ARTIST INTERVIEW | FLORAL DESIGNER, LAUREL WHITE OF ADORNMENTS FLOWERS & FINERY
Central Coast Florist, Laurel White, is the driving force behind Adornments Flowers and Finery. I've known and worked with Laurel for almost two decades and although Laurel hasn't been running the company for that long, this family business has been around for over 40 years. Because Laurel's mother, Eileen Hobbs, laid such an amazing foundation Adornments has a tremendously historic reputation in San Luis Obispo; one that Laurel has carries on with pride. Laurel has heaps of elegance and demonstrates excellent class in the way she works, how she serves people and the way she carries herself. -Cameron Ingalls
How did you get started doing what you do?
It's in my blood haha! My mom was the first wedding planner and florist in San Luis Obispo, starting in 1973. She started with operating out of our kitchen in 1973, so flowers and parties were always part of my daily life. I worked for her while I was attending Cal Poly for my English degree, and when I graduated in '97 I decided I really loved events and design. I changed the name of the business to ADORNMENTS, and took it to the next level...then she worked for me :) We have had an emotional, crazy and glorious journey together. I was truly blessed with her talent, humor and eye for beauty as my guide. I guess you can say I started by just doing it!
Who or what continues to inspires you?
Wow, that's a big question! It's the idea of the actual experience that is the inspiration. What feeling do I want a moment or a setting to convey for my client? Then comes the exciting challenge of how to produce it; down to the tiniest detail. I have never taken a technical floral design class. I have a photographic memory when it comes to color, texture, design and the energy of a space. I somehow internalize things I have seen, like a visual on a page, an image online or a place I have been. I bring that into the research and planning part. It's really an adventure because every design is completely different. It can just take one small element to turn an idea into a production. I also get a ton of inspiration from my teenage kids.
What makes your business unique?
Having been in the business locally for my entire life I have a long history of working with all styles and trends. I also have tremendous insight into the emotion of a wedding day and the planning that can be overwhelming for my clients and couples at times. It is a beautiful feeling knowing I can help them in a stressful time with my knowledge and experience. I am well connected to this community and am a bit obsessive about making sure everyone is happy. And no doubt, I have a top-notch, dedicated crew of exceptional designers and dreamers who make my crazy ideas and requests come to reality.
Why do you do what you do?
I honestly can't imagine using my passion and imagination in any other way. It's a huge part of my personality. I love helping to make a Bride feel like a Queen for the day. I certainly have a need for that secret high I get when everything turns out beyond every expectation - absolutely intoxicating! Sometimes I get those Sunday morning "thank you" texts from Brides, Grooms or Moms and I can't explain how grateful I am that they took the time the day after their wedding. That's when I know what we do is more than just a job.
How would you describe your ideal couple?
They trust me with their vision. They have opinions and adore beauty!
Favorite part of a wedding?
Right before the guests arrive. Yes, it is totally intense but all the months of planning and all the perfected details are all in motion. It's like theater, when the curtains are opened, the spotlights are aimed and the show has begun!
What question do you always ask the Bride & Groom?
What are you wearing? haha, but seriously, it really does define their style.
Wedding trend that you're loving right now?
Intimate backyard weddings.
Wedding trend that will hopefully be out next year?
Family-Style food service. It's can be super tricky to navigate for your guests, and it doesn't leave much room for table elements.
What do you enjoy doing on your day off?
A long nap. The End.
Tell us about your first job?
My first real paycheck was from the One day I worked at McDonalds at 16. I actually never even picked it up because I was too embarrassed that I quit after one day. I still have the uniform from 1988 in a box in my garage. Working for my mom, wiring and taping ivy leaves, ironing bows and washing votives was probably my first non-paid job!
Tell us one thing few people know about you?
I always leave just one bite of food on my plate. Always.
"When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say 'I used everything you gave me'." Erma Bombeck
What's in the top 5 of your bucket list?
Visit Savannah, Georgia on a family girls trip.
Soak in every natural Hot Springs in the US.
Write my novel.
Buy a house in the mountains and have a garden.
Live long enough to see my children discover their true passion.
Where do you see yourself (or business) in the near future?
Surviving Covid has been the latest hurdle - it has been terrifying at times. But it also gave me a strength I didn't know I had. So for the near future, celebrating getting back to work. And I would love to do more weddings that involve travel.
Anything else you want to say that we didn't ask?
Your wedding design and florals are a fluid process. I want my clients to have peace knowing they have chosen the right person. I love getting to know you and your family enough that I can practically read your mind when the day comes - making it a carefree day of unexpected wonder!