Thistle and Fern Floral is an amazing local Portland florist and we are so pleased to introduce you! In this week’s vendor shout out will fill you in on owner Alisa Altman and her business. If you are looking for the perfect florist for your wedding day, we highly suggest you check her out!
1. Where are you originally from? And how long have you been in Portland?
As a kid I moved all around the U.S. while my dad did commercial construction. We moved on average every 3-9 months as soon as a job was finished. I’ve lived in so many states, including Alaska and Hawaii! We settled in the LaCenter, WA area when I was 10, and with the exception of college in CA, I’ve been living in the Vancouver/Portland area ever since! (28 years!)
2. What is your favorite thing about Portland?
I have so many favorite things, but if I had to narrow it down, I would say that I really love experiencing the 4 seasons here. There is something about each season that always inspires me personally and professionally; whether it is the cherry trees in spring on the waterfront, the dahlias in summer, the many colors of foliage in fall, or the impressive diversity of evergreens in winter. Oh yes, and our amazing food scene! 😉 I could seriously spend all my time bakery-hopping!
3. What is your favorite spot or thing to do in Portland?
If I have a day to myself, I will without fail head to the downtown Powell’s Books. I can spend hours dreamily wandering the aisles!
4. How long have you been working as a professional wedding?
I’ve been a floral designer for 16 years; and opened my own business just 2 1/2 years ago.
5. What people/training/experiences/opportunities led you to this career path?
As a child I spent much of my time in the forest of the PNW, picking wildflowers and berries, climbing trees, etc. I have always been drawn to the outdoors and the abundance of natural elements that can be found just in our backyard. My maternal grandmother has also always had an amazing garden, and I would spend time learning about each plant from her. I struggled to find a career path in college and eventually got a business degree, came back home, attended the Floral Design Institute in PDX, and got a job in a floral shop. I haven’t looked back since!
6. How would you describe the importance of your role & why do you feel a couple should hire a professional for their wedding day?
Every wedding vendor plays their part in making a couple’s day unique, but as a floral designer, our product is a part of every single segment of the wedding! For this reason, I truly feel that it pays to hire a professional florist, who will be able to work with your theme and venue to create seasonal florals to enhance your wedding day vision (not to mention your photos!).
7. What is the best part of your job?
I get paid to spend my time surrounded by my favorite things!
8. What do you find most challenging about your specific line of work or weddings in general?
One of the challenges I face as a floral designer is conveying the accurate cost of designing wedding flowers! I think everyone knows that flowers can be expensive; what isn’t always easy to understand is everything that goes into creating a bouquet. From the initial cost of growing the flower to buying it from a wholesaler, to the cost of materials used, and finally the designer’s time value and expertise; there is nothing simple in the way a florist has to estimate the price of the end product. This is truly one of those things that you get what you pay for!
9. Do you work solo or do you have a studio/and or team?
At this point in time I work solo! Though I do usually rely on my amazing husband to assist me in delivery!
10. What do you attribute to your success as a wedding? What do you think makes you stand apart from others in your field?
I think my success as a wedding florist comes from an ability to listen and innately understand what a couple is ultimately envisioning for their wedding flowers. In addition, I am a perfectionist with a very strong work ethic; my goal is always for expectations to be exceeded!
11. At what point in the wedding planning process should clients hire you?
Once a client has a wedding date and venue, it is always a good idea to book as soon as possible to hold your date!
12. Where do you draw inspiration? Are there any current trends you are excited about?
My inspiration is drawn from multiple sources! Primarily from nature and gardening, but also from my fellow floral designers. Current trends I am excited about are the return to slightly more manageable bridal bouquet sizes, lol!
13. What is the most important thing that couples should ask someone in your profession before hiring them?
Are you able to meet their budget and design preferences? If a couple is outside of your comfort zone in reference to either design or pricing, it can be beneficial to send them on to another professional who will meet their needs. Not everyone is an exact fit! Find a professional that you feel will ultimately provide you with the experience you are looking for.
14. What is your best advice for wedding clients? Find someone you feel comfortable with and who’s design style is similar to the vision you have.
Ask lots of questions! Don’t be afraid to negotiate. Most vendors are more than happy to go back and forth before settling on the final product/price.
15. Anything else you’d like couples to know about you?
This is my passion and joy! I will work tirelessly to make your wedding day exactly what you have imagined!
16. What other local wedding professionals are currently inspiring you?
Oh! So many. Sherine @vintagemeetsmodern. She is killing it this year! Cindy @peachykeencoordination. She is going after her dreams and is so inspiring! Alli @Bramblefloral. Her designs are seriously incredible!