Expert Wedding Advice from Kehoe Designs


  Design & Floral:    Kehoe Designs    | Lighting & Sound:    BlackOak Technical Productions    | Photo:    Studio This Is Photography    | Planning:    Big City Bride    | Venue:    Art Institute of Chicago

So you’ve found the perfect venue for your big day… now what?! The next step is to start thinking about what your wedding is going to look like. Aside from, well, you and your guests, the flowers and décor are what bring a wedding to life and make it unique to you and your hubby-to-be, so let’s get the wedding design process started!

We sat down with event design expert Renee Price, Senior Designer at Kehoe Designs to get the inside scoop on how to choose the perfect design partner, how to prepare for your first meeting and what to expect throughout the process from start to sayonara, honeymooners.

(And make sure you check this month’s Maeven box for Kehoe Design’s trade secrets and inspiration to design a wedding everyone will be ogling at for ages to come!)

Getting started

First things first, when to book. Lock down your florist or event designer nine months to a full year out if you live in a big city or six to nine months out if you’re going local. Once you’ve booked your venue, it’s a good idea to start thinking about your décor since it will really set the stage for the rest of the wedding. And don’t worry, you aren’t expected to know exactly what you want from the beginning! Start to prepare by thinking about which colors you’re into and the overall style that appeals you to. Do you prefer modern looks with clean lines, or are you more bohemian with looser lines and a garden feel? From there, coupled with your budget, your designer should be able to run with it and help bring some ideas forward. Of course, the more likes and dislikes you have going into it, the easier it will be.

  Design & Floral by    Kehoe    Designs | Lighting & Sound:    BlackOak Technical Productions    | Photo by    Tim Tab Studios    | Venue:    Museum of Contemporary Art

Design & Floral by Kehoe Designs | Lighting & Sound: BlackOak Technical Productions | Photo by Tim Tab Studios | Venue: Museum of Contemporary Art

Be prepared to answer a few questions during your initial phone call, like the size of your wedding party and whether there are any design elements you know you’ll want included (such as cocktail table accents, a stylish place card display, tall vs low centerpieces, and fun add-ons like drapery or chandeliers). An overall vision will help paint the picture. Pinterest is always fun for inspiration, but you’ll see a wider variety of styles and colors on your vendor’s own site and social media.

You’ll likely request a quote from multiple vendors. When you’re looking for the perfect florist or event designer, make sure you understand their capabilities by looking at their social media. You’ll want to know if they just do flowers or handle décor too. The benefits of handling both are time and efficiency. The less people, planning and tasks you have to manage, the better. Companies like Kehoe Designs even take things like strategic lighting into account with their division, BlackOak Technical Productions, to make sure everything is working together for the best overall look.

You’ll know you’ve found “the one” when you feel comfortable and confident with the vendor. Reputation is important, but personality is too. Pick vendors you love and trust.

For the best end result, ask questions that are true to you so the person on the other end understands your personality and the nature of what you’re wanting to create, and be open and honest throughout the process. You will not hurt their feelings if you want to make any changes. “Lovingly kind” is the way to present any concerns or questions. If something isn’t jiving, you can say something like, “I’m not really loving that, can you walk me through why we’re doing that and if there are any other options?” Clarity is key.


The process

Here’s what you can expect from beginning to end from a full-service event and floral designer. There is typically a phone call followed by two big meetings. The initial call will be to touch base and go over the high-level details. Your contact should then send a preliminary budget with low to medium price points. If everything looks good, the second step is an in-person design meeting to get a good understanding of what you’re looking for in the design. You might look through photos and walk through the warehouse to see what’s resonating. After that meeting, the designer will submit a line-itemed proposal that includes everything you could ever want.  Once approved, the date will be booked and scheduled with a deposit. The sample viewing is when it gets real! You’ll get a taste of what everything will look like on the big day, and this is the time to make any changes if you’re not loving something. After that meeting, it gets a little quiet on the design front as the designer pulls inventory items and answers any last minute questions. The final counts and design decisions are due about two weeks out, followed by the final proposal and sometimes a walk-through with all the vendors.

  Design & Floral:    Kehoe Designs    | Lighting & Sound:    BlackOak Technical Productions    | Photo:    Studio This Is Photography    | Planning:    Big City Bride    | Venue:    Art Institute of Chicago

Tricks to maximize your budget from a pro

  • Always encourage your florist to reuse the flowers, lighting and any other design elements like a canopy or archway from the ceremony at dinner

  • Adding greenery to your arrangements makes them look much bigger

Dream big! Décor ideas are endless from 40-foot flower walls to live trees nestled into the corners of the room, but no matter what your budget, the right design partner can offer budget-friendly alternatives to help bring your vision to life. Bloom!


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KEHOE DESIGNS

Kehoe Designs is a nationally recognized full-service event design and décor company—where what is imagined becomes a reality. They develop high style concepts that are authentic and captivating. Their goal is to create a reaction, generate emotion and stimulate untapped possibilities for all events.

For more inspiration, visit their website https://kehoedesigns.com/ and be sure to follow them on Instagram @kehoedesigns!


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