a part of such a magical moment in their lives. It brings me so much joy seeing the Bride's faces when I hand deliver their bouquets. That moment is what makes me continue doing what I love to do.

I am passionate about nature and all the beauty it brings to our lives, so I try to be as sustainable in my practice as I can. I work extremely hard to create the most special, memorable designs for each of my clients and go above and beyond to do that. Creativity is my happy place and flowers are my passion. So, needless to say- being a Floral Designer is my dream job.

2. What's your experience as a wedding florist business? How many weddings are in there in your portfolio?

I created Floralei's in 2014 with one wedding on the books and it has grown every year since then, where I am at about 60 now. I have traveled around the country to floralize weddings from Kansas to New York to Washington. I am mostly self taught but have had some amazing mentors along the way. I look forward to many more years of designing to come and hope to build my business to have full-time staff and/or a brick and mortar shop one day soon!

3. How far in advance do couples need to secure your services?

Generally couples reach out to me about 6 months prior to their event. Due to the pandemic we can schedule either a video call or phone call or continue via email to start the planning process. Most times, the bride already has a vision of what she wants including color and style but I'm there to help the vision come to life. It can take a few weeks give or take to get everything finalized and booked, all depending on decisions and communication. It is always a good idea to reach out as early as you can to book your florals. You honestly don't even need to have your venue officially booked yet. All designs/prices can be adjusted once the venue etc. is finalized.

4. How do you price your floral arrangements? What are the different packages that you offer and which one is your most popular package?

Every client is special and unique, so is their event, so I price each accordingly. Floralei's has a $2500 minimum for weddings/events, for small local weddings there is a $1000 minimum. Due to the custom nature I do not offer packages. All of my clients get my undivided attention and full-service. The total price includes all consultations, design work, delivery/set up and travel.

5. How many meetings will you have with the couple, and how will they be involved?

I never put a limit on communications with my clients. You can call, email, text me as many times as needed. Making you happy and helping you get exactly what you want is my priority so I don't want anyone to ever feel like they can't reach out to me for any reason. We are in this together so you will be as involved as you would like every step of the way. It is completely normal for things to change so I completely understand if this happens along the way (especially during a pandemic). About 30 days prior to the event is a good time to talk about the whole design plan and make sure everyone is on the same page. My goal is help alleviate any stress you may have regarding wedding details so I am happy to help in any way that I can. I have been known to jump in and help the venue with details because I feel its the little things that matter too. Everything I can do to make your day more beautiful, I will do.

6. Who else is in your team and how many people on your staff will be at the wedding?

Team Floralei's at the moment is just myself. I will go above and beyond for you on your special day. If there is a design element that needs more hands, I have some assistants that will help me, otherwise, I'm your gal!

7. How would you describe your design style? (e.g. traditional, modern, rustic, organic)

I love challenges and pushing myself with styles that I don't regularly do. That being said, I would say my general design style is natural, organic, and on the rustic side. I really love texture and using lots of different flowers, greenery and fillers to give dimension. Of course, what the bride/groom want is the most important and I can definitely tailor my design to any style they prefer. I love using local blooms and greenery as much as possible to give your event that extra special unique vibe it may need. This can include succulents and herbs that can be "harvested" from your bouquet or arrangements to be used to replant or cook with! Let's get creative!

8. Who will handle setup and delivery? What other services do you offer?

I will personally be in charge of all set up and delivery. If there are any items that require more hands, I have assistants that can come help. Keeping you happy and stress free on your special day is my priority so it's my pleasure to help with all kinds of details. I am so excited to start offering custom made signs this year ie: welcome boards, seat numbers/chart, remembrance tables, etc.

9. What happens to the flowers after the wedding?

Great question, it honestly all depends on what you choose. I encourage the clients to take home what they can and have their guests take home any vased arrangements as well. I understand it isn't always easy or possible, so I can come back to pick up the flowers if the location permits. My favorite thing to do Pre-COVID was donate those flowers to a retirement home to give them more life and put more smiles on peoples faces. I am hoping we can start doing that again this season. Another option is using local foliage like succulents and herbs that can be "harvested' from your bouquet and replanted or used for cooking. I always recommend drying the bride's bouquet as well to keep for many years to come.

10. What is your cancellation and/or refund policy?

The contract you will receive after you choose me (yay!) has all of the exact details in it. The 50% deposit used to retain the date is non-refundable. Any cancellations made less than 60 days prior to the wedding date will not receive a refund (only exceptions would be due to an Act of God or Nature) and needs to be in writing. It's very normal for things to change through the planning process and I understand that may happen (especially in these weird times) so I always say design choices aren't officially final until the flowers are purchased which is about 1-2 weeks before.

Gallery

Awards

WeddingRule Editor’s Choice 2021